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Subaru gives Outback a lift

Face first: Subaru’s Outback has subtle styling changes in a mid-life facelift that also includes additional items such as lane-keep assist and improved connectivity.

Subaru Outback brought up to date with styling and tech changes for 2018

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Subaru logo7 Feb 2018

By RON HAMMERTON

SUBARU has given its Outback large all-wheel-drive wagon a mid-life renovation, tweaking the styling, refining the mechanics and adding key technologies and safety features for 2018.

The company has also dropped the slow-selling manual gearbox from the diesel Outback line-up, meaning the continuously variable transmission (CVT) is now standard across the range in Australia.

The price of the entry-level petrol Outback 2.5i has been held at $36,240 plus on-road costs. Because the $35,740 manual diesel 2.0D has been dropped, the diesel range now starts with the CVT 2.0D at $38,740 – the same price as before for this variant. All higher-spec variants go up by $400, with the flagship six-cylinder petrol 3.6R topping the list at $49,140.

Styling changes include a redesigned front bumper, grille, LED headlights incorporating LED daytime running lights, and alloy wheel designs. Exterior mirrors now sit on stems 20mm shorter than before for improved aerodynamics and reduced noise.

Premium variants get steering-responsive headlights with adaptive high beam.

Subaru says it has given the normally aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol boxer engine and matching CVT a pull-though to improve response and efficiency, while also adjusting the suspension.

Safety-wise, the Outback’s major improvement is the arrival of the company’s signature EyeSight in its third-generation guise that adds lane-keep assist.

Premium variants also get front- and side-view cameras this time around.

Connectivity has been improved with the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a new-look touchscreen audio unit.

The steering wheel, air-conditioning control panel and vents all have been updated, while the dash covering gains premium-look stitching.

Of course, the current Outback, which was launched in late 2014, retains Subaru’s signature symmetrical all-wheel-drive system on all variants.

Subaru Australia managing director Colin Christie said that with 11,340 sales in 2017, the Outback had been a consistent best-seller.

“We think the latest long list of refinements will only add to its appeal in the SUV space,” he said.

Along with the Forester medium SUV and Impreza small car, the Outback is among Subaru’s top sellers in Australia, although sales of Outback fell 7.1 per cent in 2017 as it reached the end of its model life ahead of the facelift that goes into showrooms this month.

2018 Subaru Outback pricing*
Outback 2.5i (a) $36,240
Outback 2.5i Premium (a)$42,640
Outback 3.6R (a)$49,140
Outback 2.0D (a)$38,740
Outback 2.0D Premium (a)$45,640
*Excludes on-road costs

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