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Subaru takes scalpel to Outback for 2013

Self-shifter: Subaru’s Outback will get a diesel automatic as part of the facelifted 2013 range in a first for the company.

Price cuts of up to $4000, mechanical enhancements reshape Subaru Outback


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8 Jan 2013

SUBARU Australia has sliced the price of Outback SUVs by up to $4000 in a mid-life makeover that will include the company’s first automatic-equipped diesel powertrain from about March.

Apart from minor cosmetic changes including a new grille and fresh colours, the 2013 Outback range gets a revised all-wheel-drive system delivering improved torque split between the front and rear wheels for better handling, along with a tweaked four-cylinder boxer engine for enhanced driveability and leaner fuel efficiency.

The suspension and steering have also received attention from engineers to cut body roll and sharpen cornering.

The biggest price adjustment has been made to the top diesel model, the Outback Premium manual, which falls from $46,990 to $42, 990 (plus on-road costs).

This price cut appears to be a strategic move to create room at the top of the range for the introduction of the automatic diesel Outback Premium in about three months.

The automatic version – employing a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) – is expected to quickly outsell the manual as a result of considerable pent-up demand in the market for the auto shifter-diesel engine combination.

The 2.0-litre diesel manual range currently accounts for about 20 per cent of Outback sales, but the addition of an auto option is expected to increase that share.

For now, automatic transmissions are confined to Outback petrol models, in either 2.5-litre four-cylinder or 3.6-litre six-cylinder guises.

The new-look range now starts at $38,490 for the entry-level cloth-trim Outback 2.5i petrol automatic, representing a cut of $500.

However, a $1500 option pack adds leather trim, factory-fitted satellite navigation, rear air-conditioning vents, powered driver’s seat, electro-luminescent gauges and colour information display, taking the price to $39,990.

The Outback 2.5i Premium automatic retains its $42,990 price point but gains the latest version of Subaru’s EyeSight collision avoidance system, along with colour information display, dusk-sensing headlights and rain-sensing wipers.

Subaru says the EyeSight system, which uses video cameras and sophisticated recognition software to detect a potential collision with another car or pedestrian, has been refined to provide better collision avoidance on corners and with slow-moving pedestrians.

The Outback petrol range is topped by the $57,490 six-cylinder 3.6R, which gains a colour information display along with the other tweaks in the 2013 range.

The diesel Outback range now starts at $39,990 – a cut of $1000 – for the 2.0D, but Subaru has sweetened the pot by adding satellite navigation as standard.

Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior said the Outback represented tremendous value and fuel efficiency, whether with petrol or diesel power.

“We’ve added to the specification while reducing price on some variants, which makes Australia’s original crossover wagon an even more compelling package” he said.

Subaru says the 2.5-litre petrol engine has improved driveability in the mid-to-low-speed torque range.

Power has been increased from 123kW to 127kW – a gain of 3.3 per cent – while torque is up 2.6 per cent, from 229Nm to 235Nm.

Combined with a lighter and more compact CVT transmission, this engine improves Outback’s combined fuel economy by 0.3 litres per 100km to 8.0L/100km, while CO2 emissions are cut 4.1 per cent, to 185 grams per kilometre.

Inside, the electric parking brake control has been moved to the centre console.

New colours are a dark grey metallic, deep blue pearl, red pearl and bronze metallic.

Last year, Subaru sold 4408 Outbacks – a decline of 7.6 per cent on the previous year – but overall Subaru sales were up 18.2 per cent, mainly due to the arrival of the top-selling XV small SUV that accounted for almost a quarter of Subarus sold in this country in 2012.

2013 Subaru Outback pricing*
2.5i (a)$38,490
2.5i option pack (a)$39,990
2.5i Premium (a)$42,990
2.0D Premium$42,990
3.6R Premium (a)$57,490
*Plus on-road costs

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