1 Sep 1996
Although classed as a commercial vehicle, the first generation Outback was clearly just a jacked-up Liberty wagon initially intended for the SUV-mad USA.
Subaru added extra ground clearance (200mm overall compared to the Liberty’s 165mm), plastic body cladding, larger bumper bars and roof racks for a tougher off-road look.
Two well-equipped models (Outback and Limited) meant that the Outback topped the growing Liberty range.
Its mainly urban-based success lay in the fact that it was a pioneering ‘crossover’ vehicle, bridging the gap between a regular wagon and larger 4WDs.
Initial models employed a four-speed auto transmission, with a five-speed manual with dual-range gearing arriving from September ’97.
This also coincided with specification increases.