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SUV shifts upmarket

Subaru tinkers with design and features of the Outback to build on quarter of a century of success.
Posted on 20 January, 2021
SUV shifts upmarket

The specification list is being boosted across the range of the next-generation Subaru Outback.

Wallis Dumper, managing director of Subaru of NZ, says: “It has outperformed all of our other SUVs over the bulk of the past 25 years and we expect the evolution of our largest model to continue this momentum. 

“Subaru has made a conscious decision to take the Outback considerably upmarket to confirm its status as the range’s flagship. 

“The aggressive, rugged design – along with luxury features, technology, infotainment and safety – will only add to its reputation for value and whole-of-life costs.”

The simplified three-variant range features the Outback, Outback X and Outback Touring, with Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive fitted as standard.

The 2021 model year includes a direct-injection 2.5-litre Boxer engine that is about 90 per cent.

It boasts about seven per cent more power at 138kW, and 4.2 per cent more torque at 245Nm.

It has the best braked towing capacity for the model at 2,000kg and the Outback’s largest cabin to date, with key interior dimensions increased and including a longer wheelbase and larger, wider-opening cargo area.

The high-definition 11.6-inch touchscreen head-unit infotainment system centralises and simplifies many controls with vertical orientation for intuitive operation similar to smartphones.

Then there’s the marque’s refined lineartronic transmission with paddle-shift and greater ratio coverage with eight-speed manual mode.

New features

Subaru says more than 80 per cent of the Outback’s structural parts have been improved for better driving, while the increased ratio coverage from 7.0 to 8.1 ramps up take-off acceleration and aids fuel efficiency.

The SUV’s dual-function X-MODE offers “peace of mind” by offering set-and-forget throttle control in mud, snow and steep unsealed surfaces.

And the fourth-generation EyeSight driver-assist system has multiple new features.

These include lane-centring function, autonomous emergency steering, emergency lane-keep assist, sign recognition with intelligent speed limiter, lane prevention and departure warning – the latter with steering-wheel vibration, and pre-collision braking with expanded support for collision avoidance at intersections.

Subaru’s vision-assist features blind-spot monitor, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, and eye-sight assist monitor.

Then there’s the passenger-seat cushion airbag. In the event of a frontal collision, it pushes up the seat’s front section and helps to prevent forward waist. 

This can prevent the body from sinking below the seatbelt and improve the restraint protection performance to help reduce chest injuries.

Suppressing the front passenger’s leg movement minimises contact with the instrument panel.

If that’s not enough, Subaru’s drive monitoring system uses facial-recognition technology to ensure attentiveness behind the wheel. It was first launched in the 2019 Forester.

The Outback will have a recommended retail price of $49,990. The Outback X starts at $54,990 and Touring variant $57,490.

Full New Zealand specifications will be released in-line with the on-sale date of February 22.