Subaru ups the lux on its all-new Outback

Simplified range boasts more kit but higher prices for Subaru Outback

Customers looking for a base “stripper” model in the new Subaru Outback line-up might be disappointed, with the soon-to-be-launched all-paw wagon pushing further upmarket than ever before.

The new generation Outback is set to go on sale in March with a simplified three-variant range priced from $39,990, where the current five model line-up begins at $37,440. 

Subaru Australia General Manager Blair Read said Subaru was significantly elevating the specification list across its entire new-generation Outback range. 

"Based on customer feedback, we've made a conscious decision to take Outback considerably up market, confirming its status as the flagship in the Subaru range,” Mr Read said. 

Subaru Outback 2021 side view
Available in Outback AWD, Outback AWD Sport and Outback AWD Touring, the line-up covers a price spread from $39,990 to $47,790, with the new top-spec model priced below the current range-topping Outback 3.6R Premium.

The latter’s flat six-cylinder engine has gone the way of the dodo in the new line-up, however, as has the 2.0-litre flat four-cylinder diesel.

A heavily revised 2.5-litre Boxer engine is the only powerplant available in the new range.

That engine is based on the 2.5-litre Boxer powering the current line-up, but Subaru claims it is 90% new, having adopted direct fuel injection to boast nearly 7% more power (138 Kilowatts) and 4.2% more torque (245 Newton metres). 

The extra grunt has enabled a boost to the new Outback’s braked towing capacity, now rated at 2000kg, up from 1500kg of the current model. 

Subaru Outback 2021 rear view

Other technical changes include refinements to the Continuously Variable Transmission, which will have a wider spread of ratios for improved take-off acceleration and better fuel efficiency.

The transmission also features an eight-speed manual mode, selected via the standard steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifts. 

Inside the expanded cabin, which Subaru says is the largest Outback interior to date, the wagon features expanded dimensions and a larger and wider-opening cargo area. 

A new vertical orientation high-definition 11.6-inch infotainment system takes pride of place at the centre of the dash, providing centralised controls of many vehicle and multimedia functions.

On the safety front, the 2021 Outback features a new inner-frame structure which Subaru claims provides enhanced occupant protection from all directions in the event of a crash, plus significant dynamic, and efficiency gains.

The new model also sports the latest generation of Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist system, encompassing a wide range of driver assistance features including: lane centring, autonomous emergency steering, emergency lane keep assist, speed sign recognition with intelligent speed limiter, lane departure warning with steering wheel vibration, lane departure prevention, pre-collision braking with expanded collision avoidance at intersections. 

Subaru Outback 2021 interior view

Other components of new model’s enhanced vision assist safety package include a blind spot monitor, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert and reverse automatic braking.

A passenger seat cushion airbag has also been added to the Outback’s arsenal of airbags.

In the event of a frontal collision, the new airbag is designed to push up the front section of the seat, helping prevent the body from sinking below the seatbelt to reduce chest injuries. 

Subaru says the new airbag also suppresses the front passenger's leg movement, minimising the risk of leg injuries due to contact with the instrument panel.

Over and above the $39,990 base model, the $44,490 mid-spec Outback AWD Sport adds such features as heated front and outboard rear seats,   front and side-view monitors, hands-free powered tailgate,  satellite      navigation and dark metallic finish for alloy wheels.

The range-topping $47,790 Outback AWD Touring adds more features, including a nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with CD player, Nappa leather accented seat trim, electric sunroof, heated steering wheel, and silver-finish roof rails, with integrated stowable cross bars.