Arguably, early all-wheel drive models from Subaru helped create and define the now highly popular recreational SUV segment.
Since the mid-nineties, the all-wheel-drive Liberty wagon based Outback models have been successfully blending attributes of family wagon practicality, with light-duty off roader
The fourth-generation Outback arrived in September 2009. It offered more cabin and cargo space, a range of engineering updates, improved fuel efficiency, enhanced equipment levels, and new gearboxes - either a Lineartronic CVT auto or six-speed manual.
Models fitted with the 2.5-litre ‘flat four’ petrol engine came in three specifications, the entry 2.5i, a 2.5i Premium and the top specification Premium Sat Nav. Its ‘extras’ over the Premium included navigation (as the name suggests), and reversing camera.
Safety is well covered with all versions scoring a five star ANCAP crash rating and safety features including antilock brakes with EBD and brake assist, dual front/front side/driver’s knee and full length curtain airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters, stability and traction control.
Outbacks in the range reviewed here also offer a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo-diesel or 3.6-litre six-cylinder petrol engines, both of boxer configuration.
On road the Outback is an easy-to-drive, sensible family wagon with an impressive blend of comfortable ride and adept handling amongst its attributes. Off the bitumen Outback surprises, being one of the more capable cross-over style vehicles, though serious off-roading is beyond its design brief.
Look for carefully serviced used examples. Neglecting oil or coolant changes and cambelt renewal (125,000km or five years) can prove fatal to engines. Watch for under vehicle damage from over-adventurous excursions. Check driveshaft boot condition also, and for any signs of head gasket issues such as oil and coolant cross-contamination.
Under the pump
Outback will use between 6.5 litres and 12.0 litres of fuel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.
For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to RACQ's online car price guide or contact our Motoring Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 outside the Brisbane area
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