2016 Subaru Outback Road Test

2016 Subaru Outback Road Test and Review.

Family car buyers are truly spoiled for choice in 2016 and the Subaru Outback is certainly a vehicle that warrants a close look.

We’ve had a run of Subaru vehicles to road test and review in recent times at Behind the Wheel and really it’s hard to seriously fault anything that carries a Subaru badge in 2016.

The Subaru Outback is most likely the most family-friendly offering in the line-up today, though it is hampered by only a five seat capacity (Subaru has announced a new seven seat SUV model, details here).

2016 Subaru Outback Road TestWith all-wheel drive, reasonable ground clearance, a 1500kg (braked) towing capacity and quite good cargo space the Outback remains a vehicle that offers plenty of versatility, despite not having the third row of seats.

It’s also quite a good size, sort of chunky and not really that long. Throw in a good turning circle and a reasonably high seating position and it should be an easy drive for all.

You have a good spread of engine choices, there’s the 2.0 litre diesel that we reviewed last week (catch that review here), a 3.6 litre six-cylinder petrol engine and the 2.5 litre petrol engine that is only available with a CVT automatic.

It was this petrol engine version that I had to road test through last week.

Not entirely different to drive compared to the diesel, overall, this is a very pleasing car to get around in.

There are three things that take a little shine off as far as I’m concerned and we will get those out of the way straight off.

Firstly, the auto transmission has two idiosyncrasies that are worth noting. It takes a long time to find either Drive or Reverse. So, for example, you are making a quick three point turn…in the Subaru you find the car sitting there for a moment thinking about moving into the selected mode.

The transmission also has a hesitation at low speed which, to be honest, wasn’t always there. I found it would raise its head when you were accelerating gradually, feeling perhaps that the transmission wasn’t completely convinced about the ratio shift it was making.

Digital radio is a disappointing omission and I really dislike the positioning of the clock in the quite busy climate control settings screen. Some people might also find the steering just a touch too heavy.

Other than that, all pass marks. The seats are firm but supportive, everything feels quite well put together, the Subaru Outback cabin is quiet and the legroom is good front and back.

The engine is typical of all Subaru ‘Boxer’ units in that the engine feels like it has plenty of torque (great for towing, climbing hills), but power (initial acceleration) takes a little bit to come on (these engines love to rev) and a 10+ second 0-100km/h sprint is testament to this.

At 129kW and 235Nm the Outback petrol is competent enough in the city and on the highway. There are also two drive modes, the difference between the two is fairly negligible to be honest.

While fuel economy is a claimed 7.3L/100km combined, I averaged 9.1L/100km in my week of primarily city/suburban driving.

The 2.5 litre petrol Subaru Outback is offered in two specification levels with the entry-grade model offering a healthy list of standard features, including;

  • 18” alloy wheels
  • Tilt and reach steering adjustment
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Reverse camera
  • Powered tailgate
  • Subaru EyeSight driver aids such as distance control cruise control and collision avoidance
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Tinted windows
  • Electric park brake
  • Height-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Heated front seats

2016 Subaru Outback Road TestWhile satellite-navigation is only available in the Premium-grade model. Refreshingly, Subaru charges no extra for premium or metallic paint and a five-star ANCAP safety rating features across the range.

Summing it up; I can’t give you any real reason why you wouldn’t consider a 2016 Subaru Outback.

The diesel engine is clearly more economical, though it also felt just as willing when under acceleration and this would probably be the one I would opt for.

Overall, the Outback drives nicely enough, looks good and offers plenty of versatility and with five-star safety and reasonable pricing, take one for a drive and see if this Subaru fits you and your needs.

NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Subaru Outback 2.5 petrol

Engine: 2.5 litre petrol producing 129kW and 235Nm

Transmission: Six-speed CVT automatic

Safety: Five star

Warranty: Three years

Origin: Japan

Price: $35,990