Car reviews - Subaru - Outback - 2.5i Premium 5-dr wagon
Subaru's new, bigger Outback is more charming than its homely looks would suggest
15 Jan 2010
By CHRIS HARRIS
WITH every passing model Subaru seems to be becoming more and more mainstream, as the increasingly generic styling seems to confirm. But the fourth Outback since the series commenced in 1996 (based on the fifth-generation Liberty) has much more to offer than meets the eye, delivering its charms subtly at first, and then with increasing clarity the more time spent behind the wheel. In 2.5i Premium Lineartronic form, it might even be the best Subaru on sale today. So if it’s a family friendly wagon you need, we suggest you look past the clunky styling and check out what the Outback’s all about.
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SUBARU served up more of the Outback’s award-winning formula with the Mk3 version – based on the fourth-generation Liberty – since this pumped-up wagon again ably straddled the line between value Japanese crossover and prestige European estate. In all honesty we preferred this car as a driving experience to the Volvo XC70 and Lexus RX330. Sharing its underpinnings with the Liberty means that the Outback 2.5i used its 121kW/226Nm 2.5i four-cylinder horizontally opposed four-cylinder petrol engine, mated to a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual gearbox. However, the better choice was the powerful and refined 180kW/297Nm 3.0R boxer six-cylinder unit, driving all wheels via a five-speed auto gearbox, and providing a real alternative to more expensive luxury school-run favourites like the Mercedes-Benz E-class and Land Rover Discovery. Subaru subtly altered the range almost each year, but overall the Mk3 Outback pretty much remained the same until the quite a bit larger successor surfaced in September 2009.
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