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New York show: Subaru heads Outback again

Trailblazer: The new Subaru Outback was revealed at the New York motor show.

Next-generation Outback emerges alongside new Liberty at New York

14 Apr 2009

SUBARU used last week’s New York Auto Show to reveal not just its next-generation Liberty mid-size sedan but also the latest crossover wagon it will spawn, the all-new Outback.

While the US Liberty is slightly wider than the version Australia will receive, both models will go on sale here in September, with a diesel version of the Outback to follow around December.

Based on the same redesigned chassis as the new Liberty, the US version of the fourth-generation Outback rides on a 70mm-longer (2750mm) wheelbase but is 20mm shorter overall at 4780mm, as well as 50mm wider (1820mm) and 105mm higher (1670mm) than before, which is said to liberate more rear-seat legroom.

2 center image Giving the new Outback a more aggressive, SUV-like appearance is a 90mm reduction in both front and rear body overhangs, and an increase in ground clearance to 220mm.

Leading the bolder new Outback’s cosmetic changes is a higher and more upright grille, distinctive new three-dimensional headlights, square outboard foglights and a new roof-rail design that stows the crossbars in the longitudinal rails when not in use.

Inside the new Outback is a new instrument panel that is accentuated by sharp edges and features four aluminium meter rings and permanent backlighting, plus a new centre console with decorative ‘hairline’ finish. An information display screen with average fuel consumption resides in the centre of the dash board.

Now devoid of a manual handbrake thanks to the fitment of an electronic parking brake, the dash now features two tandem cupholders, larger console box and armrest. An electronic Hill Holder System activates automatically if the vehicle stops on slopes of more than five degrees.

America’s flagship Outback 3.6R will be available with multi-adjustable front seats – 10-way for the driver and four-way for the passenger – including power-adjustable lumbar adjustment.

A new three-spoke steering wheel will comprise audio and cruise-control functions, plus paddle shifters for automatic transmission models.

While Australia’s 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer engine will continue, expect the 3.0-litre six-cylinder boxer engine to replaced with a version of the 3.6-litre engine from the Tribeca, which will also power premium versions of the new Liberty.

Subaru’s SOHC 2.5-litre flat four has been revised for the new Liberty and Outback. It features a resin-based intake manifold to reduce overall weight and improve low-speed torque delivery, while a revised cylinder-head and exhaust catalyst are said to improve fuel consumption and emissions.

Six-speed manual and five-speed automatic transmissions will be available, but it is not clear if the Outback’s new Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is claimed to be the world’s first longitudinally-mounted CVT system for AWD production vehicles, will be offered here.

Subaru says a redesigned engine cradle, to which the engine is now bolted, improves front impact safety and ride quality, as well as lowering noise levels. The Outback also gains bonnet struts.

More liberal use of high-strength steel contributes to greater rigidity from less weight, while two impact beams have been added in each of the front and rear doors.

Twin front, front-side and side curtain airbags will be fitted to all models, and Subaru says new high-strength front seat frames and energy-absorbing head restraints reduce the risk of injury in rear-end collisions.

Other new Outback highlights include automatic headlights, a reclining mechanism for the 60/40-split folding rear seat and a cup-holder integrated into the rear centre armrest. US options will include a powered sunroof and Harman-Kardon audio system.

Read more:

First look: Subaru reveals US version of new Liberty

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