Japanese vehicle maker Subaru has been at the forefront of all-wheel-drive vehicles for
many decades. Indeed, it produced nothing other than all-wheel-drives for many years.
The only Subaru that isn’t driven by all four wheels is the BRZ sportscar, which was a
joint venture between Subaru and Toyota, with the latter being a called the Toyota 86.
Five variants are offered: Outback, Sport, Touring, Sport XT and Touring XT. The first
three are powered by the traditional 2.5-litre engine, the XT models get a new 2.4-litre
Our test vehicle for the past week was the top-spec Subaru Outback XT Touring which
is very much a ‘proper’ 4WD as, with a ground clearance of 213mm, it can be taken off
road and handle some pretty tough terrain.
Towing capacity is 2400 kg, 2000 kg in the non-turbo models.
Unfortunately, time restraints meant that we were unable to test the Outback off-road,
hopefully we can do that in a further test – stay tuned.
Outback is a good-looking vehicle that’s definitely in the 4WD class in its appearance. It
has a large front grille above the ‘bumper’ area and honeycomb shapes below it. The
bonnet has a neat slope that blends nicely into the windscreen. The roof rises for the
first part then takes a gentle shape that blends neatly into the rear window.
Its shape gained a nod of approval from all that viewed it during our test period. They
commented that it looked like a 4WD that meant business.
The interior is neatly styled. The Outback Sport and Outback Sport XT have synthetic
leather upholstery that’s further protected by a water-repellent coating. Very handy if
you’re going to be spending serious time in off-road driving – as well as when you carry
grubby kids to and from school and/or sports events.
Boot capacity is a useful 522 litres with the rear seatbacks in place, expandable to
1267 litres when they are folded.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The 2023 Outback XT Sport and XT Touring have a 2.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder
engine. It drives all four wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission
A less powerful 2.5-litre engine is fitted to lower cost models in the Outback range.
There is a portrait-shaped 11.6-inch infotainment touchscreen. It’s easy to reach with
fast response. There’s wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone
connectivity standard across the range.
The nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system provided excellent sound reproduction
that made life pleasant while we were listing to it. It’s standard in the two Touring
variants, other variants have a six-speaker system.
The 4.2-inch Multi-Information Display unit (MID) in front of the driver has an LCD
screen and displays all the usual monitoring information.
A new USB-C port joins the existing USB-A in the front console and there are also two
USB-A charge ports in the rear.
Subaru’s EyeSight system includes adaptive cruise control, emergency lane-keep
assist, lane centring function, lane departure prevention, lane departure warning, lane
sway warning, pre-collision brake assist, pre-collision throttle management,
autonomous emergency steering and brake light recognition.
Should you still have a crash it has no fewer than eight SRS airbags to cushion your
body and head from all the hard stuff in the cabin.
The Subaru Outback XT is easy to drive and feels almost like a large car in the way
that it handles twisting mountain roads.
It’s certainly not sporty, nor is it intended to be but those who do enjoy their driving will
not feel it’s a pain to sit at the wheel.
Acceleration is reasonably responsive and it moves away from a standstill without too
Fuel consumption is officially listed as 9.0 litres per hundred kilometres. Around town
we were using in the 10 to 11 litres per 100km. On the open road and motorways this
dropped to seven to eight litres per hundred kilometres.
Subaru Outback XT is an attractive looking SUV that’s pleasant to live with thanks to
decent performance good interior space. It has the no-nonsense attitude that has
always characterised the Japanese marque and this will appeal to many. Would we buy
one? Yes, if this was the market segment we were working in.
AT A GLANCE
Outback 2.5: $42,690
Sport 2.5: $47,190
Touring 2.5: $50,990
Sport XT 2.4: $52,190
Touring XT 2.4: $55,990
SPECIFICATIONS (Subaru Outback XT Touring 2.4-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon)
Capacity: 2.387 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders horizontally opposed
Maximum Power: 183 kW @ 5200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 350 Nm @ 2000 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 9.0 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 204 g/km
Continually variable transmission. All-wheel drive.
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4870 mm
Wheelbase: 2745 mm
Width: 1875 mm
Height: 1670 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Five years / unlimited distance