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Subaru Outback 2.5-Litre Premium 2013 Review

Eureka! We finally discovered how to disengage the active part of active cruise control in the Subaru Outback.

Eureka! We finally discovered how to disengage the active part of active cruise control in the Subaru Outback. Active cruise automatically keeps its distance from the car in front. It can be a real asset, but a pain in the proverbial at times.

The main problem is bad-mannered Aussie drivers who delight in cutting in. It's a free-for-all out there, and no matter how small you set the distance from the car in front, it's never small enough to prevent kamikaze fighter pilots otherwise known as P platers from dropping in. Fair dinkum it's enough to drive you crazy.


Priced from $42,990, the Premium model costs $1500 more than the equivalent Liberty wagon. Equipment-wise there is little to set it apart from the Liberty wagon on which the Outback is based. Comes with leather and dual zone climate air, auto lights and wipers, 8-way power adjust driver's seat, electric sunroof, front fog lights and a rear spoiler. 

Satnav is standard along with Bluetooth phone and audio, a reversing camera and a Subaru's Eyesight safety system that includes automatic braking to prevents rear enders under 40km/h.


The 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine is good for 127kW of power and 235Nm of torque, the latter from 4100 revs. It's mated to a 7-step CVT continuously variable style transmission, for optimum fuel economy.

Power is fed to all four wheels through the symmetrical all-wheel drive system. Flick the sifter sideways and it can also be operated as a manual, either via the shifter or wheel-mounted change paddles. Fuel consumption from the 65-litre tank is rated at 8.0 litres/100km and it takes standard unleaded (we were getting 8.2).


There's no surprise that our test Subaru Outback Premium reminds us of the Subaru Liberty. It has the same engine, same transmission, and same look and feel inside. It even rides on the same diameter wheels, although the ride height and rubber are very different. 

The Outback is 30kg heavier and rides 63mm higher than the Liberty, with slightly narrower 17 inch wheels and 225/60 series rubber versus the Liberty's 215/50s. The Outback is zippy off the mark, but lugs a little once it settles into its stride and can be reluctant to stir. That's where the change paddles come into their own, because its quick and simple to change down a gear or two to get it moving quickly. We don't generally like zoomy CVTs, but the Sooby unit is one of the better ones.

The ride in the Outback is firmer than the Liberty thanks to its "off road" pretensions and the ride height is obviously different. That should have an impact on handling, but it seems to go around corners just as quick. Can tow a 1500kg load.


Like the Liberty we like it, but we're not fans of the styling. Get that right and it's a lay down misere.

Subaru Outback 2.5-litre Premium
Price: from $42,990
Warranty: 3 years
Engine: 2.5-litre 4-cylinder, 127kW/235Nm
Transmission: 6-speed CVT, 4WD
Thirst: 8L/100Km, CO2 185g/km

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Range and Specs

2.0D 2.0L, Diesel, CVT AUTO $13,500 – 19,470 2013 Subaru Outback 2013 2.0D Pricing and Specs
2.0D Premium 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $13,600 – 19,690 2013 Subaru Outback 2013 2.0D Premium Pricing and Specs
2.5i 2.5L, PULP, CVT AUTO $12,200 – 17,600 2013 Subaru Outback 2013 2.5i Pricing and Specs
2.5i Premium 2.5L, PULP, CVT AUTO $15,000 – 21,120 2013 Subaru Outback 2013 2.5i Premium Pricing and Specs