Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?
How much does a Subaru Outback cost? Well, that depends on the variant and the drivetrain. But here’s a guide, a sort of price list because the range spans quite a large bracket. The prices below are all before on-road costs (rrp), not drive away - you might find deals on the company’s site, or at your friendly Subaru dealer.
There are five variants in the range, so let’s compare models from the bottom to the top.
Opening the line-up is the 2.5i, which is priced from $36,240, and the list of included equipment is extensive. There’s Subaru’s 'EyeSight' driver assist system with adaptive cruise control and auto emergency braking (AEB) (plus a lot more - see the safety section below), a reversing camera, the brand’s 'X-Mode' traction control system, and dual-zone climate control air conditioning with rear vents.
There are rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights (halogen - not even projector beam, HID or xenon - not great if you do a lot of night driving) with daytime running lights, front fog-lights, rear window tint and an electric park brake.
The exterior has a small spoiler on the tailgate, roof rails in black, silver underbody protection and 18-inch wheels.
If you want a bit more kit for your money, then you might want to opt for the 2.5i Premium, which starts at $42,640, and aside from wheelarch cladding, most of the changes are inside.
You get inclusions such as electric front seat adjustment, heated front seats (but no heated steering wheel, unlike our friends in the US), a sunroof (not a panoramic sunroof, just a regular front-seat-benefit-only one), powered and heated side mirrors, keyless entry with push button start, and leather seats.
You also step up to LED headlights (including auto high-beam and steering responsive light) in this spec, and you get a powered tailgate.
As with the four-cylinder boxer petrol models, there are two derivatives of the four-cylinder diesel to pick from.
The more affordable version is the 2.0D available with a CVT auto at $38,740. You used to be able to buy an Outback diesel with a manual transmission, but that version has been dropped due to low demand.
The Outback 2.0D is the only variant that rides on 17-inch wheels (an inch smaller than the rest), but otherwise it almost mirrors the spec of the 2.5i.
Then there’s the 2.0D Premium, which is automatic only, and has a list price of $45,640. It largely mirrors the 2.5i Premium spec.
The flagship model is 3.6R, which has a list price of $49,140.
It is definitely the most premium package of this bunch. Its sound system is upgraded with 12 harman/kardon speakers plus a subwoofer and amp, as well as model-distinct styling elements such as a chrome side-sill garnish and silver roof rails. The 3.6R also gets a three-mode 'SI-Drive' drive mode selector, where other petrol variants get a two-mode set-up.
In terms of infotainment, there is a 6.5-inch multimedia screen in the lower grades (2.0D and 2.5i), while the 8.0-inch touch screen in the Premium versions and the 3.6R includes a built in GPS / navigation system.
But buyers of the base models shouldn’t fear - every Outback comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, meaning you can use your iPhone or other smartphone as a sat nav system.
There’s Bluetooth phone and audio streaming for MP3 playback, a CD player (not a CD changer, though), and the new media system has NFC connection, so you don't even need to go through the pairing process with a suitable phone.
Of course there is AM/FM radio, but DAB radio (digital) isn’t fitted and there is no DVD player. And as advanced as the media unit is, there’s no Homelink app to open your garage smart door.
There’s a detailed trip computer with digital speed read-out in all models, and every version comes with a sunglass holder in the headlining. And because there are dual USB ports in the back of every model, there’s no need for a rear seat entertainment system - the kids can BYO.
In addition to the standard features, there are plenty of options on Subaru’s Outback accessories list, including a range of luggage pods, protective film for the paint, and bike and kayak holders.
If you were hoping for a nudge bar, bull bar or snorkel, you’ll have to shop around elsewhere: just make sure those items don’t void your warranty, and are airbag compliant.
Surprisingly, you only get floor mats from the accessories catalogue - they’re not standard in any model - and we recommend the boot-lip and bumper protector if you use the boot a lot.