Subaru has gone 'back to the future' with some running changes for its perennial Outback wagon. No doubt bouyed by the runaway success of XV (off road version of the Impreza) the company has decided to beef up the look of the Outback with the addition of some chunky, dark coloured body cladding. Hello? Haven't we seen this somewhere before . . . like 20 years ago when the car was first introduced.
The changes see prices for Outback rise $500 across the board, with the entry petrol model now kicking off from $38,990. The diesel starts from $40,490 rising to $43,490 for the top of the line 2.0D Premium (the subject of our test).
The recently introduced CVT automatic adds $2500 to the price of our car, bring the figure to $45,990 but it's worth every cent. The entry-level diesel includes satnav while the 2.0D Premium with CVT adds a variety of features including leather, power adjust driver's seat, an electric sunroof and 'electroluminescent' gauges with colour information display.
Explore the 2013 Subaru Outback range
The turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder Boxer diesel delivers 110kW of power at 3600 revs and 350Nm of torque between 1800 and 2400 revs. The diesel uses a high-torque version of Subaru's Lineartronic CVT, strengthened to suit the high torque output of the diesel. It's designed to compensate for the narrow power band that typifies diesels.
Responding to customers who it says want a "slightly" tougher looking Outback, Subaru has added side sills with cladding and wheel arch flares and a few other bits and pieces. The thing is though, if you don't want them, you don't have to have them some of them anyway. The wheel arch flares themselves are a delete option.
Five stars of course, with all wheel drive and a host of electronic aids. But the diesel misses out on the Eyesight crash avoidance system which is yet to be calibrated for it.
We're really like the new CVT auto. It's a smarter system than other car makers because it slips into traditional mode with set of defined gears when it detects the driver is driving enthusiastically. This give it a more responsive feel and avoids the 'zoom' effect when you put your foot down.
Fuel consumption is rated at an impressive 6.5 litres/100 km and carbon dioxide emissions at 172 grams/km. We've been getting 6.8 at last count, easily getting more than 800km from a single tank.
All good so far, apart from the Bluetooth system that is a bit hit and miss reconnecting. That's the problem in dealing with a myriad of third party devices.