Subaru has launched the all-new Outback family workhorse at the New York International Auto Show. It’s still all-wheel drive, it still uses boxer flat-four engines and you can bet it’s still brilliant at just about everything.
The new model is built on Subaru’s latest chassis architecture and is claimed to be some 70 per cent stiffer, torsionally, than before. The front suspension framework is said to be stiffer by a similar amount, allowing the springs and dampers to do a better job as well as helping to provide better front-impact safety.
Boot space has never been an issue but the new Outback boasts of up to 2143 litres of van-like capacity for suitcases, bricks, sheep or whatever you need to shift. That figure is measured with the rear seats folded down.
Providing power in the North American market is a 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine with either 180bhp or, in the range-topping XT models, 256bhp. In the UK – if we get the model at all – we’re likely to get a diesel and possibly a hybrid.
Interestingly, higher-spec versions gain an upholstery treatment that repels water and dirt, making the fabric easier to clean. There’s more ground clearance than in the old model, too, which will please anyone looking to use it on rutted farm tracks.
An 11.6-inch screen handles the infotainment on all models bar the most basic, which on anything but butter-smooth roads will make simple tasks a nightmare just as with any other touchscreen interface. The problem is simply more significant in a car that will see more off-road use.
Subaru expects to start selling the new Outback in the US in the autumn, with pricing yet to be confirmed.