A new-generation 2021 Subaru Outback range will hit Australian dealerships in March 2021, armed with more kit, more space and more ability.
Importantly, it will retain the same character that made it the poster child for the alt-SUV off-road wagon fan.
The simplified three-variant range will kick off priced from $39,990 for the newly-named Outback AWD, before jumping up to the higher-spec Outback AWD Sport and Outback AWD Touring.
All three will get a largely-new naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre boxer engine putting out 138kW and 245Nm (seven- and four per cent improvements on its predecessor, respectively), mated to a continuously-variable transmission, while efficiency is also enhanced.
As expected, all grades are equipped with Subaru's X-Mode all-wheel drive as standard.
It was hoped the North American-specification turbocharged engine with 194kW/375Nm would be on offer Down Under, but it isn't currently available to our market – although the company's local arm says it is working to get it here.
While no other powertrain is mentioned – including the omission of the 3.6-litre six-cylinder in the previous-gen 3.6R and 2.0-litre diesel flat-four – the new Subaru Global Platform architecture on which the Outback is built has the flexibility to accommodate a hybrid powertrain.
It's fair to expect a hybrid version of the new-generation Outback to join the XV and Forester hybrids that arrived in 2020.
Good news for holidayers, though, is an improved 2000kg towing capacity, which is 500kg more than the current four-cylinder version along with a 200kg tow-ball down load.
Like the powertrain, the whole range benefits from a new 11.6-inch portrait-mount infotainment system, a quick start/stop system and a suite of Eyesight driver assistance features including a lane-centring function, autonomous emergency braking and steering, speed sign recognition, lane departure warning and prevention, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert and a driver attention warning.
Adding to the already high levels of Outback safety features, the 2021 model has reverse automatic braking, a new passenger cushion airbag taking the total number of SRS bags to eight, while a Mobile Progressive Deformable Barrier can absorb more impact energy and is another first for the brand.
Above that, the Outback AWD Sport adds water-repellent upholstery, heated seats on all but the middle seat in the second row, front- and side view monitor, black exterior highlights, powered boot release, green-detailed roof rails, satellite navigation and a darker finish for the alloy wheels.
At the top of the tree, the Outback AWD Touring gains a nine-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with subwoofer and even offers a CD player housed in the centre console for nostalgic trips down music memory lane (while other versions have a six-speaker system), Napa leather trim, sunroof, heated steering wheel, silver roof rails with cross bars and glossy alloy wheels. All versions roll on 18-inch rims.
With a more flexible architecture, Subaru has also found more space in the Outback interior offering the largest cabin yet for the model. Passengers up front have 30mm more hip room and 7mm extra shoulder room, while rear occupants benefit from an additional 6mm of leg room.
Out the back of the Outback the boot floor has grown 24mm in length freeing up an extra 10 litres of volume for a maximum boot space of 522 litres.
Sport and Touring variants get a power tailgate with automatic, hands free opening. Standing near the body sensor activates the feature as long as the valid key is also detected.
Other notable technology includes the driver recognition system that made its debut in the Forester and uses a facial camera to identify different users.
With a successful identification, the Outback will set a number of pre-set personal preferences. It also doubles as a driver monitoring device and can detect drowsiness.
Subaru Australia general manager Blair Read claims that the new generation Subaru Outback has taken a concerted step upmarket and that the Outback remains the flagship of the local Subaru vehicle range.
“The aggressive rugged design, along with the suite of luxury features, technology, infotainment and safety inherent in every Outback will only add to its rock-solid reputation for value and whole-of-life costs,” he said.
The sixth-generation Subaru Outback will arrive in Australian dealerships from March.
2021 Subaru Outback Australian pricing
- Outback AWD - $39,990
- Outback AWD Sport - $44,490
- Outback AWD Touring - $47,790
All listed prices exclude on-road costs
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