It’s all in the name for me when it comes to Subaru’s flagship vehicle, the Outback.
The all-wheel drive wagon could look like the Tardis and drive like a combine harvester and I’d probably still have a soft spot for it, based purely on its name.
I love our Aussie Outback, its rugged beauty and characters and just the whisper of the word stirs thoughts of adventure.
I even have an “Outback” named set of golf clubs. Yes, I do spend most of my time in the areas of a golf course which most resemble the outback and my putting is on par with Ernie Els recent efforts at the Masters.
Fortunately for Subaru, and anyone looking to buy an Outback, it doesn’t look like the Tardis and it drives a great deal better than I’d expect a harvester to.
In fact, it is very appropriately named given its rugged – and strikingly individual – exterior and capabilities.
The 2.0-litre turbo diesel model test driven has a great balance of comfort and out and about capability to make it a solid family vehicle.
It neither sets the world on fire for performance or leaves the driver wanting. With 110kW of power and an all important 350Nm of torque, it gets the job done.
Handling is on par with the expectations of Subaru vehicles. It has plenty of grip on the road and tenacious cornering control. Ride comfort is firm, in a reassuring manner when taking on turns and bumps in the road.
It boasts 8.7 inches of ground clearance and that, coupled with its all-wheel drive handling ability, and CVT automatic transmission means it’s pretty hand on the dirt too.
But the thing confirming the Outback as a very decent family vehicle beyond my love of the name is the safety features packed into this wagon. And the fact Subaru has shown a commitment to safety in its vehicles by regularly adding new features and technologies to update its range.
The EyeSight systems use a raft of driver-assist technologies to help avoid collisions and include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, pre-collision braking and steering assist.
It also has Vision Assist for blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, high-beam assist, auto dimming rear mirror and rear traffic alert which detects passing vehicles when the car is backing up.
The system will sound a warning and flashes if the car is swaying for any reason.
With the range starting at $35,990 (the tested model is priced at $44,990) there’s a lot more about the Outback than just a nice name.