The four-model range comprises five-speed manual (with low range) and four-speed automatic versions powered by the 121 kW/226 Nm 2.5 litre H4 engine, and two 3.0R versions powered by the six-cylinder, 24-valve, quad-cam 3.0-litre H6 engine.
In both standard and Premium Class trim levels the 3.0 R, with a power output of 180kW and a torque figure of 297 Nm, is mated to the world's lightest five-speed automatic gearbox, which selects any of five "maps" depending on road conditions and driver input.
Standard equipment across the range include:
Electric windows and mirrors
Leather-trimmed steering wheel, gearknob and handbrake lever
Height adjustable driver's seat
Six-speaker CD-based sound system
The 3.0R versions are distinguished by 17-inch wheels shod with 215/55 tyres.
In addition there's self-levelling rear suspension, six-CD shuttle, a Momo steering wheel with satellite controls for the sound system, and wood grain trim.
The flagship Premium Class model adds electric adjustment for the driver's seat, double-size sunroof, full leather upholstery (rather than the Alcantara inserts on the standard version), side and curtain airbags, and Vehicle Dynamics Control.
As before, the 2004 Outback is based on the Legacy touring wagon platform, benefiting from recent design changes to its "donor".
The new Outback is also stiffer and stronger - yet lighter thanks to the use of aluminium in key areas of the bodywork and suspension. It is more aerodynamic and can turn more tightly - despite being larger.
Subaru says the new Outback offers loads of practicality with a luggage compartment that utilises many useful design features.
These include 11 litres of underfloor storage, a moulded slot under the floor specifically for stowing the retractable luggage cover when it is not in use, sturdy hooks for securing luggage items, and a 60/40 split rear seat.
Fold it flat and you have 1 649 litres of loading volume, and even with a full complement of passengers there's still 459 litres available.
All Outback models have Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and ground clearance is 202mm
The flagship Premium Class version of the 3.0R is equipped with Subaru's stability control system, dubbed Vehicle Dynamics Control, which in a fraction of a second will use a combination of ABS intervention, a reduction in engine power, or a redistribution of torque front to rear to maintain stability.
VDC can be deactivated via a dashboard switch should the driver so desire.