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New Scooby Outback breaks cover

2009-04-14 08:50
Subaru’s fourth generation Outback has been shown at the New York auto show, sporting a longer wheelbase and increased ground clearance.

Essentially a raised body version of the Legacy, Subaru’s Outback has always been an oddball alternative to SUVs.

The newfangled styling package, in characteristically Subaru fashion, is thoroughly compromised in execution and proportions, which should ensure the new Outback stands out from the SUV and estate crowd for all the wrong reasons.

Interior styling is as oddly themed as the exterior, with aluminium and wood trim insets jockeying for prominence, whilst current Outback owners will notice the (alleged) convenience of a new electric handbrake.

Taller design

Bumper-to-bumper the new car is shorter, yet from flank-to-flank it’s 50mm wider, 105mm taller (hence the peculiar proportions) and sporting a 70mm longer wheelbase, interior room has been optimised. Subaru engineers claim the new Outback boasts eight percent more interior space than its predecessor.

From a utility perspective the 220mm ground clearance is impressive, and considering the symmetrical all-wheel drive system, featuring a planetary gear-type centre differential with a continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch, traction should be keen enough to progress across mildly broken terrain.

Loadbay area now accommodates bulky items easier thanks to the double-wishbone rear suspension's less intrusive mounts.

A key dynamic running change has been the fitment of new rear double-wishbone suspension, which improves handling dynamics and rear cargo loadability over the third-generation Outback’s multi-link set-up.

New CVT 'box

Powering the new Outback range is range of three engines.

Entry level on the petrol range is a 2.5l, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine producing 126kW and 230Nm. This 2.5l mill drives all-four wheels through either a six-speed manual or the new CVT-transmission, known in Subaru parlance as Lineartronic.

For Outback customers seeking a more spirited drive – especially American buyers – there is the 3.6l flat-six, powering up to 188kW and 335Nm and distributing torque to all four-wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission.

Subaru buyers yearning for a compression ignition alternative should have option on the new 2l turbodiesel boxer engine too, producing 110kW and 350Nm.

The new Outback range is expected to be on sale at European dealers by the second half of this year.


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