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Subaru Outback 3.0 R Premium

Broadcast dates : 20th February 2005
24th February 2005

The Subaru Outback is a handsome vehicle, especially in its three-litre Premium guise. Nevertheless it has somewhat chunky, unconventional styling typical of this unconventional automaker.

Designed and built in Japan, it has none of the rather feminine, flowing lines common to European offerings from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

This is a luxury wagon rather than a Sports Utility Vehicle, and fittingly it has all the fashionable up-market styling cues, such as clear lens light-clusters, fog-lamps, and striking seventeen-inch alloy wheels.

And beneath the sheet-metal, the Outback has the mechanical hardware to back up its visual presence.

The naturally-aspirated six-cylinder boxer engine has a personality quite different to the warbling four-cylinder offerings from Subaru.

The extra pair of cylinders smooth out the harmonics and power delivery is ultra-refined.

The internals are sophisticated and include variable valve-timing, variable valve lift for top-end power, and drive-by-wire throttle enables tightly controlled throttle response.

Simplicity is an over-riding theme, even in this Premium model. The steering column is only adjustable for height. The seats too are of a rather plain design, with not much lateral support. But they are comfortable. Stowage space is good, and being a wagon, the load area is plentiful.

Like the other models in the Subaru range, the Outback is about dynamic appeal when all is said and done.

There’s a feeling of rock-solid stability to the package, effortless power delivery, and a firm but comfortable ride.

The seventeen-inch alloy wheels ride on low profile Two One Five – Fifty Five rubber, so the bias is towards tarmac rather than the rough stuff.

Suspension is conventional, with MacPherson struts at the front, a multi-link system at the rear, and coil-over shocks all round.

But Subaru being Subaru, it has plenty of ground clearance at over two-hundred millimeters. And of course the famed all-wheel-drive system comes into its own on dirt roads.

The Three-litre Premium model also comes with electronic traction and stability aids.

The cheaper two-comma-five litre models in the Outback range are available with manual transmissions, but the three-point-naught R Premium comes only with a five-speed automatic gearbox which includes various shift programmes.

At a hundred-and-eighty kiloWatts, the Subaru is in the top league in terms of power output in the six-cylinder class.

Zero to one hundred is claimed at eight and a half seconds, and top speed at 224 kilometres-per-hour.

It enjoys excellent high-speed road manners, the steering being communicative and confidence-inspiring.

It lacks the high vantage of a typical luxury SUV, but its sports wagon stance with a low overall height imparts excellent stability at higher speeds.

And off the beaten track, it’s equally poised and controllable.

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