The Subaru Outback is a formidable off-roader which is also very good to drive on the tarmac, making it ideal for those whose lifestyle mixes urban and rural activities.
It is quite refined to drive, is well equipped, looks smart and classy and Subaru has an excellent reputation for reliability so it ticks many boxes for potential buyers, with prices starting from 37,844 euros (£32,680).
While the 2.0 litre diesel will be the choice of many, those seeking sharper performance can have the 172 hp 2.5 litre petrol model which still offers 14.3 kpl, pretty good for such a large vehicle, and this version – the Outback entry-level model - was the one I tested.
It is labelled SE Lineartronic and has CVT auto transmission with all-wheel-drive, and delivers a top speed of 209 kph and a 0-100 kph time of 10.2 seconds - quick by class standards.
Underway, this engine pulls smoothly and quietly and the CVT box changes with minimal fuss. With nicely-weighted steering too, everything combines to give a refined drive on smooth surfaces, though on heavily-potholed roads, you do feel the bumps. The Outback also feels quite nimble in town, easy to handle and park.
On the open road, it corners well and while as with most vehicles in this sector, there is an element of body roll, it is well-controlled with reassuring grip and the overall ride quality is very good.
The exterior of the Outback makes a strong and quite classy visual statement, and while the cabin is laid out for functionality rather than style, its understatement is no detriment to the overall good impression. There is plenty of room for five occupants, and the boot space of 559 litres (expanding to 1,848 litres) is substantial.
This entry-level version comes with an extensive standard equipment list which includes alloy wheels, roof rails, powered tailgate, sunroof, body-cladding, touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, sat-nav, Starlink connectivity, adaptive cruise control, climate control, leather upholstery, auto emergency braking, and engine stop-start.
The Outback comes over as a well-built no-nonsense contender with plenty of standard kit and Subaru's top reputation for dependability.
Model tested is UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.
Model: Subaru Outback SE
Engine: 2.5 litre petrol
Transmission: CVT automatic
Performance: 0-100 kph 10.2 seconds, top speed 209 kph
Economy: 14.3 kpl combined