The current Subaru Outback still leads the 4×4 sector in terms of lowest emissions – so you would imagine that Subaru would capitalise on that lead with the new model.
However while all other manufacturers are ensuring their new models have improved emissions over the outgoing version, Subaru has instead made the emissions of the new model worse.
The current (now outgoing) 2.0D model has emissions of 153g/km, which equates to a class-leading 48.7mpg. The new 2.0D model emits a significantly higher 167g/km CO2. Genius.
How has Subaru achieved this? By making the new model bigger and heavier than the last one – presumably in an effort to cater for the comfort demands of the American market. But it’s failed to take the opportunity to offset the extra weight by introducing emissions-lowering technology such as a stop/start system.
It’s also more expensive than the outgoing model, and although it’s a subjective area, we don’t think it looks as good.
Subaru claims that the AWD Outback, launched in Europe in 1996, was the original crossover, and this is the fourth-generation, all-new incarnation. The whole point of the concept is that you get the on-road handling of a family estate, with the off-road capability and ground clearance of a sports utility vehicle.
Read our road test of the outgoing Subaru Legacy Outback Diesel with class-leading economy and emissions.
The new vehicle comes with the choice of three engines: a four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel; a four-cylinder 2.5-litre petrol; and six-cylinder 3.6-litre petrol engine. Subaru’s commitment to the ‘Boxer’ engine layout continues, as all of these powerplants utilise the firm’s preferred horizontally-opposed cylinder configuration, which helps to maintain a low centre of gravity.
The 150bhp 1,998cc diesel gains a six-speed manual gearbox. The 2.5-litre petrol unit comes with a ‘Lineartronic’ automatic transmission as standard – Subaru’s all-new, in-house-developed fully automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT)-type transmission.
UK buyers will be offered five Outback models. The line-up starts with the 2.0-litre diesel SE and 2.5i SE petrol models, both priced at £26,295. The 2.0D SE NavPlus costs £28,295, and the range is topped by the £33,295 petrol 3.6-litre R.
There is also the Legacy estate, or Tourer, which is virtually identical apart from its lower ride height. This time Subaru isn’t offering a saloon version – perhaps that’s no surprise; how many Legacy saloons do you see? Fuel economy of the Legacy Tourer 2.0D S is 46.3mpg and its CO2 emissions figure is 161g/km – compared to 151g/km of the previous model. The emissions of the 2.0D SE rise to 168g/km CO2.
So we’d recommend that you rush down to your local Subaru dealer and try and snap up one of the last of the outgoing 2.0D models.