Both Volvo and Subaru claim to have invented the off-road estate crossover. Whichever one of them got there first, they hit the mark more squarely than they probably realised at the time. Off the top of our head, we count 12 such cars, currently or about-to-be on sale.
That includes the latest Outback, on sale in April. There’s a raft of improvements, for little extra money. The front-end styling has been classed-up with a new bumper, grille and headlights, and the detailing down the sides has been subtly massaged.
The interior has been completely redesigned, material quality has been improved, the infotainment is all-new and there’s more space. New safety tech has been added, as well. Automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control all comes as standard on automatic models.
The auto is reworked version of the Lineartronic CVT ‘box, optional on diesels and standard on the petrol. The diesel remains unchanged, the unique flat-four unit producing 148bhp and 258lb.ft of torque. The petrol is a new addition, a 2.5-litre ‘four’, putting out 163bhp and 173lb/ft. Exact performance and economy numbers haven’t been released yet, but don’t expect them to be sparkling.
Two trim levels will be available: SE and SE Premium. SE models come with LED headlights, torque vectoring, heated front seats, satnav, smartphone connectivity and rear view camera. SE Premium adds leather seats, sunroof and a power tailgate.
2015 Subaru Outback prices start at £27,995 for the manual 2.0D SE. Which is quite good value, but you might also want to consider the Skoda Superb Scout and Hyundai Santa Fe. Not that the Subaru faithful will.