By: IOL Motoring Staff
Johannesburg - Subaru says its fifth-generation Outback crossover - due in South African showrooms in mid-March, has not only moved upmarket but is also more adventurous.
New features include a power-operated tailgate and longitudinal roof-rails that quickly convert to lateral crossbars for carrying long slim loads such as load surfboards and canoes, in addition to active torque vectoring and the makers X-Mode suite of off-road driving aids.
It will also add a new flagship to the range in the shape of a 3.6-litre Boxer flat-six version, alongside the existing two-litre turbodiesel and the 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol flat-four engines, each driving via a constantly variable transmission and symmetrical all-wheel drive.
All of which is packaged behind a chunky new grille, with a sleeker profile over the signature Outback lower body mouldings. The inside, however, is all new, says the maker, roomier and more refined than the previous model.
The Outback, says Subaru SA marketing maven Ashley Lazarus, created its own segment - midway between a station wagon and an SUV - when it was introduced in 1994, and it still defines that niche, although the move upmarket lends new sophistication.
That may help to justify its premium pricing, which is expected to start from R479 000 for the entry-level 2.5-litre derivative, which will include a three-year or 75 000km maintenance plan.