A firm favourite of rural families and those seeking to get off the beaten track, Subaru has announced the introduction of its first battery electric vehicle (BEV) with the longawaited Solterra all wheel drive SUV confirmed for here in early 2023.
Interestingly, despite celebrating its silver anniversary, retail prices of today’s models are remarkably similar to those of 1995 – but that’s where the similarities end.
Bestowed with a formidable list of new technology and refinements, the all-new model is said to be the biggest, safest, most technologically advanced and luxurious Outback ever.
The three-variant range – Outback, Outback X and Outback Touring – all boast impressive features lists. All the models offer new specifications, including a 90% new direct-injection 2.5-litre Boxer engine, with 7% more power and 4.2% more torque. The 8-speed Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission includes over 80% new parts for better driving performance, especially during take-off acceleration.
It is built on Subaru’s Global Platform, as well as a new structural frame, which provides improved occupant protection from all directions. It also gives significant dynamic, safety and efficiency gains and delivers the largest Outback cabin to date, and a wider opening cargo area.
Additionally, braked towing capacity rises to a maximum of 2,000kg. Meanwhile, its EyeSight safety suite has become even more refined, adding features like a lane centring function, autonomous emergency steering, speed sign recognition and an Intelligent speed limiter.
Inside the vehicle, the centre console now features a High Definition 11.6-inch head unit Centre Information Display. This centralises and simplifies many controls, with vertical orientation and operation like a smartphone.
The launch drive involved a cross-country trip through the heart of the Otago high country. Entering the Nevis Track, just out of Cromwell, we traversed the rock-strewn route (only open in Summer), tackling dry and dusty tracks, multiple deep fords and wet/boggy washouts. Suffice to say, the pliable suspension and symmetrical all-wheel took things in its stride. Add to that 213mm ground clearance and this Outback is sure to inspire confidence for getting off the beaten track.