Given that we already know already the Subaru Forester is a great SUV – after all it won the 2018 New Zealand Car of the Year Award – we were keen to get to grips with the latest e-Boxer Hybrid.
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.