By Lethbridge Herald on May 5, 2017.
Subaru wagon has plenty of space and power
Vacation season is just around the corner and whether staying on the pavement or adventuring off-road, travellers will find the 2017 Subaru Outback a perfect getaway vehicle.
The all-wheel-drive Outback has been reviewed often here since Subaru first launched it in the mid 1990s. It’s the Swiss-army knife of of wagons — a roomy people carrier with plenty of cargo space and some off-road capability, too.
This week’s tester, provided by Luke Davis of Subaru of Lethbridge, is a fully loaded Outback 2.5i Limited.
The last Outback reviewed here was powered by the available 3.6-litre V6 engine that produces a whopping 256 horsepower. That engine gives the Outback serious performance capability but not everyone wants or needs it.
And as this week’s review clearly showed, the 175-horsepower Boxer four-cylinder engine under the hood provides highly sufficient motivation. With 174 lb. ft. of torque, this engine provides ready acceleration from a standstill. The continuously variable transmission in the Outback simulates a traditional automatic with simulated shift points and most buyers will be unaware of the difference.
The CVT features a lock-up torque converter, paddle shifters and two transmission modes — sport and normal. It also has a transmission shift lock and electronically controlled multi-plate transfer clutch. The powertrain also features X-Mode which Subaru says “automatically controls the engine, AWD system and braking system to help tackle the trickiest of conditions and bring even more rugged capability to the Outback.”
Fuel economy for the 2.5i is rated at a stellar 30 mpg city and 39 mpg highway, or 9.4L/100 km city and 7.3L/100 km highway. With a 70-litre fuel tank, a driver could theoretically get 606 miles or 970 kilometres of cruising before stopping to fill the tank.
The Limited, like all Outbacks, is a roomy five-seat wagon with 35.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear split folding bench seat. With that seat folded, cargo space increases to 73.3 cubic feet.
The Limited has integrated retractable roof crossbars for quickly securing a cargo box on the roof, increasing carrying capacity.
Priced at $38,878.25, the Limited model gives buyers a full suite of technology and creature comforts. Seating is leather and both rows are heated. For 2017, the Limited also gets a heated telescoping steering wheel which will come in handy when winter hits.
Other features include a power tailgate that opens wide to expose a low cargo floor for easy lifting. The tailgate has a stop function for opening in areas with low clearance or when carrying a roof-top box.
The car also has a panoramic sunroof to let the sun shine down on all passengers.
The Limited includes a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with GPS navigation and Subaru’s Starlink smartphone integration system. Audiophiles will appreciate the Harmon Kardon 12-speaker sound system with 576-watt amplifier.
All Outbacks get a 10-way power driver’s seat — the Limited and top-end Premier models get a two-way memory function for it.
Whether for a trip across the city for shopping or a longer highway sojourn, the Outback is a supremely comfortable car to spend time in. Seats are well-bolstered and outward visibility is superb. The interior is hushed and the car’s suspension nicely isolates passengers from road imperfections.
The Outback is easy to park in tight spaces, making it ideal for the urban jungle and with 220 millimetres of ground clearance, it will handle fire roads and deep snow, too.
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