What's the used Subaru Outback estate like?
If you fancy a rugged, good value, off-road car with a huge dollop of practicality and an exceptional build quality, but you don’t want to buy into the whole SUV experience, then you need to take a look at a used Subaru Outback.
It is, in effect, a jacked-up version of an ordinary four-wheel drive estate car with some limited off-road capabilities. It’s a class that’s grown in popularity over the last few years, so much so that there’s now a whole host of similar cars available to the used buyer, from the VW Golf Alltrack and Skoda Octavia Scout right up to the more premium Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain and Volvo V90 Cross Country.
For all that, the Outback doesn’t offer you much in the way of choice: there have been just two engine options and only the one trim currently on sale. You can seek out either a 2.0-litre diesel or a 2.5-litre petrol engine, and as far as trim goes it’s mostly just SE Premium, though at the Outback's launch there was briefly the option of an SE trim, too, although this was soon dropped. The diesel is the slightly better performer and the more economical, but it can be unrefined higher up the rev range, a factor made more problematical by the optional CVT auto gearbox, which can keep the revs high when pressing on. The petrol car is actually automatic only, but it is generally the quieter of the two options. Both cars drive pretty well, in fact, but the ride is disappointing, rather spoiling the Outback’s otherwise high comfort levels.
Inside is a functional, handsomely kitted out and well-screwed together interior, with loads of space and a big boot, too. Safety and security equipment is all top-notch, too, as is Subaru’s placing in most reliability and customer satisfaction surveys.