Subaru Legacy Outback 3.0R Auto car review
Friday 23 November 2007
Ten Point Test
Auto Trader Ten Point Test rating: 77%
Need a load-bearing off-roader but still want to have fun behind the wheel?
We reckon you need to consider the Subaru Outback for driving thrills and practicality combined in one car.
Web Editor Adrian Higgins test drives the Subaru Outback 3.0-litre fun machine.
1. Looks 7/10
The ’07 Subaru Outback is a better-looking car than its predecessor. Subaru has emphasized the car’s performance through the new design which sees the Subaru Legacy derivative get its own chunky, lattice-effect front grille as well as a raised bonnet, rugged side-protection cladding and wheel arch mouldings. The twin exhausts further enhance the sporty look. The Legacy is a relatively understated model and the Outback strikes a nice balance between retaining that “grown-up” appeal and signifying there is more to it than meets the eye.
2. Looks inside 7/10
The interior trim is of a very good quality, complementing a pleasant environment for drivers and passengers. Aluminium-look strips run the width of the dash which illuminates very nicely, as do cupholders which sit between the front seat occupants. The car feels roomy and comfortable.
3. Practicality 8/10
Practicality is one of the primary boxes which the Subaru Outback needs to tick. It does that with the help of a 459-litre boot. Flip the seats and you’ll be able to increase that capacity to 1,628-litres. Elsewhere there are cupholders between the front seat occupants and plenty of storage. All Wheel Drive means it has off-road capability too while a reversible cargo floor means you can switch between a carpeted or hard waterproof floor to suit your needs.
4. Ride and Handling 8/10
The Outback is great fun to drive but does not punish the occupants with a harsh ride. The steering is responsive and makes the car feel smaller than it is which helps when it comes to exploiting the car’s engaging performance…
5. Performance 9/10
There is a choice 2.5-litre and 3-litre engines. We drove one of the 3-litre models, all of which come with Subaru’s Intelligent Drive System. It offers three different driving experiences. Intelligent Mode is the most economical with the automatic gearbox switching to higher gears at lower revs, Sport-Sharp model selects lower gears or “kicks-down” through the gears “at the slightest tickle” of the accelerator, to use Subaru’s words, while the Sport Mode sits between the two for regular driving. The Sport Sharp mode is enormous fun – and if that doesn’t change down through the gears quick enough there are steering wheel-mounted paddle-shift gears too. The car offers a fantastic driving experience and slaps a great big grin on your face. The 241bhp give you all the power you could need in a car which can cover 0-60mph in 8.1 seconds and has a top speed of 139mph.
6. Running Costs 6/10
The Subaru Outback falls firmly within the most expensive car tax category, Band G, that’s a £300 annual car tax bill. It is said to return an average 28.8mpg for the 3-litre model we drove, though achieved less for the duration of our week-long loan. It comes with a three year/60,000 warranty.
7. Reliability 7/10
The Outback was launched on a ’04 plate so it is too early to draw conclusions regarding long term reliability. Subaru has a reasonable reputation for reliability and the car feels solid enough.
8. Safety 8/10
All models get front, side and curtain airbags, safety features, anti-lock brakes and electronic brake force distribution. Active head restraints reduce the chance of whiplash injury in the event of a crash and the All Wheel Drive improves sure-footedness on the road. The car achieved a four-star rating following EuroNCAP crash testing.
9. Equipment 8/10
Buyers can choose between S, SE and R models. All models are well-equipped with cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, front fog lights, and electric folding door mirrors. Go for the SE trim and Subaru adds leather seat and door trim to the leather-covered steering wheel and leather-covered gear knob, the eight-way power driver’s seat and front windscreen wiper de-icers. The R trim adds steering wheel audio controls, Subaru Intelligent Drive System and leather and wood-covered gear knob.
10. X-Factor 9/10
Buying some practical cars means waving goodbye too much of the fun of driving – the Subaru Outback does not. You get the best off both worlds and it WILL make you happy. The downside? The more you exploit that the more visits you’ll be making to the petrol station.
Model tested: Subaru Outback 3.0R auto
On the road price: £28,495
Price range: £17,995-£29,895
Date tested: November 2007
Road tester: Adrian Higgins