2024 Subaru Outback Touring new car review

Most SUVs won’t venture far off the beaten track but Subaru’s Outback has what it takes to get adventurous families where they want to go.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Outback.

VALUE

The Outback blends the space and ride height of a large SUV with the versatility of a station wagon, which is unlike nearly any other car.

Prices start at about $47,600 drive-away and rise to $52,500 for the mid-tier Sport. The Outback Touring we tested cost another $4000.

Shoppers wanting extra grunt can choose turbo power, which adds about $5000 to the Sport and Touring variants.

Every Outback comes with all-wheel drive, a big 11.6-inch tablet-style infotainment screen and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Our test car had plush Nappa leather trimmed seats that were power adjustable, heated and ventilated in the front row. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter add to the premium feel of the cabin.

The lack of a fully digital driver instrument panel and head-up display are a let down at this price, but the Outback wins back points for its full-size spare tyre.

Subaru covers its vehicles with a five-year/unlimited km warranty and a capped price servicing program will set owners back $2675 over five years.

Service intervals are on the shorter side at 12 months/12,500km.

COMFORT

The Outback’s cabin has ample head, shoulder and leg room in both rows.

The seats are comfortable and ideal for longer drives and there is plenty of adjustment to accommodate drivers of all shapes and sizes.

It’s a sturdily built cabin with strong attention to detail and excellent build quality.

The interior design lacks the grandeur of some European rivals but the conservative styling is inoffensive and the big central screen adds some pop.

There are easy to use climate control buttons in the dash, with more advanced settings accessed through the touchscreen.

There are four USB charging ports across both rows but no wireless device charging pad. Rear seat passengers have their own aircon vents.

The boot is enormous and a power tailgate adds to the convenience.

SAFETY

Subaru has always been known for its safety focus and the Outback is packed with active driver aids. It will automatically hit the brakes if it detects a potential collision, keep you from drifting out of your lane and warn you if a vehicle is in your blind spot or approaching from the side as you reverse.

There are also eight airbags covering both rows. It performed well in independent crash tests in 2021, scoring strongly for adult and child occupant protection.

DRIVING

The Outback’s 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine pushes out 138kW and 245Nm through a continuously variable automatic transmission.

The combination is falling well behind rivals who use smaller capacity, more efficient turbocharged engines. The lack of a hybrid option also counts against it.

The Outback is a big, heavy car and the modest engine outputs mean it can be sluggish off the line. It also labours when overtaking at highway speeds, becoming quite raucous as the CVT tries to find the right ratio.

Buyers wanting more grunt should choose the pricier turbo powered version that also increases towing ability from 2000kg to 2400kg.

Despite the engine’s shortcomings the Outback is a pleasant family car to drive. The softly sprung suspension does an admirable job of soaking up bumps and road imperfections, while the steering is well weighted and the standard all-wheel drive adds composure when cornering in the wet.

The Outback makes light work of dirt and gravel roads and it can handle some light off-roading.

It’s also quiet inside, making it a comfortable road trip machine.

VERDICT 3.5/5

Comfy, spacious and safe family wagon but the engine feels out of date and it lacks the in-car tech of some rivals.

ALTERNATIVES

Skoda Octavia RS wagon, from $58,490 drive-away

Smaller than the Outback but with a versatile cabin and stonking performance.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE AWD, from about $57,500 drive-away

Class leading family SUV that blends excellent fuel economy and rock solid ownership credentials.

Mazda CX-5 GT SP, from about $55,000 drive-away

Popular choice of Aussie families that doesn’t do a lot wrong, but is starting to show its age.

SUBARU OUTBACK TOURING

PRICE About $56,500 drive-away

ENGINE 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, 138kW and 245Nm

WARRANTY/SERVICING Five years/unlimited km, $2675 over five years

SAFETY Eight airbags, auto emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert with auto braking, driver fatigue warning and radar cruise control.

THIRST 7.3L/100km

SPARE Full size

LUGGAGE 522 litres

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