Rugged Subaru Outback starts from £33,995

An all-new Subaru Outback is a four-wheel drive estate with real off-road and towing ability

  • New engine and improved handling
  • Limited, Field and Touring trims available
  • Standard four-wheel drive and 2,000kg towing ability 

The new Subaru Outback estate is now available to order for a starting price of £33,995. The first examples will arrive in UK dealerships towards the end of May. Rivals include the Skoda Octavia Scout and Audi A4 Allroad, estates that also offer some extra ground clearance and off-roader style.

Subaru says it has made the Outback significantly better to drive, with improved handling, less body lean and a smoother ride. It should also be safer than before. The improvements are in large part down to a move to the latest Subaru Global Platform underpinnings.

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The design of the Outback hasn't changed too much from the previous model; it’s still a high-riding estate car, with black plastic cladding around its lower bodywork that not only gives the Outback a tough look, but should also fend off minor scrapes and stone chips. It does get a new upright grille and headlights, while a set of roof rails will make it easier to add roof boxes and bicycle carriers. Chunky 18-inch alloy wheels are fitted as standard.

The interior has been given a selection of more upmarket materials, and the size of the windows has been increased to give excellent visibility and an 'open atmosphere'. 

2021 Subaru Outback trim levels

Three trim levels are now available and are called Limited, Field and Touring. All appear well-equipped, with Limited getting LED headlights and fog lamps, folding roof rails and keyless go. It also boasts a new 11.6-inch portrait touchscreen, which is a big upgrade on the old seven-inch unit. A facial recognition camera will also be standard, which can automatically set the car's seating position, door mirrors and climate control based on who is driving.

While full specifications for the more expensive versions haven't been released, the £37,995 Field will get a tough, water-resistant synthetic leather upholstery. Meanwhile, the more luxurious £39,495 Touring model will have fixed roof rails and Nappa leather upholstery.

Practicality has been boosted by an increase in space, with small gains in rear knee room and front shoulder space. There are 60/40 split and folding rear seats, and the boot measures 522 litres - a 10-litre increase. Subaru has also included cargo hooks and nets to keep luggage secure, while the powered tailgate can now be opened hands-free for added convenience when the owner's hands are full.

Engine and gearbox

Power will come from an updated version of Subaru's four-cylinder petrol engine, which has had its capacity increased from 2.4-litres to 2.5-litres. Despite its apparent similarity, the Japanese manufacturer claims 90% of its components have been changed or improved. 

Performance specs are yet to be confirmed but we expect the engine to produce around 180bhp - a small increase on the 173bhp of the outgoing engine. Fuel-economy should also be slightly better than the 40.4mpg figure recorded previously.

The Outback is fitted with a CVT automatic transmission as standard, which now gets paddle shifters and the ability to mimic the more traditional gear ratios of an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Owners buying the car for outdoor pursuits should be happy with a 2,000kg braked towing capacity, covering off even large caravans.

As you'd expect from a rugged Subaru, four-wheel drive is also standard, and the driver can choose between tarmac, dirt, snow and mud driving modes, as well as selecting Hill Descent Control to negotiate slippery slopes. The rear-view camera even has a jet washer to keep the lens clean if it gets splattered with mud.  

Safety

Subaru is not only hailing this as the safest Outback ever but also the class-leader. It gains the latest generation of Subaru's EyeSight driving aids, using a stereo camera mounted in the windscreen to help prevent collisions. It enables adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and lane centering, along with traffic sign recognition and autonomous emergency braking. If the car starts to drift out of its lane, it will also vibrate the steering wheel.

An interior camera monitors the driver and can alert them if they become distracted or tired. The Outback also has autonomous emergency braking while in reverse, and it can warn the driver of oncoming traffic in their blind spots. 

Read our in-depth review of the outgoing Subaru Outback estate, along with our guide to the best estate cars and best used estate cars

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