Subaru Outback estate - Interior & comfort
The quality of the Subaru Outback's interior is good but it's not very stylish
Subaru Outback dashboard
There wasn't an awful lot to love about the interior of the previous version of the Outback and it's obvious from the current car that the Subaru got the message. Inside, it feels very well built and the materials used are generally of excellent quality. The interior easily matches what you'll find inside rivals such as the Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer.
Sadly, not much has changed from a style point of view. Some of the buttons are placed in odd positions and various switches are labelled in different fonts, which doesn't do anything for the cabin's aesthetics or give the impression that a huge amount of attention has been paid to the overall design.
However, the recent addition of a new infotainment system is a welcome bonus, as it looks slick and is responsive to use.
So the interior is functional rather than stylish, which will suit some buyers, but those seriously considering upmarket rivals such as the Audi A4 Allroad as an alternative are likely to notice a big difference with the Subaru.
There are just two trim levels to choose from when you’re buying an Outback: entry-level SE and higher-spec SE Premium. Both come with plenty of equipment, including a new infotainment system that’s slick and easy to use. There aren’t a huge number of options to choose from, but most buyers won’t need anything extra.
The SE trim level includes 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, roof rails and spoiler, heated front seats, a leather steering wheel and gearknob, a rear camera, a sat-nav infotainment system (with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB radio and Bluetooth functionality) plus tinted windows. SE Premium cars come with 18-inch alloy wheels, a leather interior, electric sunroof and an electric boot lid, among other changes. Both models get a keyless entry and start system.
The Outback’s infotainment system is a bit of a mixed bag. The main ‘home’ screen has big icons, but elsewhere on the touchscreen some of the buttons are small and fiddly to use. While the screen itself has a reasonably clear display, its gloss finish reflects sunlight and shows up fingerprints quite badly. It’s also a little slow when switching between functions, although once on the move the sat nav provides clear and accurate guidance and the point of interest search function is excellent.
All Outback models are equipped with Subaru's new EyeSight technology. This system comprises two colour cameras that scan the road ahead, identifying other cars, pedestrians and obstacles. The idea is that the cameras relay information to the lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking systems.
The Outback also features a system called ‘lead vehicle start alert’. This comes with the EyeSight package and warns you (with a buzzer and light) if the traffic ahead starts moving while you remain stationary. It’s an excellent idea that could save many beeping horns and fraught moments in stop-start traffic.