Subaru Outback estate - Interior & comfort
The quality of the Subaru Outback's interior is good but it's not very stylish
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, and while it’s not the most stylish cabin on the market, further updates in 2020 certainly contributed to a higher quality, less busy feel.
Along with a couple of other manufacturers, Subaru has chosen a portrait-style infotainment system that occupies the centre of the dashboard, but unlike some, it’s also retained physical buttons and knobs for a few commonly-used features. The buttons look a little cheap in places, but it’s better than not having them at all.
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 three trim levels available in the Outback, Limited, Field, and Touring, and all are very well equipped – enough so that unless you need some of the fancier features of the Field or Touring, you’ll probably be more than happy with what is offered in Limited trim, including that infotainment setup, and Subaru’s EyeSight safety systems. There aren’t a huge number of options to choose from, but most buyers won’t need anything extra.
Limited trim’s standard equipment includes LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with heated front and rear seats, and keyless go, while the off-road style Field adds synthetic leather trim (and Touring real Nappa leather), a heated steering wheel a roof rail with a ladder, and a power tailgate, amongst other features. Touring is more luxury-focused, with an 11-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, memory seats, and a sunroof.
Infotainment and navigation
The Outback’s infotainment system is based around a 11.6-inch tablet-style infotainment screen, with a portrait layout similar to the one you’ll find in Volvos or Renaults. It gets wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration as standard, DAB radio, voice recognition, and Field and Touring models get satellite navigation with WhatThreeWords support. The screen has certainly added to the cabin’s ambience and while its fitment has removed some of the car’s climate control buttons and knobs (with on-screen digital controls in their place), Subaru has thankfully retained buttons for adjusting the temperature and operating the windscreen defroster; volume and tuning knobs are still physical controls, too.
All Outback models are equipped with Subaru's EyeSight technology, now in its fourth generation. 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.