Subaru Outback 3.0R 2007 Review

Subaru Outback 3.0R 2007 Review

Subara Outback 2007 fq

Subaru these days means a lot more that it used to. Yes, there’s still the distinctive boxer engine providing a lower centre of gravity, the renowned chassis properties and symmetrical all wheel drive, making quite a unique package. However, previous iterations often come with a bit of a legacy (pun most definitely intended), in the form of interior styling and build quality.

Of course with a moniker like Outback and its associated power of suggestion, one would be expecting something a bit rural or rustic, traditionally be fulfilled by a swathe of brown and the odd bit of recycled tree or didgeridoo. It was with this stigma that I entered the cabin of this revised Outback, boasting hi-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, tweaked looks, Subaru Intelligent Drive and drive-by-wire technology

Parking your bum in the black leather and Alcantara trimmed seat, you are immediately struck by the presence of the multi-button clad Momo steering wheel and ‘flappy paddle’ setup, a la F1. Following a quick sanity check that firstly you have actually just got in the ‘right’ car, and secondly that the name on the label sewn into your cardigan isn’t Michael Schumacher (more on the German theme later), it’s a real wake up call!

Conveniently placed at your disposal are cruise control settings, in-dash six CD and radio settings, trip computer and information display controls, a button akin to the ‘M’ power button found on the BMW M5, and, of course, the unmissable flappy paddles. Indeed, as you cast your eye around the cabin you will find it well appointed, tactile and sturdy, leaving you with the distinct impression that Subaru must have planted a few moles in Fritz’s back garden.

To backup that theory, a recent research report conducted in Germany revealed that Subaru was second only to Porsche in product satisfaction. Not a co-incidence then and we’re not done yet. With an ANCAP 5-star rating, a host of excellent safety features and handsome rugged good looks, it’s clear things have come a long, long way and reasons not to buy are starting to disappear West.

Firing up the 3.0 flat six is an understated affair, but hey it’s not an Impreza, and once cruising on the open road there is minimal fuss with engine and tyre noise. Even with twin exit exhausts there’s not much of an aural impression of grunt from the 180kW (at 6000rpm) lump.

On-road for now and time to try out one of three ways to change gear and one of three settings in SI-Drive. To change gear, choose from normal full auto drive mode, sport-shift (like tiptronic) and paddle-shift (like Schumacher, but without the $800 million). On the centre console, in pride of place, is the SI-drive control with a normal (read Granny) setting, ‘S’ for sporty engine response, or ‘S#’ for warp drive. The latter is the one to use with the paddles and a choice bit of tarmac and it’ll give you a 0-100kph time of around eight seconds.

Being a softroader with its elevated disposition, it does feature a nicely damped ride but ultimately leaves you with a sense of disconnection from what’s really happening on the road. The steering doesn’t help, being over assisted, and you will really need to press further and harder to find its core personality.

So if you want a decent family wagon, one with abundant safety features, good off-road dynamics, a sporty edge to entertain, the ability to cruise easily whilst being ruggedly practical, and the capacity to tow the boat (up to 1800kg) while fitting up to 459 litres of your other toys in the boot, then look no further.  So what have we got then for the price tag of $57,990? Answer: A Kiwi classic with a side order of Bratwurst. In my books that’s a recipe for success.

Price: from $57,990

Click here to view Subaru Outbacks for sale on Cars For Sale NZ’s website (opens in a new window)

What we like:

  • Rear seat-belt connection display (ensuring those forgetful kids are belted up)
  • Removal cup holder bases (for cleaning)
  • Grunt is just an S-button away
  • All-round excellent visibility (for overtaking maneuvers etc)

What we don’t like:

  • Drivers seat height adjust pump — what’s that about?
  • Keyfob remote buttons to lock/unlock — will leave you swearing at night in the rain
  • Limited choice of colours — how many silver does one need?
  • Removed driver experience

Words Phil Clark, photos Darren Cottingham

Subara Outback 2007 fq

Subaru these days means a lot more that it used to. Yes, there’s still the distinctive boxer engine providing a lower centre of gravity, the renowned chassis properties and symmetrical all wheel drive, making quite a unique package. However, previous iterations often come with a bit of a legacy (pun most definitely intended), in the form of interior styling and build quality.

Of course with a moniker like Outback and its associated power of suggestion, one would be expecting something a bit rural or rustic, traditionally be fulfilled by a swathe of brown and the odd bit of recycled tree or didgeridoo. It was with this stigma that I entered the cabin of this revised Outback, boasting hi-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, tweaked looks, Subaru Intelligent Drive and drive-by-wire technology

Parking your bum in the black leather and Alcantara trimmed seat, you are immediately struck by the presence of the multi-button clad Momo steering wheel and ‘flappy paddle’ setup, a la F1. Following a quick sanity check that firstly you have actually just got in the ‘right’ car, and secondly that the name on the label sewn into your cardigan isn’t Michael Schumacher (more on the German theme later), it’s a real wake up call!

Conveniently placed at your disposal are cruise control settings, in-dash six CD and radio settings, trip computer and information display controls, a button akin to the ‘M’ power button found on the BMW M5, and, of course, the unmissable flappy paddles. Indeed, as you cast your eye around the cabin you will find it well appointed, tactile and sturdy, leaving you with the distinct impression that Subaru must have planted a few moles in Fritz’s back garden.

To backup that theory, a recent research report conducted in Germany revealed that Subaru was second only to Porsche in product satisfaction. Not a co-incidence then and we’re not done yet. With an ANCAP 5-star rating, a host of excellent safety features and handsome rugged good looks, it’s clear things have come a long, long way and reasons not to buy are starting to disappear West.

Firing up the 3.0 flat six is an understated affair, but hey it’s not an Impreza, and once cruising on the open road there is minimal fuss with engine and tyre noise. Even with twin exit exhausts there’s not much of an aural impression of grunt from the 180kW (at 6000rpm) lump.

On-road for now and time to try out one of three ways to change gear and one of three settings in SI-Drive. To change gear, choose from normal full auto drive mode, sport-shift (like tiptronic) and paddle-shift (like Schumacher, but without the $800 million). On the centre console, in pride of place, is the SI-drive control with a normal (read Granny) setting, ‘S’ for sporty engine response, or ‘S#’ for warp drive. The latter is the one to use with the paddles and a choice bit of tarmac and it’ll give you a 0-100kph time of around eight seconds.

Being a softroader with its elevated disposition, it does feature a nicely damped ride but ultimately leaves you with a sense of disconnection from what’s really happening on the road. The steering doesn’t help, being over assisted, and you will really need to press further and harder to find its core personality.

So if you want a decent family wagon, one with abundant safety features, good off-road dynamics, a sporty edge to entertain, the ability to cruise easily whilst being ruggedly practical, and the capacity to tow the boat (up to 1800kg) while fitting up to 459 litres of your other toys in the boot, then look no further.  So what have we got then for the price tag of $57,990? Answer: A Kiwi classic with a side order of Bratwurst. In my books that’s a recipe for success.

Price: from $57,990

Click here to view Subaru Outbacks for sale on Cars For Sale NZ’s website (opens in a new window)

What we like:

  • Rear seat-belt connection display (ensuring those forgetful kids are belted up)
  • Removal cup holder bases (for cleaning)
  • Grunt is just an S-button away
  • All-round excellent visibility (for overtaking maneuvers etc)

What we don’t like:

  • Drivers seat height adjust pump — what’s that about?
  • Keyfob remote buttons to lock/unlock — will leave you swearing at night in the rain
  • Limited choice of colours — how many silver does one need?
  • Removed driver experience

Words Phil Clark, photos Darren Cottingham

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