2014 Subaru Outback 2-litre diesel Premium

2014 Subaru Outback 2-litre diesel Premium

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Premium appeal

Cosmetic enhancements rather than a revolutionary upgrade are the order of the day for the Model Year 2014 Subaru Outback 2-Litre diesel with the addition of an upscale Premium variant.

F8127295-7BB6-4E1D-B2B3-DA3046595062Both Outback diesels are supplied with Satellite navigation, and additionally the Premium variant comes with leather upholstery, sunroof and eight way power adjustable driver’s seat.

The existing Outback 2-litre diesel base model is now priced at $54,990 and the Premium at $59,990.

Inside the cabin, the MY2014 Outback Premium we tested continues to be comfortable, spacious and functional, the leather upholstery is comfortable and will prove to be hard wearing and easily cleaned. The dashboard layout is somewhat changed due to the addition of the satellite navigation system, but all buttons and levers continue to be intuitive and easily operated, and the dials and gauges are also kept clean simple, and provide concise and easily read information.

2EC6A068-78D7-46C2-BC33-38CCBD5549C1You’ll also find the usual cubbies, cup holders, in-door bottle storage, and handy hideaway places to hide the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life.

Hooking up the Bluetooth system was quick and easy, and sound quality while on the move was also pretty impressive. The quality of the audio system was also very good too.

It wasn’t that long ago that the MY2013 Outback diesel had been on the press run, so I was curious as to what exactly were the changes for the 2014 models.

The headlamps now have a dark tint “sports” treatment to make them look more aggressive, the silver radiator grille has been replaced by a dark grey grille but more importantly there are all-new roof rails with integrated cross bars.

306C2BFF-1CF4-4406-ACEE-8C4B0A6EF214This particular roof rail and cross bar product has been available to the American market for some time according to a Subaru New Zealand executive and it has only become available to Australia and New Zealand for the MY 2014 year update.

Although its a minor change, the addition of the new roof rail product combined with the cosmetic enhancements do give the Outback diesel more differentiation from the standard Legacy wagon.

It was getting to the point that you almost had to be a Subaru trainspotter to tell the difference between the Legacy and Outback, even though the Outback has more exterior cladding and a higher ride height.

541AB537-A881-4935-8B0E-B0EA46C4D6E9The Outback diesel is of course further differentiated by the bonnet scoop which directs cooling air to the turbocharger. The beauty of this four-cylinder horizontally opposed (boxer) diesel engine, is its low down grunt, 350Nm of torque is available at 1600 rpm. Normally petrol powered boxer engines suffer from a lack of low down grunt, so the 110kW diesel powered boxer engine makes for a far more pleasant day to day companion.

Backing that up, is Subaru’s unique Lineartronic CVT automatic (continuously variable transmission) which operates in a most un-CVT like manner. They have done this by sticking fake gear changes in the transmissions repertoire.

DE32639A-7DF9-411A-9CE8-4911B40ACEB3It may sound quite bizarre at first but it works surprisingly well in practice. Accelerating briskly off the line will see the Outback diesel’s transmission head towards the red line, but where a normal CVT would sit there holding the revs until you backed off the throttle, this transmission ‘fakes’ a gear change by dropping back to 3200rpm from 4000rpm and then lets the revs rise up to 4000 rpm again.

It makes a very pleasant change from the normal high pitched whine suffered by other CVT transmissions when driver demands full throttle acceleration.There is also a seven-speed Manual Mode with steering column mounted paddle shifters, which Subaru says achieves faster, and smoother gear changes compared to conventional automatic transmissions.
In the combined cycle, Subaru quotes fuel consumption of 6.5L/100km and C02 emissions of 172g/km. During our test week with the car we hovered around the 7.5 to 8L/100km in mainly urban driving.
Thankfully the strong engine performance is also complemented by more than competent handling and communicative steering, the bigger Subaru wagons have always imparted a feeling of confidence, and despite its higher ride height and greater road clearance, the Outback continues this brand tradition.

The Outback diesel Premium has a surprisingly nippy feeling to it, it has excellent turn in for an all-wheel-drive vehicle, and imparts confidence in all driving conditions, even when heavily laden with passengers and luggage.

The biggest test of the Outback diesel Premium was picking up my Australian-based sister, brother-in-law and nine-year old niece from Auckland International Airport for their bi-annual christmas visit. Thankfully not only did the Outback easily accommodate all three in the rear seat, the 526-litre boot easily swallowed all of their not inconsiderable amount of luggage.

Our run out south to my mothers home in Pukekohe from Auckland was quickly and quietly despatched by the Outback diesel, with my Commodore-driving brother-in-law being very impressed with the power and frugality of the Subaru engine in addition to the cabin space and overall refinement of the car.

Sixty-grand is a fair amount of wedge to fork out for a mid-size crossover but the Outback diesel premium offers luxurious touches inside the cabin in addition to plenty of power, loads of practicality, decent fuel economy and all the Subaru character which has made the brand such an icon in New Zealand since the first wagons touched down in the 1970’s.

Price:

Outback 2.0 Diesel Automatic – $54,990
Outback 2.0 Diesel Premium Automatic  – $59,990

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