'The most capable Outback ever': Subaru launches beefed up all-terrain wagon
Search Driven for Subaru Outback for sale
Is the Subaru Outback an SUV?
Subaru has long made the case for it, potentially in an attempt to get the nameplate to cash in on the booming popularity of the SUV segment. To be fair to the Outback, it carries many of the traits of an SUV; including the raised ride-height and cavernous practicality. But whether you think it's an SUV or a station wagon, the Outback is a much loved thing — and now a new one has been added to the brand's local mix.
The Limited Edition Outback X perches itself in the middle of the Kiwi Outback line-up, priced at $49,990 plus on-roads. It comes with the brand's familiar 2.5-litre boxer engine making 129kW of power and 235Nm of torque. Its appearance gets a kick too, with the addition of a blacked-out front grille, wing mirrors, badges, and 18in wheels. It also gets a few snazzy green accents, to channel those Green Lantern vibes.
The X also gains water repellent seat fabric, which makes said seats water proof in cases of light fluid abuse. Moving the car while wearing a semi-sodden wet-suit is probably fine. But driving into the ocean, for example, would likely have repurcussions.
But none of these things tackles that 'most capable Outback ever' tag-line. For that, you need to look under its wagon (sorry, SUV) skin.
The Outback X is the first model in the line-up to take on Subaru's 'Dual-function X-Mode' off-road full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive system. This has been lifted from the Outback's 2018 AA Driven New Zealand SUV of the Year–winning cousin, the Forester. It adds a bevy of settings tailored for tackling snow, dirt, and mud surfaces to a set-up that's already world renowned for its ability when the roads get rough.
“Outback has evolved to be the vehicle most Kiwis now recognise the Subaru brand by. It’s a stalwart SUV for us in what we call ‘Subaru Country,’ so this new Limited Edition X model is a great addition to the 2020 line-up and represents the most ‘Outback’ of all Outbacks in our 100% All-Wheel Drive range,” says Subaru of New Zealand managing director Wallis Dumper.
“Our challenge is actually getting production allocation, as Subaru Corporation in Japan are very aware of the global sales trend towards SUVs and have the reality of a strong Subaru market demand in the United States to satisfy. That said, by us accepting the Outback X as a Limited Edition for New Zealand, it also helps with stronger residual values, plus we recognise most Outback customers become very loyal - buying them again and again and again,” Dumper adds.
Those keen to see the Subaru Outback X in the flesh can do so in dealerships across New Zealand from late January onwards. It'll also be on show at Leadfoot Festival in Hahei, on February 8-9.