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Imagine if you will, a family: three and a half kids, mom, dad, a cat and a big furry dog – let’s say for arguments sake a Golden Retriever.

They are a busy bunch: lift clubs, piano lessons and adventurous weekends away. Being active is high on this family’s agenda – though following the mainstream isn’t their vibe. They like trail runs, rock climbing, and mountain biking - anything venturesome really.

They need a car that’s highly capable of catering to all their needs, yet versatile in its practicality. Reliability, safety and value for money are key elements in making a purchasing decision for the above mentioned family.

I think I have a possible match for this fictitious family, the Subaru outback.  Now five generations on - it delivers on all of the above and more.

Left of centre, but with its eye on the trend, the Outback’s been upgraded - with an upmarket brush stroke.  Techno-savvy boffins with a love for mod cons will enjoy the likes of the 6.2-inch touch screen with an interface reminiscent of smart tablet, the 12-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, Bluetooth connectivity for hands free chats and an automatic tailgate which opens at the press of a button on the cars key fob.

Available in three engines: two petrol and one diesel. The range begins with the entry-level 2.5, followed by the 2.0 turbodiesel and tops out with the 3.6 H6. On review - the 2.5 that features Subaru’s famous Boxter engine. Like the upgraded cabin, so too is its 2.5 engine that pushes out 129kW of power; sipping under 8l/per 100km’s of the finest 95 octane.

Subaru’s are well known for several things: Boxer engines that are expensive to make but allow Subaru to place them lower in their engine bay – giving an improved axis of gravity over the road, their asymmetrical all-wheel drive system – for outstanding on and off road capabilities, high levels of safety - incorporated into the cars crash cell and active features like multiple airbags and their automatic gearboxes. ‘Automatic’ isn’t technically correct - officially they are called CVT or continually variable transmissions. They are like faux automatics - only with benefits – like saving fuel. Generally speaking, they aren’t the best automated devices – feeling strangely artificial by comparison to conventional automatic gearbox - but Subaru’s Lineartronic™ CVT is the pinnacle within the business.

The Outback is a great car: large, comfortable, understated and very capable. As a result I liked it. For those of you who don’t follow the crowd – this is an outstanding family vehicle with a performance twist - as with all Subaru’s! Prices begin at R479 000 which is great value – considering the car you get for the price.


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