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Subaru Outback 2.5i Field

A trusted brand and solid contender in the estate crossover field, Subaru has also made sure the technology delivers, says Ed Coles

Subaru Outback 2.5i Field

Subaru Outback 2.5i Field

Overall Rating: 70%

Manufacturer: Subaru

Pros: Stress free hill descent with x-mode

Price as reviewed: £39,995

Cons: Suspension feels slightly soft

Subaru has been in the estate crossover game for 25 years and is a proven and capable 4×4 manufacturer. We’re taking a look at the new Subaru Outback 2.5i Field, which is available in three versions: Limited, Field and Touring. We’re playing with the 2.5i Field, which, as the name would indicate, should be right up our country lane.

Subaru Outback 2.5i Field

The Outback Field is definitely eye-catching. There’s only so much you can do with an estate car silhouette but Subaru has done a pretty good job with a long and tall design. The styling is modern yet rugged. The obligatory off-road estate side and bumper trims give the impression it’ll go anywhere and the matching roof bars add to the beastieness. I quite like the autumn green paintwork, which works well with the black 18-inch alloys, and I’m not averse to the fluorescent green detailing.

The grille and bumper trims dominate the front, but the view is broken up by the fancy angular LED lights. The rear view is equally as rugged as the front and, again, fancy LED lights add some interesting angles. From all sides it looks like it’s going to handle a few ruts and bumps, but as I crouch down with the trusty feed bag, I can see that the Outback tapers in slightly at the bottom, making the ground clearance seem greater than it is. That said, there is a healthy 213mm of clearance. Surprisingly, underneath shows a reasonable amount of the running gear and X-Mode gadgets.

Subaru Outback 2.5i Field

The Outback’s running gear is visible underneath, along with a healthy 213mm of ground clearance

There’s independent suspension all round with MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the back. Under the bonnet is a 2.5-litre petrol engine in Subaru’s classic ‘boxer’ (horizontal) alignment. It produces 169bhp with 252Nm of torque, which doesn’t seem like much for such a big vehicle but it’s capable of towing two tonnes, so I’m optimistic about the power. It has a top speed of 120mph and can get up to 62mph in 10.2 seconds. Transferring the power to the permanent symmetrical all-wheel drive is a Lineartronic CVT automatic gearbox with an eight speed manual function.

Opening the automatic tailgate we find a decent-sized boot, capable of holding nine bags of wheat with room to spare. The angle of the seats and parcel shelf limits the height a little, but there’s plenty of room for kit and hounds. With the seats down you can take in how long the Outback is, with enough space for 25 bags of wheat or a reasonably sized wardrobe.

Inside, the Subaru Outback 2.5i Field has a black leather interior and understated styling. It’s spacious and rather comfy. The central touchscreen operates most of the gadgets, while some of the driver settings can be set via the heated steering wheel. (Read about Ed Coles’s anti-hare coursing campaign.)

Subaru Outback 2.5i Field

Spacious and comfy, with understated black leather interior styling and central touchscreen

A host of driver aids

The Outback is loaded with a host of safety and driver aids. An impressive driver monitoring system checks for fatigue. Next-generation EyeSight driver assist technology gives double the field of vision than previous systems. Emergency braking, steering and a lane-centering function are also included. Hill descent, meanwhile, works in conjunction with Subaru’s X-Mode for off-piste fun. All the usual entertainment and connectivity bits are present and correct. There are also some interesting screens to use while off-road, showing details of angles and power distribution. With the heated seat set and bags of wheat loaded, let’s give her a try. Reversing out of my driveway is the standard first test, and the Outback fares well. With mild jolting and jostling, the suspension handles the craters well, if maybe a touch soft. Pulling out on to the main road, the performance isn’t electrifying, but once you get through the low gears the acceleration and drive is pretty good. The gear changes and acceleration are fairly seamless.

On the open road the ride is comfortable, quiet and smooth. I’m soon aware, while approaching a roundabout and braking hard, that the Outback is a tall, long vehicle despite its poise and relatively low centre of gravity. With a bit of oversteer and a slight bit of pitching as I brake a little harder, the Outback soon straightens itself up.

Along the country roads it handles the bumps well and it’s not too bad through the twisty bits. Subaru could get away with making the suspension a little bit harder but overall it’s quite a nice experience to drive. Town driving is relatively stress free and, despite its size, it’s not bad at negotiating the multi-storey car park.

Subaru Outback 2.5i Field

The boot is a decent size with more than enough room for nine bags of wheat

Off-road performance

Anyway, what we really want to know is what the Outback is like off-road. Selecting X-Mode on the touchscreen, let’s find out. X-Mode has settings for snow, dirt, gravel or mud. Turning on hill descent with X-Mode fires up the Outback’s electronic witchcraft to maintain speed, traction and braking. All you have to do is steer.

Needless to say, the gravel track up to the wood was no match for the Outback, and despite my best efforts it didn’t get out of shape around the sharp turn at the straw stack either. The muddy woodland track was handled with equal ease, but around the corner it was a surprise to bounce quite so high over the more rutted and deep-holed section. It definitely used the suspension’s full travel and then some. Again, it could do with stiffening up. Despite the bouncing, it handled well through the slippery track. The Outback can definitely go anywhere and is good fun to drive — it’s an estate car on steroids.

Subaru Outback estate / Subaru Outback Field


The Subaru Outback 2.5i Field is a good all-rounder, comfortable on the open road and pretty good as a large, everyday runabout. The Field is more than capable for a day off the beaten track, and the all-wheel drive set-up is pretty impressive. The suspension and steering could do with tightening and stiffening slightly, and it could do with a little more power but, all in all, it does what it says on the tin.

It’s jammed with tech and has a good build quality. The Field is the middle-range Outback, with an on-the-road price of £39,995. It’s quite a lot of car for under £40k and a good effort from Subaru.

Need to know

  • Manufacturer Subaru
  • Model Outback 2.5i Field
  • Power 169bhp 252Nm of torque
  • Top speed 120mph
  • 0-62 mph 10.2 seconds
  • Economy Low 23.1mpg Mid 34.9mpg High 39.6mpg
  • Combined 32.8mpg
  • Emissions 193g/km
  • Ground clearance 213mm
  • Towing weight Braked 2,000kg Unbraked 750kg


Can definitely go anywhere and good fun to drive