Years before the marketing men of the motoring world had brainstormed the concept of the “crossover vehicle”. Subaru‘s all-wheel drive cars had achieved a fiercely loyal following among rural buyers. Those in the know valued their combination of 4×4 ride height and off-road capability with the comfort and practicality of a modern estate. We put the latest Outback through its paces on a shoot day in Lincolnshire to see if this powerful turbo-diesel version could uphold the company’s reputation for well-appointed vehicles that aren’t afraid to do a day’s work.
The Outback inspires confidence whether on slippy loam or a water-logged motorway
On a practical level, setting out for a day in the field, the first thing you’ll appreciate about the Outback is its useful space. With a 536-litre load area available in the boot with the seats up (rising to a truly cavernous 1,627-litres with the rear bench folded at the touch of a single button), there’s more than enough capacity for five sets of wellies, cartridge bags, jackets and elevenses – and, importantly, the necessary width you need to lay sleeved guns flat across the boot floor. If you’re out for a big day and are lugging several slabs of cartridges too, you’ll appreciate the benefit of the Outback’s self-levelling rear suspension that automatically adjusts the ride to accommodate heavier loads.
Watch a video to see how the Subaru Outback performs on shoot days
Smoothly does it
Five up, there’s plenty of legroom and space both front and rear for you and your fellow Guns to travel comfortably. The Outback’s elevated ride height provides a commanding view and once you hit the road the smoothness of the new Lineartronic CVT drive train coupled with the torque of Subaru’s powerful 2.0litre boxer diesel ensure you make rapid and unruffled progress to the shoot.
The new Outback: a refind drive on the first drive
For years, Subaru has led the field in the use of the boxer engine configuration. Its engines’ horizontally opposed cylinders – rather than a more traditional upright configuration – keep the centre of gravity low in the car. This, plus the long wheelbase and a stiffer suspension set-up, make the Outback engaging to drive with handling and road-holding you would expect from a much lower and sportier vehicle – certainly not one that offers 200mm of useful ground clearance for when you head onto mud, snow or rutted tracks.
Take it off the road and you’ll welcome the versatility of the Lineartronic transmission’s manual mode which, with seven pre-programmed steps, allows you to utilise the turbo diesel’s full engine- braking capability – particularly handy when negotiating wet grassy slopes and muddy inclines. Symmetrical all-wheel drive maximises handling and control. In practice, this means the Outback inspires confidence whether crossing wet, slippy loam or a water-logged motorway.
The Outback thrives when the road runs out
The Outback has a luxurious specification as standard, including such features as steering wheel audio controls, dual zone climate control and cruise control, but there are several features that shooters will find particularly useful. An in-dash reversing camera that gives you a live view of what’s going on behind as you manoeuvre may be dismissed as a gimmick by some, but not by the chap who owns the out of control cocker rushing about behind your car. Likewise, standard-fit heated front seats are a blessing after a truly miserable day in the field, and – if you’re heading out to dinner after your shoot day – a hidden underfloor storage area in the boot is a useful place to lock away your gun’s barrels temporarily from view. A Thatcham Category 1 perimeter alarm also helps in this respect, making the Outback a considerably less attractive target to the criminally minded.
Comfort and luxury inside make for a relaxing drive
For the demanding shooting man or woman who will use the full capabilities of the Outback on and off-road, the car’s solid construction is backed up by Subaru’s 5 year/100,000 mile warranty as well as a 3 year UK home and roadside assistance package as well. In short, this is one shoot vehicle you won’t get stuck in.
Plenty of bootspace for guns, gear – and elevenses
Watch this short video to see how the Subaru Outback performs on shoot days:
PLUS – win a luxury festive hamper worth over £400!
Courtesy of The Rhug Estate farm shop
A wonderful selection from the famous Rhug Organic Farm, including award-winning Aberdeen angus beef, salt marsh welsh lamb and chicken, plus cheese, wine and champagne. Specially chosen by Lord Newborough from his stunning farm shop on the Rhug Estate in North Wales, the hamper, with a Rhug Organic Dee Valley Bronze Turkey, will be perfect for your Christmas feast.
To enter, simply visit www.subaru.co.uk/ST2013 All entries must be received by Saturday, 30 November 2013.
Promoter: Subaru (UK) Ltd, IM House, Coleshill, B46 1DF.
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