The car that a lot of Subaru fans have been waiting for has finally arrived in Australia, the Outback Diesel represents the first diesel car Subaru has offered in Australia and marks a new era for the Japanese brand as it sets it sights higher for 2010.
Having already driven the new Subaru Outback a few months ago, you might remember that I mentioned the wait for the diesel will be well and truly worth it, and it was.
Matching Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel drive with a diesel engine was always going to return something interesting and having been on sale in Europe for some time now, the Outback 2.0D is a car Australia has been waiting for far too long.
Subaru can be proud to claim their engine is the world's first flat boxer diesel engine for a passenger car, although that prize may seem somewhat irrelevant as other manufacturers have been offering conventional diesel engines for some time, so the boxer diesel has to be something special.
With 110kW and 350Nm of torque, the figures are nothing to sneeze at, match that with a fuel economy rating of 6.4L/100km in the combined cycle and you start wondering why you'd buy the petrol variant. Put all those figures together and it all comes down to the Outback diesel having a range in excess of 1100 kilometres.
Weighing in at 1551kg, it 's nearly 90kg more than its petrol variant but still manages to consume 28 per cent less fuel and put out 19.6 per cent less CO2 (168g/km). The new diesel engine is also Euro 5 compliant.
Over 200 buyers had already pre-ordered their Outback diesel and Subaru expects the buyer split to be an even 50/50 for rural to metro.
So what is all the fuss about? Subaru has become such a well regarded brand in Australia that despite designing cars that polarise opinions with their looks, not only are they selling better than ever, but all of us get very excited when they come out with a diesel engine. The second generation boxer diesel is similar in purpose to all other similarly sized diesel engines, lots of pulling power with excellent fuel economy.
To test the new Outback diesel we found ourselves in rural New South Wales flying through corners on dirt roads and hilly country side. According to the official specifications, peak pulling power is achieved at around 1800-2400rpm and at least 300Nm of that at 1600rpm, however in the real world it seems the engine comes alive at around the 2,000rpm mark and keeps pulling hard well and truly past 2500rpm on the rev counter.
This is a good and bad trait as torque seems to be lacking a tad below the 2000rpm mark but when it gets going, it doesn't run out of puff as easily as some other diesel engines. Driving it around town or on the highway is the best way to appreciate the new boxer engine.
In sixth you can comfortably cruise anywhere between 70-140km/h and it will not struggle or complain. As the gearing ratio has been designed with European roads in mind it's perfect for long empty stretches of country road.
First to second is simple and with Subaru's hill holder system the Outback will not roll back while your right foot goes from the brake to the accelerator pedal.
Thankfully the six-speed manual gearbox is a beauty to drive, gear changes are simple (although the clutch pickup point will take a few days to get used to) and the distant between gears is short, exactly what you'd expect from a Subaru.
After what seemed like over 80 km of dirt roads at speeds of up to 110km/h the Outback not only felt unnaturally confident but ride and comfort was not an issue. The more I drove it, the more I appreciated the plus sides to Subaru's all-wheel drive system. Any momentary loss of traction is quickly sorted by the car's computers and essentially all that is required from the driver is to point the car in the right direction, it will do the rest.
The interior is the same as the petrol variants, a clever and comfortable design. The Satellite navigation system and stereo system is well integrated giving the cabin an expensive feel.
Apart from CDs, MP3 and WMA files the Kenwood Sound Meister with DOLBY PRO LOGIC sound system will also play DVDs, although given Australian design rules it will only play DVDs when the car is stopped (we believe there is a work around for this). As far as the interior goes my only criticism would be the use of hard plastics on the dashboard and doors and lack of native iPod connectivity (you can still use your iPod through an auxiliary input).
The electronic park brake is placed on the right side of the steering wheel and works as expected.
Compared to the old model, the space between front and rear seats has increased by 68mm while rear legroom is up 99mm, front hip room 89mm and rear hip room by 34mm.
The biggest downside of the new Outback Diesel is the omission of an automatic gearbox, Subaru Australia boss Nick Senior said the priority for the engine was to penetrate the diesel obsessed European market which is 70/30 split in favour of manual transmissions. Hence an automatic gearbox is not yet available, he did however admit that if an automatic was available it may double sales of the unit in Australia.
During our drive program through the country side one thing became rather obvious, nearly every second car we drove past was a Subaru, be it an older model Outback, Liberty or Forester. Whatever Subaru's strategy is out in rural areas, it has worked brilliantly. One point to take away from this is how reliable Subaru cars must be to be so well regarded by farmers and those out of metro areas.
Not that city buyers can complain either, overall Subaru Australia will sell around 36,000 cars by the end of this year, helped along by around 500 new Outback buyers a month.
All safety features are standard across the Subaru range and the Outback achieves the high five-star rating from ANCAP thanks to seven airbags and Subaru's vehicle dynamics control and ESP.
Subaru will offer three variants of the new Outback diesel: the Outback 2.0D ($40,490), the 2.0D Premium ($43,990) and 2.0D Premium with satellite navigation ($46,490). Outback diesel sales are predicted to be split 40/10/50 respectively with the Japanese brand expecting a half the sales to come from the Premium with SatNav model. Servicing intervals will be scheduled for every 12,500 kilometres or six months.
The Forester will be the next car in the Subaru family to come with the new 2.0D engine in the first half of next year.
CarAdvice will bring you a comprehensive road test of the new Subaru Outback Diesel in the near future. More information on the petrol Subaru Outback.
[gallery link="file" columns="4"]
- ABS anti-lock brakes with four-wheel discs and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
- Brake Assist
- Child seat anchor points
- Curtain airbags – full length
- Driver’s knee airbag
- Dual front airbags
- Dual front side airbags
- Engine cradle – helps isolate the engine from the passenger cabin in heavy crash
- Fog lights – front
- Front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters. Double pretensioners on driver’s setbelt
- Hill start assist
- Rear bumper reflectors
- Rear door child lock
- Seatbelt indicator lights – all seats
- Side intrusion bars
- Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
- Three-point A/ELR rear centre seatbelt
- Vehicle Dynamics Control electronic stability program
- Climate control air conditioning – dual zone
- Cargo area light
- Cargo security blind
- Cup holders
- Electric parking brake
- Height and reach adjustable steering column
- Height adjustable driver’s seat
- Immobiliser security system
- Leather trim gear shift (manual)
- Map lights (2)
- Leather steering wheel with audio and cruise control buttons
- MP3/WMA compatible audio system
- Multi-function trip computer
- Power steering, mirrors and windows
- Rear illumination LED instrument display
- Rear seats auto fold function
- Rear seats recline function
- Remote central locking
- Remote fuel lid release
- Seatback storage nets
- Six-speed manual transmission
- Six-stacker in-dash CD player, MP3/WMA, AUX jack with six speakers (non SatNav models)
- Two remote central locking keys
- Vanity mirrors
- 60/40 split/fold rear seat
- 17-inch alloy wheels – large steel temporary spare
- Chrome-surround grille
- Colour-coded mirrors and door handles
- Headlights auto off
- Privacy glass (rear)
- Rear roof spoiler
- Rear wiper
- Auto tailgate unlock
- DataDot security technology
- Electronic throttle control
- Self-levelling rear suspension
- Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty
- 2.0 litre DOHC horizontally opposed turbocharged boxer engine - 110 Kilowatts of power at 3600 rpm and 350 Newtonmetres of torque at 1800-2400 rpm.
Outback 2.0D Premium adds:
- Electric sunroof
- Leather trim
- Rear air vents
Outback 2.0D Premium with SatNav adds (to 2.0D Premium):
- Bluetooth compatibility
- DVD/CD player (single disc)
- Reversing camera
- Satellite navigation - factory fitted
- Three-pin RCA AUX jack
MY10 Outback 2.0D
MY10 Outback 2.0D
mm x 86.0 mm
rail direct Injection
consumption and emissions (L/100km / CO2 g/km):
to kerb diameter
assisted ventilated discs
assisted ventilated discs