TOBY HAGONNovember 2, 2009
2010 Outback 2.0D Premium Photo: Newsdesk Media
A frugal diesel engine adds to the Subaru’s family friendly Outback line-up, but you’ll be changing gears yourself.
Subaru finally has a diesel-powered soft-roader in its line-up designed to respond to the increasing focus on lower carbon dioxide emissions and reduced fuel use in light of volatile fuel prices.
Like all Subarus, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine is arranged in a unique ‘boxer’ – or horizontally opposed – layout that gives it a distinctive sound. It’s the first time such a configuration has been used in a diesel passenger car.
Fitted to the five-seat Outback wagon – but also planned for the Forester by mid-2010 – the diesel engine uses a claimed average of 6.4 litres per 100km while producing 110kW of power and 350Nm of torque.
Its fuel use is 28 per cent less than the 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that makes up the majority of Outback sales.
However, like the rival Skoda Octavia Scout, the Outback 2.0d is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox, something that will rule it out with many of the city-dwelling families that flock to the popular Outback package.
“We’d certainly sell more if we had an auto,” said Subaru Australia general manager Nick Senior. “But it’s not available … and not on the timeline.” But Senior said the diesel should add around 100 sales per month to the Outback family.
“Outback 2.0d reinforces our environmental and fuel economy credentials, which have already been highlighted by significant efficiency gains across the entire new generation Liberty and Outback ranges,” he said.
The diesel commands a $2500 premium over an identical four-cylinder petrol Outback.
The Outback 2.0d will be available as a base model at $40,490 (plus on-road costs), a better equipped Premium at $43,990 that includes rear air vents, leather trim and a sunroof, and a Premium SatNav ($46,490) that adds satellite-navigation and Bluetooth connectivity.
All Outbacks come with dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, cruise control, trip computer, 17-inch alloy wheels and an electronic park brake with a hill-hold function to stop rolling on hills when taking off. There are also DataDots, which act as a theft deterrent.
However, there’s only a space saver spare tyre, which limits top speed to 80km/h in the event of a puncture. It’s an unusual move given Subaru sees the Outback 2.0d as being popular in the bush.
The Outback gets the maximum five-star NCAP rating and includes stability control and seven airbags, including side curtain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag.
Like previous Outbacks, this latest model is effectively a Liberty wagon with raised suspension and some styling changes that give it a tougher look.
Like the Liberty, that means the 65mm longer wagon body liberates another 99mm of rear leg room and has reclining rear seats designed to make the Outback adult-friendly in all five seating positions.