Ooh, matron! Without wishing to go all Carry on Diesel on you, itís a bit large, isnít it? That a Subaru Outback is a sizeable car should come as no surprise, but you wonít appreciate just how big it is until youíve lived with one for a while. At 4,815 millimetres long, 1,605 tall and 1,840 millimetres wide, it laughs in the face of the increasing number of compact crossovers littering our roads. Itís the ride height that does it, with the Outback towering over the likes of the A4 Allroad, A6 Allroad and Octavia Scout. Itís also a millimetre taller than the Volvo XC70.
In an estate car, size matters, and after six months with a saloon car, the additional space and practicality is a welcome relief. For one thing, this is a long-termer Baxter the kelpie-cross-labrador can enjoy. Itís also brilliant on the regular trips to the feed store, with 559 litres of luggage space, more than enough to tackle a couple of bales of straw, plus a few bags of goat, horse and chicken feed. Thereís even an additional storage compartment below the boot floor, which is handy if youíre looking to keep things clean and away from the dog. Itís not so great if you need to get at something and the boot is already laden with animal feed. Yes, Iím speaking from experience there. Oh, and it should be pointed out that the storage compartment is in lieu of a spare wheel!
While on the subject of the boot, the standard-fit electric tailgate is a welcome touch and can be operated via the key, a switch above the number plate, or a button on the dashboard. But more impressive is the ease at which you can fold the 60/40 split rear seats. Thereís a lever situated either side of the boot, making seat folding a doddle. From 559 litres to a huge 1,848 litres in a matter of seconds. Itís almost tempting to drive the 100 miles to the nearest Ikea for a proper practicality test… almost!
Sadly, aside from a couple of instances of light green-laning, we havenít had a chance to properly test the symmetrical all-wheel drive system, but it has had no problem handling a standard Dartmoor winter. As you can see from the photos, the Outback is covered in a layer of perma-mud, so itís a good thing itís one of those cars that looks better dirty. At least thatís what Iím using as an excuse not to give it a wash. On the flip-side, the reversing camera requires a daily rinse, simply to make it useful. Not having the back-up of parking sensors isnít great when the camera is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Should this be filed under ëfirst world problemsí?
Date arrived: 20th October 2016
Fuel economy: 46.3mpg (combined) 36.8mpg (on test)
The storage compartment beneath the boot floor is handy for loading shopping.
The reversing camera is impossible to keep clean. It needs its own washer jet!