Subaru Outback in front

Subaru Outback
Subaru Outback

SUBARU continues to chart its own wonderful course with a line-up of cars engineered quite unlike anything else, writes William Scholes.

No-one else offers family cars built around permanent symmetrical all-wheel-drive and 'boxer' engines.

Safety, both in terms of strength of construction and electronic safety aids, is another conspicuous Subaru attribute.

Subaru's cars tend not to trouble the likes of Mazda and Volvo for the top spots in the 'world's most stylish cars' lists.

But for those who appreciate fine engineering, Subaru epitomise a 'beauty is more than skin deep' approach to car-building.

Anyway, a new Subaru model has arrived.

It's an all-new version of the Outback, the company's large estate car-meets-SUV crossover.

The styling doesn't look much different to the outgoing car - such is the Subaru way of doing things - but cloaks a super-strong and safe platform, new safety kit and a more useful interior.

Subaru Outback
Subaru Outback

The boxer engine is a 2.5-litre petrol unit, paired with a CVT automatic transmission and the effective symmetrical all-wheel-drive system.

Subaru uses a camera-based system, called 'EyeSight', for its driver assist systems.

On the Outback, this has been updated with 11 new or improved safety functions, including driver facial recognition technology.

Ground clearance is 213mm, giving the car some off-roading ability and it can pull a two-tonne trailer.

An interior overhaul includes a large touchscreen display

The new Outback is offered in three trim levels - Limited, Field and Touring - priced from £33,995, £37,995 and £39,495 respectively.

There's no doubt a Subaru is an idiosyncratic choice, but these are fabulous cars which - if you 'get' how they go about their business - are deeply appealing.

Subaru Outback
Subaru Outback