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Subaru Legacy Outback: Lean Athleticism

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer
daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, December 01, 2017

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THE Subaru Legacy Outback is an adventure on wheels. Given the brand's long history in rally sport, it skilfully blends the comfort of a sedan into an SUV without the bulk. Call it lean athleticism.

On the outside, the Subaru Legacy Outback shares its partial visage with the Legacy sedan. However, from the b-pillars back, it resembles the Forester. The blend gives it a sleek bullet-like sporty profile. Since it's designed for some off-roading, the vehicle's lower section is armoured accordingly with rugged plastic bumpers and side runners for protection.

The Outback's ride height makes it surprisingly easy to enter, once you open it via its Keyless Access system, as you neither have to step up or drop low into the leather-trimmed, powered driver's seat. Inside the cabin is well designed, featuring contrasting metal accents and soft-stitched leather in the main contact areas. Put the sunroof to use and the extra light brings up a clear truth: cabin space is plentiful. Throw in the Outback's new SUV-type rear quarter and its practicality shoots skyward, having a luggage area that doesn't impinge on occupant comfort. Loading it is even easier as the Keyless Access allows the electric tailgate to be opened by a button press. Those needing more space can contemplate the multiple configurations allowed by the 60/40 folding rear seats. Whatever cargo, — human or otherwise, it can take it.

The cabin refinement is such that it makes the already smooth 175hp 2.5-litre BOXER motor non-existent 'noise-wise', leaving occupants to enjoy the infotainment system. The screen may not be the largest in the business, but scores high with its clear graphics and responsiveness. It gets extra kudos for its sound quality through the 12-speaker Harmon/Kardon stereo, full Apple iPod integration that puts a few luxury brands to shame, and the rare ability to reorder the buttons on the screen. Not that you need them anyway, as the buttons mounted on the leather-wrapped steering wheel do an excellent job of mimicking the screen. The full suite of connectivity is there. USB, Bluetooth and an AUX port all make short work of connecting any device.

Making the driver's life easy as well is the host of automated features, automatic headlights, and memory seating to name a few. Safety aids like rear-vehicle detection and blind-spot monitoring are especially useful to avoid lane-splitting bikers in Corporate Area traffic.

The soft seats and relaxing cabin give the Outback its calming driving nature. Nothing ever feels rushed; it just happens. This continues into the way it drives as along the highway — it's butter smooth. On rough parochial roads, the Outback shows off why Subaru has been dogmatic with its Symmetrical All-Wheel drive and BOXER engine drivetrain layout, and the knowledge gained from motorsport. Despite the increase in ride height, the Outback never feels top-heavy like regular SUVs. Its natural design keeps weight low in the chassis. Add in the grip of all-wheel drive and the Outback never feels unyielding. It's not sporty corner-carving stuff, but Subaru's core handling competences are there just below the vehicle's main talent comfort. It takes a lot to upset the Outback when driving, as its suspension is tuned to 'iron out' the rough, road imperfections. It is as if they never existed.

The vehicle's smoothness continues in the power delivery. Left to its own devices in either of Subaru's Intelligent Drive modes, the engine and six-speed transmission are silken with near-imperceptible shifts. Those wanting more control can switch into MANUAL mode, confirmed by the dials gaining a red glow, and use the paddle shifters.

In all, it adds off-road capacity to an already comfortable formula. Designed as a crossover, the Subaru Legacy Outback is able to go most places, especially with its X-Mode function.

The Subaru Legacy is available at KIG.

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