They say that ‘getting there is part of the adventure’, and if that’s true then Subaru’s new 2.4T GOOAT (Greatest Outback Of All Time) has just taken about a third off your ‘getting there time’. But don’t worry, it’s also added a heap more fun to your adventure too.
The Subaru Outback XT 2.4 T is being touted as Subaru’s most powerfulest SUV, and although I personally feel that it’s more station wagon than SUV, with its WRX powertrain, it’s certainly quick.
For the additional Turbo-fied option, Subaru have added two models, the XT which is the one I got to review and the XT Touring. The touring is the more premium offering of the two, but I have to say, the regular XT Turbo doesn’t seem lacking.
Up front you get a nice big black grille and Subaru’s unmistakable logo. The ‘steering responsive’ headlights are projector LED headlights and below them you’ve got LED fog lights. Being as this performance driven Outback comes with a WRX heart I was half-expecting the bonnet to have a nice big air scoop but that wasn’t the case, in fact all the airflow to the intercooler is done discreetly behind the grille and the underside of the bonnet – maybe to protect it during more extreme adventures?
The Outback’s profile is essentially the same as that of the X, such as its 213mm ride height, and protected wheel arches, however the XT comes with 18-inch black alloys complete with plenty of terrain conquering rubber, the roof rails have bright green inserts to indicate the tie-down spots (making it easy to tie down your adventure gear at night) and the same colour green ‘Outback’ name on the rear doors.
The rear comes with a roofline spoiler, XT badging and what I was told was a kicker tailgate, however, for some reason I couldn’t get it to work, so gave up – it did electronically close though.
Under the non-scooped bonnet lies the big change, a 2.4L turbocharged Boxer engine married to an eight-speed Lineartronic SLT with manual mode (aka CVT). Together they provide a delicious 183 kilowatts of power and 350 newton metres of torque. Subaru says that this new Outback model will do the 0-100km/h sprint in around 7 seconds (we managed it in 6.5 seconds) but either way, it’s a solid 30% faster than the non-turbo’d Outback X. When it comes to fuel efficiency, the XT is around 9L/100km (so not exactly frugal) but if you’re going to be Subaru’s most powerful SUV, you can’t be sipping fuel too can you.
The interior has essentially remained the same to the X, which of course is not a bad thing. The seats are a water repellent synthetic leather fabric (with the driver, front passenger & rear outer seats all being heated) and the steering wheel is leather and feels great. There is a green contrast-stitching on areas such as the seats, dash and door cards, and the dashboard comes in layers with a nice softish rubber top.
The infotainment screen is 11.6-inches and in a portrait-style. It’s really easy to read and navigate around which is I guess it’s ideal for when you’re in the outback or whatever you’re out doing in your Outback. I won’t bore you with the amount of apps but suffice to say there are many and shows the likes of elevations and pitch/roll angles.
At the top of the screen is the X mode selection, so if you find yourself in snow and dirt or deeper snow/mud then the Outback XT’s got your back. The stereo system is a Subaru own brand with six speakers, it’s pretty good and loud, however the Touring comes with a Harman Kardon system, and both models feature a driver monitoring system that keeps an eye on you while you’re keeping an eye on the road.
The instrument cluster features a delightful mix of analog dials and a digital TFT screen, with the latter offering up additional driving data controlled by the buttons on the steering wheel, but the button you really want to know about is the drive mode one that’s again located on the wheel. This little gem takes the Outback from mild to wild, and (as demonstrated with a graph on the TFT) allows for modest or more abrupt acceleration.
Admittedly, my review time with the Outback didn’t include remote flowing hilltop driving or over dramatic rugged terrains with mud spinning from each of the SUV’s alloys thanks to Subaru’s advanced Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, nope, my time was spent taking my son to football and going to the store – which the Outback is good at by the way.
However, I did manage to break away from the humdrum and explore some of our famous (or is that infamous) unsealed roads – and then I headed out of the city!
Regardless of the road surface the Outback XT rides like it’s on a soft carpet, it really is crazily smoothe. I found some logging roads to travel over and the SUV acted like it was SH1 (the good parts at least). Then came the cornering, and to be honest the Outback XT has no right to handle the bends as well as it does. But I guess that’s what the Outback’s all about, getting you to where you want to go, regardless of where you venture.
The WRX-sourced powertrain delivers the torque in an easy to handle way, even in Sport it doesn’t dump it on you from the start or worse, halfway through a corner. In fact, it’s only when you look down at the speedo and realise you’re in licence-losing territory that you understand just how quick this XT is.
Steering is positive and visibility on the whole is great (just a slight issue out of the rear when the parcel shelf is raised), but I guess where you’re gonna take this vehicle and what you’re gonna have on board, limited rear visibility will be the least of your worries. As one final bonus, the XT now comes with a towing capability of 2.4 tonnes (up from the 2-tonnes of the X), so if you’ve got some ‘toys’ to play with then the XT could be the answer.
The new Subaru Outback XT 2.4 litre turbo all-wheel drive sounds like a mouthful but then it is a mouthful of a car. A WRX heart, improved looks and the ability to tow an additional 400kgs of whatever you choose. This is a confident and accomplished ride that will really boost your adventure.