Terry Jacks’ Seasons In The Sun came to mind when we bade farewell to our Subaru Outback extended tester. Although this goodbye had less of a morbid subtext. The versatile wagon proved its mettle as a comfortable, frugal, family-hauling machine over our month-long tenure.
After handing the keys back, that Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) warning light mentioned in our previous update, was tended to by the mechanical doctors at Subaru’s headquarters. The explanation was a simple one, we heard. It was clogged, so they cleaned it and reset the instrument panel light. When we returned it at 10 459 kilometres, it was due for a minor service. That’s covered by a three-year/75 000-kilometre maintenance plan.
Following the effect of a sizable, water-filled pothole our Outback also required a new tyre. We received quotes in the region of R2300 to replace one of its 17-inch Yokohama Geolandar tyres. The Subaru boasts a full-size spare, with a matching rim, although the colour was a plain silver versus the coal-finish hue on the rest of the wheels. We’re told this was the case, because our tester was one of the first units in the country, some of the miscellaneous stuff was amiss.
The marketing folks keenly stressed its USP. That’s the combination of a horizontally-opposed diesel engine, with a Continuously Variable Transmission. You need to ignore our lyrical waxing and sample it for yourself. Because, surprisingly, it’s really that good. No staffer at the office expected it to operate so smoothly and so decisively. But it performed with an un-CVT-like sense of responsiveness and seamlessness. This, coupled with its supple ride – better accomplished than some SUVs costing more – made racking up the miles pleasant indeed.
All family members – including our beloved four-legged companions – approved of the Scooby’s space and comfort. While one big gripe remains the lack of automatic-looking doors, it must be said that there’s no dearth of safety kit. Seven airbags are standard across the board, the seats are designed to reduce whiplash and it’s a recipient of a Top Safety Pick Award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in America. Remember the sure-footedness of Symmetrical All-wheel drive and you see why it’s a solid choice for many moms and dads out there.
With its 2013 registration and just over 10 000 kilometres on the odometer; this Outback has attained pre-owned status. So what will you pay for one on the second-hand market? We found a 2013 derivative like ours, with 9406 kilometres on the odometer going for R425 900. There was also a 2.0 D Premium with a manual transmission on sale for R399 900, with 12900 kilometres on the odometer. The satisfying Scooby is easy to recommend. And we’re going to miss it.
Model: 2013 Subaru Outback 2.0 D Premium Lineartronic
New List Price: R469 000
Options Fitted: Towbar (R4600)
Odometer On Collection: 8545 kilometres
Odometer On Return: 10 459 kilometres
Fuel Consumption: 6.5l/100km (Claimed)
Upkeep: Service covered by standard Subaru warranty. Tyre replacement in the region of R2353.
Power and Torque: 110kW and 350Nm
Verdict: Disappointments like the fiddly Bluetooth and lack of automatic-locking doors linger. But we can’t deny the Outback is a well-sorted product. Comfort levels are sublime, ride quality is nearly faultless and the diesel-CVT duo is an unlikely combination that works brilliantly. Overall, it’s a satisfying car and you’re likely to stay happy with one, for many years to come. Subaru owners tend to hang onto their vehicles for ages. And we see why.