Car Launches

All-new Subaru Outback lands in NZ

While the term ‘GOAT’ has become a common reference to describe the Greatest Of All Time in a particular field, Subaru has come up with an acronym of their own – ‘GOOAT’.

The Japanese manufacturer markets their new wagon/SUV as The Greatest Outback Of All Time, and after spending a couple of days with the motor, we’d be inclined to agree.

On Monday, the sixth generation Subaru Outback was launched in New Zealand, and the AA was invited to experience the car first-hand in a spot perhaps better suited to goats than cars - the Nevis Road out the back of Queenstown.

The Nevis Road, or Valley, is a grade two (intermediate) route that runs down the Eastern side of the Remarkables, following the Nevis River for nearly 70 kilometres. It’s the home to 28 ford crossings, with only two not having water in on the day we came through in our convoy of Outbacks. Spectacular views were had as we passed up through Duffers Saddle which, at 1,300 meters, is the highest pubic road in NZ, and on a clear day offers views out to Aoraki Mount Cook some 200km away.

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Available in three variants - Outback, Outback X and Outback Touring - the model we had the pleasure of driving, on the predominantly rough and dusty roads, was the top-spec Touring.

It was such a dream to drive. The Nappa leather seats provide superior comfort to help cushion us as we rock-hopped some parts of the track with ease.

In true Subaru fashion, the Outback handled the twisty unsealed roads like a dream. The new model is the biggest Outback yet, but it certainly didn’t feel like it.

The now eight-speed SLT transmission was smooth like butter, the AWD system gave superior road gripping confidence, and the 90-per-cent-new 2.5-litre Direct Injection engine was never short of supplying power to the wheels. 

The exterior sports new rugged styling, accentuated by black plastic bumper gladding and wheel arch surrounds. For extra off-road capabilities, there’s a dual function X-Mode with deep snow/mud mode.

The braked towing capacity has increased from 1,800kg to 2,000kg, and all three models have a great range of standard features like a 11.6-inch tablet style touchscreen infotainment display, front electric seats, the fourth generation EyeSight system (which is now more compact and takes up less real estate inside the windscreen). All also feature a driver monitoring safety system and a new airbag located in the front passenger seat cushion.  

There are nine colour choices with two new fantastic metallic colours added; Autumn Green and Brilliant Bronze, which is one of our favourites.

The rear tailgate opens hands-free with a simple elbow swipe under the badge (X and Touring models only), which is the first time we’ve seen this type of system, which removes the chance of getting your shoes dirty when moving your foot under the rear bumper, like with most systems we see.  

Some of the more interesting new features include the intelligent speed limiter, that when selected can automatically reduce the smart cruise control speed settings to match the posted speed limit as you travel. There’s also facial recognition which can identify and store up to five different driver profiles, and a lane-centring function in conjunction with the adaptive cruise control that can actively keep the car in its intended lane and reduce driver fatigue.

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The Outback X model has waterproof seats, which we’ve seen in the recent Subaru Forester X Sport, keeping adventurous families firmly in mind.

The Touring model receives a heated steering wheel, electric sunroof and a Harmon Kardon® premium audio system.

Having only just launched, it is promising to see over 100 pre-orders locked in, and over 500 online registrations of interest in the model. Fifty per cent of sales so far have been attributed to the more premium Touring model.

The base model starts from $49,990 (+ORC), the midrange Outback X from $54,990 (+ORC) and the Touring from $57,490 (+ORC).

At a glance


Subaru Outback (Outback, X, Touring)


2.5-litre Direct Injection Boxer


From $49,990

ANCAP safety rating

Not currently rated


138kW, 245Nm


Eight-speed Linartronic CVT

Fuel economy

7.3L/100km, 168g/km

Towing capacity

2,000kg braked, 750kg unbraked



Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

522-litres (all seats up)

Safety systems

  • Reverse Automatic Braking
  • Lane Centering Function
  • Steering Responsive Headlights
  • Auto Emergency Steering
  • Emergency Lane Keep Assist
  • EyeSight Assist Monitor
  • Lane Departure Prevention/Warning
  • Pre-Collision Braking
  • Speed Sign Recognition/Intelligent Speed Limiter
  • Distraction/Dozing/Drowsiness Warning
  • Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection 
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Front/Rear and Side View Monitor
  • Pre and Post Collision Braking
  • Eight airbags
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