The first-generation Outback (then the model was called Legacy Outback) entered the world market in 1995. The car was created taking into account the American market, but then it became popular also in Australia and Europe. Drivers appreciated the combination of comfort, spaciousness, and confident behavior both on broken dirt roads and on smooth asphalt, which was rare for those times.
From the beginning, the car was designed by Subaru to fix the declining sales and lack of vehicles in the growing United States car market in the mid-1990s. Because there were not enough funds for the manufacturing of a new car, the development department took the Subaru Legacy Wagon as the basis for this version and made changes to the suspension and the body. They called the new model the Subaru Outback, which could replace the bulky crossovers designed on the base of trucks while being just slightly inferior to them as far as cross-country qualities.
Soon after the start of sales, they exceeded all expectations. In the Japanese market, the Subaru Outback was first called the Legacy Grand Wagon, and since 1997 it was called Subaru Legacy Lancaster. And in 2004, a separate line called Outback began to be manufactured.
The Outback model differed from the Legacy station wagon with an increased ground clearance of up to 200 mm and a «protective» plastic body kit along the bottom of the vehicle body. There were two engines: 4-cylinder, 2.2 liters, 135 hp, and 2.5 l, 165 hp. They were aggregated with both a 5-speed manual transmission and a 4-speed automatic transmission. Cars with manual transmission were equipped with a permanent all-wheel drive with viscous coupling and a reduction gear. On versions with automatic transmission, there was an all-wheel-drive transmission with a multi-plate clutch controlled by electronics.
In 2000, the second generation appeared on the market. The car was called simply the Outback. The design didn’t change radically: the body became a little more streamlined, the radiator grille expanded, the headlights became larger, but the proportions and silhouette of the car remained generally the same. The range of engines was supplemented by the first 6-cylinder engine in the history of Subaru: 3.0 l, 209 hp. The North American market began producing a special sedan version of the Outback Limited package based on a version of the previous Legacy SUS family.
In 2003, the third generation Subaru Outback debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show — a car that many «subarists» consider the best Outback in the history of the model. Unlike its predecessors, the Outback-III was equipped with ABS and airbags, the power of the 4-cylinder boxer engines increased to 140 and 165 hp.
In 2005, the Outback XT debuted with a 2.5 Turbo engine with a capacity of 243 hp, and in 2008 the model received a 2.0-liter turbodiesel with a capacity of 150 hp. The all-wheel-drive transmission has also been updated: the new SI-Drive all-wheel system appeared for the first time on the 3.0-liter models.
The third Outback lasted six years and in 2009 at the New York Auto Show, Subaru presented a fourth-generation model with a completely new body. The range of motors was also renewed. The 2.5-liter engine became the base, the power of which increased to 167 hp. An alternative option was a 2.0-liter 150-hp diesel. At the top of the range was a 3.6-liter, 256-hp six-cylinder petrol engine from the big crossover Tribeca. The 2.5-liter engine began to be aggregated with the new Lineartronic CVT.
After 2012, the fourth generation Subaru Outback had a complete modernization, mainly in the exterior, and by 2014 it was renewed again — this time there were no big changes in its looks. The 2014 Subaru Outback had new sills, which had a special shape, different rails, a different design of halogen headlights, and new «rollers» made of light alloy. The car remained the same in other aspects with its restrained appearance. The front lighting looked more stylish and sleek. The all-terrain station wagon now looked more attractive and sporty.
Since 2014 on the market there was the fifth generation Subaru Outback. The car received a new body, modernized engines (2.5 l, 175 hp; 3.6 l, 260 hp; 2.0d, 150 hp), an all-wheel-drive system with a multi-plate clutch.
The styling of the new car was more powerful. The placement of passenger seats was changed, which greatly increased the level of comfort while traveling. Comparing the new version with the previous generation cars, the vehicle preserved the recognizable outlines.
The Subaru Outback confirmed its reputation as a unique dual-use vehicle. It combined the sporting qualities of a high-class car with high cross-country ability provided by an all-wheel-drive system. Only Subaru was able to achieve a combination of performance that creates the perfect balance between the ultimate in driving pleasure and versatility.
Thanks to the original design of the front end, the Subaru Outback was good both in the city and on country roads. The Subaru Outback combined sufficient power and reliable and comfortable ride quality to meet these two different driving conditions. With a solid appearance and high-class interior equipment, it always looked original, regardless of the environment.
The Subaru Outback was well packed in terms of infotainment and comfort equipment. In the Premium version, the driver’s seat was servo-adjustable in 8 directions. And in the basic version, it was equipped with an electric parking brake. The Premium version offered cool «music» from HarmanKardon and a glazed sunroof in the roof panel — with a servo drive. And in addition, there was the All-Weather Package, which included heated front seats, heated outside mirrors, and anti-icer «wipers». The multipurpose Outback was quite suitable for the role of the main vehicle for a big family.
The sixth-generation Subaru Outback station wagon was presented at the New York Auto Show in 2021. The car changed its platform and received an updated set of equipment. The vehicle is based on the new modular SGP platform with improved torsional rigidity and front suspension. Also, the new design absorbs up to 40% more energy in frontal and side collisions, which makes the car safer for passengers in the event of an accident.