Subaru Outback

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The latest Subaru Outback makes a decent tow car. It doesn’t challenge for honours in the middle weight class, but that’s more because the average standard is so high than because the Outback is poor.

With its 173bhp petrol engine (there’s also a diesel), the Outback pulls from 30-60mph in 15.7 seconds. Accelerating hard is a noisy experience, as the Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission allows the engine to rev hard and adjusts the gear ratio as speed builds.

The hill-start test showed the Lineartronic ‘box to better advantage, as the Outback pulled up the 1-in-6 climb easily with no real skill required from the driver. The electronic parking brake was another plus, holding car and caravan steady then releasing smoothly. Our test took place in dry weather, but the car’s four-wheel drive system would have come into its own in the wet.

The Outback showed impressive composure in the lane-change test. However, in regular towing, especially at speeds of 60mph or more, the Outback felt vague. The caravan’s Al-Ko ATC sensors recorded a lot of movement when slowing down from high speeds.

Inside, the Outback is big and practical. There’s plenty of space for adults to be comfortable whether travelling in the front or the back, and the boot is big enough to swallow a full load of holiday luggage. Our practicality testers were also impressed by the neat, easy-to-use tow ball and electrics.

There’s more good news in that the price of the Subaru Outback is more competitive than it used to be. Making do with SE spec rather than the SE Premium model tested would save £3000 from the price.

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