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taking the Subaru Outback off road


  • the Outback has advantages over many traditional 4WD vehicles including:
    • awesome AWD system and safety profile
    • lighter
    • better usability and comfort in urban areas and highways
    • better vision
    • excellent rear leg room
    • better fuel economy
    • reasonable turning circle
    • offers an incredible balance of economy, drivability, luxury, and just enough off-roadiness to be a really savvy alternative to an SUV as long as you don't need to tow a big boat and you take reasonable care of track choices off road
    • “It turns out that, if you don’t intend to use your vehicle as a toy, all you really need to get down a dirt road is a decent amount of ground clearance and tyres without a razor-thin profile, you don't really need locking diffs and low range transmission”, and the 2015 Outback fits this bill 1)
  • the Outback is not as capable off road as a traditional 4WD as it:
    • has slightly lower ground clearance at ~200mm (a Mazda BT50 has 235mm which drops to 200mm loaded)
    • poorer approach, departure and breakover angles
    • no ability to lock diffs
    • no low-range transfer case
    • lacks ability to cope with extreme angles
    • requires you to carry momentum through really sticky stuff and stay off steep rocks
    • lacks torque for towing heavy vans (a 3L+ diesel would be better)
    • some Outback models eg. 2012 are NOT good off road in slippery conditions because the car’s centre diff is open, and it relies only on electronic traction control (ETC) to move in these conditions but as soon as the car slips or slides even a little, stability control kicks in and kills momentum. The problem is that there is no way to have traction on and stability control off. This has been resolved in later 2015 onward models with X-mode. 2) X-mode is activated by a button on the center console, X-Mode is supposed to make your wagon’s ABS and stability control work together to maximize low speed traction. The CVT is put into a low gear ratio to give it some grunt, and the AWD system is locked into putting power to every wheel, not just the tyres with least resistance.
  • for driving on snow
    • use winter tyres and drop pressures to 28psi
    • you can't use snow chains!


2006 3L 6 cylinder Outback

  • 6 cylinder petrol auto
  • power: 180kW @6600rpm
  • torque @ RPM: 297 Nm @4200rpm
  • 0-100kph: 8.5s
  • economy: highway 7.4 L/100Km; urban 13.8 L/100Km
  • tyres: 215/55 R17
  • 4729 mm long x 1770 mm wide x 1544 mm high
  • front/rear track 1,496/1,486 mm
  • wheelbase 2670 mm
  • clearance 201 mm
  • cargo volume 459 L
  • unladen weight 1520 kg
  • gross weight limit 2060 kg
  • approach angle: 18.5deg (2018 model)
  • depart angle: 22.7deg (2018 model)
  • breakover angle: 20deg (2018 model)
  • towing capacity: 1800kg braked; 750kg unbraked;
  • boot can store side by side with the hide still able to cover everything:
    • LiFePO4 battery in battery box
    • Dometic CFX 36L car fridge
    • Dometic 42L esky

Recovery points and towing

  • the visible anchor points under the car (two at front) are NOT for towing - they are TIE DOWN POINTS ONLY!!
  • the tow hook points are hidden under covers near these tie down points (front is below R side head light, rear is on opposite side) and the covers need to be removed by pulling towards you whilst pushing on both ends of the cover inwards!
    • the emergency tow hook is in the boot with your spare tire and you need to screw this into the tow point using the tire lever or a screw driver as a lever
      • this will fit a 19mm or 3/4“ 4.7t rated bow shackle nicely
    • the 2006 Outback rear tow point IS the midline loop under the spare tire and should not be used as a tie down - the tie down points are located in front of the rear wheels3)
    • you can then use a 19mm or 3/4” bow shackle
    • do not apply excessive lateral load to these.
  • DO NOT TOW with engine running or with two wheels lifted up
  • Ensure ignition is in ACC position when being towed (LOCK position locks the steering wheel!) and do not exceed 30kph and 50km
    • remember the brakes and steering will be much harder as there is no brake booster or power steering with the engine off
    • put transmission into neutral and release parking brake before towing

Off road modifications

  • better wheels and tyres for off road
    • the stock tyres are puncture prone, have poor wet weather grip and blunt steering response in the dry
    • as a minimum buy a set of all terrain tyres
  • improve under carriage protection
    • transmission and protruding rear diff are exposed to potential damage
    • consider adding skid plates
  • the limited roof rack weight capacity
    • limit is said to be 75kg
  • recovery equipment
    • lacking locking diffs, there's a real chance the Outback could become stuck in soft sand, mud or similar
    • snatch strap and D shackles for towing
    • shovel to help get out of bogs
    • air compressor to inflate tyres
    • traction assist devices (eg. mat, wheel block, etc)

roof pods

under 40-41cm height for low garages with the Outback

2022 Outback

  • NB, 6cyl versions were discontinued in 2021 apparently due to global emissions rules.
  • 2.5L 4cyl
  • 138kW@5800rpm
  • 245Nm@3400-4600rpm
  • 7.3L/100km mixed
  • 9.3L/100km urban
  • 6.2L/100km rural
  • Sport $50,146 drive away
    • adds ladder-like roof rails, sat nav, front and side view monitor, heated seats, hands free tailgate, sports pedals
  • Touring $54106 drive away
    • much as for sports but adds sunroof, better speakers, CD player, heated steering wheel, driver monitoring system auto adjustments, auto-dipping door mirrors, ventilated seats, integrated cross bars in roof rails
  • accessories:
    • 100kg roof cross bars $465
    • tow bar $1196
    • carpet mat set $220
    • protection pack $882 cargo tray, cargo step panel, weather shields, carpet mat set
    • explorer pack $1923: tow bar, cargo tray, cargo step panel, weather shields, carpet mat set
    • 3yr service plan $1299
  • 2022 turbocharged 2.4L flat 4 cyl
    • not yet available in Australia
    • 194kW/376Nm - will outperform the 6cyl engine in both power and fuel efficiency
australia/subaru_outback.txt · Last modified: 2023/01/20 22:04 by gary1

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