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taking the Subaru Outback off road


  • whilst the Subaru Forester is a better off road vehicle thanks to slightly higher ground clearance, better approach/departure/ramp angles, better visibility, lighter, smaller, more nimble and less expensive, the Outback has more room being 45mm wider and 220mm longer which adds to the luggage space and is not as high making it easier to have bikes on the roof.
  • 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.


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)
  • 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

comparison with 2018 Mazda BT50 4x4 3.2L dual cab

  • 5 cylinder turbo diesel auto
  • Locking Rear Differential (LRD)
  • Hill Launch Assist (HLA)
  • Hill Descent Control (HDC)
  • Max power: 147kW@3,000rpm
  • Max torque: 470Nm@1,750-2,500rpm
  • economy: combined 10L/100Km;
  • tyres: 255/70 R16 or 265/65 R17 depending on model
  • wheels: 16×7.0J or 17×7.5J depending upon model
  • turning circle 12.4m
  • clearance 232mm unladen, 200mm laden
  • wheelbase 3220mm
  • front/rear track 1560mm/1560mm
  • 5373 mm long x 1850 mm wide x 1815 mm high
  • approach angle 28deg
  • departure angle 26deg
  • ramp breakover angle 24deg
  • weight: 2036kg
  • max. weight: 3200kg

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)
australia/subaru_outback.txt · Last modified: 2021/05/04 21:28 by gary1