Subaru have squared off a corner of the market and claimed it as their own. A segment not necessarily defined by the shape of the vehicle, but instead by the lifestyle choices the vehicle encourages. While a lot of people may look past the Subaru brand when they are car shopping, perhaps opting for a more mainstream manufacturer, the adventurers among us should have their sights locked on the Subaru dealership.
They know what their strengths are. Subaru has built its reputation on cars which possess incredible durability while also boasting the ability to go far off the beaten track, where few other 4x4 vehicles dare to wander.
XV - £22,495
“Urban Hero. And Rural Getaway.”
The ‘entry-level’ Subaru is probably the most versatile in terms of real-life application. This is a small SUV with plenty of room for 3 kids in the back and a boot big enough for the weekly shop… then on the weekend, the XV can take the family, dogs and a load of equipment out to the countryside for some adventuring.
The XV rivals the likes of the Nissan Juke, Mazda CX-3 7 Renault Captur, but out of those cars only the Juke is available with All-Wheel Drive, but the rear seats in the Juke are rather claustrophobic and the XV has a bigger, more practically-shaped boot.
Forester - £26,495
“All-Terrain. Anytime, Anywhere.”
The Forester takes the selling points of the XV and turns it up a notch. Boot-space soars to a massive 505 litres, which is more than the Ford Kuga and Mazda CX-5 (406 litres) and the VW Tiguan (470 litres.) Better-still, fold the rear seats flat and you’ve got 1,592 litres of room to play with. Space for plenty of space for all your gear.
If you’re a particularly playful soul then the Forester does come with an XT spec, which is top of the range and has its own 4-cylinder turbocharged engine with 250 horsepower to play with. This XT comes loaded with kit too, so you needn’t splash out on extras. Be wary though, the flappy paddles combined with a more fruitful engine will see your fuel efficiency plummet when you want to play around! Drive carefully and even the most thirsty models will get 33mpg.
Outback - £32,995
It appears that all-wheel-drive estate cars are beginning to become more common-place nowadays. SEAT have released their LEON X-Perience, Skoda have the same car but rebadged as the Octavia Scout, and then it exists once more as the Golf Alltrack. Further up the market, there is the new E-Class All-terrain from Mercedes Benz and the V90 Cross Country from Volvo. Now, would you really take any over the above across a muddy field just for the fun of it? No, you probably wouldn’t.
The Subaru Outback is the aggressive go-getter in its class. A car which is not only capable of going above and beyond, it is eager to do so. The ground clearance is a full 8.7 inches, which is almost 2 inches higher than all competitors mentioned above, with only the Volvo getting near (8.4 inches.) The Outback is also the only one of the cars above listed with a purpose-built interior. Do you really want to come down from a muddy hike and step into a delicate and luxurious Mercedes E-Class interior? No, you want to jump into a big, functional interior, like the Outback, throw your boots in the back - it’ll wipe clean later - and get on with the journey ahead.
While some critics may shout that Subaru hasn't adapted to the crossover craze, what they have done is sectioned off their target market and attacked them with some really purposeful cars. Fair play, Subaru.