Subaru Outback: As popular in Oregon as the golf is here


This is the Gulf of Portland

Subaru Outback: As popular in Oregon as the golf is here-subaru

Just like Hans Rosenthal once did: Our author and the 42,000 euro Subaru Outback are very agile

Source: Jakob Hoff

The Subaru Outback is the best-selling car in the US state of Oregon. In Germany, however, you rarely see the rustic Japanese station wagon, but it is better than some SUVs.

ZI wanted to spend two car-free months in Portland. Just ride a bike, from one coffee shop to the next, from park to park, take part in races led by people in giraffe costumes on unicycles – just like you do in this adorable and crazy city in the northwestern United States.

The plan only half worked: I did ride my bike instead of a car, and yet I almost only had eyes for cars. I always had to pull out the camera. Portlanders are different from the rest of America; they like healthy food, enjoy walking, and loathe oversized pickups. Here you drive European cars with character and patina. Old VW buses, old Volvo, old Citroën.

However, if you can afford it, you have a second car in the driveway that you almost never see in Germany: a Subaru Outback. According to the Kelly Blue Book, of the US Bible for new and used cars, this is not only the best-selling car in Portland, but in the entire US state of Oregon.

Subaru Outback: As popular in Oregon as the golf is here-golf

A gem on the roadside: a Volvo P1800 in Portland / Oregon

Source: Denise Juchem

At first I wasn’t particularly interested in this Japanese car, I thought it was too normal and too new. But no matter where I went on my racing bike, the Subaru Outback was already there. The station wagon with the rustic exterior and the 20 centimeters higher body became a secret symbol of Portland for me.

Back in Germany, I definitely want to try out the Outback, which is now in the fifth generation, for myself. It is available in two versions: as a petrol engine with 175 hp and as a diesel with 150 hp. Since the reputation of the diesel engine suffered even further during my time in the USA, I opted for the gasoline engine.

With a jacked up station wagon you are nothing special in Germany. In addition to the mandatory SUV many manufacturers have such cars in their product range. From Audi there is the A4 and A6 Avant in a so-called all-road version, Volvo offers its three V-models as CrossCountry, and also the VW Passat Variant can be had as an Alltrack. With a Subaru Outback you are still an exotic.

Two cameras are constantly scanning the street

Why, actually, I ask myself as I am behind the wheelof the station wagon seats. The workmanship is flawless, the body design is not exceptional, but at least straightforward, andthe cockpit is kept very functional, with a very easy-to-use 7-inch multimedia display.

While at a red light in the Berlin city traffic I think about the fact that I have never seen a Subaru branch in the capital, the cockpit beeps; the sentence “Vehicle ahead has moved” appears in the display between the rev counter and the speedometer. The caravan in front of me started moving without me. The two cameras in the upper windshield of the outback were more attentive than me, constantly scanning the road.

The safety system is called "EyeSight" and includes a brake assistant, adaptive speed and distance control, lane guidance and lane departure warning, collision protection and the "Lead Vehicle Start Alert". It is thanks to the latter that I was not honked at by an impatient driver behind me.

Subaru Outback: As popular in Oregon as the golf is here-oregon

The Subaru Outback‘s cockpit is structured very logically

Source: Jakob Hoff

While the Portland outback was everywhere, I almost never see it here. I look at the Federal Motor Transport Authority: In August 2017, only 37 new Outbacks were registered nationwide. For comparison: VW has 16,658 new Golfs in the same period sold. The clientele is small, but they also seem to be one of the most loyal around. The Japanese all-wheel drive specialists regularly end up at the top of the polls when drivers are asked to say how satisfied they are with their vehicles.

I am particularly satisfied with the all-round visibility of the station wagon. In contrast to many other current cars, when turning right in the outback, there is no risk of overlooking cyclists. Nevertheless, the 4.82 meter long and 1.6 ton heavy car was actually not made for the city. Already the nameimplies that he wants to get out of town.

So I’m going with him to the German outback, to the Bavarian Forest. Open the trunk and put everything in. There is no need to be clever when stowing luggage. The bike fits easily into the 560 liter trunk together with the rest of the luggage, and there is still space for small items in a compartment where you would normally expect the spare wheel to be.

The Germans don’t like the CVT transmission

Almost 600 kilometers of motorway lie ahead of us. I step down the gas pedal on the four-cylinder boxer engine. The continuously variable CVT transmission, which is not particularly popular in Germany, is noticeable, the engine howls, the car doesn’t seem to like accelerating too quickly, it prefers it to be gentler. Consumption levels off at 8.1 liters, given it is seven liters.

The last part of the route leads over a winding country road. Thanks to permanent all-wheel drive – all Subaru models have that as standard – the station wagon lies extremely well on the road and circles very precisely through every bend. The body barely tilts, and you don’t even feel a slight twitch on the steering wheel.

Subaru Outback: As popular in Oregon as the golf is here-popular

A small, practical compartment is hidden where you would expect the spare wheel to be

Source: Jakob Hoff

In the end, the outback is even allowed to get off the paved road, first over a dirt road, then slowly cross-country for a while. Nothing particularly demanding, but you probably wouldn’t do that with a normal station wagon. In the higher-lying Subaru Outback, the driver hardly notices any difference.

I recently sorted all of the car photos I took while in Portland and put them in a folder on my computer. Unfortunately, I did not photograph a Subaru Outback. But now I know why people in the Northwest of the USA like this car so: Big names and prestige are not important to them, but reliability and plenty of space are important.

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12 thoughts on “Subaru Outback: As popular in Oregon as the golf is here”

  1. What a nice description of Portland. We found the city relaxed but dirty on vacation and were surprised at how many homeless people lived on the streets. Is that part of liberalism??
    We also noticed the strong presence of the Subaru’s. They are just as practical as a good rain jacket and there is plenty of rain in Portland – 4×4 is really not a luxury but sensible.

  2. "Thanks to permanent all-wheel drive – all Subaru models have this as standard – the station wagon sits extremely well on the road and circles very precisely through every curve"
    This sentence disqualifies you as a car expert.

  3. The Subaru Outback is a successful car and as the owner of several such cars I could watch and feel the progress from generation to generation. However, there are many, at least for me, incomprehensible decisions by Subaru, which may also have contributed to the fact that these cars cannot be sold enough in Europe:
    1. Engines: That a US-oriented producer no longer developed the diesel is to be understood, but why there is usually only room for the 2.5 l petrol engine in the outback, although there are still 1.6 and 2.0 l turbo engines, ot more. So far, the car is not motorized as standard.
    2. Brakes and stopping distances are simply out of date for European demands (and not only). What good is so much safety technology if the car cannot stop briefly enough and the brakes can quickly be overloaded??

    3. Useful value: this car is a great leisure vehicle in itself, but the fact that there is no hatch or a 40-20-40 division of the rear backrest (also in the fifth generation) is an impression of a car with a declared outdoor vocation, just like the absence of a spare wheel.
  4. Beautiful, simple – in the interior a little too simple for my taste – Subaru makes cars there. Unfortunately, Subaru Germany seems to be aiming to sell as few cars as possible. In any case, as a private customer, a Subaru dealer dismissed you as a kind of disruptor. What a pity. It turned into a Quattro for me.

  5. I live down under for a month every year! Subaru is a frequently driven brand there, which I also like to choose as a rental agent. Subaru is particularly popular in the outback – where whole guys are needed. In contrast to Audi, Subaru has no problems whatsoever with its CVT transmission. By the way, they were smart enough to put a converter in front of the CVT. Then you can maneuver trailers in the dirt or on the incline and start gently. The Subaru has nothing that can be classified as bling-bling or lifestyle fake. An honest guy, like Crocodile Dundee!

  6. Yes the car is great! Probably true.

    It is not without reason that Subaru has the most loyal customers worldwide. Unfortunately, neither LPG nor CNG are available.
    And hopefully Subaru won’t make a hybrid out of it.

  7. For the car, I hope that it wasn’t the CVT gearbox that roared, but the engine….!
    The CVT are extremely sensitive to malfunctions, repairs are extremely expensive and that is the reason why e.g. Audi does not ("Multitronic") offers more.
    Modern converter or DCTs are absolutely equal to the CVT in terms of comfort, without it "Elastic band effect" – it was unpopular in this country.

  8. Apart from Porsche, no other manufacturer offers boxer engines, for example, but for a long time this does not mean that this is proof of the (low) durability or susceptibility to interference of this type of engine. CVTs are particularly popular in Japan, and Subaru has one of the best around.

  9. A car with a length of 4.82 m, how did you come up with the idea of ​​comparing it to a Golf? Then rather with a Passat, if it has to be a VW.

  10. Hello Dieter K.!
    I made the comparison with the VW Golf because the car is as popular in Portland as the VW Golf is here. Otherwise there are of course no parallels.

  11. I am a master car mechanic and was operations manager at a branch for a German company. Car brand.
    After driving two Subaru Foresters, I am more than convinced of the durability, quality and utility (all-wheel drive). Would buy a Subaru again and again.


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