A WEEK away over Easter presented the ideal chance to test out the Subaru Outback’s credentials as a family SUV – and we weren’t disappointed.

The Outback is a rugged-looking lifted estate car, powered by a 2.5-litre petrol flat four.

The latest generation model feels to have matured into an excellent all-round offering, benefitting from a redesigned front fascia, the latest version of Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist technology, and a large 11.6-inch full HD vertical multimedia touchscreen.

Somerset County Gazette: The Subaru Outback pictured during an Easter holiday at a Devon cottage. As the image above shows, the boot is capable of holding lots of luggage

It has decent off-road abilities - but we were more interested in how it behaved on the road, and were pleased by its motorway manners during the 500-mile round-trip. Indeed, it’s a decent cruiser with a comfortable cabin, offering much better refinement than you might expect from what some consider to be a no-nonsense vehicle.

Cruise control and other improved safety features took the stress out of a lengthy drive in pretty grim heavy April showers, as did a commanding driving position.

On the lengthy journey, the amount of space was much appreciated, with plenty of legroom front and back, while the cavernous boot – offering 561 litres of cargo space – swallowed a considerable amount of luggage comfortably.

Somerset County Gazette: The Subaru Outback

The Outback available in seven colours and three trim levels - namely Limited, Field and Touring, with the latter tested here.

The vehicle’s fresh, bold look includes a more prominent grille and redesigned sleek LED headlights.

On the sides, the expanded wheel arch cladding adds to the tough new look while providing extra protection.

It’s now 25 years since Subaru first developed the All-Wheel Drive Crossover – and the latest Outback is true to that tradition, being built on the Subaru Global Platform and coming with Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive, active torque vectoring and vehicle dynamics control.

Subaru is keen to point out the car’s off-road credentials, including 213mm of ground clearance, which is greater than many SUVs in its class, along with an approach angle of 19.7º, departure angle of 22.6º and ramp angle of 21º.

Somerset County Gazette: The Subaru Outback

Under the bonnet, there’s a 2,498cc horizontally opposed Subaru Boxer petrol engine, with an output of 169ps and 252 Nm of torque at 3,800pm.

The Outback will accelerate from 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds, which feels swift enough for most situations, with a combined WLTP fuel consumption of 32.8mpg and 193g/km Co2 emissions. With cruise control helping with fel consumption on the motorway, that mpg figure seemed within close reach.

An eight-speed Lineartronic gearbox comes as standard, with manual shift mode and steering wheel paddle shift controls. In reality, I didn’t use the paddles much as they seemed to offer little advantage, so just let the automatic system do its thing in a relatively composed and smooth manner.

Somerset County Gazette: The Subaru Outback

Safety is at the core of the Subaru brand and the Outback comes standard with the latest generation of EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. Like a second pair of eyes for the road ahead, it uses stereo cameras, capturing three-dimensional colour images with excellent image recognition.

The Outback is equipped with the latest version of the brand’s multimedia system which is operated via a new 11.6-inch HD touchscreen with standard wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto. The system features a high-resolution touchscreen with combination meter integration and improved on-screen controls for audio.

Additional standard features include Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming connectivity, DAB, AM/FM

radio and a rear vision camera.

At £42, 490, the Outback represents good value for anyone seeking a practical, spacious and rugged family vehicle.

Subaru Boxer Touring Lineartronic

PRICE: £42,490 on the road

NET POWER: 169 PS @ 5,000 - 5,800 rpm

TORQUE: 252 Nm @ 3,800 rpm

0-62 MPH: 10.2 sec

ENGINE: Horizontally-opposed, 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, petrol 2,498 cc

TRANSMISSION: Auto eight-speed Lineartronic gearbox, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive