Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The interior has a more sophisticated feel than Subarus of old, with a high tech look to the controls and instruments. But it’s rather let down by some cheap-looking plastics while the finish doesn’t have a particularly upmarket feel. The driving position is okay, but annoyingly the steering wheel only adjusts for height and not for reach – not what you’d expect on a car this size.

This was rectified on models for 2007 while the interior was upgraded too. It’s certainly more modern with some soft-touch materials but there are still too many hard plastics on show.

Thanks to a very smooth ride, the Outback is impressively comfortable, even over very rough or uneven roads. However, it is quite soft in corners which can be bad news for those in the back on twisty roads. There’s plenty of passenger space though, especially for those in the front, along with acceptable legroom for people in the rear seats. The 2.5-litre engine can be noisy on the motorway as it sits at relatively high revs.

The 3.0-litre is quieter, but it’s the diesel which is best for long distance travel.