So… How family friendly is the Subaru Outback?
There isn't much to fault with the Outback, as it is a very practical family car! For interior and boot space it was very generous. The boot was enormous, fitting 18 shopping bags from empty! That's two more than the Holden Commodore or VW Passat Alltrack and three more than the Skoda Superb! The twin and tandem strollers both fitted easily with eight shopping bags alongside them and a single stroller or compact stroller fitted with 10 and 14 bags respectively. I was disappointed with the retractable cargo blind though, for having just a flap of fabric held on by rubber stoppers on each end of a pole to cover the boot between the main retractable section and the seat backs. It's a flimsy method that just flaps around and falls into the boot space.
Storage inside the cabin is good, with two cup holders in the front and back and the central console box is a good size too. There is a well in front of the gear lever that's good for holding your phone as the USB, AUX and 12V sockets are there too.
The door bins in both front and back are disappointingly small and would only hold 600ml bottles, but not a large refillable water bottle, so the only place to put those were the front cup holders which is not very practical. There is a glasses case in the ceiling in the front and two map pockets in the back, as well as two USB sockets in the back.
I found I could install three child seats in the back of the Outback. There are ISOFix points in both the outer seats and top tether points in the backs of all three seats. They were easy to connect to and apart from the central seatbelt coming from the ceiling it was an easy fit. With the Britax Graphene, Maxi Guard Pro and Kid Guard Pro across the rear seats it was a tight fit and I found that with just the two outer child seats installed there was enough room for me to sit between them.
Legroom was fantastic, and in front of the rear-facing Graphene child seat the front passenger has 23cm of knee room! I was amazed there was so much room with such a large boot as well. The Outback didn't feel big to drive and actually shrank around the driver to feel like a much smaller car when driving around town, parking and maneuvering. Visibility was very good in the Outback for both passengers and the driver and the different camera views were really helpful when parking.
The media system has Apple CarPlay and Android auto which was great. It was an easy to navigate screen too, with a lot of options to change the volume or mute all the different sounds and alerts for all the driver assist and safety systems, which is a great BabyDrive feature. On that note, the Outback was very vocal! There were alarms and beeeeeps for almost everything, which I found to be VERY baby waking but thankfully I could turn almost all of them off.
The Outback was a great drive out on open country roads and unsealed gravel tracks but felt a bit frumpy around town and it just lacked that active feel some of its competitors have, especially compared with the much more energetic feeling Holden Commodore. The interior also felt practical but cheap, with awful black shiny plastic all over the dash and doors. Overall the Outback is a very practical BabyDrive but it lacked that new car feeling for me! I want all the mum and family practicality but to feel a little bit special too.
The Subaru Outback scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2015.