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Subaru Outback 2023: is there a hybrid variant expected soon?


Subaru Australia is staying tight-lipped about a hybrid Outback, though it says “you’ll definitely see changes in that space”

Subaru already has hybrid Forester and XV SUVs in Australia, but while they offer fuel savings over the conventional cars, economy gains aren’t exceptional. They certainly can’t rival the superior economy benefits seen in Toyota’s ubiquitous and in-demand series hybrids.

The new turbocharged Outback’s fuel usage figures don’t make for comfortable reading: 9L/100km combined and 12.0L/100km in town, all while requiring 95RON. With the naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre Outback offering a fair but not spectacular 7.3L/100km combined, the range is crying out for a hybrid option.

Subaru Outback XT Sport 2023 driving rear
Subaru’s Outback could be getting hybrid power in the future

But, arguably, it’d have to offer better economy gains than seen in Forester and XV hybrids to really attract buyers. 

We’ve previously tested the Forester hybrid which returned a combined fuel economy of 7.6L/100km – up from its manufacturer claimed 6.7L/100km – while the XV hybrid has been similarly thirsty in testing.

“You’ll definitely see changes in that space,” explained Mr Read, when asked if the company was working on a more efficient hybrid. “There’s a focus from Subaru in terms of engineering for both advancement in the space of hybrid and EV powertrains, and you’ll see those come to market over the next wee while.”

Subaru Forester Hybrid S 2020 rear 3/4 driving
Subaru offers hybrid variants in its Forester and XV SUVs

Wee while? When pressed on actual timing, Blair Read said he couldn’t comment on that at this point, but said “there’s definitely progress. There’s been a lot of advancement, and we’ll bring the right product to market when they’re ready.”

Subaru’s first full-electric vehicle – the Solterra SUV – is due to hit Australian showrooms by the middle of this year.