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The Subaru Outback is an automotive nameplate used by the Japanese automobile manufacturer Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) since 1994. The "Outback" name has been utilized on two different Subaru branded vehicles. One of these models is based on the mid-sized Subaru Legacy and the other derived from the hatchback version of the Subaru Impreza. Named after the vast, remote, and arid outback regions in Australia—the name is intended to emphasize the moderate off-road capability of the vehicle.
The Outback station wagon debuted in 1994 as a derivative of the second generation Subaru Legacy. In Japan, Subaru introduced this vehicle as the Legacy Grand Wagon, but in most other markets, this model became known as the Legacy Outback. In Australia, Subaru opted to shorten the name to Subaru Outback when launched there in 1996—thus becoming the first market to utilize the abbreviated name. Subaru developed the Outback by adding side body cladding and raising the suspension of the existing Legacy wagon. With the exception of small differences in trim, the Outback shared almost all of its components with the Legacy donor model. In the New England region of the United States, Subaru retailed the Legacy SUS—a similar concept to the Outback, but based on the sedan body variant.
Subaru released a new generation of Outback along with an equivalent Legacy in 1998—with the Outback now badged Legacy Lancaster in Japan. Following much the same formula as the original, the updated series shared similar mechanics and dimensions, but with the abbreviated Subaru Outback title now specified for most markets outside Europe and Japan. For the first time, a sedan joined the wagon for North America only.
In 2003, Subaru released another redesign of the Outback alongside the new Legacy. Like the two previous generations, the 2003 update followed much the same blueprint as before. This also included an Outback sedan in North America, only to be discontinued mid-way through production. By adopting the Legacy Outback nameplate as used in Europe, these 2003 onwards models also marked the cessation of Subaru's eschewal of the Outback identity for Japan.
The current Outback iteration debuted in 2009 in conjunction with the corresponding Legacy model. For this series, European markets now adopt the shortened Subaru Outback name.
1994–1998Main article: Subaru Legacy (second generation)
1998–2003Main article: Subaru Legacy (third generation)
2003–2009Main article: Subaru Legacy (fourth generation)
2009–presentMain article: Subaru Legacy (fifth generation)
Outback Sport (1994–2011)
Along with the Legacy-based model, Subaru also released the Outback Sport in 1994 to North America only for the 1995 model year. Deriving from the Subaru Impreza hatchback, the Outback Sport featured an off-road appearance package, and a slightly raised suspension akin to the larger Legacy-based model. Subaru in North America launched subsequent generations in 2000 and 2007, but discontinued the model line in 2011. North American markets have adopted the global Subaru XV name for the Outback Sport replacement introduced in 2012.
2000–2007Main article: Subaru Impreza (second generation)
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|Microvan||Sambar / Domingo||Sambar||Dias Wagon|
|Subcompact||Justy I||Justy II||Justy III||Justy IV||Trezia|
|Compact||Leone III||Leone IV||Leone V|
|Impreza I||Impreza II||Impreza III||Impreza IV|
|Mid-size||Legacy II||Legacy III||Legacy IV||Legacy V|
|Sports coupé||Alcyone XT||Alcyone SVX||BRZ|
|Crossover/SUV||Outback I||Outback II||Outback III||Outback IV|
|Bighorn||Bighorn||Forester I||Forester II||Forester III|