Hand on heart, amongst the myriad of reasons we chose the Outback, the most pressing was safety. Not for me, of course! As an old-fashioned bullet-proof hero type with a penchant for wagon styled adventure, things like the Pre-Collision Braking System and Driver Monitoring System were like something out of a sci-fi movie.
Nooooo, not for me, I was thinking about my kids and wife.
Hate to brag, but we’ve got one hell of a family and I adore every single one of them – even the dog who’s decided to dig up the front garden in search of some long forgotten (the cat) treasure.
Our kids are in the formative driving years, as in 21 and under. Whilst they’re good drivers, they’re also inexperienced. And they’re confident inexperienced drivers which makes me even happier the car they get to drive is literally packed with features to protect them – whether they’re highway driving or scraping the beautiful new rims on the gutters around town.
Can you have a favourite wagon or SUV safety feature?
If you can, my hero (he says with hands clasped across his chest in a swoon) is the EyeSight® Driver Assist System. You’ve seen the cameras mounted on the inside behind the top of the windscreen on other Subaru’s and wondered what they’re all about. It’s definitely a “from the future” technology that’s needed now. The Pre-Collision Braking System and Brake Assist can help the driver slow down or come to a complete stop if an obstacle is detected in front of the wagon. It goes off with flashing red lights and an alarm and gets everyone’s attention, which is fantastic.
My Mum kind of gets it, but it all seems a bit Jetsons to her, so I just tell it like it is. “The camera’s see what’s ahead and the wagon reacts accordingly. If there’s an obstacle detected ahead and the driver doesn’t take action, the car slows – often quickly.’ It’s an explanation that covers other things, too.
The Pre-Collision Throttle Management restricts engine output to reduce acceleration when required and the Adaptive Cruise Control helps you avoid cruising up the rear end of the learner driver in front of you if you’re not paying complete attention. In fact, this may be my new favourite feature. Can I have two?
Best of all is that Adaptive Cruise Control, can maintain a speed set by the driver, but slows to the speed of the vehicle in front should you be going faster than them. You can even set the distance from the car in front for added safety. It’s good for you, and most definitely good for the other car as well.
Wow, that’s four favourite car safety features. Too much?
Then, if that’s not enough, there’s the camera pointing back toward the driver. No, it’s not for driving selfies, it’s the Driver Monitoring System*Driver Monitoring System performance and capability dependent on environmental and technical conditions. Refer to Owner’s Manual for full details. (DMS). Using an infrared LED camera, the system is watching out for the driver. As the name suggests, it’s monitoring the driver’s face for signs of fatigue or distraction. It has the ability to gently remind the driver to keep their mind and eyes on the prize if they begin to wander.
Surely the DMS was designed by a parent with a recalcitrant teenager who wouldn’t be told to pay attention – not my teenagers, of course, who are basically perfect.
But if they weren’t, I love the idea of looking out for them even when I’m not around to actually be there. That’s the vibe I get from Subaru, and it’s probably the same kind of feeling my Dad had 30 something years ago when I drove down the driveway with a long-haired uni mate on a cross country odyssey from Melbourne to Perth in my-brand-new-to-me Subaru Sportswagon.
Dad actually chose the car, even though he let me think I did. At the time, it was ahead of the safety game, which is a lot like the new Outback.
Is it selfish to want to sleep at night when the kids are away in the family wagon? I don’t think so. We want the very best for our children, and whilst we know things happen on the road we can’t help, we know with the Outback, they’re literally as protected as they can possibly be. So is the dog.
As for the cat… that’s an entirely different story.
18 May 2021