Just as the Subaru Outback is being launched to New Zealand motoring writers, it has won the highest five-star Australasian New Car Assessment Programme safety rating.

Ancap crash tested the 2015 Subaru Outback compact SUV, and the results also apply to the Legacy, which is built on the same platform.

Both vehicles have dual frontal, side curtain and driver knee airbags as standard.

Antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD) and electronic stability control (ESC) are also standard, and advanced seat belt reminders are fitted to all seats.

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AA motoring services general manager Stella Stocks said the Outback and Legacy were popular in the New Zealand market for a variety of uses.

"Subaru has consistently stepped up to the mark with safety and the latest iterations of these models are no exception as proven by increasingly tough crash test analysis," said Stocks.

"It's also pleasing to see that autonomous emergency braking [AEB] is provided as an option on some models, but we'd like to see this as a standard offering in all variants."

The NZ Transport Agency's group manager of access and use, Celia Patrick, said it was pleasing to see vehicle manufacturers continuing to raise the bar for safety.

Advanced safety features like those in the Outback and Legacy could be lifesavers.
"We're aiming for a truly safe transport system that is more forgiving of human error, so no one pays with their life when a driver makes a mistake, and safer vehicles are a key part of a safe system," said Patrick.

"Multiple airbag packages can prevent serious injuries in a crash, and active safety features like ABS, EBD and ESC can prevent some crashes from happening in the first place."

The fifth-generation Outback goes on sale in New Zealand in February.

Prices will be announced closer to launch date.

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