The first Subaru Legacy Outback
was introduced in the United States
. It was a Legacy wagon with all wheel drive (AWD), body-cladding, off-road tires and higher ground clearance.
Subaru of America executives created this car because the SUV craze had just started and the Forester was two years away, leaving dealers clamoring for a SUV-like product to sell in the meantime.
It turned out to be a success, with clever ads featuring "Crocodile Dundee" star Paul Hogan. An Outback Sport, based on the Subaru Impreza five-door hatchback was introduced in 1998.
The Outback was introduced to Japan in 1999 as the Subaru Legacy Lancaster. In 2000, Outback became its own model and added a sedan, as well as an available horizontal 6-cylinder engine.
In 2003, with the debut of the fourth-generation Legacy at the 60th Frankfurt Auto Show, the Outback name is now being used worldwide with the launch of the second-generation Outback wagon. No word yet on a sedan.