Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: East Bay Area, CA
Car: 2017 Outback 2.5i Limited, EyeSight & Nav.
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I am on my second Subaru, and went from an '06 Forester 2.5x to a '12 OB Premium 2.5 CVT. I was in the same boat as you, and will admit that I still may have a touch of buyers remorse at times for NOT getting the 3.6, however the 2.5 is more than capable. The ONLY time I wish I had more power would be merging on freeways here in southern California. Other than that I have no complaints at all with the 2.5. I'm already taking a hit on mileage with the AWD, and the 6cyl makes it even worse.
I have not towed anything with the new OB, but used to tow a Triumph Thruxton (a 640lbs cafe racer) in a U-Haul motorcycle trailer back and forth to Los Angeles and the one thing I was impressed about with the Forester was that it had plenty or torque and didn't even blink when towing the bike and trailer (but again, i was not winning any races, and it's not the same as towing with a full size truck obviously). It might be a small engine, and not the fastest thing out there, but for what it was it did have some grunt! Now if you are going to be towing something bigger, or towing frequently though, i'd think its a no brainer and get the 3.6. If you are just getting something as an 'all-around', have a bit of a longer commute to and from work (my commute is 70 miles roundtrip 3 days a week) and want decent mileage, SLIGHTLY lower maintenance costs, and save a few bucks at the dealership, the 2.5 is more than adequate. It really all depends on your priorities and what you want out of it. Like others have mentioned, if you want a fast car, you won't find that with either engine, and get a WRX.
I can say with confidence that although my '06 was only nearing 100k miles, which is not a lot for a Subaru, I beat the **** out of that car. I took care of it mechanically, but used it for what it was intended for. IT was cross country several times, FULLY loaded with stuff on the roof as well, been to the desert in ridiculous heat, mud, sand, hail, snow, rain, and plenty of trailheads out in Colorado that require 4WD/AWD (never any rock crawling or really gnarly off road stuff, obviously), and it also made a great surf car for the last three years here in San Diego as I could fit a 9'6 longboard INSIDE the Forester, and NEVER had an issue. So as far as durability and longevity of the 4cyl/2.5, I wouldn't worry. I will say though that if I still have the '12 OB the car after the 3 year/36k bumper to bumper warranty expires, I may consider getting an extended warranty, simply for all the electrical stuff on the car. I'm more worried about having to pay out the ar$e for tracking down some electrical gremlin if my sunroof breaks, heated seats malfunction, etc. This is not just particular to Subaru, but any car that has all the modern luxuries that can break. The drivetrain though is solid in either the 4cyl or 6cyl.