1996 Legacy Outback MPG - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2009, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy 1996 Legacy Outback MPG

Hey Subaru people! As of last Tuesday (December 1st) I am the happy owner of a 1996 Subaru Outback 2.2L 5 speed. This is my first car and after searching for 8 months have found the car I have been wanting.

Before buying this vehicle I had only driven a manual once for fifteen minutes. I am getting the hang of it. So, after a week now I have fallen in love with this car.

Here is the clincher. I bought this vehicle because I wanted a SUV like vehicle that could get better than 25 MPG. All the listings on Craigslist and almost all the reviews I had read said I could count on 26-28 Highway MPG. However, I have used one full tank of fuel and factored my average MPG. It hit me like a bombshell; 19-20. Is this normal? My dad said that I should replace my spark plugs and that would greatly improve my mileage but not to the point I was expecting (maybe 24-25 average MPG?). Now, it has turned to winter here in Minnesota so I have been starting the car about 5 min. before I intend on leaving. And after the first snowfall I took it out into our pasture and raced a few laps. Are these things: Possibly poor plugs, winter driving, play driving, enough to hurt my mileage that bad or am I just expecting way to much?

Please reply with any advice or necessary reality checks.

Thanks,
Noah J
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2009, 08:31 AM
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Read this thread:

1998 Outback 2.5L gas mileage
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2009, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by miker104
Read this thread:

1998 Outback 2.5L gas mileage
Thanks, that helped a lot. I do have a lot of city driving. So, it seems like I should be getting 18-20 for city MPG.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2009, 12:02 PM
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Our old 1996, granted it was an auto, after a full tune-up was getting about 20 in town and 26-28 on the highway, depending on whether I was driving or my wife.

2003 Outback wagon: "Kaylee". 144,000 and counting.
Basics: Quaker State Ultimate Durability 5W30, PureOne oil filter, Fram air filter, Valvoline Maxlife Dex/Merc ATF, Mobil 1 75W90, Michelin Primacy MXV4.
Mods: 2004 Forester XT shift knob, Fumoto oil drain valve, Phillips VisionPlus low beams, Phillips HIR1 high beam upgrade, Nokya Hyper Yellow 2500K fog lights.

Also: More rust than I care to think about.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2009, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Our old 1996, granted it was an auto, after a full tune-up was getting about 20 in town and 26-28 on the highway, depending on whether I was driving or my wife.
Wow, so mine being a manual should (in theory) have a little bit better than that. I found it funny that you and your wife got different mileage. One of you drive it a bit harder than the other?

In your signature I noticed that you named your car. I did the same but everyone I know thinks I am a bit crazy. Lol, I named it Tracy anyway.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2009, 12:19 PM
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Here is another good thread about mileage:

Winter Mileage?

lower in winter than summer.

On my '99 best mileage was about 27 mpg all highway. I recently did some work and now easily get 200 mi out of half a tank of gas as compared to 150 mi before.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2009, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by miker104
Here is another good thread about mileage:

Winter Mileage?

lower in winter than summer.

On my '99 best mileage was about 27 mpg all highway. I recently did some work and now easily get 200 mi out of half a tank of gas as compared to 150 mi before.
A '99 has a 2.5L right? And I am able to get about 280 miles from one tank.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-09-2009, 05:31 PM
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I get anywhere from 260 to 310 to a tank. I know that is a big variance, but the gauge isnt that accurate.

Joe
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 06:26 PM
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FWIW, my 1996 5-sp (all 5-spd are 2.2 for that year) gets a consistant 22.5 MPG in 'combined' driving (25-27 hwy and about 19 city) -- I can destroy these figures by late shifting and light-hopping...

MPG calcs are from the ScanGuageII for 'regular' (85 octane) fuel up here.

The vehicle, now at 113k miles, has no significant mods or any special treatment other than paying extra attention to tire pressures.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 10:23 PM
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Re: 1996 Legacy Outback MPG

All the listings on Craigslist and almost all the reviews I had read said I could count on 26-28 Highway MPG.


Most people on Craigslist hype it up, one person claimed 33 mpg on 2.2 5sp '97 outback with 245,000 miles. Be very careful with Craigslist and what people say. You shouldn't believe these statements:

-Mostly highway miles
-Just replaced axles, timing belt, AC, transmission, new tires, battery, wheel bearings, etc., $1200 OBO
-Gotta sell right now because I'm moving

I get 20.5 on 96 OB 2.5, 24.0 95 OB 2.2

The K&N filter does well with the mileage, if you're using stock filters and they're old, you're going to get bad mileage. Subaru tech manual lists clogged air filter high for troubleshooting poor gas mileage.
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