I have been a lurker on these forums for a few years, but my fiance and I are about to buy a car and are very interested in the Outback and need some advice.
Our main concern is that we have two large dogs (a 110lbs Lab and a 70lbs Boxer) that always travel with us. We are in Phoenix, AZ so we have 5-6 months of hot weather and the Lab requires direct AC or he roasts. Since their is no 3rd row AC vents back in the cargo area, we are worried he won't be able to stay cool without freezing my fiance.
What are your experiences and thoughts? The alternative is getting the Ascent, but we honestly want a smaller vehicle for the daily driver in the city since I already have a crew cab truck (Nissan Titan).
Thank you in advance for your input.
Unfortunately, probably all cars that lack roof vents will disappoint you in that regard. The Outback's cooling in the back always was a problem. In the cargo? It will be unacceptable here.
The 4Runner we currently have has a little bit better cooling in the first row but the system is fundamentally identical to the Outback's so pretty bad for Phoenix.
You will want a vehicle that has roof vents in the back,
which means a proper 3 row vehicle (the Tribeca is a proper 3 row vehicle in that respect while the 7 pax 4Runner is not).
In addition, the Outback's cargo area is LOW ceiling. It is deep and quite wide but the ceiling is low. So, good for cargo, not so much for large dogs.
I would say stay away from the Outback with two large dogs in Phoenix.
At least the 4Runner has a rear window that opens and a very tall cargo area.
The Tribeca is our preferred town car around here, especially now that the weather is hot again. Neither the Outback, nor the 4Runner can compete with it in terms of A/C.
If that works, then there's a vent between the two front seats to cool the back. .
That vent is utterly worthless in Arizona. It is not even fully synchronized with the front; just blows a bit of air that is a little cold or a little warm. That's it.
The Tribeca is perfect for hauling dogs in Phoenix and AZ and the Ascent should be perfect as well.
By the way, there is no appreciable difference in how H6 Outbacks and Tribecas drive around town or on the highway. Both can blow the majority of vehicles away while cornering and have mpg that is too close to matter. The Ascent may burn a little bit more fuel than the H4 OB but it will also be a great deal more vehicle all around.