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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Dear Outback Lovers,

I'm going to buy an Outback at the end of this year. I keep heming and hawing between the 2.5 and the 3.6 because I love to go to the Sierra Nevada Mountains camping and hiking around Tahoe, Yosemite and Sequoia with my cockapoo, and I would like to buy a Chalet LTW (link to RV: LTW : Chalet RV) shortly after I buy an Outback.

The LTW RV is 990 lbs. dry weight and 2000 lbs. GVWR. Which Outback should I buy? The 2.5 or the 3.6? Does anyone have experience climbing the mountains in the Sierras with the 2.5 and a similarly heavy RV? I don't want to be on the road with my Outback doing 35 mph and gasping for air. Thank you for any information you can give me. :17:

Happy Journeys,
Bruiser's Mom
 

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2012 Outback Premium Ruby Red Pearl 2.5 CVT AWP
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I have a '12 2.5 which I purchased for my DD and all around use. My main criteria was first, MPG's, and second, towing capacity. Nothing else out there with reasonably good mileage has anywhere near the towing capacity of the Outback. That said, I do have a Teardrop trailer which I have towed to Yosemite with the Outback. The trailer weighs ~900 # . I was very satisfied with the OB's performance and especially liked the CVT paddle shifters on the steep windy road into and out of Yosemite Valley.
Not sorry I got the 2.5 at all as I average in winter around 28-29 commuting and in Summer 30-31.
Good luck with your decision.
Paul
 

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2011 Outback 3.6 Premium
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Both the 2.5 & the 3.6 will get the job done. Of course, the 3.6 gets a couple of miles-per-gallon worse mileage. I'd first decide which transmission you preferred.
 

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Somebody Else's XT
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Which flavor of regret will affect you more?

A) Anxiety while dragging a trailer up a hill in a 2.5

B) reading the numbers on the pump at every fill-up, trailer or not.

I like ob2011's advice. The transmission affects so much about any car's feel, so get that one right.

Your past driving expectations play into this. If you are used to driving big american barges where you never have to push the gas pedal more than halfway down, you won't enjoy the 2.5. Conversely, if flooring it here and there doesn't bother you, then the 3.6 is likely a waste of money.
 

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Dear Outback Lovers,

I'm going to buy an Outback at the end of this year. I keep heming and hawing between the 2.5 and the 3.6 because I love to go to the Sierra Nevada Mountains camping and hiking around Tahoe, Yosemite and Sequoia with my cockapoo, and I would like to buy a Chalet LTW (link to RV: LTW : Chalet RV) shortly after I buy an Outback.

The LTW RV is 990 lbs. dry weight and 2000 lbs. GVWR. Which Outback should I buy? The 2.5 or the 3.6? Does anyone have experience climbing the mountains in the Sierras with the 2.5 and a similarly heavy RV? I don't want to be on the road with my Outback doing 35 mph and gasping for air. Thank you for any information you can give me. :17:

Happy Journeys,
Bruiser's Mom
We are in the Bay Area do lots of Sierras, Oregon, Washington and Socal trips. We replaced the old 2.5 with the new 2.5 cvt. Our trailer is 4x6 900lbs empty for camping. Our racing boat is 1700lbs with trailer behind the car. The 2.5 with CVT will do any of the worst possible summer climbs with anything 1300lbs and under. Think Shaver or Huntington Lake in July above Fresno yes that long 100+ temp haul you want to be 1300lbs or under for cooling reasons. The 3.6 is 1500lbs so from a Sierras hot summer haul there is very little difference between the two with the trailer. Power is never the issue with the 2.5 you will find the cooling limit long before the power limit is found.

With the 1700lb 21ft 8.5ft wide racing sailboat I run between 16-21mpg towing it. 16mpg would be 65-70mph North on I-5. The 900lb 4x6 tent trailer we run between 23-26mpg depending on speeds car hardly notices the 900lb trailer. At 1700lbs with the boat you know its back there but it tows it well.
 

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If you've done that Shaver lake grind from Fresno you know what I'm talking about. The 2.5 will do 900lbs at about 40mph in the 100+ temps. AC might need to be turned off near the top of the long grind. For comparison my 4.6L strait 6 Landcruiser does that haul with the racing boat +4 people and lots of extra gear at 40mph with the AC push it any faster and the temp gauge moves.

The Gen4 Ob cooling capacity was dramatically improved over the prior generations and the CVT has proven to be great for the towing! I really like how the CVT has lots of gear ratios for hauling the trailer tows fantastic! The paddle shifters are great for the down hill runs to help keep speeds checked. No complaints 48,000 miles on it so far its better than the old car which did a great job.
 

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By the way just watch your self on the RV posted weights. The RV sellers tend to list the empty weight before you add all the nice options to the trailer and things like water and your propane tank. So in reality that trailer is probably 1300lbs before you put your weeks worth of clothing on board and the box of Cheerios.

If your doing coastal stuff the 2.5 would be OK due to the cooler temps and shorter climbs etc. If your thinking Shaver Lake type of trip in July I would even worry that the 3.6 with the stock cooling set up might have heat related issues.

After market coolers are available However! The options for where the cooler can be mounted that results in better than stock cooling capability isn't so easy.

So I would say that where you want to go or like to go at what time of the year top of the summer heat season in end of June through mid August might suggest you look at a heavier vehicle with much more cooling capacity. One of my top choices would be the Toyota Tachoma with a Four wheel camper built in Woodland Ca. Very nice campers - very light and the Artic pack makes them easily full season camping capable
Four Wheel Campers | Low Profile, Light Weight, Pop-up Truck Campers

The Tacoma 4dr can be had in the 6ft long bed version with a nice 5spd AT. Mileage would probably be around 18-23 with it. But the truck would easily go anywhere you wanted to go regardless of hot summer temps or climbs. Your living space in the camper would be superior to the little A frame pop up trailer also.

Worth thinking about... I no doubt will probably go for the camper on the small truck down the road vs the tent trailer we have now. Tent trailer isn't good for shoulder season or winter camping. Great for summer camping
 

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I would also suggest you look into the idea of the tear drop trailers might be possible to go lighter and still get the function your after. Warm comfy bed with hard sides and roof over your head.

Check these out they are sort of the luxury tear drops that are just amazing.
Camp-Inn Teardrop Models -- not cheap though!!!

The Pop up fourwheel campers run about $15,000 loaded with some nice features.
 

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2012 Outback Premium Ruby Red Pearl 2.5 CVT AWP
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I paid less than $4k for my teardrop new - custom built. It was a steal. You can find a pretty nice one for between 4 and 6K on some Teardrop forums.
 

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Any number of members of this forum will tell you that the 2.5 is adequate for your needs. I didn't want adequate and am willing to pay for it.
 

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2013 Outback 3.6L Limited with EyeSight
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Extremely pleased with the 2013 3.6L H6 and would buy it again if we had the same choice. MPG has averaged 22.1 actual in 70% around town driving since new.

Engine is almost completely broken in at 9,000 miles and uses no oil. Have upgraded to synthetic fluids in the engine and both front and rear differentials to help with MPG and remove a lot of metal flakes from the differentials.
 

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'12 Outback 3.6R Limited
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My wife was used to a 265 hp Nissan Xterra and thought the 2.5 was weak. I drive a 127 hp Civic and thought it was fine. So we got the 3.6 since it is her daily driver. She doesn't have a long commute, so the mpg wasn't a huge concern. Plus anything was going to be better than the Xterra. Used to be 16-17 in traffic with that thing.
 

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3.6 and love being able to move when I need too. The mileage is not bad at 21.7 city on the third tank of gas. I am very happy I did not get the 2.5
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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