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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, considering this as the next car.

Are there any statistics about reliability between the two cars? TCO maybe?

I'd like the 3.6 for the power, I don't care that much about the MPG difference. So if they're just as reliable and costs about as much to own (excl. the fuel and initial price) then it'll make my decision easier.

Any help or even pointing in the right direction would be appreciated! :)
 

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If you are not concerned about the cost of fuel burned, I do not believe there is any reason to buy the 2.5. Both engines are quite reliable.
You will need another 2.5 quarts per oil change, and 2 more spark plugs at 100k, but that is nothing, compared to the fuel mileage. Have fun.
 

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MPG is nice of the 2.5 but I've seen good 3.6 postings. However I was not willing to pay more for the 3.6 and I prefer the CVT to a conventional auto. There have been more complaints about the 5 speed autos shifting behaviors than the CVT especially considering how few are sold in comparison.
 

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get the 3.6, ive regretted getting the 2.5 so much. there isn't much of a difference for mileage. but the 2.5 gets the job done, the CVT is pretty great, the FB is even better than the EJ
 

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MPG is nice of the 2.5 but I've seen good 3.6 postings. However I was not willing to pay more for the 3.6 and I prefer the CVT to a conventional auto. There have been more complaints about the 5 speed autos shifting behaviors than the CVT especially considering how few are sold in comparison.
Just did a 320 mile weekend with the wife in Napa - no roof box. Two adults doing wine country exploring. We wrapped up the weekend with 29.8mpg average that included the three hour bumper to bumper stop and go 101 south on Sunday afternoon as everyone left the Valley. More and more I find higher hp simply waisted in our neck of the woods you don't need 250hp to sit in stop and go traffic. LOL The 2.5 hauled butt up there at 70+ no problem when the roads were clear.
 

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I think the best advice I can give is to drive both and find out if the 3.6 is worth the extra cash to you. With the tweaks in the 2013, the 2.5 drives differently than the 2.5s in older models, and the 3.6 does have more power. So really, the choice is between the older 2.5, the new 2.5, and the 3.6.

In my own opinion the 2013 2.5 makes the 2012 2.5 feel a bit slow to respond and lacking a bit of oomph. The difference probably vanishes when towing or under heavy load though. I think it really depends on what you expect from the vehicle, and what you are planning to do with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the various opinions. Much appreciated and taken into consideration.

NOTE: I haven't driven either of the two engines.

Two reasons I have for the power (which may change or not depending on others experiences etc.) is for towing and overtaking.

Haven't looked into why and if the CVT is better than a normal auto. I just know that I couldn't live with a 4 speed auto like the Forester has.

I'm in Houston and I just don't drive at rush hour. We have probably 2 hours worth of bad traffic. I work from home and my wife works 10 minutes (in traffic) away.
 

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I went from roughly 300hp (WRX) to 140hp but 236ftlbs of torque (Golf TDI) and have now ended up with the 2.5. Maybe I'm getting old and boring, but I drive the thing to work 500 miles per week, to the trails for hiking on the weekends, and haul the family around everywhere in between and not once have I really regretted "less" power. No statistical difference in reliability although some might be more apt to accept the 5AT over the CVT for perceived long-term reasons (5AT is pretty bullet-proof as is the old 4AT). I personally preferred how smooth the CVT was compared to the 5AT, but the 5AT is by no means a crude devise. I average 30.5-31mpg every tank, I imagine I could probably hit 25-27mpg in the 3.6 with my same style of driving.

Moral of the story: if you love torque/power bursts onto the highway or if you want better passing power, just get the 3.6. If you want a smoother transmission and a few MPG better, get the 2.5. Just remember that braking and handling will basically be the same between the two and IMO the 2.5 already overpowers the "wagon on stilts" chassis abilities, or lack thereof.

Regarding towing, similar ratings for both (2,700 pounds for the 2.5 with CVT and 3,000 pounds for 3.6) given that the chassis, suspension, and brakes are the "weak" point with the 2.5 and 3.6. Both are more than adequate as towers, although if I was towing ALL of the time it would be the 3.6 for me.
 

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Your in flat country neither the 3.6 or the 2.5 is a fast sporty car so don't base your decision on that generalization. LOL

The old 4spd AT was lousy regarding gearing options paired to the 2.5 which is why I had a MT 5spd with my previous 2.5 light years difference in enjoyable performance compared to the old 4spd at. No doubt your very correct about that!

The CVT has hands down been one of the best AT's I've ever driven it handles the power from the 2.5 exceptionally well which actually makes the power issue less of a deal for me than even the MT given the CVT is super active in managing the best possible gear ratio on a level I never would have operated my MT.

40,000 miles so far on our CVT we also purchased a very early 2010 Legacy CVT for my mother that car has been great also. As for towing the cvt has proven to be exceptionally good far surpassed my expectations and after my early nissan CVT towing experience I was hard core ANTI CVT given that old Nissan CVT was horrid!!!!

Subaru has managed to get the CVT right so far it works exceptionally well and perhaps the single best thing Subaru ever did for their 4cylinder engines.

If your towing is 1500lbs and under empty the 2.5 does just fine. We did the I5 Grapevine towing the 4x6 with the tall sides up just shy of 6ft tall with about 800lbs of family crap in it from an old family house sold in LA. I crossed the Vine doing an easy 60-65mph at 3200rpm in the steep spots. That climb is I recall nearly 15miles at grades where all of the rigs are doing 30mph on the shoulder of the road. Also a famous section that kills more cars and trucks than any other section of road in CA. The previous trip down there I had a Ford Excursion pull into the gas station at the base of the hill with a busted rod - two guys in the truck empty truck - he says to me I guess doing 85 over the pass was a bad idea- totally blown engine. LOL very common on the Vine. The little 2.5 handled it just fine and wrapped up the rest of the trip hauling the 1600lbs at 70mph with a final tank average of 19mpg - 9hr drive.

At the time I had a very nice Land cruiser sitting in the driveway - we still took the 2.5 for the trip given the 2.5 cvt Ob still offered a more enjoyable trip and even got far superior mileage than the landcruiser. We now have a 07 Sequoia replaced the LC given we needed the seating space. Even now the 2.5 OB gets 99.9% of all the towing given it gets better mileage and is more enjoyable to drive. However I do like the V8 in the Sequoia LOL
 

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I like the 3.6 and would probably own one if I lived in Colorado at elevation and hauled the same sort of passengers - gear and trailers I haul now with the 2.5 in far lower elevation locations 99.9% of the time.

Both the 2.5 and the 3.6 suffer from altitude sickness when you get high enough.
 

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If hp really matters, maybe an OB isn't the best choice. I got the 2.5 because MPG matters to me (I've never had a car that was MINE that's gotten more than 16mpg in town. But I'm still keeping my hemi for the days that I really want to put my foot down and make noise.
 

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If hp really matters, maybe an OB isn't the best choice. I got the 2.5 because MPG matters to me (I've never had a car that was MINE that's gotten more than 16mpg in town. But I'm still keeping my hemi for the days that I really want to put my foot down and make noise.
We had a Super Bee 440 - engine my dad found in a junk yard after some guy wrapped his Bee around a telephone pole. The engine was a work of art completely built up and nearly new lacking a set of wheels to push. Our old dodge long bed truck with the 318 had just suffered a bearing failure. The 440 in the truck was pure wicked fun! I'll never forget the summer camping trip a bunch of family all gathered at. The old truck had the Alaskan Camper on it heavy as **** camper and the 18ft I/O 5.0L V8 Trihull ski boat that was heavy as **** hooked to it. On the steep climb up to the lake we spot my Uncle who is your classic gear head junkie ahead of us towing his boat with his GMC beater he put some 454 RV engine in. HA HA

Can you say RED NECK junker battle of HP in the making? I was 16yrs old at the time and had never seen any pickup packed like these trucks haul ass up a grade that almost always resulted in someone in the family getting towed LOL. That 440 WAS A BEAST! Awesome engine!

Many years later I found out that a kid at my dads Auto shop bought the 440 - modified an old Camero - and was running it at the local drag strip! The 440 lived on! LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If hp really matters, maybe an OB isn't the best choice. I got the 2.5 because MPG matters to me (I've never had a car that was MINE that's gotten more than 16mpg in town. But I'm still keeping my hemi for the days that I really want to put my foot down and make noise.
It matters, but not nearly as much as the utility that the outback provides. And there doesn't seem to be an equal in this category. Maybe an Audi RS4 avant. Doubt I can afford one of those though.
 

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I had a 2010 2.5 MT. The power is lacking. I truly did hate the car. I had the thing in 3rd trying to get up mountains, and it sounded like it was dying a slow and painful death. The whole time we were getting passed by other 4 cylinder cars. Mine was allergic to the heat as well. Whenever it was hot out it felt like it lost a lot of power.

I test drove a CVT 2.5 a few times, and I hated the trans. It almost put me to sleep.

Now I have 2012 3.6R and there is no looking back. This thing is awesome. I love the tranny as well. The gas mileage is still descent. I get 24hwy and 20.8city. My wife who is oblivious to anything that pertains to a car even mentions and notices the power difference. She likes this car even more than me which is saying a lot.

If you rave about the 2.5 it is because you could not afford the 3.6, did not test drive it, or care about a few mpgs. Im ready for the 2.5 drivers bashing. Begin bashing me now.
 

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I like the 3.6 and would probably own one if I lived in Colorado at elevation and hauled the same sort of passengers - gear and trailers I haul now with the 2.5 in far lower elevation locations 99.9% of the time.

Both the 2.5 and the 3.6 suffer from altitude sickness when you get high enough.
My 2.5 w/CVT does not "suffer" at altitude. Have hauled a 1500 lb trailer over Indy Pass (12K) several times and live above 7K. Yup, maybe it does "respond" slower when you stomp on it at altitude, but am able to do the speed limits in CO mountains while hauling a trailer.
 

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Or maybe you like the smooth cvt, and live in a flat area and do no towing or stoplight racing. If you tow or like to get on it, go for the 6!
 

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I had a 2010 2.5 MT. The power is lacking. I truly did hate the car. I had the thing in 3rd trying to get up mountains, and it sounded like it was dying a slow and painful death. The whole time we were getting passed by other 4 cylinder cars. Mine was allergic to the heat as well. Whenever it was hot out it felt like it lost a lot of power.

I test drove a CVT 2.5 a few times, and I hated the trans. It almost put me to sleep.

Now I have 2012 3.6R and there is no looking back. This thing is awesome. I love the tranny as well. The gas mileage is still descent. I get 24hwy and 20.8city. My wife who is oblivious to anything that pertains to a car even mentions and notices the power difference. She likes this car even more than me which is saying a lot.

If you rave about the 2.5 it is because you could not afford the 3.6, did not test drive it, or care about a few mpgs. Im ready for the 2.5 drivers bashing. Begin bashing me now.
Fat Tire - my other vehicle choice on my list was a new MB GL CDI the sticker price was 75K and we were paying cash. We ended up buying the 2.5 cvt because #1 it was cheap as **** and offered a great value, #2 it replaced a 2001 2.5 that we used as our SUV for 11years towing our racing boat all over the west coast over many Mountain passes with no issues.

I happen to have plenty of money thank you - I simply like to spend it on stuff I use and not purchase more than I need especially when it comes to cars. The GL was dumped due to the horrid mechanical history and quality issues. Instead we paid cash for a 2.5 cvt OB and a 07 Sequoia for hauling the kids and grand parents we use 7 seats on a very regular basis locally. However all our road trips and camping trips sans grand parents are done with the 2.5 and it does just fine.

If money were an issue for me I would have sold my sailboats a long time ago and simply bought a nice 911 Turbo given it would have been a cheaper hobby.
 
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