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Discussion Starter #1
I just picked up my CGP 3.6R this week. I put 100 miles on it today driving through the countryside for the first time. Here are my impressions of the car so far:

1) Engine: Well, it's noisy at idle outside the car, but there must be plenty of sound dampening in the firewall because it's very quiet inside. It's smooth, but almost any new car would be. At WOT it's not that noisy, but it's not the most pleasant of engine growls either. I have no complaints about power. It's more than adequate for a vehicle of this type.

2) Transmission: I drove virtually the entire 100 miles in manual mode. I haven't driven an auto in decades, but this isn't a bad auto. The engine has enough torque to keep the tranny in gear and not constantly hunting. The ratios are pretty good, but more never hurt. The tranny is a little slow to kick down in auto mode, but since I hate most slushboxes in the first place, I knew this would be expected. In auto mode, the shifts are smooth. In manual mode, the shifts are smooth with the exception of the 2-1 kick down. I'm not sure why it's rough in manual mode, but not in auto mode. Perhaps the computer kicks it down at a slightly higher RPM when in manual mode. I will pay more attention to this and see if it's smoother if I manually make the 2-1 shift. Some may question the usefulness of a manual mode, but I would never drive an auto that didn't offer it. On winding roads you can downshift to give you the proper entry speed for a curve or just keep you in the proper gear for switchbacks. My philosophy has always been that braking means you made a mistake. If you actively monitor the road and control your car, you rarely need brakes on an open road. Sadly this is much harder to accomplish with an auto, but the manual mode helps.

3) Handling: I have been very surprised by the OB's handling. It has a very well damped and comfortable ride, and yet it doesn't lose composure in the curves. For a vehicle with this much ground clearance and higher center of gravity, it has amazing grip. I tossed it through curves that would have a comparable SUV squealing its tires. On rough country roads I had no problem with grip, even on bumpy or gravely apexes. Subaru really shines here. There is no way a vehicle this size and weight should be this nimble. The Honda CRV has respectable handling, but with a much harsher ride. The Subie accomplishes this without the drawbacks.

4) Steering: This is my only real complaint with the OB so far. The steering is vague and there is a noticeable dead spot on center. The weighting is fine, but that vagueness is a little annoying at highway speeds. It's entirely possible that different tires will remedy this. I hope so. It's the one improvement I think really needs to be made.

5) Braking: The brake pads are still seating so I cannot make a proper review yet. Modulation is pretty good. My first impression is that it seems a little under-braked, but this will change when the pads fully seat.

5) Interior comfort: I always have a problem with seat comfort on trips. I rarely fine a car that doesn't have my back aching after an hour. Sadly the OB is no exception, but I'm sure that most people will find them great. My passenger was very comfortable. The air works just fine, though the controls are a little awkward. It would be far superior to have different size buttons and maybe some knobs for different A/C functions. After enough time it will become intuitive, but it could be much simpler.

6) Noise: at idle the OB is very quiet. In the city the OB is very quiet. On the highway, not so much. Clearly the OB has plenty of sound deadening materials. This is very effective at low speeds. Unfortunately the noise at higher speeds is wind related. The OB has fairly large mirrors which is great for visibility, but bad for noise. A little tweaking with their design would improve this dramatically. It's not that the OB is any noisier than another car at highway speeds, but it's so much more quiet at low speeds that you expect it to be equally quiet on the highway.

7) Audio: It's only adequate. I would hate to hear the non HK audio model if it sounds much worse than this. The iPhone connectivity is simple and the controls work fine. I should say that I'm an audio fanatic who spend hundreds of hours tweaking the audio system on my previous car. No OEM system sounds good to me, but there are plenty that sound better than this. I can't really blame Subaru for this.

Summary: Most of these are only minor nitpicks. Overall I really enjoy the vehicle. The ride is superb and the grip is far better than it should be for a vehicle of this type. The cabin is quiet and comfortable. When you add off-road prowess into the mix, this vehicle should be at the top of most peoples' all-in-one list. Many cars can do any one of these tasks better, but not many can do all of them with such skill. Kudos Subaru!

P.S. Why did you have to kill the Legacy GT????
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What car(s) are you coming from?
1992 Ford Explorer and 1997 Honda Prelude (both manuals). Yes, I keep my vehicles until they die which is why I wanted something durable and reliable like the OB. The Explorer is a dog in most respects. It has one of the worst rides of any vehicle in which I have ever ridden (4x4). The Subie crushes the Explorer in almost every respect.

The Prelude is one of the 3 best handling FWD cars ever made. I never expected the OB to handle like my Prelude.

I still have both vehicles, but the Outback will take the place of the Explorer unless I am hauling junk or parking in a sketchy neighborhood.
 

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Give the HK speakers some time to break in. Don't block the sub woofer. You may revise your opinion.
or
maybe you won't.
 

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Nice write-up.

I've not noticed a dead-spot or vagueness on my '13 3.6R. In fact, I rather like the steering and I'm pretty particular about steering feel (a Miata & RX-8 will do that to you). Have you double-checked tire pressures? Dealers are notorious for over-inflating.

If tire pressures check out, it might be worth doing a quick alignment check.
 

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I just picked up my CGP 3.6R this week. I put 100 miles on it today driving through the countryside for the first time. Here are my impressions of the car so far:

4) Steering: This is my only real complaint with the OB so far. The steering is vague and there is a noticeable dead spot on center..


I gotta be honest. I have no idea what this means. Any of the complaints about steering other than the shakes. It steers like any other car I've ever owned. No idea what "vague" means. And not sure what a "dead spot" is.

5) Interior comfort: I always have a problem with seat comfort on trips....

I have the Limited with leather seats and my wife loves both the driver and passenger seats. Especially on long trips, I find them very uncomfortable. If I don't stop every couple hours (and I probably should anyway) I start getting numb. Needs more cushion on the bottom.

6) Noise: at idle the OB is very quiet. In the city the OB is very quiet. On the highway, not so much....

I find it very quiet at hwy speeds. We can have a normal conversation without yelling. It think this does have a lot to do with what you drove before. I have a Jeep Wrangler. We used to have Mazda MPV mini-van I feel transmitted (echoed!) all the road noise to the front seat. And we still have the honda crv that is also just too loud at hwy speed to have a conversation. So the OB is incredible in comparision.

I've got 10,000+ on my 2012 and we're still super happy with the gas mileage (see above what we were driving before) and the power on tap when needed. Be interested on how your impressions change after 6 month to a year. Enjoy your new ride!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I gotta be honest. I have no idea what this means. Any of the complaints about steering other than the shakes. It steers like any other car I've ever owned. No idea what "vague" means. And not sure what a "dead spot" is.
The Outback steers exponentially better than the Explorer. I will say that. The vague dead spot to which I am referring is when the wheel is top dead center. On the highway you can turn a few degrees either way but it really has no effect on direction. You would expect this on a true 4x4 with a steering damper. I guess I just wish it was a little sharper. Someone mentioned tire pressures. I actually intended to check them before the trip but forgot. I will check them to see if it helps. I saw a few threads about steering shimmy, but I didn't check them out yet. I'm hoping is just something simple like overcooked brakes and not a steering rack issue.

I have the Limited with leather seats and my wife loves both the driver and passenger seats. Especially on long trips, I find them very uncomfortable. If I don't stop every couple hours (and I probably should anyway) I start getting numb. Needs more cushion on the bottom.
My problem is the lumbar region. My lower back starts to spasm in some car seats. It happened sooner in the Outback than other cars. I adjusted the seat several different ways to try to alleviate this, but to no avail. I'm accustomed to stiff seats so I actually found them pretty cushy.

I find it very quiet at hwy speeds. We can have a normal conversation without yelling. It think this does have a lot to do with what you drove before. I have a Jeep Wrangler. We used to have Mazda MPV mini-van I feel transmitted (echoed!) all the road noise to the front seat. And we still have the honda crv that is also just too loud at hwy speed to have a conversation. So the OB is incredible in comparision.
Naturally it depends on what you have driven before. Anything is quiet next to a Wrangler. It's not so much that the Outback is noisy, but that it isn't proportionally as quiet on the highway as it is in the city. Naturally any car is louder on the highway. I just expected the OB to be quieter on the highway because of how quiet it is in the city. Tire noise was also noticeable. I won't be sticking with these tires anyway. The Contis are okay, but Michelin Defenders are the way to go.

I've got 10,000+ on my 2012 and we're still super happy with the gas mileage (see above what we were driving before) and the power on tap when needed. Be interested on how your impressions change after 6 month to a year. Enjoy your new ride!
I don't expect great mileage from the 3.6, but I knew this before getting it. Anything is better than the pitiful 13 MPG I was lucky to get in the Explorer. I actually get 2-3 MPG better than EPA estimates on my Prelude, even with over 200k of hard miles.

As I said before, the Outback is the best all-in-one vehicle that I drove. Any number of vehicles can beat it in one or two categories, but it is the whole package. It has almost sports sedan quality handling in the city and yet I can still take it camping.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
And keep out of manual and cruise until you get to 1k miles...
I'm curious why you would advise not to use manual mode. You don't want to keep the engine at the same RPM range for extended periods during break-in, but I know of no reason not to use the manual mode. I specifically used the manual mode so that I could vary the engine speed on my drive.
 

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The HK system does really break-in...weird...but it does sound clearer after a few thousand miles (at least for me, it took that long).
 

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Noise varies with types that are sensitive to the human ear, My 10 OB is one of the quietest cars I have had , but then again I came from the Honda camp. I just drove a 13 Accord which boost it is much improved in this area. I drove a Sport model with 18's and while it is very quiet on smooth asphalt it still is noisy on the ruff stuff. My 12 Impreza ,lets just say the OB trumps it in the noise category and is on par with older Hondas.
 

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Swap out your tires for Michelins. The seats do suck unless you are a diminutive person. The HK radio is perhaps the worst premium radio I have ever heard. My friends standard radio in his Tacoma truck sounds far better than the HK.
 

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In auto mode, the shifts are smooth. In manual mode, the shifts are smooth with the exception of the 2-1 kick down. I'm not sure why it's rough in manual mode, but not in auto mode.
I've noticed this as well. I wonder if the transmission keeps the torque converter locked up when its in manual mode. The throttle response also seems sharper in manual mode.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I've noticed this as well. I wonder if the transmission keeps the torque converter locked up when its in manual mode. The throttle response also seems sharper in manual mode.
I played around a little more with it tonight. If you use any throttle at all when downshifting in manual mode, the jolt can be felt--sometimes quite harshly. You must be right about the torque converter because if you are coasting and downshifting, the revs barely rise. They are not at all what they would be if you were accelerating in that gear. If you then apply even a little throttle, the revs climb quickly even though you don't speed up. This can only logically be explained by the torque converter not locking up when downshifting while coasting either in manual or auto mode.

Bottom line is, take your foot off the gas momentarily when downshifting in manual mode and it's as smooth as butter, just as it would be in full auto mode. Other gears are less troublesome. I felt no appreciable jolt when downshifting from 4th to 3rd in a curve, even with moderate throttle applied. Oh well, it's not that big of a deal. I will only use manual mode full-time on winding roads. In the city it will always be in full auto unless I need a momentary downshift.
 
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