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We are new to the outback family and so far we love it.

We just returned from a 600 mile road trip from atlanta to north central Florida and driving an average of 75 mph with mostly cruise control, we only averaged around 25 to 26 mpg. We confirmed this with both the gauge and a manual log and calculation. We have a 2013 2.5 limited outback and I have read averag of high twentys to low 30s on the interstatinches I was doing my research. Even in in urban interstate traffic, I have seen 30mpg in my research. We were on flat open interstate, which i would imagine is the ideal next all downhill. I was a little disappointed with this. Since 2013 has a new engine, is there something wrong here or is this common for the first 1000 miles? We current have just shy of 1100 miles. Thoughts?
 

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First and foremost, you should always vary your speed when breaking in a new car's engine, and long road trips for the first 2500 miles are not recommended. It states this in the owners manual. Your poor fuel consumption is likely due to the fact the engine hasn't been fully broken in.

- Jeremy.
 

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Fuel economy degrades the faster you go ( especially above 60mph) because air resistance increases exponentially with speed. My last trip I averaged 32 mpg (usgal) over 1,000 miles including mountains and secondary roads -- but I held my speed to 60 -65 mph with a light throttle.
 

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I have a '12. I got about 27 for the first 1000 miles. The average for the first 10,000 was 30.3. Since passing 10k, it has been closer to 32. I am at about 14,500 now.

I get about 1 mpg more than my wife does, when she is driving. I keep the eco gauge off both the upper and lower limits when cruising. (Back off the cruise control slightly going up hills, increase going down.) So actively working at it has an effect. I also drive faster than my wife.

Short version.........It will get better, by about 10%. Good luck.
 

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My manual said to vary speeds and no hard breaking/fast acceleration (unless necessary) for the first 1000 miles. I drove some of the same roads from N. Fl to Virginia. When I started the car had 1300 miles on it. I averaged 29.9 by math and 28 by the car's readout. I stayed between 65-75mph or a little higher on the highway depending on the state I was in. I now have 2200 miles with 200 on a fresh tank all mixed driving. I have not done the math as I won't until I fill up next but the car's readout is showing 26. I do not have a heavy foot as traffic up here only gives you ulcers if you do, so I just listen to comedy radio and stay with traffic. I am not carrying a lot of weight, sounds like you were.
 

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Fellglenn,

You may have experienced lower fuel mileage for several reasons. The reasons could range from the vehicle not being fully broken in yet, headwinds, ethanol percentages, etc. Also, many of the people in this forum live at higher altitude cities then where you traveled. You get better gas mileage the higher in altitude you that are.

But overall, I'd say give more time for your engine to full break in before you get too disappointed.
 

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Amen to varying your speed....every 5-10 miles pick a new speed and stick with it for the next 5-10 miles...try not to use cruise control unless you must and then set varying speeds as you drive...your engine will not likely hit its stride until about 7000-10000 miles....then you should see figures much closer to the EPA estimates and even better...the magic barrier is about 60 mph...once you push ANY vehicle through the air faster than that it takes geometrically much more fuel to overcome the coefficent of drag...if you use a rooftop box for cargo and pack the back full of family stuff your mileage will suffer from the extra weight...
 

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One data point here. In my new 2013 2.5 I got 29 mpg on the first tank of gas. This was on non-interstate highways going no faster than 65 mph. The Outback is not aerodynamic so going faster than about 60 mph will yield lower fuel economy.

There are mentions here about varying the speed of the car in order to properly break in the engine. I believe the speed of the car is irrelevant, it's the engine speed that needs to vary. With the CVT, this will happen automatically. Granted, this will be minimized on the interstate, but in my experience the tach never stays in one place for more than a minute or so before adjusting. With EyeSight and using the adaptive cruise control, even on the interstate the tach is constantly adjusting.
 

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First and foremost, you should always vary your speed when breaking in a new car's engine, and long road trips for the first 2500 miles are not recommended. It states this in the owners manual. Your poor fuel consumption is likely due to the fact the engine hasn't been fully broken in.

- Jeremy.
Jeremy,
Where in the manual does it say to not take long road trips? My wife and I just completed a 2500 mile cross country trip in our 2013 Outback. We did drive mostly two lane roads for the first 1000 miles and varied the rpm's constantly, the next 1500 were a mixture of everything. We experienced exceptional mileage, and on one leg from TorC, N.M. we got 38.0 at 60 miles an hour to Phoenix, AZ. This was confirmed by our fill up and the computer was showing pretty much the same. I have never heard of the first 2500 mile thing, I hope it's not true but who knows! Our car runs great lets hope it stays that way for a long time.
Matthew
 

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With my new 2013, I calculated 27 mpg highway mostly. (currently at 2800 miles). With my previous 09 forester i used to get 24.5 mpg. Im hoping it gets better.
 

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I find the cruise forces a "virtual downshift" with corresponding high rpms(low mpg) on slight grades with the CVT.
I get better mpg if I'm working the go pedal.
Try a using the manual paddle shift to "6th" on long drives.
 

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If you're filling up with ethanol, that can negatively impact your mileage. I search the internet to find stations that don't use the stuff. I find I get about 3mpg better in my other vehicle when using non-ethanol gasoline.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you for the great responses, I am really hoping that it gets better as my wife and I love the car. On our trip we did vary our speeds a good bit, as we did have to go through several construction zones. We did use the cruise, but not that much.

First and foremost, you should always vary your speed when breaking in a new car's engine, and long road trips for the first 2500 miles are not recommended. It states this in the owners manual. Your poor fuel consumption is likely due to the fact the engine hasn't been fully broken in.

- Jeremy.
Unfortunately, we were in need of a car and had to take the road trip. I guess taking my jeep cherokee with 214k miles would have been a better option. This is our first Soobie, but not our first new car and I have never heard this before and apparently there are others that have not heard that also. However, I have also not read the entire manual from front to back as I have not had to sit on the toilet that long since we have had the car.


Regarding the economy improving,
My biggest concern was that the delta between the estimates and the actual MPG was higher when I compare these to other cars I have owned and driven during the same mileage and on a similar road trip.

Using other cars as benchmarks, almost every car that I or my wife have owned we have realized greater than estimated economy. She had a 2002 mustang which the estimates were around 25 mpg on the hwy. On this same trip ATL to FL on the "Summer Blend" she would get close to 26-27 mpg on the hwy. My 02 Acura TL would average around 28 to 29. The estimates are 27 on the hwy. Earlier this year, we rented a 2013 mustang that had 800 miles on it when we rented it, we got 31-32 on the hwy. The estimates are 30 mpg on the hwy. Usually, I would not be as concerned, but my wife drive 100 miles round trip and the main reason we went from a 6 to a 4 cylinder was the MPG. Right now the average is the same as we are getting in a 6 cylinder mustang and Acura TL yet we have the power which we don't have in the Soobie. Additionally, We elected to get the 4 cyl soobie over other cars because the mpg estimates were not too far apart and the room and capabilites of the Soobie were by far better. However If 25-26 mpg is what we can expect on the HWY, we are going to be paying about 50 bucks more a month in gas than expected at the current mileage. With the rental cars that I have driven in my travels, I usually calculate my MPG just for curiosity and I have never seen such a large delta in the difference between the mpg estimates unless I am driving in very hilly areas (ie mountains). In this case I am seeing a 17% variance between hwy estimates and actual HWY mpg. This is a little larger than an acceptable variance. In reading other posts on this forum, I am seeing 5-10% variances in day one MPG from estimates at the most.

My concern is that there is something wrong or off as our driving habits have not changed and we have many many miles over different cars to benchmark off of.
 

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Don't worry about taken a long trip with the new OBW. I did a 750 mile journey from Sac to GP Oregon during the second week-didn't even get to 1k until after I got back. While my mileage wasn't as terrific as you report, I was completely satisfied with it (25.5 -20city/80hwy) and had an average speed of 60.5 mph for the entire trip per Garmin. There have been no problems with the car at all. While it may have been true to "excessively baby" the new car years ago, it really isn't the case now, be gentle, sure, but don't be afraid to use it.
 

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My concern is that there is something wrong or off as our driving habits have not changed and we have many many miles over different cars to benchmark off of.
As strange as it may sound, the lack of change in how you treat the car may be a factor. The throttle response in the 2013 CVT is more linear than any other car I've driven. It's taken me a month to get used to it and learn that I need to be lighter on the pedal when on hills or on the freeway than my older Outback (2001).

It will also depend quite a bit on what its put through. Wind, weight, speed are all factors. With my old 4-cyl 2001 Outback, road trips varied quite a bit in what I used for each tank. I've seen 24.5mpg trips (cargo bag on top) and 29-30mpg trips (high altitude cruising through passes).
 

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I got around 27 to 28 miles for the 1st tank with 60% hwy and 40% city with temp over 100 degree and a/c on all the time. This is fairly consistent. I took a 1,000 miles road trip with 4 adults, a dog and loaded with luggages, I got about 28-29
 

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So far, the MPG in my '13 (with about 1500 miles) has been better than expected. High 20's in combination city/rural highway/freeway driving; as good as 33 mpg on freeway driving. But, that was with empty car and no passengers.

Remember that adding in a bunch of passengers and/or gear, roof rack fully deployed with accessories, etc., all degrade your MPGs. And keep the speed lower than you might wish, unfortunately (although I was pretty happy with the MPGs even when pushing 80 on the freeway the other day).
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So here is an update. We now have 10,000 miles and some change and did the same trip to Florida just recently to see how it would improve. No accessories, no roof racks. About the same amount of weight in it as before. On the way down, we got about 23.5 mpg average from Atlanta to Ocala. No traffic, cruise on 70-75 most of the way. The way back we averaged 24.6.

Now I would hope that at 10k and using a winter/autum blend of gas, not summer we would be getting better. But in fact we are getting less that when the car was brand new. Any ideas? The dealer keeps saying to let it break in. But if I wanted <25 MPG on the interstate, I would have bought a Tahoe or at least go a 6 cylinder. This is quite disappointing at this point. We love the car, but not this part. All the altitude comments, speed comments, gear comments are completely valid arguments. However, It still does not explain why a 2002 Mustang can get more than estimated economy on the same trip while an outback is getting 18% less than estimated. Thoughts. At this point, I am actually terrified to take a trip to Florida with boats and bikes on the roof or even put a rack on.
 

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So here is an update. We now have 10,000 miles and some change and did the same trip to Florida just recently to see how it would improve. No accessories, no roof racks. About the same amount of weight in it as before. On the way down, we got about 23.5 mpg average from Atlanta to Ocala. No traffic, cruise on 70-75 most of the way. The way back we averaged 24.6.

Now I would hope that at 10k and using a winter/autum blend of gas, not summer we would be getting better. But in fact we are getting less that when the car was brand new. Any ideas? The dealer keeps saying to let it break in. But if I wanted <25 MPG on the interstate, I would have bought a Tahoe or at least go a 6 cylinder. This is quite disappointing at this point. We love the car, but not this part. All the altitude comments, speed comments, gear comments are completely valid arguments. However, It still does not explain why a 2002 Mustang can get more than estimated economy on the same trip while an outback is getting 18% less than estimated. Thoughts. At this point, I am actually terrified to take a trip to Florida with boats and bikes on the roof or even put a rack on.
More than one person has posted about this. At 70-75 mph it is my opinion you will never hit 30mpg. These cars are rated by the EPA at 60mph.

From the EPA:
The city and highway tests are currently performed under mild climate conditions (75 degrees F) and include acceleration rates and driving speeds that EPA believes are generally lower than those used by drivers in the real world. Neither test is run while using accessories, such as air conditioning. The highway test has a top speed of 60 miles per hour, and an average speed of only 48 miles per hour.
http://www.caranddriver.com/features/the-truth-about-epa-city-highway-mpg-estimates-measuring-fuel-economy-page-2

Also, winter blend will give you worse mileage not better.
 
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