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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

My name is Rick and I am a vendor/long-time member of LegacyGT.com (username: Underdog). I own a 2006 Legacy GT Limited Sedan 5MT, Garnet Red on black, that I bought new back in 10/2006.

My wife and I are expecting our first child in July, and we also have an 8-month old foxhound pup - Samson - that we adopted back in October. With the new additions to the family we are seriously looking at a used '10+ Outback for our weekend trips from north-central MA to visit the family in RI, along with the occasional road-trips.

We cross-shopped a new Forester XT against a new OB 3.6R, and were both leaning heavily towards the new Forester. However, there are three model years of Outback to choose from and we have found that there are many good bargains out there for low-mileage Outbacks. I will spend the next few weeks over here, and on cars101.com, brushing up on the differences between model years so I know the key differences to look for. I am not a forum noob, so I will search, but if anyone wants to point me in a direction it would be appreciated.

Anyways, glad to be here and hope to be a contributing part of the community soon!

Here is a link to my mod list on LegacyGT.com. :)
 

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2008 Outback XT Turbo MT5 Grey (lots of BMW's, Saabs, Volvos and various Japanese cars in the past)
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Hello Underdog...Honestly based on your profile I would suggest getting a used 2.5 Outback Limited as a comfortable family car and a get used 2009+ WRX for fun. The 3.6 doesn't make the Outback sporty and when you have your child in wife in the car you drive differently anyway. The CVT is smooth, comfortable and enjoyable for passengers. I have a 2008 XT Turbo 5 MT stage 1 for reference.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the welcome!

No need for a new fun car - I am keeping my modded Legacy GT. I am a very sedate driver regardless, and always drive very cautiously.

Why do you think the 2.5i LTD is a better choice over the 3.6R? In my used-car shopping I have found that the 3.6R typically commands a ~$5,000 premium for vehicles with ~40,000 miles. However there are 3.6Rs out there at prices that put them square in 2.5i 6MT territory (with cloth and AWP).

I would rather have 250hp in a 3,600lb vehicle than 170hp, although I could handle the latter if it is stick. Keep in mind my wife's car is a 2007 Yaris, with ~100hp, but at a much lower weight. She will continue commuting in that vehicle since it gets nearly 40mpg.
 

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2008 Outback XT Turbo MT5 Grey (lots of BMW's, Saabs, Volvos and various Japanese cars in the past)
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I may get flamed for this but I have test driven both the 2.5 and the 3.6 a few times thinking I would buy one or the other. Instead I am thinking of keeping my 08 Outback and getting a sporty car. The 3.6 is very nice but I am not crazy about the automatic as I prefer manuals. The 2.5 CVT which despite bad pres is actually a good match for the Outback and very economical. Women like at as it is smooth and easy to drive. Check out Fuelly.com for mileage differences. With your background I think you would think the 3.6 cries for a manual transmission and a sporty suspension as the car is heavier and does not handle as well as the lighter 2.5 in my opinion. I have not tested the 2.5 manual but that might be an option. Again I was surprised how easy to drive and peppy the 2.5 is though.
 

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Pretty good feedback so far.

The H6 is a cool engine but the suspension in the OB really does nothing to make the H6 better than the 2.5. Only thing the H6 does better is the stop light drag race and high altitude haul where the thin air starts to really zap power.

I have a nice 1.8T and a 4.7L V8 SUV and our 2.5L CVT Limited is our go to vehicle for any sort of long distance trip with the two kids and some times the 75BL 15yr old doberman. Even hauling the 4x6 900lb tent trailer the subaru gets tagged with the task. It just has great seating room for the kids and parents returns great mileage and does everything really well.

Just be aware that the stock Continental tires were terrible and caused lots of heart burn for owners having trouble getting them to hold balance or in my case even getting them balanced I had one tire that just never could get put on the front end given it shook the front end too much. New tires went with BFG Touring tires which are very similar tread pattern but built FAR FAR better has made a huge!!! Difference and mileage was not impacted. 48,000 miles on it so far great car. Having had the Legacy Sedan I will tell you the wagon is more flexible meaning the body flex is more. It's not as stiff as the legacy as a result I can jam the sun roof when I park in a pretty extreme off camber spot at a local business. However outside of that its pretty rock solid. The CVT is my first AT in a car ever all my cars have been 5spd MT. Took some time to get use to the CVT but I do have to say for the handling nature of the OB the CVT is an exceptional transmission for the 2.5. It does a fantastic job keeping the engine happy and in the power very smooth. I really like how it tows no gear hunting and the engine is far more happy towing than my prior Legacy GT 5spd MT which we towed up and down the west coast with it for 10yrs. Great car loved the GT! My only complaint is that I would Much Much rather have a Legacy GT non turbo Wagon for the exceptional road handling over the OB tall suspension.

Kid seating space with the new Gen4 is Huge!!!! The prior gen models the rear seat was narrow and was pretty tight when you added the rear facing car seat and a nearly 6ft or more tall front passenger or driver. The Gen4 is a huge improvement regarding this issue!!!!! That is the major reason we made the move to the new OB.

We now have two kids one sits center one sits behind the driver and we have enough hip room on the passenger side to seat an adult to serve Referee duty when needed.

Cooling capacity was never very good with the prior generations but it seems there was some good Toyota engineering cross over on the cooling system for the Gen4 - so far it seems to be FAR FAR FAR more robust than prior generations which is a major Plus for those of us who do lots of hot weather summer trips with camping gear and long climbs.

I like the 3.6 great engine but only reason I would have one is if I lived at 6000ft or higher and needed the added power to make up for the Altitude sickness. Been living with the 2.5 non turbo since 2001 replaced a 4runner with it and pretty much use it like a truck and power has never really been a problem. Cooling yes but so far the Gen4 has been fantastic on the cooling capacity and hauling ability. No complaints there.

Mileage has been pretty **** good! Our last long 400 mile each way trip was a miserable holiday weekend 10hr stop and go drive from **** and the OB returned 32mpg both directions which was an impressive surprise given lots of stop and go on a 70mph highway.

Camping trips with the trailer we run between 21-23mpg in the hills 60-65mph to 25-26mpg on the flats running close to 70mph. Pretty dang nice!!! With the trailer the 2.5 and CVT still has plenty of go to say jump from 55mph to 70mph on a medium climb with little drama.

The paddle shifters have been nice for keeping speed checked on long down hill decents or say holding a specific ratio during a long climb where you just pick a speed and RPM with our trailer 3100-3200 rpm seems to be something the engine will do all day long on long steep climbs with zero indication of raising temps etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
More great feedback! Thanks!

I am surprised to hear such, well, underwhelming feedback on the 3.6. I understand that the vehicle is chassis limited, although to hear that they are so soft the sunroof will jam is a bit of a concern. Of course I don't expect it to be as stiff as my '06 LGT with all it's bracing, but that just sounds lousy.

I will have to mull over the economy benefits of the 2.5 w/ CVT. I am encouraged to hear that it least compliments the motor well. Is the CVT on the OB chain-drive like on the new Forester?

As far as tires go, I will almost certainly be changing them out. Having lived through the Potenza re92 OEM tires on the Legacy, I won't suffer crappy tires again. My Legacy splits the year on Dunlop Wintersport 3Ds and Hankook Ventus V12s.
 

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CVT is for the most part the same CVT in all the Subaru's Chain belt type set up. Subaru has no doubt tweaked it here and there with more recent models for different types of performance etc but its the same unit with just small tweaks.

The body flex isn't a big deal once you start to look at the flex other vehicles have that are open front to back like a wagon. Pretty normal issue for any van or wagon type body style especially with the drive line tunnel running through the floor vs a flat floor like a Minivan which can be made much stiffer given its not being bisected by the drive line tunnel.
 

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I actually really like the 3.6 engine its a cool engine! However the handling the OB has the 3.6 is really not offering much. Even the 2.5 can have the OB squealing and bobbing at its limits pretty easy. Put the 3.6R in the Legacy and yes it would be heaps of fun! We have a 2010 Legacy 2.5 CVT we bought for Grandma very different car handles really nice and would be an absolute Hoot with the 3.6 in it. OB not so much its just a different animal. Great family hauler and gear wagon not at all good for canyon carving even with 250hp hooked to it. Just not set up for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the thorough reply. I should clarify that I'm not expecting the 3.6R to transform the behavior of the car, just to have bit more "get up and go". I have heard what you guys have said though and will carefully weigh the premium, both in purchase price and fuel economy, versus the benefit.

Are there any key differences in the AWD setup between the 6MT/CVT/5EAT? I know on the BP/BL Legacy for example, the Turbo/5MT comes with viscous center and rear limited slip differentials, while the non-turbo/5MT only has the center LSD and an open rear diff.

Otherwise, I assume it is possible to option-up a 2.5i with leather, all-weather package, and any other goodies found in the 3.6R Ltd.? (Yes, I will keep browsing cars101.) If there are any engine-based options that could help with my decision.
 

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Thanks for the thorough reply. I should clarify that I'm not expecting the 3.6R to transform the behavior of the car, just to have bit more "get up and go". I have heard what you guys have said though and will carefully weigh the premium, both in purchase price and fuel economy, versus the benefit.

Are there any key differences in the AWD setup between the 6MT/CVT/5EAT? I know on the BP/BL Legacy for example, the Turbo/5MT comes with viscous center and rear limited slip differentials, while the non-turbo/5MT only has the center LSD and an open rear diff.

Otherwise, I assume it is possible to option-up a 2.5i with leather, all-weather package, and any other goodies found in the 3.6R Ltd.? (Yes, I will keep browsing cars101.)
Yes each transmission is set up a little different but the over all results are the same regarding capability. Except that in very slick down hill decent type situations the MT more skill to manage than the AT's.
 

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'11 outback 2.5i premium '12 impreza sport limited
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welcome, very nice LGT. the outback is perfect for a family of 5 or less, especially when you throw in a dog. regarding the rear seat room, my wife has a '12 impreza(which has virtually identical interior dimensions as an older outback minus the trunk) and I drove it for a day where I had to take my daughter a long. getting her in the car seat was so much of a hassle for me, i'm 6'2", but I constantly put her in the back seat of my outback with no issue. I regret not getting a 3.6r limited but im happy with the 2.5i and I can live without the dual climate, cuz my wife isn't in the car much.
 

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2018 Outback Limited 2.5i Dark Blue Pearl/Ivory w'Eyesight
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I have a 3.6. And it is absolutely the best vehicle I have ever owned. It's quick, quiet and powerful. Yes, it uses more gas than the 2.5. But it is a trade-off I am willing to make. I have driven a 2.5 from Sac to Placerville (both suburban streets and freeway) and a 2.5 from Elk Grove to NE Sac County and back. Both had the CVT. Today, I drove a Nissan Rogue with the CVT from Placerville to McClellan. I suspect that the CVT would do me fine in town and in traffic, and probably do well for me on the level freeway. It was a bit disconcerning to have the CVT rev up and slip back when I pushed down on the accellerator (reminded me of my first Powerglide Transmission back in a 1963 Chevrolet. I missed the snap that the 5EAT has when starting out. But, this is my personal opinion only.
I like the fact that the OB sits up a little higher. I'm older, and it is hard to bend down into most new sedans. The rear door opening is bigger and taller than on the Legacy sedan. This may be a factor if you use the back seat often. I bumped my head when testing one in the showroom.
Bottom line for me, I like the OB as is, and would not consider a sedan. I had my sports car days a long time ago.
 

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I prefer the 3.0/3.6 by far. I've always found the 2.5s noisy and underpowered for my tastes. The CVT helps a lot, but it still doesn't make it to the point where I'd consider buying one.

My 3.0R (which makes a bit less power than the 3.6 and significantly less torque) is noticeably stronger and nearly silent. Definitely more fun to drive and it doesn't strain on hills like the 2.5s do (even the CVT felt like I had to step on it a little too hard to maintain speed on the climb home). I'd rather lose a few MPG and have plenty of extra power on tap, but to each their own. In a way, the characteristics of the 3.0/3.6 make it feel like a different car.

Really, you need to drive both and decide. Though I'm sort of as fault here now, I think we've already got too many 2.5 vs 3.6 threads!

I really love my Outback, though...they're a good fit for almost anyone! It's a great compromise car. Room to haul stuff (and people) around, enough power to be fun to drive, enough off road capability to go some pretty gnarly places yet still comfortable for long highway drives, gas mileage is such that it doesn't drain my wallet too badly, and it has lots of nice little features that I take for granted until I drive something without them (wiper deicers, heated seats, dual climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, etc.).
 

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96 Outback 2.5 AT
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I would go for the 3.6 just because it comes with the 5EAT over the CVT. I'm just not sure about the long term life of the CVT. Can it go 100K trouble free miles ? It is just to new to know that yet. If you do go for the 2.5 CVt, I would get the best extended warranty that is offered. I too can live with a less MPG knowing that I have a reliable transmission. You should also take a manual OB for a long test drive.
 

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2013 Outback 3.6R Limited
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I have the 3.6R and love it. When I test drove the 2.5 CVT there were a couple of things that I just didn't care for. Engine is definitely louder, and acceleration. I don't drive it like I am at the drag strip, but when you go to pass someone on a country road, you don't want to spend any more time in the other lane than you have too. I found that the 2.5 seemed to be really lacking under these circumstances. Felt like there was no response in the CVT unless you put the pedal all the way to the floor.

I think more than anything it comes down to what you are comfortable with. Personally I am not a fan of cars with under powered engines, unfortunately most of my past vehicles were of this nature. This is the first vehicle I have had in a long time that actually feels like the engine to weight ratio is just right.
 

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I'm another happy 3.6R owner. Having had relatively powerful cars in the past (and a 911 in the garage), I tried the 2.5 on a test drive hoping it would be enough so I could save on gas. But it was underwhelming by far. I think it really depends on what you are used too. I came from a FX35 (and WRX)..so the 2.5 felt sluggish, slow, slow..
I get 21.5 (hand configured)mpg which is a ton better than my FX.
I couldn't wait to get out of the 2.5 on my test drive..ended it early b/c I honestly hated it. The 3.6 makes me smile.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

Kstumpf, was the 2.5i you drove a manual or CVT? I am hopeful that the 6MT will offset the pokiness of the 2.5. (I am aware that it is a cable-operated version of my Legacy GT's 5MT with an extra cog, and not an STi/Spec.B 6MT. No delusions there.)

I drive so few miles per year the gas mileage is less of a concern. However, for the same money it seems like I could get a 2.5i Premium with the all-weather package @ 15,000-20,000 miles, versus a 3.6R Limited with 50,000 miles. Being a Subaru parts dealer and mechanic I am not too concerned with maintenance, but this is a family vehicle and not my toy.
 

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5th Subaru: 2017 3.6R Touring
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It was the CVT. I'd love to have the manual but I also 'require' the Nav/eyesight.
So I just use the 911 when I need a MT fix.
 

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'13 Outback 3.6R Limited
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My wife and I had a '10MY 2.5 CVT premium that we traded in for a '13MY 3.6R Limited. We have not regretted making the move one bit! You will love the 3.6.....!
 
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