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My enthusiasm for the 2010 Outback has been stoked by the nearly unanimous outstanding test drives and reviews of the automotive press and automotive industry analysts. See review links, below.

However, the reporting of members of SubaruOutback.org has alerted me to some common problems with the new 2010 Outback, and of Subaru's response in addressing these problems, i.e.; the rolling start hesitation, the steering wheel shimmy and problems with high altitude cold weather starting. Consequently, prior to taking delivery of the 3.6R Ltd (ordered 2/1/2010), I will be prepared to conduct a thorough test drive, fully alert to the problems reported here by a number of SubaruOutback.org members.

In all fairness to Subaru, while these problems are common to a good number of members here and at other Subaru sites, many other members report no problems and a high degree of satisfaction. Furthermore, as indicated by members' reports, Subaru is addressing/fixing these problems both on a case-by-case basis; in fleet-wide (TSB) approach, and by incorporating fixes/upgrades being applied on the factory line.

For example, in the case of the hesitation, a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) and software upgrade flash was issued and available to all owners, which members’ state has fixed the problem. Moreover, in lieu of recent reports from new owners of hesitation, it appears that the upgraded software is being installed in new vehicles coming off of the factory line.

A problem reported by significant number of owners is known as the "wheel shake" problem that causes steering wheel shale, shimmy and vibratioin at speeds of 60 mph and above. The "fix" for this problem had proven to be elusive as described, below:

Most members with the wheel shake problem report that dealers first try to isolate the problem through a process of elimination - checking tire/wheel balance, tire pressure and alignment, replacemnt of steering rack and dampening spring, but with very limited success. Most report the shake is deadened but still discernable only to return full strength. Others have reported that these measures have even increased their wheel shake problem.

Both Subaru of America and Canada have acknowledged the problem and have commenced replacing or buying back vehicles that have been unsuccessfully undergone the measures, above, and were verified to be irrepairable. This process requires repeated visits to the dealer who has to verify to Subaru District Reps that the process has beeen done.

Despite Subaru of America's acknowledgement of this probelm, including Subaru engineering involvement, owners report inconsistent dealer support; Some dealers continue to flatly deny that a problem exists, or, that it is statistically insignificant.

However, this "statistically insignificant" claim is belied by owners who have undergone the whole process and have reported that even their replacement Outbacks also have the shake problem!!!!!

To be fair, most owners with the problem report strong dealer support in seeking a resolution.

For example, a couple of owners report that their dealers have taken their Outbacks for 8 days or more if intensive work closely with Subaru District Service Representatives on-site working and testing in consultation with Subaru engineers. One owner reported that his Outback was returned with 100 test miles on the odometer.

Owners report that the work involves replacing body/frame mounting bushings, engine mount modification, steering shafts, in addition to rerplacing the dampening springs and steering racks.

Owners report that following these long term, highly involved efforts described by one as rebuilding the suspension, their preliminary road testing show elimination of the problem.

Some of the latest owner reports state that 2010 Outbacks that were originally shake/shimmy-free upon delivery are manifesting the wheel shake shimmy at higher mileage.

However, others report thousands of miles of trouble/shake free service who are very satisified with their 2010 Subaru Outback.

Please see the wheel shake thread and poll, below.

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=23063&highlight=wheel+shake

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20843&highlight=wheel+shake

http://subaruoutback.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=223858#post223858

Also see the Subaru Legacy forum reports. The Outback and Legacy share the same chassis.

http://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=125732&highlight=shake
http://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124998&highlight=vibration

On the cold/high elevation sputtering start issue, Subaru issued a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) that provides for a computer software flash update of the 2.5 models. Owners of the 3.6R engine have reported similar problems and are still awaiting a fix for the 3.6R.

http://www.legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127473&page=3

http://subaruoutback.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=22552&perpage=20&pagenumber=2

Consequently, in view Subaru's actions addressing these problems, and in light of the fact that there are thousands of satisfied owners who have no such problems - combined with the nearly unanimous outstanding results of professional road testing in the links below - I did not defer my purchase order. And I live in CO at 7,200 feet which may include me in the cold start/high elevation problem group.

But thanks to SubaruOutback.org, I will be as alert as a hawk on that test drive of my factory-fresh Outback prior to taking delivery!

Many, many reviews, below, contradict the statements of Subaru “purist/loyalist” stating, in effect, that the 2010 Outback is a sellout to mainstream popular design.

To the contrary, notwithstanding complaints of non-folding side view mirrors and of the new roof rack's incompatibility with some older roof rack attachment configurations, the lion’s share of reviews state that the redesign of the 2010 Outback Subaru has adhered to Subaru's long practiced philosophy of “form follows function.”

In sum it was not the new looks of the 2010 Outback that inspired these many, many accolades from the world's automotive press. In fact many call it as ugly as ever but still rate it above its competition.

To the contrary, the 2010 won it’s many awards for Best of the Year and Most Reliable based on its strong, improved/strengthened frame and mechanicals: it’s on and off-road performance and increased space and utility of the 2010. In short, it's a superior machine.

One Subaru loyalist/purist who is also an automotive journalist test driver traded in his 2009 Subaru for a 2010.

http://www.cars.com/go/video/player.jsp?makeid=45&year=2010&modelid=2996&location=42827417001

I am most impressed by the Automotive Journalist of Canada Best SUV award, and the Australian Drive magazine Best SUV award, plus, the high scores awarded by the test drivers from Colorado. These folks know about performance in snow and dirt road/track driving.

Most impressive is the Automotive Lease Guide Awards in which the 2010 Subaru Legacy, Outback and Forester beat Honda for best resale value. This is the Kelley Blue Book leasing guide to which the automotive industry refers to determine residual values of vehicles after being turned in after being leased.

In sum, on balance, the strengths of the 2010 far outweigh some possible problems that have occurred on some units that have already been addressed, or, are well in the process of being addressed.

Based on Reliability Records and Road Tests of the 2010 Outback and Legacy, Consumer Reports Gives Subaru Ties Honda:

http://www.thecarconnection.com/marty-blog/1042878_honda-and-subaru-lead-consumer-reports-honor-roll-for-2010

ALG (Automotive Lease Guide) 2010 Residual Value Awards: 2010 Beats Honda for Best Resale Value Mainstream, Utility Compact Vehicles
https://www.alg.com/ResidualValueAwards

AJAC (Automobile Journalist Association of Canada) Votes 2010 Subaru Outback Canada's Best New Utility Vehicle
http://smr.newswire.ca/en/subaru-canada/ajac-votes-2010-subaru-outback-canadas-best-new-utility

http://www.theprovince.com/cars/Cream+crop+rises/2606109/story.html

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/February2010/11/c8802.html

2010 Subaru Outback Wins Best Wagon of 2010 in Cars.com Platinum Awards
http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2010/01/15/461952.html
Road and Track: 2010 Subaru Outback - Driving Impressions

The turbo is gone, but the Outback's rugged personality carries on in a larger, more refined statement.
http://www.roadandtrack.com/tests/impressions/2010_subaru_outback

TFL Car. Com: Review 2010 Subaru Outback 3.6: Smart, strong, eminently capable & the companion of choice for bad weather locations
http://www.tflcar.com/2010/01/review-2010-subaru-outback-36-smart-strong-eminently-capable-the-companion-of-choice-for-bad-weather.html#more

http://www.tflcar.com/2009/12/3minute-2010-subaru-outback-36r-video-review-the-unofficial-car-of-colorado.html#more

Weekly Drive: 2010 Subaru Outback 3.6R still rocks the Rockies
http://www.tflcar.com/2009/12/first-impressions-2010-subaru-outback-36r-still-rocks-the-rockies.html

Subaru of America, Inc. Continues to Break Sales Records
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/subaru-of-america-inc-continues-to-break-sales-records-83366162.html

2010 Subaru at Top of Safety Tests, including rollover test
http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2009/11/18/consumer-safe-cars.html

Australia Drive Magazine: 2010 Outback Best SUV Under $40,000
http://www.drive.com.au/Editorial/ArticleDetail.aspx?ArticleID=67520

Popular Mechanics Most Versatile Car
http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4335130.html?series=90

U.S. News and World Report Ranking and Review: 2010 Outback #1 in Affordable and Performance in Full Size Wagons
http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/Subaru_Outback/
http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/Subaru_Outback/Performance/

Left Lane News Review
http://www.leftlanenews.com/subaru-outback-first-drive-review.html

NY Times Review
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/automobiles/autoreviews/24subaru.html?ref=todayspaper

kbb.com Data Reveals Three Brands 'Bucking The Trend' in Down Economy
http://www.automotive.com/auto-news/02/48496/index.html

Drive Time Review’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvta2l5DE50

MOTOR TREND Names Subaru Outback 2010 Sport/Utility of the Year(R)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmC3F9Bw0JE

FOX News Test Drive
http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/m/27951300/2010-subaru-outback.htm

Truck Trend First Look: 2010 Subaru Outback
http://www.trucktrend.com/roadtests/wagon/163_0904_2010_subaru_outback_first_look/index.html

Mountain High Altitude Driving: 2.5 or 3.6R Engine?
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=22560
http://blogs.motortrend.com/6596781/editorial/the-kiinote-subaru-outback-25i-legit-or-lame/index.html

2,5 Driving Television Review(Canada)
http://www.drivingtelevision.tv/?cid=819&brand=Subaru

SubaruOutback.org members have also helped inform me of aftermarket accessories and sources for tech instructions to install Subaru brand accessories:

http://techinfo.subaru.com/html/ixSearchFree.jsp?text_keyword=&keyword=&publication_type=12&free_pub=13

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20258
 

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Wow, I wished I found this before I bought mine. Anyway, better late than never!!!

Great links!!! So I made the right choice.
 

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Great stuff!
The mod’s might want to make this a sticky and add more reviews when they are published.
 

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I am glad I am not the only one who researched so extensively before making there purchase. My wife was sick of me researching before I finally started test driving.
 

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thank you for sharing your research for future prospective OB buyers. that is a lot of leg work.

if we could only get the rails that are on the aussie variant review....grrrr
 

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****! That was a great first post! :D

Harplayr said:
Great stuff!
The mod’s might want to make this a sticky and add more reviews when they are published.
You've got my vote for a sticky, in fact burnedhog has given me a wake up call because I used to make loaded posts with a lot of content regularly but apparently I've been slacking off :17:

Well done, thanks for coming aboard and joining all the great members we have at Outback.org :7:
 

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OK. I admit it. I'm ashamed to call myself a moderator after that post. I quit.

Burnedhog, all I can do is:

p.s. Popular Mechanics is spot on: the Outback is the most versatile car available on the general market.

p.p.s. Only one thing to add: Go to Van Bortel Subaru's website to see the best pricing guideline applicable for any Subaru model: http://www.vanbortelsubaru.com/
 

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Thank you for all of this research.......all of this will definately be helpful to me as I start the process for my purchase of a new OB late summer early fall of this year....
 

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Great post and good info - I am basically doing the same thing you have and have looked at most of the sites you listed and listened to all the reviews I could find online.

Here are some comments and observations based on what I have read on this forum.

I am looking at possibly buying a 2010/2011 Limited.
I am not sure yet between the 2.5/3.6. I actually like the idea of the CVT but it seems that it may be underpowered, especially with 4 people and a load of luggage.
I think I am leaning towards the 3.6 but it seems they are impossible to find.


On the new design - I absolutely love it. I have always liked the outback but never owned one, nor any Subaru. I was browsing dealerships a few weeks ago and just stopped in a Subaru dealer. I knew nothing about the new 2010 OB nor what it even looked like. I really liked it, it seemed to have everything I was looking for. I much prefer the new design and increased ride hight over the older models. I think Subaru was trying to attract new buyers like myself and it worked.

On the wheel shimmy/vibration - i will do a thorough test drive and hopefully detect the problem then before I buy.

On the non-folding side-view mirrors, no biggie to me. I am driving an 03 Chevy Avalanche since it was new. It's longer and wider then an OB and I have very rarely ever used that function.

On the roof rack complaints - also a non issue as I haven't used roof racks on my vehicles in over 10 years and if I do on this car I can buy something new that is made to fit it.

My really only main issue is over the complaints about the tech in the car. We just bought my wife a new 2011 honda pilot touring and it has every tech gadget available. I have to look more into the complaints about the nav and play with it myself.
Also I really dislike the internal xm/sirius radio antenna. It's just cheesy. I think it's neat being able to choose between the two since I don't think any other manufactures let you do that, but I would much of them just pick once and made it a standard feature on the high end radio with an external antenna.

All in all they have done a great job attracting a buyer like myself.
I can really afford any car I want, yet I am looking at an OB. Others on my short list are the Audi Q5 - Volvo X60 - Acura RDX but i am really leaning towards the OB
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My brother is a corporate sales executive at a competing car company and I could have gotten a good break/deal. The features and safety tests were virtually matched, plus, the competition looked nicer with a much better warranty.

But for living at 7250' in Colorado with lots of mountain driving, the OB with full time awd is the more capable and safer machine. In fact, except for the Audi, most of the other AWD drives sytems kick-out back to 2WD above about 25 mph.

For example, I want everything engaged and working for me when I come around a bend at 35 mph and hit a shaded spot with a residual patch of icy snow pack.

When I was looking/deciding, I Googled "best car snow" and got evenly mixed hits on the Audi and the Subaru. The Audis are beautiful cars as well, but reliabiity is comparably low and maintenance is comparably very high.

Another clincher for me was the "Best Resale" award, about 41% compared to about 21% for the competing vehicle which, in the end, will easily made up the price difference; I may pay a few grand more now but should get it back, and more, at resale/trade-in time.

But Subaru must address these common problems, and fast. They cannot expexct to maintain "Most Reliable" with roughly 1/3 of Legacy/OB units coming out of the factory with wheel shimmy problems. See the poll results in the wheel shake threads.
 

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burnedhog said:
.... The Audis are beautiful cars as well, but reliabiity is comparably low and maintenance is comparably very high.

Another clincher for me was the "Best Resale" award, about 41% compared to about 21% for the competing vehicle which, in the end, will easily made up the price difference.....
Those same things are steering my away from the Q5 to the OB
The Q5 is close to 50 grand - and it's beautiful, has all the toys and gets great reviews - but the reliability and maintenance costs are in question
 

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mdsubaru said:


Those same things are steering my away from the Q5 to the OB
The Q5 is close to 50 grand - and it's beautiful, has all the toys and gets great reviews - but the reliability and maintenance costs are in question
My mechanic has a black Q5, so maintenance is almost a non-issue for him. He loves it...but says the Outback will likely be much easier on the wallet for most people, and likely have fewer problems over the long haul.
 

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:7: Kudos to your research. Also, my wife will be pleased to know that she is not the only one being driven to distraction over our next vehicle purchase. I have shopped and researched several cars as an alternate to the Outback. Namely, the Venza (which I discounted almost immediately) and the Crosstour (which still gives me pause).

The problems that you have mentioned with the Outback, I have also struggled with. I found it difficult to understand how such a well-rated vehicle would have a shimmy, blemishing their reputation. How this wasn't detected and dealt with before the production phase surprises me. Other issues, such as water leakage and problems with the radio, seem to be more rare and so, more easily discounted. It is somewhat surprising that the Outback would not have folding mirrors. I am sure that most folks have guessed that the next model year will have them, due to the negative reaction. Also, with Subaru being such a safety-minded company, they would be well-advised to put repeater signal lights in the mirrors as well. For some time now (months), I have been beating myself over back-up sensors, which I believe have saved me in the past and by the looks of a lot of cars that I have seen on the highways, would have saved a lot of other folks.

Now for the good stuff. We really like the car from stem to stern. We find it very attractive and not having owned a Subaru before, we are of the more recent that find the new design more pleasing than the old. So, what are we prepared to order? The 4 cylinder seems to be a little underpowered and my guess is that most folks that head in that direction do so for the superior fuel mileage. However, I am definitely not a fan of the CVT transmission; especially in combination with an under-powered engine. Therefore, the 3.6R Limited with navigation, rear view mirror with home link; mudflaps; floor mats; rear bumper guard and hitch; blue or gold in color (the last decision to be made) with ivory interior. The ivory interior is a must. Any comments? Bernie
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Google is a wonderful research tool.

Despite valid reports by a minority of owners of persisiting wheel shake shimmy or vibration problems, the 2010 Outback is still the best choice out there.

To be fair these problems should be viewed on balance with the great reviews by automotive road test journalist world-wide, plus, by the top ratings of agencies that gauge resale, reliability and safety based on in-depth analysis and testing, plus, the reports by great majority of satisfied owners.

In addition, Subaru has demonstrated responsive Customer Care by acknowledging and fixing the hesitation, cold start problems and base model seat looseness with TSB (Technical Service Bulletins) "Countermeasures."

And the most recent reports indicate that Subaru has fully acknowledged the wheel shake shimmy vibration problem, but has not yet devolped a fix.

However, in lieu of a fix, there are reports that Subaru has offered to buy back or exchange units with the problem.

Therefore, though the majority of units are trouble free, it is still a roll of the dice whether you will get a unit with the problem. However, most important, it appears that Subaru is standing behind their side of the bargain and, if all else fails, will buy back or exchange the defective unit for a good one.

UYp to thius point we have only seen a couple of reports of Subaru offers of the buy back/exchange. In the near futire I believe that a couple owners may accept this offer. Then we shall see if Subaru actually honors this offer.

If so, it will take some of the risk out of the "roll of the dice."

There is no doubt that Subaru has the best AWD machine out there for the money - if you do not get one that has the wheel shake shimmy vibration problem. If you do then it appears that in the end Subaru will "make you whole."
 

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:eek:
I think the situation begs two questions..1. Is the shimmy problem in one model more than the other 2. WHY HAS SUBARU NOT FIXED THE PROBLEM BY NOW?????????

Bernie:8:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
berniemason said:
:eek:
I think the situation begs two questions..1. Is the shimmy problem in one model more than the other 2. WHY HAS SUBARU NOT FIXED THE PROBLEM BY NOW?????????

Bernie:8:
The wheel shake shimmy vibration has been reported in some units accross all of the model lines of the 2010 Outback and the Legacy sedan, both which share the same basic platform.

My speculation is that in view of Subaru's acknowledgement of this problem and the other problems but comparatively faster fix of the other problems, Subarus is "on the case" but is finding that the wheel shake shimmy vibration problem is more difficult to diagnose/pin point and to fix than the other problems that may have been easier to replicate, diagnose and fix.

If you are hesitant to "roll the dice," your dealer may be willing to include a "Gratis" Gold Plus Subaru extended warranty.
 

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That is one comprehensive post--thank you, burnedhog. Information to the extent you've provided here makes me that much more pleased I bought the OB and I appreciate that. I'll admit once I read Motor Trend's report and drove the vehicle I knew the OB was it for me--but you have really done your homework--kudos to you.

I really hope SOA can somehow bring the level of satisfaction I'm experiencing to those of you who currently have the steering shake issue--I sincerely do. :)
 

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bfogg said:
That is one comprehensive post--thank you, burnedhog. Information to the extent you've provided here makes me that much more pleased I bought the OB and I appreciate that. I'll admit once I read Motor Trend's report and drove the vehicle I knew the OB was it for me--but you have really done your homework--kudos to you.

I really hope SOA can somehow bring the level of satisfaction I'm experiencing to those of you who currently have the steering shake issue--I sincerely do. :)
Thanks a lot. But the real credit goes to Google. I just cut/pasted the links from Google searches.

Since 1/2010, as a far as I can tell from reports in here, there has been only one report of a shaker. Subaur issued this new shaker as a replacement for an original shaker. This new one shakes at 70 + mph, instead of 60 + mph.

In view of the large majority of great reports plus, the fact that SOA is now replacing or buying back irrepairable shakers, I am proceeding with my order.

But I'd never recommend a car purchase, a lawyer or a doctor to anyone!
 
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