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'18 2.5 Outback LTD, Magnetite Grey; '11 Outback 2.5i LTD; '06 Outback LTD, MT; '02 Legacy GT wagon, MT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am considering buying my 4th Subaru and can't decide between a '14 Ltd and a '15. My current car is an '11 Ltd, which I have been very happy with. I've test driven a '14, which had noticeably more power and I loved how its ride was significantly more firm than on my '11. I've also driven a couple new 5th Gen, which are nice as well. My question is - I can get a '14 Outback for low $20's, and would have to pay $5-$6000 more for a '15 with slightly more miles. Is it worth it? I have read and heard about the 4th gen and wheel shake, but my car is totally smooth. Did they work that out with most '14's? Do a lot of the Gen 5's have that wind noise? I'd love to hear your opinions. Thanks!
Lisa :smile2:
 

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2012 Outback Ltd 3.6r
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From what I understand reading the posts for the 5th Gen, the early ones had some wind-noise issues with the molding around the front 'vent' or triangle glass, which there is a fix for. (Presumably they all should have been fixed). I would also double check the roof rack, as I've seen one or two, where the gasket is warped, both were 15s.

Of course the interior is more upscale on the 15s, with more soft-touch, and a much more modern head-unit in any trim than the 4th Gen. The 5th Gen are a bit larger, and sit a bit higher....they raised the roof & seat position. One exception is the under cargo area storage, which shrunk in '15, it's now very shallow and doesn't hold as much as the 4th Gen. (Subaru, put the tire changing gear back into spare tire insert, and give us back the deeper storage space!)

On the road, they're pretty similar, although the 15 feels a bit more planted stock, with no modifications, with maybe a firmer ride than a 13/14. (10-12 had the softest suspension, they increased the spring/shock rates in 13, and then re-tuned in 15 again for the 5th gen. The 15s might be a bit quieter, I had limited seat time, and they were close. - But I'm comparing to a 3.6R, which does't make as much engine noise driving as the 2.5, so to my ears they were comparable. The 15 has a bit less road noise, but that could also be the tires. (I changed my tires in Dec of last year, and it made a profound difference). I've done the bigger swaybar and strut brace, which makes the 4th feel every bit as confident as the 5th Gen.

The engine/trans are the big changes. The FB25 went through some changes for the 15 MY, and it gained a couple of horses/tq over 13/14. Some 13/14 suffer from oil consumption issues, which don't appear to plague the 15+ models. The CVT was also reworked and mimics a traditional trans in all but WOT conditions, making far less engine noise accelerating, and a quieter interior during such maneuvers. For '15 even the 3.6R gets a CVT, the High-Torque version from the Forester XT. - Keep in mind there's the CVT extended warranty or campaign on the CVT through 15, if I was looking at a 5th Gen, I'd consider a '16, knowing it shouldn't be affected....and most likely has any other quirks introduced in '15 corrected.

I actually like my '12, as well as the design of the dash in the 4th Gen....maybe I'm an oddball, but I LIKE the faux brushed aluminum on the center console of the dash, with the vents flanking the head unit. My perfect Outback would be to transplant the electronics from a '17 into my '12....I also like the 3.6R/5-Speed combo, it's been used in much larger vehicles, so it should propel a 3600lbs Outback around as long as I keep her. (Same trans was in the Tribecca & used by Nissan/Infiniti in the Armada/QX80, shame it's dead as of '15 in the Outback).

I feel for your discussion, as I went through something very similar. For me it came down to, hey, it's better equipped and a bit less money, and really fast! - My wife wanted me to buy the '12 because it had navigation, which I've never had before.
 

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'18 2.5 Outback LTD, Magnetite Grey; '11 Outback 2.5i LTD; '06 Outback LTD, MT; '02 Legacy GT wagon, MT
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much, this is really helpful, CD. That's great you updated your suspension to help with the softness of your '12 - Honestly, coming off of Audi's, a GT Wagon, then an '06 Outback, though at first my '11 felt almost like an American car soft, I grew accustomed to it and almost like it now! ;) That said, I was hit from behind, suffered $5000 of quarter panel and bumper damage, and as much as it sucks, that car is now damaged to me, even when it's fixed, so I'm looking elsewhere. I was really impressed by the '14 Ltd I drove a while back - seemed to handle so much tighter than mine, and have much better acceleration.

That's interesting to learn that the engine and tranny were upgraded in the '15's? By FB25 do you mean 2.5?

That's also good advice to consider a '16, which might have the bugs from '15 worked out. So, still on the fence, but between a '14 and a '16! Funny, I used to not be super fond of the Gen 4's, until I owned one - and now I really like them!
 

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That's also good advice to consider a '16, which might have the bugs from '15 worked out. So, still on the fence, but between a '14 and a '16! Funny, I used to not be super fond of the Gen 4's, until I owned one - and now I really like them!
the recent 100,000 mile CVT warranty extension is for 2010-2015 ....like the 15 outbacks despite being a newer body, got the last of the older type.

and I would not toss a 13-14 car out the window, ...especially those with replaced / fixed FB25B on their lists.

____

that said, leftover 2017s new are still poking around, with financing to get rid of them,....there are also those service loaner cars that the dealers have that are almost new.

in 2002 I bought my H6 car with 15,000 miles on it, 9 months old off the assembly line, (corp. demo...probably the grumpy person that goes around to complain about the coffee machines at the dealers to rack up so many miles, the other ones they had were lesser models with only 5-6,000 on them
,...stickered for $34000, and I paid $27500. ...the dealer owners wife wanted to keep it for her own).
 
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Cyberdog, great information on the changes throughout the years, I too enjoy my '12 3.6r, hope to keep for quite sometime, currently 108K with no issue other than routine maintenance, still original break pads! I would like to know how the 5th Gen 3.6r are fairing with the CVT tranny, a little skeptical of this combo, any insight? I do have oil consumption (1quart/3000mi), wondering if this will ultimately cause engine issues, but so far so good. I would pull the trigger on the 5th Gen. if looking for a new vehicle, but would need to do some research on longevity of the CVT, preference is the 5EAT tranny.

VAGator
 

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If you are going with a 3.6 I would go with the 2014. I bought a 2014 instead of new because I just don't thing a CVT would do it for me and do question the reliability of the CVT. I am also getting much better gas mileage than it is rated for...25MPG Hiway. I usually get 27-28 cruising 70 or so. The happy meter is always around 1.5 MPG higher than averarge and have had it reading close to 30 before! I've almost put 10,000 miles on my 2014 and couldn't be happier!(knock on wood!)
 

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Cyberdog did a really good job of explaining the differences, I bought 2 each of 2014 outback limited around model end and got great deals on both. Mine has since been heavy damaged with hail, my wife's is still very much like new. I never tested a 2015, but recently tested a 2017 3.6 R and was pretty impressed with how nice the new 17's are compared to our 14's. I am trying to decide on which car to trade or sell to get a new 2018, my car is a commuter so I would put lots of miles on it and my wife's is just a weekend car, so low mileage rack up. I am leaning toward the wife's as no sense in spending a lot for a car that will be used up much quicker. Sorry I digress.

Have you test driven any cars yet? That really would be the best way to decide what you would want. There are pro's and cons to both cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cyberdog did a really good job of explaining the differences, I bought 2 each of 2014 outback limited around model end and got great deals on both. Mine has since been heavy damaged with hail, my wife's is still very much like new. I never tested a 2015, but recently tested a 2017 3.6 R and was pretty impressed with how nice the new 17's are compared to our 14's. I am trying to decide on which car to trade or sell to get a new 2018, my car is a commuter so I would put lots of miles on it and my wife's is just a weekend car, so low mileage rack up. I am leaning toward the wife's as no sense in spending a lot for a car that will be used up much quicker. Sorry I digress.

Have you test driven any cars yet? That really would be the best way to decide what you would want. There are pro's and cons to both cars.

Yes, I've driven them both and like them both, really!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
and I would not toss a 13-14 car out the window, ...especially those with replaced / fixed FB25B on their lists.
What's the FB25B?
 

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I did many months of research before pulling the trigger on our 2013 3.6R in November 2015. It had 25,500 miles and a good routine service history at purchase and now has 36,700 miles. Plenty of power and capability to do what we need to do with it in all four seasons of the year, and nothing but routine DIY maintenance required from me thus far (along with a new set of General Altimax RT43 tires last December to replace the relatively mediocre Continental factory-installed tires).

I still believe this strong and proven drivetrain (3.6R with the 5EAT transmission) is the best way to mitigate risk and ensure long-term affordable service from the Outback product line. As additional inexpensive insurance against premature transmission failure, I do an ATF drain-and-fill every 30,000 miles. Well worth the $35 spent on Subaru ATF and an extra 20 minutes underneath the vehicle it costs me.
 

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What's the FB25B?
FB25B = the 2.5 engine used in current subarus. (in US spec 2013 and newer outbacks/ legacy, and 12 and newer foresters.)

noticeably it has the oil filter (blue) on top,...and makes it easy to tell the types apart from one another.
(it is DOHC, notably here with its double high timing chain metal cover)



the older engine was the EJ253,...same engine size / similar performance, but vastly different in the parts that make it up.
(subaru still uses a EJ type engine in the WRX STI,...27 years after the first ones appeared in the original 1990 era legacy).

here is a 2010 era EJ253 (blue filter on the bottom),
(it is SOHC, notably here with its simpler single row across then the DOHC above,...it has a timing belt and part of the plastic cover is removed).
 
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Oh nice, I didn't realize they redesigned the 2.5... Was this due to all the head gasket problems on older models?

FB25B = the 2.5 engine used in current subarus. (in US spec 2013 and newer outbacks/ legacy, and 12 and newer foresters.)

noticeably it has the oil filter (blue) on top,...and makes it easy to tell the types apart from one another.
(it is DOHC, notably here with its double high timing chain metal cover)



the older engine was the EJ253,...same engine size / similar performance, but vastly different in the parts that make it up.
(subaru still uses a EJ type engine in the WRX STI,...27 years after the first ones appeared in the original 1990 era legacy).

here is a 2010 era EJ253 (blue filter on the bottom),
(it is SOHC, notably here with its simpler single row across then the DOHC above,...it has a timing belt and part of the plastic cover is removed).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Do "all" 2015's have issues w/wind noise? Do the 16's and 17's? I was concerned about wheel shake with my '11, but my car is super smooth.

FB25B is the current 4cyl engine. I would go with the 2014...lots of wind noise complaints on the 2015.
 

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2010-12 EJ253 came with MLS head gaskets and rarely have problems on this board with head gaskets, ...some pop up though.

you can dig up old articles about the FB25B development and see all the changes, and why. ...but like 22 years of EJ seems like a long long time for any engine type.

and 2015s had some wind noise fix to the mirrors. (huge long long long thread on the subject).
 
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Anyone have any insight on the 5th gen 3.6r outbacks, i heard the CVT is larger in this version, but still have reservations with this marriage vs. the 5EAT?

Thanks,
VAGator
 

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From what I understand reading the posts for the 5th Gen, the early ones had some wind-noise issues with the molding around the front 'vent' or triangle glass, which there is a fix for. (Presumably they all should have been fixed). I would also double check the roof rack, as I've seen one or two, where the gasket is warped, both were 15s.

Of course the interior is more upscale on the 15s, with more soft-touch, and a much more modern head-unit in any trim than the 4th Gen. The 5th Gen are a bit larger, and sit a bit higher....they raised the roof & seat position. One exception is the under cargo area storage, which shrunk in '15, it's now very shallow and doesn't hold as much as the 4th Gen. (Subaru, put the tire changing gear back into spare tire insert, and give us back the deeper storage space!)

On the road, they're pretty similar, although the 15 feels a bit more planted stock, with no modifications, with maybe a firmer ride than a 13/14. (10-12 had the softest suspension, they increased the spring/shock rates in 13, and then re-tuned in 15 again for the 5th gen. The 15s might be a bit quieter, I had limited seat time, and they were close. - But I'm comparing to a 3.6R, which does't make as much engine noise driving as the 2.5, so to my ears they were comparable. The 15 has a bit less road noise, but that could also be the tires. (I changed my tires in Dec of last year, and it made a profound difference). I've done the bigger swaybar and strut brace, which makes the 4th feel every bit as confident as the 5th Gen.

The engine/trans are the big changes. The FB25 went through some changes for the 15 MY, and it gained a couple of horses/tq over 13/14. Some 13/14 suffer from oil consumption issues, which don't appear to plague the 15+ models. The CVT was also reworked and mimics a traditional trans in all but WOT conditions, making far less engine noise accelerating, and a quieter interior during such maneuvers. For '15 even the 3.6R gets a CVT, the High-Torque version from the Forester XT. - Keep in mind there's the CVT extended warranty or campaign on the CVT through 15, if I was looking at a 5th Gen, I'd consider a '16, knowing it shouldn't be affected....and most likely has any other quirks introduced in '15 corrected.

I actually like my '12, as well as the design of the dash in the 4th Gen....maybe I'm an oddball, but I LIKE the faux brushed aluminum on the center console of the dash, with the vents flanking the head unit. My perfect Outback would be to transplant the electronics from a '17 into my '12....I also like the 3.6R/5-Speed combo, it's been used in much larger vehicles, so it should propel a 3600lbs Outback around as long as I keep her. (Same trans was in the Tribecca & used by Nissan/Infiniti in the Armada/QX80, shame it's dead as of '15 in the Outback).

I feel for your discussion, as I went through something very similar. For me it came down to, hey, it's better equipped and a bit less money, and really fast! - My wife wanted me to buy the '12 because it had navigation, which I've never had before.
Could you share the part number of the strut brace? And pictures?

Thanks
 

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2012 Outback Ltd 3.6r
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The brace I installed was part number E4010AJ002, the STi Flexible Strut Tower Brace. I lucked into a sale, price error, or who knows on Amazon one night that I couldn't pass up. Paid $82.28, delivered to my door, brand new, still in the original sealed Subaru box. - They usually sell for around $300.

Will snap a picture or two when I can...right after I detail the engine compartment! :)
 

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Anyone have any insight on the 5th gen 3.6r outbacks, i heard the CVT is larger in this version, but still have reservations with this marriage vs. the 5EAT?

Thanks,
VAGator
The 3.6R gets the High-Torque unit from the Forester XT, which I believe may also include the Sport and Sport# modes. The one I looked at waiting for my wiper recall to be completed, appeared to have the buttons on the steering wheel for it.....hopefully somebody with a 15+ 3.6R can chime in on whether those modes do exist on the 3.6R. (I didn't sit in it, and was peeking in through the side window as I walked around the lot). Since the weight is fairly close, and the 2.0T makes more torque than the 3.6R, the High-Torque unit shouldn't have any issues coping with the 3.6R's added output.
 

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I went from a 2011 2.5i Premium (Green) to a 2016 2.5i Ltd (Tungsten). I liked both cars, but was interested in the 2016 for a few reasons:

(1) It looks more refined (the 2011 looks a bit blockier and more muscular)
(2) The infotainment is much better (and I have and like the Nav as well)
(3) I was interested in Eyesight (and am still glad that I got it).
(4) I really liked the wheels on the Ltd vs the Premium
(5) I like the keyless start and entry

The 2011 was a good car, though, and I'm sure it would still be running fine if we had kept it. We also liked the 4th gen green better than the 5th gen green (which is why we got Tungsten this time). I suspect that the gas mileage was actually better on the 2011 car, but they are very close (2016 is certainly no better).
 
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