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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Forgive me for doubling up a bit here. I posted this in another 6-speed v. CVT thread, but as time is of the essence and not everyone reads an entire thread thoroughly, and I didn't want to hijack anything, I wanted to post it here too.

We are getting a new 2012 Outback tomorrow. It is our first Subaru and we are terribly excited. My question is this:

**The OB will be used for weekday commutes of about 17 miles each way. On the weekend it will be used for road trips to the Rockies, various campgrounds, to carry bikes and kayaks, and to occasionally pull a Jumping Jack trailer. There will be plenty of dirt roads and hills and long drives. Given this usage, should I look at the CVT or the 6-speed manual? We are getting a 2.5i Premium and we live on Colorado's Front Range between Denver and Colorado Springs. **

I have read opposing viewpoints on the towing, climbing, acceleration, and mileage issues. We love a manual, but not so much that we want to have that little bit of regret when we start trying to pull our Jumping Jack up to the mountains, or when we want to pass on the highway. Can someone with some experience and knowledge give me their thoughts? I am new to most of this and am just now learning about all the technical aspects of transmissions, gear ratios, etc. Consider me a complete novice.

Thanks!
 

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I don't have direct experience with either of these transmissions, but I have been around a while, and do know a bit about their predecessors. My opinion is to go with the CVT.

1) You'll get just as a good a fuel economy (maybe even better).

2) First gear on the manuals is too tall to creep through low speed stuff off road. If you're using the car off road much, the CVT is the only way to go unless you love the smell produced by a slipping clutch.

3) The CVT seems to be robust under towing, but they have been around such a short period of time, its hard to say whether 100k miles of tow will cause issues, but so far they seem to do fine. I've done a lot of towing with my 4 speed auto, and its quite robust

4) The CVT will be much better for commuting, especially if you encounter much stop and go traffic or lights.

5) The CVT has no clutch to wear out.

6) The 6MT restricts you to lower trim levels.

These are my thoughts, and honestly I think there is a certain religious fanaticism among some MT owners. They have the opinion that rowing the gears yourself is the only way to drive a car, so bear that in mind when you're reading comments. I think each different transmission has its own place, and in your case the CVT will serve better.
 

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2012 Outback Premium Ruby Red Pearl 2.5 CVT AWP
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I bought my '12 with the CVT for the MPG's and the fact that it is my DD. I got back recently from a trip to Yosemite, where I towed my Teardrop Trailer (about 450 miles roundtrip). If you have never been there, getting to (and from) Yosemite is not a particularly easy trek - lots of winding, twisty, and steep two lane roads. The CVT performed flawlessly and I was very happy with it's towing performance. I especially found the paddle shifters usefull for the downhill grades.
 

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We did that trip last August only just brought the bikes and stayed in a B&B in Groveland. Even with the daily drive up to the Valley and back we returned a tank average of 31mpg primarily due to the 3rd gear coast all the way down the hill to the B&B every evening.

Hey where did you stay with the Tear Drop? We have a tent trailer and my next trip up there I would like to be in the valley the camping options were tricky though from what I saw during our bike rides through the valley. Did you like your site or spy a site that was in a better spot?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks for the input so far. Rockhopjohn, thanks for being so thorough.

Money is an issue for us and a lot will depend on what we can get for our trade-in. We will not be going any higher than the Premium (I am shooting for the Premium at the moment). We both love to drive a manual, but we are not fanatical about it - I know what you mean about some people being especially pro-manual. There will not be a ton of stop and go traffic, so that will not be an issue.

I suppose I am most interested in being able to:

1) drive in inclement weather (snow, ice, rain, etc.) more comfortably than my Odyssey Touring (shouldn't be hard)

2) tow a small tent-trailer/utility trailer (upwards of 1000-1750 pounds at times) from time to time

3) climb some of these Rocky Mountain passes with and without a small trailer confidently and safely.

4) and trek through the many dirt roads, wet roads, muddy roads, gravel roads, etc. that we often come across in our roadtrips and daytrips around here.

It sounds like a CVT is probably the way to go. Now, can someone give me a thousand dollars? I was kinda hoping the lower priced 6-speed would be the clear winner. LOL!

Any other opinions are welcome. Thanks for your time!
 

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We did that trip last August only just brought the bikes and stayed in a B&B in Groveland. Even with the daily drive up to the Valley and back we returned a tank average of 31mpg primarily due to the 3rd gear coast all the way down the hill to the B&B every evening.

Hey where did you stay with the Tear Drop? We have a tent trailer and my next trip up there I would like to be in the valley the camping options were tricky though from what I saw during our bike rides through the valley. Did you like your site or spy a site that was in a better spot?
We were in North Pines and our campsite was right on the river. The only complaint was not quite enough afternoon shade, but after a long hot hike, it sure felt good to plop the camp chairs in the river, and sit down with an ice cold beer! We did take the time to scout out the other campgrounds and found some really nice sites that I will try for next time, but all in all we generally like North Pines.
Getting Valley camping sites can be a challenge - basically you have to be ready to reserve at EXACTLY 7am (to the second) 5 months to the day before you want to arrive. We had both my wife's and my laptop booted up with our 2 sites chosen and were lucky to get one out of the two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I bought my '12 with the CVT for the MPG's and the fact that it is my DD. I got back recently from a trip to Yosemite, where I towed my Teardrop Trailer (about 450 miles roundtrip). If you have never been there, getting to (and from) Yosemite is not a particularly easy trek - lots of winding, twisty, and steep two lane roads. The CVT performed flawlessly and I was very happy with it's towing performance. I especially found the paddle shifters usefull for the downhill grades.
Great experience. Thanks! Ya, I am familiar with Yosemite. Used to live in central California for about 8 years.

Forgive me ignorance, but can you tell me what DD stands for?

Looking at your description, it looks like I am trying to get the exact same model you have: 2012 Ruby Red 2.5i (and now, CVT probably).

Thanks!
 

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Great experience. Thanks! Ya, I am familiar with Yosemite. Used to live in central California for about 8 years.

Forgive me ignorance, but can you tell me what DD stands for?

Looking at your description, it looks like I am trying to get the exact same model you have: 2012 Ruby Red 2.5i (and now, CVT probably).

Thanks!
DD = Daily Driver
 

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It sounds like a CVT is probably the way to go. Now, can someone give me a thousand dollars? I was kinda hoping the lower priced 6-speed would be the clear winner. LOL!
The deal breakers for me on an MT would be stop and go driving, and the inability to creep through low speed stuff off road. It doesn't sound like either of those are major issues for you.

Since you like driving a manual, and money is a factor, the MT may still be the best choice. The engine braking benefits, and not having to worry about overheating ATF are certainly big pluses for towing.
 

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Forgive me for doubling up a bit here. I posted this in another 6-speed v. CVT thread, but as time is of the essence and not everyone reads an entire thread thoroughly, and I didn't want to hijack anything, I wanted to post it here too.

We are getting a new 2012 Outback tomorrow. It is our first Subaru and we are terribly excited. My question is this:

**The OB will be used for weekday commutes of about 17 miles each way. On the weekend it will be used for road trips to the Rockies, various campgrounds, to carry bikes and kayaks, and to occasionally pull a Jumping Jack trailer. There will be plenty of dirt roads and hills and long drives. Given this usage, should I look at the CVT or the 6-speed manual? We are getting a 2.5i Premium and we live on Colorado's Front Range between Denver and Colorado Springs. **

I have read opposing viewpoints on the towing, climbing, acceleration, and mileage issues. We love a manual, but not so much that we want to have that little bit of regret when we start trying to pull our Jumping Jack up to the mountains, or when we want to pass on the highway. Can someone with some experience and knowledge give me their thoughts? I am new to most of this and am just now learning about all the technical aspects of transmissions, gear ratios, etc. Consider me a complete novice.

Thanks!
For towing and off road and mountain driving the CVT is going to be the best option. I had MT cars for many years and went with the CVT this time due to its ability to have many gear ratios to give the 2.5 plenty of options. 37,000 miles so far towing various trailers - over mountain passes in CA - Oregon - Washington etc with zero issues and very happy with the results. The 1st gear in the 6spd MT is tall pair that with the limited power from the 2.5 and your off road interest gets tempered any time your faced with a decent hill climb. The CVT on the other hand performs very well and gives you full manual control over preset gear ratios which has been nice for down hill speed control and - off road use etc. I also have found that the AT's are more forgiving than MT regarding slick icy road conditions my last subaru was a MT and it could be at times a bit of a hand full on the icy roads given the MT split the front vs back 50/50 which made going down hill a bit of an adventure by loading up the rear wheels enough to break the rear of the car loose vs the AT's in the subarus have a bit more intelligence happening and seem to manage the rear of the car better in this same type of situation.

Overall I miss my very well handling Legacy 5spd MT - but the hauling ability of the OB paired with the CVT's wide range of gear ratios has made the CVT OB a solid performer in the towing and hill climbing department.

I spent over a year shopping our camping rig plan my goal was 1200lbs max empty trailer weight given by the time we were loaded we would be getting up there and we like to travel through very hot and steep places so keeping the weight down makes taking the Outback anywhere in anytemp possible etc. Our tent trailer is the Life Time Tent Trailer / Utility trailer we haul kids bikes - wagons - a boat etc on the trailer with us fantastic trailer super super high quality and it works as a proper utility trailer for dump runs. Lifetime Tent Trailer | PopUp Times
Tent material is super heavy far superior to anything I've seen on the Coleman or other standard tent trailer brands. The trailer is built exceptionally well and can haul stuff! The top deck height is about dead even with the bottom of rear window in the OB so no stuff on the top of the trailer and you almost can't see it. 890lbs empty with the tent on the trailer the trips we have done so far we run about 23-25mpg towing it and you hardly know its back there. Also it has a very high clearance on the trailer making it very capable of doing off road back country trips. Tires are large compared to the normal tent trailer rigs also makes them better performers for long trips and longer lasting etc. Zero complaints about the trailer and really like the size two queen sized beds with nice padding - 4x6 main floor area- the trailer provides great places to hang wet towels outside to dry - and gives you covered space to park things like kids toys when you leave the campsite sort of a out of sight parking garage for your loose junk etc.

Costco sells it and delivers the trailer to your house you do need to assemble it but the instructions and the process are fantastic and easily done. The price can't be beat either when you compare the cost of the used tent trailer junk out there on craigs list etc

The boat hauling options with this trailer are very good check out the pict of the kayaks strapped to the tall side configuration and top of the trailer. This can be done with the tent left in the stowage bag on the floor of the trailer. The super heavy rubber sided canvas tent bag can support having light non poky stuff stacked on it also. So this trailer idea gives you a huge range of toy hauling ability its primary design was for a single ATV riding on the deck above the tent - however we only own boats and lots of kid crap so the trailer provides lots of creative ways to take our crap with us LOL - and have a nice comfy bed to crash in at the end of the day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Subiesailor. Great information. I will check out that tent.

Given what both you and rockhopjohn have said, I am guessing that I would probably be most confident with the CVT. It may not turn out to be necessary, but I really struggle with buyer's remorse at times and I am guessing that I will probably always be wondering if I go with the MT. It would probably be best for my crazy mind to just find a way to get the CVT.

Hmmm....

decisions decisions.
 

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Thanks Subiesailor. Great information. I will check out that tent.

Given what both you and rockhopjohn have said, I am guessing that I would probably be most confident with the CVT. It may not turn out to be necessary, but I really struggle with buyer's remorse at times and I am guessing that I will probably always be wondering if I go with the MT. It would probably be best for my crazy mind to just find a way to get the CVT.

Hmmm....

decisions decisions.
By the way the life Time tent trailer is built in the same shop as the Jumping Jack trailer. The Jumping Jack is set up for two ATV's riding side by side it is 6x8 and 1200lbs cheapest used one I could find was $4000 and the Lifetime Tent trailer is built exactly the same way by the same people with the same tent material etc - only it is 4x6 ie one ATV and I picked ours up new via Costco for $1900 on sale. Ordered on a Thursday and Tuesday the following week the truck dropped it off at our house.

Gives you an idea of the difference between the two. After packing up the trailer and doing a few trips with it and keeping it in our garage I'm really happy I got the smaller 4x6 vs the 6x8 jumping jack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
By the way the life Time tent trailer is built in the same shop as the Jumping Jack trailer. The Jumping Jack is set up for two ATV's riding side by side it is 6x8 and 1200lbs cheapest used one I could find was $4000 and the Lifetime Tent trailer is built exactly the same way by the same people with the same tent material etc - only it is 4x6 ie one ATV and I picked ours up new via Costco for $1900 on sale. Ordered on a Thursday and Tuesday the following week the truck dropped it off at our house.

Gives you an idea of the difference between the two. After packing up the trailer and doing a few trips with it and keeping it in our garage I'm really happy I got the smaller 4x6 vs the 6x8 jumping jack.
LOL! I am coming across the same info as you write this. We are ont he same page.

One thing I will need in a tent trailer is room for four people to sleep and hang out (in the even tof storms, etc.) relatively comfortably. I have been in the jumping jack but not the Lifetime Tent. What are your thoughts on this?
 

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When it comes down to the dealer negotiations on price etc - the MT and the CVT really don't change much. Given your in CO you want the cold weather package either way the Premium model stripped down if you can find one on the lot with no blue tooth etc - then see if you can get the dealer to toss in the bluetooth for free AFTER YOU AGREE ON A PRICE! That is exactly what we did with the Premium Legacy we bought Grandma. Last minute after the price was agreed on - I got them to toss in the $400 bluetooth at no cost. In the end we ended up at $300 below invoice on that deal. Our Outback he sold to us at invoice and split the cost of the trucking fee due to the only Dark Blue one available at the time was 500 miles away and he was able to work a swap with that dealer. The truck ride was $700 for both cars so we paid $350 on the side not part of the car deal he covered the other $350 etc.

I didn't work the last minute toss in a few freebies that time given there were zero 2010 OB's left and the car he traded was his last OB on the lot. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great deal you got there. I should get a pretty good deal. I have a friend at the dealership. Invoice or below will be very likely. It's actually next to impossible to find many Outbacks around here without the All-Weather package. Fair enough, though hundreds of thousands of people around here get by without heated seats, windshield wiper de-icer and heated side-mirrors. We certainly have. Still, $500 for that package is a pretty good deal given that heated seats can cost more than that.

I am so freakin' anxious to get to the dealer tomorrow. LOL!
 

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LOL! I am coming across the same info as you write this. We are ont he same page.

One thing I will need in a tent trailer is room for four people to sleep and hang out (in the even tof storms, etc.) relatively comfortably. I have been in the jumping jack but not the Lifetime Tent. What are your thoughts on this?
Are you familiar with those plastic folding tables everyone has now days about 6ft long? You can set one in the main floor of the Lifetime tent trailer and sit on the sides of the raised beds as a place to eat if you chose to do that - you can sit 4 easily in that set up. I just use that as the example given it gives you a good idea on the spacing. The beds are large and obviously give you that space also. With our 3yr old she actually gets her phil and teds travel bed set up and put on one of the beds - now with two kids we will do two travel bed ideas then the bed area becomes their room in effect with both kids having their own sleeping space etc. So far it has worked very well leaving the main floor as open space for either toys or just putting some gear bags across the front side of the tent on the trailer floor etc.

The 6x8 jumping jack has the same exact layout only its 2ft longer and 2ft wider I don't really know if that would change the comfort level much for getting out of the T-storms for a little bit.

For me space to store the trailer was a bit of a worry and the price difference was pretty BIG a new Jumping Jack is nearly $6000 after taxes and licensing etc and the used one's were right around $4000 so that made the $1900 Lifetime trailer an easy call HA HA
 

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When Grandma goes camping the kids sleep in their travel beds on the far side lined up across the side of one of the beds - and Grandma simply crashes out next to them on the bed. The travel bed idea works great with the kids and keeps them contained and also keeps the bug factor out while they sleep etc. When the kids get bigger we'll do a small cots on the floor of the trailer if we have a grandparent tagging along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
When Grandma goes camping the kids sleep in their travel beds on the far side lined up across the side of one of the beds - and Grandma simply crashes out next to them on the bed. The travel bed idea works great with the kids and keeps them contained and also keeps the bug factor out while they sleep etc. When the kids get bigger we'll do a small cots on the floor of the trailer if we have a grandparent tagging along.
Cool. Thanks. I will have to check that trailer out.
 

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Just to add to the CVT v MT discussion.

I would probably fit the "fanatic" Mt driver. HOWEVER, given the use of my OB and the fact it is my wife's DD, we went with the CVT. The CVT is hands down the best AT I have ever driven. It shifts smooth and delivers all the power the 2.5 can eek out. In the end, when you evaluate what the OB is capable of and how it will be used, I can't see many reasons to get the MT other than cost savings. This is coming from a guy who will only buy a MT for my own DD.

Good luck on your choice.
 
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