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2010 Outback 2.5i Premium
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When my wife and I traded in our 97 Corolla for a 2010 Outback last month, the "runner-up" car was a Toyota Prius. Salesmen looked at us like we had three heads when we told them the range of cars we were considering. In the end, we went with the Outback because it was the car that would let us remain a one-car-family for the longest of those we were considering.

That said, I still like making a game of bleeding as much mileage from the Outback that I can. I'm finding that just having the on-board MPG display has been the biggest bonus for me. It has made my lead foot a thing of the past (at least so far), which isn't just making me greener, it's making me safer. As for the +/- gauge, at first I hated that little bugger until I started to play it like a video game. Getting "Max +" was easy when I left the lot because the average fuel economy was low. But every time I increase the average, it gets harder to drive consistently with a +. Combine the MPG awareness with the paddle shifters and I'm using my brakes a whole lot less than I typically do too. Last week my wife asked, "Do you ever intend on using the brakes on this car or what?"

My results thus far have not been great - or even good (22MPG), but I'm just learning the car, I'm still in engine break-in, it has been very cold, and we have drive mostly short stop-and-go city trips. Also, when my wife drives, she doesn't play my game... I'm working on it. I'm considering a couple of mods to help with the cold (Partial grille block, Engine block heater), but will likely wait to see exactly how much my mileage improves with warm weather and may institute them NEXT winter.

So how about it? Tips and tricks? Seems funny to talk about with a car like the outback where owners are probably more apt to talk about taking it off road and that has plenty of discussions here. But we all drive on pavement most of the time, I'm sure. :)
 

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2010 Outbook Limited 3.6 Silver Steel, XM
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I have found that I can learn more economical driving habits by glancing at the gage--Accelerating gradually, slowing down using the paddles and anticipating traffic so I can slow down or speed up at an economical pace..I first thought the gage was useless but now I like it. If only I can stop myself from feeling the power of the 3.6 on occasion I could get great mileage. :D
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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One tip with the new cars is to coast as much as you can. With the last few years of subies, when the car is coasting, they actually turn off the fuel to the engine and let the inertia of the car through the tranie keep the engine turning and run the electronics so that when you hit the car it restarts instantly.

Practical upshot, if you are coasting, you are using no fuel at all.

Also don't give into when people say to put the car in neutral when you go down a hill. Besides the fact that it is illegal and dangerous, it is because of the above reason, a car in neutral will use gas where as a coasting car will not. My car gets about 85 MPG down a hill in neutral, but I max out the gage at 99.9 coasting down in gear.

My part of the country is really hilly, so it is not a place to get good mileage, but I've managed to average 30-32 on flatter freeways on some of my trips.
 

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I have found on flat sections of hwy the mpgs are incredible, unfortunantly it is hilly where I do most of my driving. It drives my wife nuts that I leave the gauge on mpgs and not temp, and I'm constantly trying to find the sweet spot. Missing red lights seems to help the most, and when you run errands put as many together as you can, start the furthest away so the engine gets good and warmed up and work your way back towards the house.
 

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2010 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium
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Coast, coast, coast when you can. Startiger said it all. The Subie OB/Legacy have aggressive fuel shut off, so use it to your advantage. I'm converted from my old habit on other cars (without fuel shut off) of going neutral. I once almost hosed myself forgetting to put back in drive when I needed a quick acceleration.

I didn't like the fuel shut off at first, until I realized what it was doing. After some experience, I can use it very nicely without disrupting the feel of the drive to my passengers.

Use the "instantaneous" MPG to learn what the car is doing. After a while of that, you can then use the eco gauge.

I didn't like the idea of the eco gauge at first. I wanted my temp gauge. Instead, I've grown fond of the blue "cold" light and the eco combination. Speaking of cold, when the car is cold, baby the daylights out of it.

Now about that eco gauge. It gives you a reading of how you are doing in relationship to average for the trip odo selected. I leave my "B" trip on long term, and my "A" trip on per tank of gas. The eco (and the average MPG on the display) respond to the trip you've chosen. You can use this to your advantage.

I drive a 2010 Legacy with 60/40 hwy/city driving, so my MPG are probably a bit better than the OB. After 1100 miles, I'm averaging long term (per display) about 27. My current tank is 28.5, so I'm learning some tricks. I'm trying to move the long term number up. :)
 

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Outback 2010 2.5 Ltd
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DVDerek,

I also wanted to buy Prius 2010, but wife liked Outback (more space with kids and dogs). I did not mind as it was supposed to have superior fuel economy for its size, but first 1000 miles I am frustrated so far at the mileage I get (22mpg in mixed driving, outer burbs of DC). I am "hypermiling", coasting, last from traffic light, pumped tires to 38mpg, but still have no success.
With previous cars I had no trouble beating Consumer Reports or revised EPA estimates by several mpg, and I did not have to be the last off the traffic light, just in the middle pf the pack. Now I accelerate with speed of bicycle rider (keeping tach under 2000, 2500 on a hill) and still get worse mileage than others or Consumer reports/EPA 243/25mpg. And I am not even driving to the city.

I hope it is just cold weather or engine break in, for now either hypermiling or pumping tires over suggested pressure did not help.
 

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i-Auto. 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i CVT Premium, Cypress Green
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548 Posts
vshun--Do you have the 4 or 6 cyl. Cold weather and cold weather gasoline mixtures are killers on mpg. Different routes I drive can really turn up different mpg figures just due to the cold. I do rural driving only, no city, no cold engine shut offs and no stop and go. But -10F temps this last week(tank of gas) chopped off another 3 mpg on my 4 cyl. (It averaged 20 mpg for a 300 mile tank, lowest I've gotten in 33K miles).
 

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2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium MT6
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I guess I am the very definition of a hyper-miler. I'm the guy who coasts at 25 mph to a redlight with two huge SUV's humping my backside like the light is green or something.

I previously have owned a Jeep Wrangler, Honda Civic and Geo Prism(My MPG Champ - about 44 on a good trip). Once you start looking at size and utility, the new 2010 OB 2.5i 6MT is the best MPG vehicle, again, at least pound for pound.

I have left the 'A' trip meter adding up since I left the lot showing 2 miles on the odometer. Now some 4,000+ miles later, my overall 'A' trip meter is showing 30.9. While I do make a lot of road trips/freeway driving, I'm still obviously very happy about that number. Some things I've noted(and tried) as I've played the 'hypermiler' game:

Things that have effected mileage(in order of most/least effective):

**Driving speed. Seems to be by far the most important factor. Sitting in 4th gear at about 35-40 MPH, I've been able to achieve about 35 MPG continuously. That seems to be about the most optimal gear/speed. Once you climb to 5th, at about 47-50 MPH, again it's close to 35 MPG's. Obviously this isn't practical though as most highways are 55-70 MPH zones. I've written a few other posts detailing my MPG's at given speed/RPM's(in 6th gear), but here's a quick rundown:

55 MPH: RPM less then 2000, MPG's hover between 33.0 and 33.6
60 MPH: RPM about 2150, MPG's about 32.7
65 MPH: RPM about 2500, MPG's clock in at 31.8
70 MPH: RPM about 2800, MPG's around 27

Clearly, just by driving about 60 most of the time, you can improve your fuel economy in the 2.5i OB 6MT by about 20%. I'd say that's pretty signifigant.

**Tire pressure. Coming out of the dealer lot at 32/32(front/rear), I've bumped it to 38/36. Fuel economy seemed to rise about 1 MPG. The ride is a little stiffer, but it still feels comfortable enough and the traction actually feels sharper to me. I may try 40/38 but I wouldn't exceed 45 Psi though under any circumstances.

**Wind. Not something you can control, but wind can have a VERY strong effect on your MPG's. One trip I make is a loop(half South, half North) and during one trip I made 30.0 MPG's south(headwind) and 36.6 heading North. I suppose it evens out.

**Oil changes. While I need to get a larger sample size, my initial results from before/after my first oil change show about a 0.6-0.9 MPG increase in highway driving. I am hopeful synthetic oil shows another small increase(or else I won't use it!)

*Summer gas/driving. I am hopeful summer weather and gas shows an increase in MPG's as well. I don't know for sure about fuel changes, but I am certain just starting/running the Outback in warmer weather will increase the MPG's. Less rain/water on the road, warmer engine temps and shorter 'warm-up' periods, etc. all should net some amount of MPG increase.


Things that don't work:


**Fuel additives. None of them work. End of discussion lol.

**Gas type/brand. No real difference between 87 octane and 92 octane. Even tried different gas companies, for the most part, there seems to be a negligible difference.


I'm still looking for a more accurate picture of the fuel economy difference between the 2.5i 6MT and the 2.5i CVT. EPA ratings show a fairly commanding margin for the CVT, but at least from what I have seen on these forums, it's pretty inconclusive at this point. I need to do testing(and need both 2.5i CVT and 2.5i 6MT owners) to report their findings at given speeds.

Happy hypermiling!

-Will
 

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2010 Outback,2.5i Premium w/ CVT
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I'm pretty happy

I've had mine (premium 2.5 w/ CVT) since mid August and have about 4,800 mile on it now.

I'm in the SF Bay Area (at about sea level). Overall, I'd roughly say my driving so far is maybe 50/50 hwy/city with maybe 10 % of my local driving on more than gentle inclines. I'm pretty much an "old man" when I drive (yes, my wife sometimes complains), and try to coast when I can, although I'm not obsessive about hyper-miling. So far, from day 1, the on-board computer shows an average of 25.8 mpg. I'm pretty happy with that.

We have done only one longer roadtrip of about 550 miles or so (when the car had less than 1,000 miles on it) and averaged just over 30 mpg per the computer (San Rafael up HWY 5 to Redding, then east to Fall River Mills, and back). I think the elevation gets up to close to 4,000 feet between Redding and Fall River (which is at about 3K ft.). Open freeway speed was between 70 and about 75 mph.

Under pretty much ideal conditions, with a loaded vehicle on level highway, at about 65 to 70 mph, the computer shows I'm getting about 32 to 33 mpg.
I'd say that's pretty good. I've spot checked, and it seems like the onboard computer exaggerates the true mileage by about 1 mpg or so.

I hope this is useful info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Great info everyone. Is the fuel shutoff what I'm noticing (in the CVT, anyway) when I decelerate from about 30 down to the mid to low 20s? The car slows noticeably (almost jarringly), and the eco gauges go "Max +/99" on me. It's taken a while to get used to that bit, but like everyone has said, I've just learned to embrace it. That said, it's annoying as all get out when I'm in city traffic traveling between 20-30 MPH and it keeps doing that. I've learned, in those situations, to just keep a very light feather touch on the accelerator to prevent the behavior.

Silentthundr, you note that gas type seems to have a negligible affect on your mileage. What about ethanol content? Any experience with gas with varying levels of ethanol?
 

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2010 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium
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DVDerek said:
Great info everyone. Is the fuel shutoff what I'm noticing (in the CVT, anyway) when I decelerate from about 30 down to the mid to low 20s? The car slows noticeably (almost jarringly), and the eco gauges go "Max +/99" on me. It's taken a while to get used to that bit, but like everyone has said, I've just learned to embrace it. That said, it's annoying as all get out when I'm in city traffic traveling between 20-30 MPH and it keeps doing that. I've learned, in those situations, to just keep a very light feather touch on the accelerator to prevent the behavior.

Silentthundr, you note that gas type seems to have a negligible affect on your mileage. What about ethanol content? Any experience with gas with varying levels of ethanol?
That's it! That's the fuel shut. And your feathering technique is one way to limit it.
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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WXray, yup, that is fuel shut off combined with the "gear" you are in at the time.

The fuel shut off is actually done at any speed when the car is coasting. At a higher speed and higher gear, the effect is not as noticeable. However, when you are going slower in a lower gear (or at a lower gear ratio with a CVT), the drag that the engine puts on the car to keep it turning is more noticeable.

Let me add one exception to the rule I posted before. I don't think that the automatic fuel shut off is done below about 15-20 mph. This slow the engine may have too much drag to keep the car moving. Using the fuel shutoff would stall the engine.

I'm not sure where the exact cutoff speed is though.
 

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2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium MT6
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I've tried about 6-7 different gas types and octanes since I've had my new OB. I've done cheap Costco gas, 76, Chevron(max octane), etc. and all of these yielded very similar results as far as MPG's. Also *every* gas station I have used has had the '10% ethanol' sign posted. Perhaps this is universal, I don't know. I do know that many people who are reporting lower mileage aren't in anything close to our climate here. We've had highs most this winter in the mid to upper 50s and lows around 45. It's been very mild which has to have a good effect on mileage since the air temperature is warmer and 'works' better for a combustable engine.

I've been getting about 520-550 miles/tank and filling about 17 gallons. My 'best trip' was round trip from Seattle to Portland and some other highway miles mixed in. When I went to fill up, the meter said I had 60 miles left and had driven over 560, so theoretically, 600+ miles per tank is possible under optimal conditions. At one point, on the trip to Portland, I had cruised 90+ miles at almost 38 MPG's. I really find the 6th gear of the new OB manual to be exceptionally effecient.
 

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2010 Outback 3.6 Limited
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I honestly don't worry about MPG that much. I know people that brag (or complain) about gas while holding a $4 cup of Starbucks they get every morning.
 

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I owned a Prius for 2 years from 04 to 06 and that, as with others who posted similar experiences here, taught me some of the same tricks. My mileage is sitting at 26.2 now, on winter fuel and driving about 70% in town. Last Fall during break-in, on summer gas and doing 70% highway, I was getting 27.5.

Credit first goes to the CVT and a light foot. I'm glad Subaru finally put a decent tranny in this car, and the CVT is the easiest to manipulate for mileage. The eco gauge is great for this. And the CVT's top ratio is so high, I love it. It runs 75 MPH at barely 2200 RPM and uphill it only jumps to about 2800 RPM or so unless you stomp on it. 65 MPH is like 1800 RPM. Awesome. It beats the daylights out of the 6 speed IMO.

Paddle shifters or neutral are a 'no' for mileage. These defeat fuel shutoff, and besides the throttle is by-wire so you can't really use low RPM/WOT techniques to keep it in a high 'gear' and minimize pumping losses like in other cars.

Credit also goes to that fuel shutoff. Yes, you can feel it. Let up on the pedal at speeds over about 40 MPH and (count of one-count of two) the engine braking begins. It's pretty obvious and the 2 second delay is predictable. Once you get a feel for it, you can use it to slow the car without brakes as has been described. Like in a Prius, maximizing time spent coasting and using zero fuel can become a little addictive. And it has very obvious and measurable results.

Seriously, 26-27 MPG in mixed driving in an AWD car this size? You gotta like that.

Fuel: Don't use high octane fuel. It contains less energy (BTUs) per measure and is wasted on this car, as the computer is not mapped for it. You'll get the same or more likely worse mileage. Use a quality fuel that meets Top Tier standards from a reputable station, and select 87 octane at regular altitude or 85 octane at high altitude.
 

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