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2015 2.5 Limited
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Discussion Starter #1
We have our 2.5 limited on order, no VON yet. I want to make sure I really don't "need" to drop another $2750 on the 3.6.

I've always tried to get the powerful motor in past cars as I'm quite a gearhead. I've had '04 STI (300hp), '12 Shelby GT500 (600+hp) but this car will be my wife's commuter and the family buggy when we travel with the kids. We did test drive the 2.5 and of course to me it's SLOW, but it gets the job done. She wants the high MPG though. We sold a Touareg TDI (406ft/lbs of torque) and trading in her turbo mini cooper S for the outback, I want to make sure we'll be happy with it for next decade.

I guess I could always get a fast car someday... (I drive a gas F250 4x4).
 

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You certainly don't need it. Whether your want it or not is up to you. Based on your history, it doesn't seem to bother you to spend thousands more at purchase time and thousands more over the life of a vehicle to have the ability to accelerate quicker and perhaps operate in a slightly quieter or smoother fashion. I'm enjoying the fact that we can go over 400 miles before filling and then do so for $45 (we traded in an Expedition that, probably like your F250, burned about twice the gas of the 2.5 Outback).
 

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I traded in a 300HP Ford F150 and I'm not missing it one bit. I find the 2.5 to be plenty peppy when needed and when it's not I'm loving the way it sips gas. I'm averaging 28+ MPG on the last three tanks driving in crappy LA traffic (about 80% city). I'm certainly not missing the 10+ MPG that was typical of the Ford with city driving.
 

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Car: 2008 Tribeca, 2010 LGT, Sold: 2005 XT Limited
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I would only get the 3.6L personally.
 

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'02 Bean H6, AWP & ORP, factory hitch
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^^^ +1 I like to remember these 2 anachronisms when purchasing a car:

"Better to have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it."

"There's no replacement for displacement."

Of course the 1st one applies to many situations, not just cars; but being a gearhead like yourself, the 2nd one is gospel when the only choices are NA.

I traded a NA 3.4L 997 4S with 300 hp for my OB a lifetime ago. But there was not a chance in h3ll that I would have gotten the 2.5L.

Just my 2 cents
 

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We have our 2.5 limited on order, no VON yet. I want to make sure I really don't "need" to drop another $2750 on the 3.6.
I don't think anyone can answer that for you. Everyone is going to have their own expectations and "needs". That's why you test drive the vehicle, to see if it meets your "needs" and expectations.
 

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2015 Outback Limited 2.5i
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I don't think anyone can answer that for you. Everyone is going to have their own expectations and "needs". That's why you test drive the vehicle, to see if it meets your "needs" and expectations.
That's really the best advice ^^^^^ but I'll give you mine, too. After 4500 miles, half driven by my wife, half by me, neither of us feel the need for anything beyond the 2.5. We traded her Infiniti G35x, which she drove with a very heavy foot, while my daily driver isn't my 911, I do drive one. I've had to put my foot into the OB more than once, and so far I haven't felt the real need for additional acceleration.
 

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2015 Outback 3.6R
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We're beginning to tackle this decision too.

The apparent fuel savings seems tempting, but we all know the EPA ratings aren't always that accurate in the real word. Motor Trend and IntelliChoice have started testing cars in what they call their Real MPG program in order to get a more realistic idea of real world fuel economy. It seems like a fairly well-conceived testing process so I'm more apt to go with their numbers (you can read the details of the test here: How IntelliChoice Real MPG works).

They've tested the 2015 Outbacks, and for the 2.5 they got 20.5/29.6 (vs EPA 25/33) and for the 3.6 they got 19.2/25.4 (vs EPA 20/27). So in city driving the 2.5 only got a little over a 1 mpg advantage, and on the highway it's about 4 mpg ahead. Given this will be my wife's vehicle and almost all of her driving is in the city, other than an occasional family road trip once or twice a year, we'd only see about an $11-15 a month savings for fuel with the 2.5.

We haven't gotten to test drive either yet, but I'm guessing the 2.5 is a little thirstier than it's EPA ratings because it has to be worked a tad harder to maintain a normal acceleration rate at times (highway ramps, passing, etc). I'd imagine if you baby the 2.5 a little more and are okay with letting it slowly accelerate to keep it in a more efficient range you'd see better numbers, but in Dallas traffic I'd rather her have the extra power to comfortably get around and through it.

Ultimately, once we drive them, if the 2.5 does feel like it needs to be worked a little harder to adequately get up to speed I think I'm good with paying the extra $3K up front for the 3.6 and the extra $11-15 a month on the gas. Over a 10 year period, which is likely how long we'd keep it, it'd cost us roughly $4800 more for the higher purchase price plus the extra gas, but that comes out to only about $40 more a month which seems like it could be worth it for the cushion of a slightly more capable engine. Plus I like the idea that the 3.6 won't have to be worked quite as hard as the 2.5 to get similar results, thereby hopefully slightly reducing wear and tear over it's lifetime.
 

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also, just doing a quick check on Fuelly. The 2.5 is getting 27.5 mpg on average while the 3.6 is getting 23.9 mpg (simple car weighted average, not weighted by total miles driven). So you lose about 13% mpg going from 2.5 to 3.6.
 

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'02 Bean H6, AWP & ORP, factory hitch
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We're beginning to tackle this decision too.

The apparent fuel savings seems tempting, but we all know the EPA ratings aren't always that accurate in the real word. Motor Trend and IntelliChoice have started testing cars in what they call their Real MPG program in order to get a more realistic idea of real world fuel economy. It seems like a fairly well-conceived testing process so I'm more apt to go with their numbers (you can read the details of the test here: How IntelliChoice Real MPG works).

They've tested the 2015 Outbacks, and for the 2.5 they got 20.5/29.6 (vs EPA 25/33) and for the 3.6 they got 19.2/25.4 (vs EPA 20/27). So in city driving the 2.5 only got a little over a 1 mpg advantage, and on the highway it's about 4 mpg ahead. Given this will be my wife's vehicle and almost all of her driving is in the city, other than an occasional family road trip once or twice a year, we'd only see about an $11-15 a month savings for fuel with the 2.5.

We haven't gotten to test drive either yet, but I'm guessing the 2.5 is a little thirstier than it's EPA ratings because it has to be worked a tad harder to maintain a normal acceleration rate at times (highway ramps, passing, etc). I'd imagine if you baby the 2.5 a little more and are okay with letting it slowly accelerate to keep it in a more efficient range you'd see better numbers, but in Dallas traffic I'd rather her have the extra power to comfortably get around and through it.

Ultimately, once we drive them, if the 2.5 does feel like it needs to be worked a little harder to adequately get up to speed I think I'm good with paying the extra $3K up front for the 3.6 and the extra $11-15 a month on the gas. Over a 10 year period, which is likely how long we'd keep it, it'd cost us roughly $4800 more for the higher purchase price plus the extra gas, but that comes out to only about $40 more a month which seems like it could be worth it for the cushion of a slightly more capable engine. Plus I like the idea that the 3.6 won't have to be worked quite as hard as the 2.5 to get similar results, thereby hopefully slightly reducing wear and tear over it's lifetime.
Before you, and anyone on the fence with this dilemma, make a choice, pack the 2.5 with the kiddos and all the luggage and gear you would carry on a typical vacation, and factor that into your decision. Also, if you have something that you tow, (camper, boat, utility trailer, etc.) keep that in mind also. Many on this forum vigorously state that the 2.5 is "adequate" for this task, but ask yourself if "adequate" is satisfactory.
 

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I traded in my truck that had trice the horsepower. I really miss being able to easily pull out into traffic without having someone on my rear bumper. I do like the $300 a month in gas savings with the Subaru though.
 

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'18 Outback Touring Dark Blue Pearl 3.6r
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Before you, and anyone on the fence with this dilemma, make a choice, pack the 2.5 with the kiddos and all the luggage and gear you would carry on a typical vacation, and factor that into your decision. Also, if you have something that you tow, (camper, boat, utility trailer, etc.) keep that in mind also. Many on this forum vigorously state that the 2.5 is "adequate" for this task, but ask yourself if "adequate" is satisfactory.
And turn on the air conditioning. On my '06 with the 2.5, the air conditiong REALLY effects how much power is lost. That's why I ordered the 3.6.
 

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Before you, and anyone on the fence with this dilemma, make a choice, pack the 2.5 with the kiddos and all the luggage and gear you would carry on a typical vacation, and factor that into your decision. Also, if you have something that you tow, (camper, boat, utility trailer, etc.) keep that in mind also. Many on this forum vigorously state that the 2.5 is "adequate" for this task, but ask yourself if "adequate" is satisfactory.
Why worry about something you'd do very rarely? My wife will be driving this car by herself 90% of the time, commuting in traffic that is slow enough for a much weaker engine.

When we do go on a trip with a fully-loaded car, I'll be more distracted by the kids in the back seat than how fast the car accelerates.

To each his own but if more people get cars with better mileage, I'm not going to be upset.
 

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'15 OB 3.6 Limited - Tungsten Metallic
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No regrets purchasing a 3.6R!.. Love the low end power and rumble of the engine.

I'm averaging 19-20/mpg on the brand new engine on 40 highway/60. Hoped for more, but as expected. Previous Honda V6 was getting 20-22 mpg. I plan to keep this car for at least 8+ years so 3.6R was a no brainier for me. Hope they keep making the 3.6s for the OB and keep the 2.0T to the Forester.
 

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'18 Outback Touring Dark Blue Pearl 3.6r
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Where I live I have to enter a 2 lane hwy that has a 55 mph speed limit. With 2 friends plus my wife and the air conditioning on that could be frightening at times with my '06 with the 2.5. Once I drove the 3.6, I ordered a new Outback. Still waiting.
 

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2015 OB Shopper
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I'm in the same boat as you Zimm. If we do pull the trigger on an OB, it will be to replace my wife's '08 Forester (I have my '10 Challenger R/T, '86 4Runner and a project '69 Charger SE that I need to get started on at some point). Although it’s her car, I am the one who will end up putting 80% of the miles on it since we use it to commute (600 miles a week) and she always has me drive whenever we are together.

Both myself and my wife find the 2.5 in her current Forester relatively underpowered (for us) which also makes it “buzzy”. I know a lot of that has to do with the 4EAT its mated to and (more likely) the programming. .....constantly hunts for gears and you need to put your foot in it if you don't want the transmission to short shift on you while accelerating. It just makes the drive more taxing on my nerves. I know the CVT and he old 4EAT are different animals and it sounds as though the new 2.5 setup is more refined, but I have my doubts if it is enough. Although the 3.6 isn’t that powerful compared to other six cylinders on the market, I like what I have been hearing as far as experiences. ….especially the comments regarding it’s quietness and smoothness which are welcome traits in a drive train.

As far as mileage, I would be happy if I could get the same from the 3.6 on our commute as we do with her Forester (which is 21 mpg). ….which should be easy enough to accomplish considering I can get 20 mpg in my 5.7l Challenger on the same route.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well you guys are giving me a lot to think about. The only real downside to the 3.6 is a hit in MPG... which I personally don't care about, but she does, and the initial higher buying price.

I get 9mpg with my truck, but I only drive to daycare (5 miles away) or pull the boat or do "truck stuff" with it. I commute to work on my motorcycle (HOV lanes). She has a 20 mile highway commute with stop and go traffic getting into DC once on I-295. On weekends, vacation, or anytime the family is together, I'll be driving. I'd rather have the power. But now the price goes from $31,400 plus $1,275 in tax to $34,000 plus $1,377 which is a payment change from $572/60months to $619.
 

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You can ask for all of the opinions you want but ultimately you just need to drive both and decide for yourself. Take both out for extended test drives that include as many types of conditions/situations to determine what best suites your needs.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
They don't have any 3.6 available... I'm sure I could find one from a different place.

The biggest teller is that not a single 2.5 owner has said, "I should have spent the money and got a 3.6".
 
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