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2017 Outback 2.5i Limited, EyeSight & Nav.
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565 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So as some of you may know, I recently moved to San Francisco from San Diego, and put all of my worldly possessions into my '12 OB Premium CVT and drove up the coast via Highway 1, stopping in Los Angeles for a few nights, then stopping in Big Sur for a few nights of camping. Well, this time I drove to Los Angeles for a music festival over Labor Day weekend, then drove up the coast again through Big Sur via Highway 1 and more camping. This time the car was not packed to the gills and totally loaded down with tons of stuff, and I was able to actaully get a better feel of the car's performance, handling, suspension, etc. in more 'normal' conditions.

Last time the car seriously was overpacked I think, and the rear suspension was totally bottommed out, and have a lot of heavy items in the car, which created some handling issues that made themselves apparent on the twisty, curvy road in the form of braking and handling, but nothing that was shocking or that I did not anticipate.

This time it was just me and a friend, and some car camping gear. As last time, I had a Thule Atlantis 1600 cargo box on the roof. The box was not necessary this time, but I just like using it as it is very convenient, and frees up th einside of the car and makes it feel less cluttered and does not leave all your stuff out in plain sight for people to get any ideas about breaking into the car and taking. With the cargo box and gear in the car's rear cargo area, we were able to close the she over our gear back there, and have the back seats free.

We took the 5 down to LA since we were driving at night and wouldn't be able to see anything anyway, and I averaged 28.2 mpg on that leg of the trip. Car handled wonderfully with no issues aside from one spot where we got on the 5 from the 680 (My buddy left his debit card in a bar the night before in Oakland, so we first had to go up there and pick it up! He realized this when he tried to fill my car up with gas and couldn't find his card. Good we found out before we left!) It was ridiculously windy and the car was literally all over the road, but every other vehicle, especially SUV's were swerving all over as well. I guess this shouldn't be a surprise, since there were windmills all over in that one area.

On the trip back to San Francisco via highway one we averaged 26.2 miles. This was the entire way from my brother's house in LA to my place in Pacifica. The car handled so much better on the 1 compared to last time, and the handling and breaking was night and day in comparison to the last trip. Still, I wasn't going to win any races, and the car still rolled some in the corners that I took a little harder, but given the size of the car, the clearance and it's intended purpose, it really performed wonderfully. I think what a lot of people who complain about the handling/body roll of this car either have unrealistic expectations or would just be better off with a sports car. This is a high clearance wagon that is designed to haul people and their stuff and tackle some mild off-road, possibly graded dirt/fire roads, etc. It's not meant to hug corners at high speeds or be able to clear boulders on a nasty jeep trail. Once you realize that and understand the car's limitations and determine if that's what you want or not, you'll be much happier! Even with the body roll noticed when the corners were taken hotter,

I am still on the fence about replacing the RSB. I really enjoy the cushy, floaty feel of the car on the freeway and am not sure I want to compromise that. As I mentioned in my other trip report, I used to have an '06 Forester, which had a much stiffer feeling suspension (and shorter wheelbase) which resulted in a more planted, firmer feel in the corners, but also meant a harsher ride on the freeway.

The CVT also once again proved that it is best at home cruising, and really excels the most at average, to higher highway speeds between 55-80, but if done right can perform decently at slower speeds, as long as you know how to use the CVT in these situations, are conscious of your right foot and economy gauge and MPG calculator on the display. What I have found that works is if you need to speed up, don't be bashful on the gas, and once you are where you want to be, back off and then let the car cruise and let the CVT do it's thing. Also, instead of just speeding up on the straights, only to slow down in the corners on Highway 1, I just keeps a more average, albeit slightly slower speed continuously. I was still going as fast, if not faster than most though.

So all in all I am still really pleased with the OB and the CVT. It once again proved that it's an awesome car for road trips, and can haul a bunch of stuff, and does it in comfort, is very practical, and all things considered and if the driver is reasonable with the load and their right foot, is pretty fuel efficient.

Here are some more pics of this trip...took a lot of underwater pics in some tide pools with my iPhone in a Lifeproof case.













 

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Premium Member
2018 Outback Limited 2.5i Dark Blue Pearl/Ivory w'Eyesight
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703 Posts
Thanks a lot for the pix. I really like that part of the Coast. Just haven't been able to get there in many years. The first ocean I ever saw was at Carmel. Never outgrew it.
 

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2010 3.6R Limited
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504 Posts
Beautiful pictures! I just wanted to say don't be concerned about the larger rear sway bar degrading your ride. The change isn't huge, it reduces body roll, but not at the expense of comfort.
 
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