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For Outback owners who may not have seen this, this week's 2018 Consumer Reports Buying Guide has listed about 200 makes and models of 2018 cars, with two columns, one marked HIGHS and the other marked LOWS for each car.

For the Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited they have marked:
HIGHS: Ride, fuel economy, visibility, controls, access, practicality, standard AWD.
LOWS: NONE (I couldn't see any other of the hundreds of cars with no lows)

For the Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium they list the same HIGHS, but the following LOWS: Acceleration, touchy throttle.

In their Best Overall Wagons category, the Outback and Volkswagen Golf Alltrack are the only two listed.

I was intrigued with the "no LOWS" part. Actually I agree, and find my 3.6R Touring a pleasant car to drive. Even though the 8" head unit freezes now and then (Apparently CR hasn't heard of that yet).
 

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I definitely agree on practicality/visibility/AWD/ride for the 2018s. Those are all great. I find it odd that they list fuel economy as a 'high'... it's definitely not as good as other competitive models (e.g. CR-V), even on the 2.5i. The controls are utter crap as it relates to the 8" head unit. I don't know how bad the problem is for others, but our fails in some way multiple times per week (locks out CarPlay, fails to pick up radio stations, freezes entirely, fails to accept nav input, etc etc). It's easily the most frustrating experience with a car we've ever had.
 

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I was intrigued with the "no LOWS" part.
I am always intrigued by the disparity in CR's ratings between the G5 Outback and the G6 Legacy, which are built on tha same production line and are virtually identical except for rear storage capacity and ride height/ground clearance. I think it probably has more to do with owner demographics and expectations than actual differences.

The controls are utter crap as it relates to the 8" head unit ... It's easily the most frustrating experience with a car we've ever had.
I don't doubt your frustration, but the performance of the entertainment head unit (or lack of same) does not affect the core functionality of a motor vehicle ... and that's what CR's ratings are primarily concerned with.
 
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I am always intrigued by the disparity in CR's ratings between the G5 Outback and the G6 Legacy, which are built on tha same production line and are virtually identical except for rear storage and ride height/ground clearance. I think it probably has more to do with owner demographics and expectations than actual differences.
It is also due to the fact that the midsize sedan market has some very strong competition. Fear not, though, because the Legacy ranked #2 in the CR midsize sedan ratings only behind the Toyota Camry (and even bettered the Camry in the road test score). It looks like CR only tested the 2.5 Legacy.

Hey, wasn't the Camry built on the same assembly line as the Outback as well (for a while, anyway)?
 

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CR likes appliance cars. An Outback is an appliance car. It should be at least average reliability which in 2017 means it will go 125K to 150K miles without needing much beyond brakes & tires. The cargo volume is outstanding relative to the fuel economy. It seats four 6'2" adults comfortably.

An enthusiast would knock the boring styling, the body roll, the un-engaging CVT transmission, and the pedestrian performance at a time where 300 hp is pretty normal. You'd never confuse the seats with a Volvo. At the price point, I think it's the best of breed. It's really not fair to compare it against $50,000+ cars or small entry lux cars.
 

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I don't doubt your frustration, but the performance of the entertainment head unit (or lack of same) does not affect the core functionality of a motor vehicle ... and that's what CR's ratings are primarily concerned with.
Hmm, I'm not sure I agree here. I doubt that a car without a functional infotainment system on the CR test unit would get top marks like the Outback does. I don't think it's reasonable to say that things that make ownership an exercise in frustration don't warrant significant dings in review scores, even if they don't direct impact the functionality of the car.
 

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I am always intrigued by the disparity in CR's ratings between the G5 Outback and the G6 Legacy, which are built on tha same production line and are virtually identical except for rear storage capacity and ride height/ground clearance. I think it probably has more to do with owner demographics and expectations than actual differences.



I don't doubt your frustration, but the performance of the entertainment head unit (or lack of same) does not affect the core functionality of a motor vehicle ... and that's what CR's ratings are primarily concerned with.
Agree - too much importance / emphasis is placed on nav / infotainment systems and their use which are superfluous IMO to the essence a good car.

They are a distraction from driving ie taking eyes off the road etc messing around with them etc.

A safety issue when not concentrating on driving ie eyes on road.
Its the same when smart phones are used while driving.

If you want to mess around with your phone etc - get someone else to drive.

I don't have blue tooth capability (head unit) in my car but use a simple basic visor mounted blue tooth unit to receive phone calls,

and smart phone plugged into Aux imput on Sony head unit (upgrade) for mp3 music and CDs in player and radio presets.
This is controlled by left group of buttons on steering wheel
 
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Agree - too much importance / emphasis is placed on nav / infotainment systems and their use which are superfluous IMO to the essence a good car.

They are a distraction from driving ie taking eyes off the road etc messing around with them etc.

A safety issue when not concentrating on driving ie eyes on road.
Its the same when smart phones are used while driving.

If you want to mess around with your phone etc - get someone else to drive.

I don't have blue tooth capability (head unit) in my car but use a simple basic visor mounted blue tooth unit to receive phone calls,

and smart phone plugged into Aux imput on Sony head unit (upgrade) for mp3 music and CDs in player and radio presets.
This is controlled by left group of buttons on steering wheel
Electronics and headunits are not "superfluous ". They are an integral part or the buying decision for a large part of buying population.

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I definitely agree on practicality/visibility/AWD/ride for the 2018s. Those are all great. I find it odd that they list fuel economy as a 'high'... it's definitely not as good as other competitive models (e.g. CR-V), even on the 2.5i. The controls are utter crap as it relates to the 8" head unit. I don't know how bad the problem is for others, but our fails in some way multiple times per week (locks out CarPlay, fails to pick up radio stations, freezes entirely, fails to accept nav input, etc etc). It's easily the most frustrating experience with a car we've ever had.
I also don't see what lows can the H6 have relative to its price point and overall performance/utility. It is the perfect Swiss knife and it is better than just an appliance. A CRV cannot compete with an H6 Outback anywhere, on or off-pavement. I can see how the head unit issues may be frustrating, but that is a much better issue to have than anything that actually pertains to the realm of driving.

Electronics and headunits are not "superfluous ". They are an integral part or the buying decision for a large part of buying population.

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You can put that as "superfluous and an integral part of the decision-making." :wink2: The electronics are fine. Never heard of an Outback having engine/transmission issues caused by an ECU going nuts.

Consumer Reports is useful but it is true that they like appliances and it is thus at its best when comparing generic cars, crossovers, minivans, and SUVs. For example, they never give any credit to the Wrangler for off-road prowess and thus it is their perennial looser, at something like less than 20 of 100 points even though there is absolutely nothing on the market like the Wrangler. They used to hit hard the FJ Cruiser, too (though visibility and those rear doors are indeed awful). And a properly maintained (or modified) 2012+ JK is pretty reliable aside from some minor gripes. But if you were to base your decision on CR alone, you would wonder why the Wrangler is even made.
 
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I also don't see what lows can the H6 have relative to its price point and overall performance/utility. It is the perfect Swiss knife and it is better than just an appliance. A CRV cannot compete with an H6 Outback anywhere, on or off-pavement. I can see how the head unit issues may be frustrating, but that is a much better issue to have than anything that actually pertains to the realm of driving.
Agreed that it's hard to compete with the Outback on versatility, but as far as competing overall, it very much depends on what metrics you're comparing on. As someone looking for a low-fuss car with good gas mileage and sufficient space to bring everything I need, the H6 is a gas guzzler and terrible frustration as it relates to the head unit, problems that the CR-V doesn't have, not to mention that the CR-V has better reliability ratings that the Outback. I would argue the CR-V is even less likely than the OB to run into any issues that pertain to the realm of driving.

As a minor aside, Subaru seems to go out of their way to create minor annoyances. E.g I can't seem to find any way to reset the TPMS for new winter rims on the '18 model aside from taking it to the dealer. Another issue that my CR-V driving neighbors don't have to deal with.
 

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Electronics and headunits are not "superfluous ". They are an integral part or the buying decision for a large part of buying population.
Any aspects of a vehicle are valid criteria for a purchase decision, including many criteria which may extend far beyond core functionality. Choice is good. But "electronics and headunits" are indeed superfluous to the core functionality of a motor vehicle: safe, convenient, and efficient transport of passengers and cargo from point A to point B.
 

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Agreed that it's hard to compete with the Outback on versatility, but as far as competing overall, it very much depends on what metrics you're comparing on. As someone looking for a low-fuss car with good gas mileage and sufficient space to bring everything I need, the H6 is a gas guzzler and terrible frustration as it relates to the head unit, problems that the CR-V doesn't have, not to mention that the CR-V has better reliability ratings that the Outback. I would argue the CR-V is even less likely than the OB to run into any issues that pertain to the realm of driving.

As a minor aside, Subaru seems to go out of their way to create minor annoyances. E.g I can't seem to find any way to reset the TPMS for new winter rims on the '18 model aside from taking it to the dealer. Another issue that my CR-V driving neighbors don't have to deal with.
Subaru design engineers are a breed apart. Look at the design of the radio knobs. Did you notice that thet are designed in such a way that you would get a great grip if you want to pull them off from the radio, but no grip if you want to turn them. Next time you are in the car look at them. I am still trying to figure why would you create knobs that way.

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Electronics and headunits are not "superfluous ". They are an integral part or the buying decision for a large part of buying population.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
I suspect they are important to some part of the buying population but certainly not a large part. Many are like me. Only interested in tuning to a radio/XM station and having sound coming out of the speakers.
 

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Head Unit is definitely one of the most important features relating to drive safety.
I just didn't pay much attention on it before purchasing it because I assumed it should work flawless, but obviously 2018 Subaru Outback head unit issue is a disaster. Apple CarPlay doesn't work is like radio no sound for me.
More and more people reply on iMap/Google Map nowadays and we are expecting CarPlay/Android Auto work flawless.
Head unit problem shows Subaru's weaker quality control on head unit which is also related to drivers' safety and daily driving experience today.
If Subaru is not able to fix head unit problem shortly, it definitely will impact 2018 Subaru's sales and used car value.
 
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