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First month of Subaru ownership is under my belt since I purchased my '07 2.5i Outback w/ 4eat. Except for a couple complaints I voiced earlier, so far, so good. Commuting mileage is about what I expected (23.5 mpg), space is a little less than I expected, but ok, and the car drives just fine. Works good and looks good w/ my hitch mounted bike rack hooked up.

Just completed an approx 1800 mile road trip (sorry for the typo in the title) with my two oldest kids, my 31# mountain bike on the hitch-mounted tray rack, and luggage for 4 days, from SLC to Portland and back. Overall, the car makes a good travel companion. That drive can throw any type of weather at you, and it is nice not to have to worry about what I might come across. A couple notes about the trip:

*The torque and gearing is nice for mountain freeway driving on a drive that has very few truly flat parts. It can hold 4th gear for most hills -- no redline downshifts every 5 minutes like I've experienced in other 4 cyl cars. When it does have to downshift, it doesn't hunt around for gears.

*final drive at freeway speeds results in a very smooth rpm that isn't too buzzy or doesn't seem too high (compared to my last car -- a VW Passat 1.8, which would turn 3500+ rpm at 75 and became a bit annoying on long drives).

* Man, there are a lot of Subarus in Portland -- you don't really notice things like that until you become an owner! I lost my car twice in large store parking lots.

*Freeway mileage was a good deal worse than I expected. I averaged 23.8 for the entire trip, where I was hoping for the 26-27 range, with the following tanks:

1) 345 miles (Ogden - Ontario, Or), 24 mpg. Cruise set at about 75 mph. Route includes a fair amount of hills, including a couple 5000+ foot passes, little wind (this trip, at least!), overall elevation drop from 4200 ft to 1500 ft.

2) 373 miles (Ontario - Beaverton, Or), 23.5 mpg. Cruise set at 67 mph most of the trip. Also a few high passes, still air, light rain, overall elevation drop from 1500 ft to 100 ft elevation.

3) 315 miles (Beaverton - Prineville, Or and back), 24.9 mpg, no bike on rack. My dad took the car to his step-daughter's volley ball tourney while my brothers and I used his truck for a mountain bike excursion. 2-lane mountain roads, speed limit between 55 and 65. I didn't drive, so I don't know the speeds, etc, but my dad is usually a pretty conservative driver. Maybe he was racing people in the Subie, I don't know ...

4) 375 miles (Beaverton - Ontario), 24.4 mpg. Cruise at 67.

5) 345 miles (Ontario - Ogden), 22.5 mpg. Cruise at 80-85 mph in the rural areas (which is most of the trip) -- it was getting late and I just wanted to get home.

Honestly, I was most surprised by tanks 2 and 3. I really expected the mpg to bump up at lower speeds in Oregon, especially when the bike wasn't on the back for tank 3. I know that filling up in Oregon can be a bit of a wild card, since you can't pump your own gas and can't make sure it is filled to about the same spot each time, so I suppose #2 might be slightly off -- my trip computer had that tank in the mid-25 range, as I recall thinking I had done better.

Anyone see a big change when a bike is put on the back? Am I seeing what many of you would expect for such a trip? My bike sits up fairly high, as it has a long-travel fork (Specialized Enduro) -- it is about level with the roof line, so I know there is some added drag there, but I spent some coin on a tray hitch rack to keep from destroying my mpg (imagine what it would have been with a roof rack, I suppose). But since the tank w/o the bike wasn't much better, maybe the bike isn't to blame.

But I am just a little frustrated when I sold my crew cab diesel pickup (which I absolutely loved, btw) in part to save fuel costs for trips such as this when I burn out to ride with my brothers and let my kids see grandma for a couple days -- that truck would average 18.5 mpg on this same trip at similar speeds (I do this drive a couple times a year). I was hoping to cut my travel expenses in half, but I didn't do it with the Subaru.

Anyway, those are my first month and first road trip impressions for the Outback, in case anyone is wondering ...
 

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Your mileage for that generation is pretty normal you will get others claiming stupid silly numbers which they fail to mention was for a very short distance all while going down hill ;-)

My 2001 5spd MT for 180,000 miles of owner ship ran between 23-26mpg for all our west coast travels. We put bikes on the roof fork mounts and pending wind conditions we have seen upwards of 5mpg hit to our tank average. Example would be CA north to Eastern WA with a head wind for over half the trip. 22mpg - Oregon summer conditions slower speeds less traffic gas with lower ethanol blended - we did see 27mpg once.

The new 2010 Outback we replaced it with - 2.5 with CVT has a much wider range of mileage capability we easily see 30-31mpg in California and when we were up in Oregon two summers ago we saw a best tank average of 33mpg - no bikes but we had the roof box.

The older Gen 2-3 outbacks were never known for being exceptionally good on mileage but they generally out performed the midsized AWD SUV competitors by a fair amount example being the Ford Explorer which the 99 my dad has is nearly identical in size to the Gen 3 outback and he gets between 16-20mpg
 

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Sorry to have to agree with the others here, but your mileage is typical. I don't run with a bike on the back but I've run with two on the roof (both with my '02 LGT which is a normally aspirated 2.5) and with my current car. The mileage hit for two bikes and my cargo pod is about 2 mpg.

I had my diesel extended cab for a while and it got mileage pretty close to my XT with enough room to haul everything I own, so I hear you on that. On the other hand you had/have a passat which can't have seem too spacious compared to the OB.
 

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Sorry to have to agree with the others here, but your mileage is typical. I don't run with a bike on the back but I've run with two on the roof (both with my '02 LGT which is a normally aspirated 2.5) and with my current car. The mileage hit for two bikes and my cargo pod is about 2 mpg.

I had my diesel extended cab for a while and it got mileage pretty close to my XT with enough room to haul everything I own, so I hear you on that. On the other hand you had/have a passat which can't have seem too spacious compared to the OB.
Thanks for the reply. I suppose time will tell how this car does on mpg when I get a few more miles under my belt under varying conditions. It is tough to rely too much on internet postings, to be sure.

Yeah, I miss the truck and all the room. We still have an '05 Suburban, which we are looking to replace with a newer one -- my dad has a '12 GMC 1500 (which, as I noted above, I drove for a day), and I was impressed with the 6 spd transmission and the economy -- we got 20.4 mpg driving to and from the mountain bike trails (granted, mostly 55-60 mph back roads) according to the computer, which my dad says is pretty accurate (as it is in our '05 -- it is always w/in .2 mpg vs hand calculated). He claims 19+ on freeway trips (again, mostly in Oregon, so typically around 65 mph).

Re: the Passat, I think the rear passenger room in the Passat ('02 1.8T) was actually bigger than the 3rd gen OB. Of course, we only had 2 kids back then, but I do recall putting a 3rd seat in for cousins or whatever. 3 car seats is a no-go in the OB.
 

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Your mileage for that generation is pretty normal you will get others claiming stupid silly numbers which they fail to mention was for a very short distance all while going down hill ;-)

My 2001 5spd MT for 180,000 miles of owner ship ran between 23-26mpg for all our west coast travels. We put bikes on the roof fork mounts and pending wind conditions we have seen upwards of 5mpg hit to our tank average. Example would be CA north to Eastern WA with a head wind for over half the trip. 22mpg - Oregon summer conditions slower speeds less traffic gas with lower ethanol blended - we did see 27mpg once.

The new 2010 Outback we replaced it with - 2.5 with CVT has a much wider range of mileage capability we easily see 30-31mpg in California and when we were up in Oregon two summers ago we saw a best tank average of 33mpg - no bikes but we had the roof box.

The older Gen 2-3 outbacks were never known for being exceptionally good on mileage but they generally out performed the midsized AWD SUV competitors by a fair amount example being the Ford Explorer which the 99 my dad has is nearly identical in size to the Gen 3 outback and he gets between 16-20mpg
Thanks for your reply. If I could do it again, I might have shopped the 4th gen a little more, knowing now that they have more room and better economy.

You're right -- the evaluation of the OB depends what you compare it to. It is either an efficient SUV/CUV, or a relatively inefficient car/sedan. Since our SUVs have always been full-size, truck-based rigs (Suburban, Durango), I've never really seen the Outback as a competitor to those types of vehicles, as they can tow thousands of pounds and have room for lots of people and have low-range geared transfer cases and all of that, which is what I envision when I think "SUV."

I've always seen the OB as a car with a little more capability and utility, which you have to pay for at the pump. But you're right -- the OB is pretty much as useful as most of the unibody, car based SUVs out there, and is more efficient to drive, to boot.

All complaining aside (I guess I'm a critic at heart), I'm overall quite happy with my "new" OB. All vehicles have their shortcomings, and the OB is no exception. But it is a nice car, and if I get a few years of trouble-free use out of it, I will be quite happy with my purchase.
 

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I have an 06 Outback 2.5i 4eat, and sometimes take trips with a mountain bike on a hitch mounted bike rack too. I find the bike on the back makes quite a difference in mileage, more than I would have thought.

Without the bike, at 65-70mph, I get about 29mpg.
With the bike on the same roads at the same speed, I get about 26mpg.

That's hand calculated, my trip computer is optimistic.

Now that's in good conditions. There are so many factors that affect mileage (wind, rain, temps, traffic, speed, hills etc )

Your mileage doesn't seem unreasonable.
 

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I've got an '06 OB 2.5i with the 5MT. My commute is 15 miles, 12 of which are on the interstate through town at about 65mph. Trip computer shows 28.5 average (sometimes as high as 29) - but hand calculated (using Gasonomics app for iPhone), I'm getting about 26-27. Overall average since I've owned my Suby is 23.7ish.

I too went from a 3/4 ton diesel to the Suby. In the 6 years I owned the truck, I towed twice and hauled a cubic yard of dirt once. Knowing I was moving and the commute would be longer, and that I really didn't use the truck - I sought out the Suby. Good choice for me - but I do miss the pickup bed every once and a while and I do miss 600 ft/lbs of torque on occasion :)
 

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I've got an '06 OB 2.5i with the 5MT. My commute is 15 miles, 12 of which are on the interstate through town at about 65mph. Trip computer shows 28.5 average (sometimes as high as 29) - but hand calculated (using Gasonomics app for iPhone), I'm getting about 26-27. Overall average since I've owned my Suby is 23.7ish.

I too went from a 3/4 ton diesel to the Suby. In the 6 years I owned the truck, I towed twice and hauled a cubic yard of dirt once. Knowing I was moving and the commute would be longer, and that I really didn't use the truck - I sought out the Suby. Good choice for me - but I do miss the pickup bed every once and a while and I do miss 600 ft/lbs of torque on occasion :)
Thanks for the info. My overall average is in the 23 mpg range. Since it snowed a couple feet this weekend (on all the riding trails, at least) and I doubt I'll have any occasion to get out the mtb until after the holidays are over, at least, , I pulled off the hitch rack on Saturday. I am curious to see if that has anything to do with mpgs, even empty.

I used my truck as a truck quite a bit (at least, for a non-construction person). Lots of loads of materials, towed a travel trailer a dozen times a year, all of that. So my OB isn't an adequate substitute for the truck -- I still have a Suburban to use for those duties. Fortunately, I have a large utility trailer I can use for hauling stuff and whatever else I would have needed to put in the bed. The Subaru does get me to and from work more cheaply, however!
 
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