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2019 Subaru Forester Premium, Crystal Black Silica, Pkg 15
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At first glance it appears to be a love hate relationship. It becomes second nature for many (not all) as you grow accustomed to the touch controls instead of physical controls. There recently was a new software update for the infotainment that added and tweaked features and functions.
 

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2010/2016 outback
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Let's be fair - some of the things with the mechanics and "hidden" engineering features of Toyota are fantastic. A great example is the dual fuel injector setup they have that prevents carbon buildup in direct injection engines. They also tend to have very robust transmissions and engines. But, I agree in your assessment that the interiors appear to be slightly dated and Spartan. (I have family that has a Toyota SUV and I've test driven some of the newer Highlanders & RAV4's)

Basically, to sum it up in a few words: It's an appliance.

Not all of them, the FT86 is a blast to drive, and I've heard the Supra is as well. But we're talking about the typical Japanese econobox model from the early 90's with some flair on it.

It's been a really fun experience as an owner and driver of 3 Subarus - and it's our go-to car unless we need the space from my wife's third-row SUV. We would have considered and probably purchased the Ascent if it was available, but we purchased about 2 years before it launched.

Also, keep in mind that many of us are just offering our opinion and suggestions - do your due diligence and research. Don't just accept what the forum posts as "Subaru law"!

The best thing you can do for your Subaru is a fluid check about once a week. Many issues can be avoided by checking the oil and coolant level before problems become a problem. Regarding the CVT Fluid, that is not specified in the manual for the US market, but the Canadian market Subaru does require a 100 kilometer (60k mile) CVT fluid change interval, and that's what some of us that are more... proactive/obsessive... are going on for longevity's sake. I'd rather be out $300-400 for a CVTF change than on the hook for a new $9000 transmission.

Again, welcome to the family, and read the manual! There's a lot of intense tech in here especially related to EyeSight. Take the time and read the manual, familiarize yourself on important things like spare tire location, etc.

This website is really great in terms of community. People are eager to help. And make sure you bookmark this site. Make this site your homepage!
FT86 is basically a Subaru and the Supra is a BMW. IMO The Highlander is their best product. On the CVT I believe the manual will indicate under severe driving which obviously includes a lot of towing its close to 25k change interval. Honda has 30k change intervals but it looks very easy to change
 

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2020 OB Onyx XT - Abyss Blue Pearl
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Discussion Starter #23
FT86 is basically a Subaru and the Supra is a BMW. IMO The Highlander is their best product. On the CVT I believe the manual will indicate under severe driving which obviously includes a lot of towing its close to 25k change interval. Honda has 30k change intervals but it looks very easy to change
We test drove the highlander. The V6 in it is nice, but the transmission was similarly as bad as the one in the RAV4. Not to mention the wind noise on the highway... Yeah, I’m not too worried about the CVT fluid as we won’t be towing much.
 

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20 Outback Limited XT
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Welcome! I think your initial impressions are shared by many here. they certainly mirror many of mine ( as a first tiem Subaru Buyer myself). Hopefully you enjoy your choice for many a year to come.

BTW, I have to say your quote of: "It’s amazing how much Toyota rides on the coattails of their reliability, so much so that they’re sacrificing much of what makes a vehicle worth driving." is SPOT on!
Ummm Toyota's reliability is beyond incredible and definitely deserved IMO and not only are they incredibly reliable but they stand behind the product. I had a late 90's Tacoma that developed the frame rust issue they had back in that era, Toyota bought the truck back from me for 2.5 times top retail value ! The truck was 12 years old, had 225,000 miles and other than spark plugs. battery and tires was almost all original. No doubt in my mind that truck was the best vehiicle I've ever owned and would have easily gone for 300,000 + miles.

But the past is the past and I'm lovin my OUTBACK!!
 

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Ummm Toyota's reliability is beyond incredible and definitely deserved IMO and not only are they incredibly reliable but they stand behind the product. I had a late 90's Tacoma that developed the frame rust issue they had back in that era, Toyota bought the truck back from me for 2.5 times top retail value ! The truck was 12 years old, had 225,000 miles and other than spark plugs. battery and tires was almost all original. No doubt in my mind that truck was the best vehiicle I've ever owned and would have easily gone for 300,000 + miles.

But the past is the past and I'm lovin my OUTBACK!!
You can say that about a lot of the 90's Japanese cars. I have a 90 Civic Wago-van and even though it has 82k miles everything works- A/C, blower motor, all switches, alternator ,radio with cassette.
 

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I'm hoping to jump into a Touring XT or leave the brand for a Tesla Model Y when my 2019 Forester lease is up in a little less than a year and a half. The Tesla is my first choice, but the Mrs. isn't sold on it, so the Touring XT would be a stopgap measure for ~10 years while the infrastructure catches up.
I have a client with a Model S. He does regular road trips up and down the east coast. Has no issues finding charging stations.

The infrastructure is building pretty quickly.
 
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2019 Subaru Forester Premium, Crystal Black Silica, Pkg 15
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Not to digress from the topic at hand, but it would be better if they offered a CCS adapter. Electrify America rolls out with all but one that use CCS that maxes at 150 kW and some have either 0 or 1 that works with Chademo, capped at 50 kW, which requires purchase of a $450 adapter to use with a Tesla.

The highways are getting better but my criticism is that it’s not directly on the highways here like a service area on a toll road. 5-10 minutes in each direction to get to the charger and back adds up.
 

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You can say that about a lot of the 90's Japanese cars. I have a 90 Civic Wago-van and even though it has 82k miles everything works- A/C, blower motor, all switches, alternator ,radio with cassette.
I have to agree with that and I'm pretty sure it was because of the ... cars being so good that it made the U.S. manufacturers realize they needed to step up their game.

Mod comment: I'm sure you meant to type Japanese, didn't you?
 

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I would absolutely buy this over any Toyota product hands down.
Toyota make solid cars, but yeah, they aren't exciting. I'd almost say they're quite bland.

Like most of you, I would probably prefer an automatic/manual transmission paired with this engine because it is a very good engine. However, as far a CVT goes, this thing feels solid. It’s smooth and does it’s job more than adequately when driven like it should be.
I'm loving the CVT! I have no issues with it at all, though part of that may be my recent revelation that in Australia, we get the Sports Sharp and Sports modes, whereas North Americans do not. In Sports Sharp mode, the car leaps off the line, very touchy throttle and zero lag. Always a laugh when someone next to you gets surprised because they thought you were going to toddle off the line at a snails pace! =)

Overall, we are very happy with our purchase, and we look forward to contributing more to this community!
You will definitely have a fun time with your Outback. I know I am!

Enjoy your new toy, and don't forget to set your tailgate access PIN code while you're at it too.
 

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2020 OB Onyx XT - Abyss Blue Pearl
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Discussion Starter #30
Wish we got the different sport modes in North America! Thanks for the kind words and heads up on the pin!

Cheers!
 

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I just moved from Honda (Accord, 2008) to the Outback 2020 Touring, and I share many of the same sentiments as OP. Frankly, this is the nicest, most feature-filled, luxurious car I've ever owned (and probably will own, I'm just not the kind of person to plunk down money for a true luxury car). It's not our families first Subaru (we also have a 2016 Forester that we adore), but I've observed over the years that no matter how nice a car it is, it will never be "perfect".

The 504 infotainment update has certainly improved my impressions of the car (stability and responsiveness of controls were kind of an issue), but I wasn't all that concerned with it before that. All of our cars up to the Forester have been, while reliable, also unexciting, utilitarian, and boring. Up until Subaru, driving was a chore. Now, I look forward to getting behind the wheel every day.
 

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Howdy Everyone,

New to the site here, and I first wanted to thank all of You for the information you all have contributed to this site. This particular forum was a great resource during our research and purchasing process. This is a long post, but I’ve broken it down into sections for ease of navigation in case you want to skip what you don’t care about.

Context

Let me preface this post by giving you some context/background info of what the impetus was for purchasing a new vehicle. Our family hauler was a 2016 Mazda CX-9 Touring, non-AWD that we purchased when our son was born. This iteration of the CX-9 was a fresh redesigned model with Mazda’s, at the time, new turbo engine. We absolutely loved the build quality, driving dynamics, and versatility of the Mazda with the third row.

However, throughout the ownership of the Mazda, there was always one nagging regret that reared it’s ugly head whenever driving the family around: I should have ponied up for the AWD model. The FWD model just had way too much torque steer and didn’t feel as planted/safe when driving with more gusto or driving in inclement weather.

Needless to say, AWD was an absolute must for our next vehicle, which led us to Subaru. Interestingly enough, I briefly owned a 2019 RAV4 Adventure for about 5 months during the latter part of 2019, and I absolutely hated the vehicle. It’s a long story of why that vehicle ended up as my daily driver, but since a lot of people cross shop the OB and the RAV4, I think it’s worth mentioning. The 8 speed transmission on that vehicle is absolutely awful. In fact, the entire drivetrain pairing was really one of the roughest, unrefined experiences I have had in a modern vehicle. Additionally, the RAV felt like I was driving a tin can on wheels, and the AWD felt non-existant. Yes, interior build quality was nice, and aesthetically, the RAV looks more truck-like, which I liked, but I just couldn’t believe how flimsy and unrefined the complete package was. It’s amazing how much Toyota rides on the coattails of their reliability, so much so that they’re sacrificing much of what makes a vehicle worth driving.

We absolutely knew that looking at a Toyota was out of the question when looking for our new family car, and both of us didn’t like Honda’s offerings, so that really left us with sticking with Mazda or jumping over to Subaru. We were hesitant to look at Subaru because we‘d heard from family and friends, that although reliable, Subaru’s material quality and overall refinement were two of its biggest issues, but we had heard so many great things about the redesigned OB that we had to give Subaru a fair shot. Because of COVID, we only had the chance to test drive a non XT OB Touring. My first impression of the interior material choices and overall feel left me quite optimistic. At first glance, I was concerned the back seat would be too small, but again I was pleasantly surprised to find it just as ample as the Mazda‘s, with even more leg room. The cargo space was comparable as well, and most surprisingly, I felt less cramped in the driver’s seat/passenger seat than in the Mazda. After playing around the interior and getting acquainted with how comfortable the space was, it was time for the drive.

Impressions

Test Drive/Non XT

I was really skeptical about the CVT transmission because a lot of “car enthusiasts“ and car “journalists” like to dump on CVT’s, and my personal experience with CVT’s is limited. I really thought I would be turned off immediately, but I was actually quite surprised and impressed at how smooth and refined the driving experience was. Having just experienced the drivetrain in the 2019 RAV4, this felt almost luxury compared to it; however, the lack of power left much to be desired considering how good the turbo in the Mazda is. We decided to take a gamble and put a deposit on an Onyx XT in blue, and figured that worst case scenario we would just ask for our refund if the we didn’t feel 100% with the XT upon delivery.

StarTex/Interior
After about a month of waiting, the vehicle arrived and our sales rep brought the vehicle over to our house for final walk around and test drive. Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of the StarTex material upon first glance, especially because of how nice Mazda’s leather interiors are, but sitting in the seat for the first time changed my snap judgment. The StarTex interior is super comfortable, feels high quality, and suits our active lifestyle more. Definitely pleased with the comfort and materials in this department.

Infotainment/Sound System
Now, as far as the infotainment goes, I honestly do not understand the gripes that I often read or hear about. I might be in the minority here, but I find the infotainment to be responsive, quite intuitive, and easily accessible. I haven’t had it freeze on me or be excessively slow or unresponsive. All of the pertinent information is easily readable, and overall, the system is quite robust with features. The climate control buttons are definitely more cumbersome to navigate than your typical physical dials and buttons, but I honestly haven’t had to set or adjust climate since day one. We just set the temp and let auto do the work. Our Mazda did not have Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, and since it’s primarily my wife’s car, she’s not bothered by the ”half screen” set up when I have Android Auto set up. it is still the same ratio as the 8 inch display that’s in my 2019 VW GLI, so I have no complaints there. Also, it looks better than what it does full screen on a RAV4.

The sound system in this car is by no means good, but it is adequate and about average for non-upgraded systems in this class of vehicle. For what it’s worth, it is better than a stock Mazda CX-9 non-Bose offering.

Driving Impressions
Above I have mentioned what my thoughts we on the naturally aspirated engine, and really, that drive train was so smooth and linear that it gave me the confidence to jump in blindly for the XT engine. The very first thing I noticed on the turbo set up is how Subaru was able to replicate the refinement and smoothness of the base engine with a different drive train configuration altogether. Historically, I have owned a lot of turbo powered vehicles, so I have a pretty good idea of turbo mechanics, dynamics, and overall feel. Because I wasn’t expecting this car to be an “enthusiast” car, I can appreciate how this drivetrain is programmed to deliver power.

I have read some people complain that there is a bit of turbo lag, which yes, there is, but it is most noticeable when you are trying to gun the vehicle from a complete stop, or when you are trying to give it some beans when you are not in the meat of the powerband. Surprisingly, the high torque CVT does a more than adequate job of always putting you in a position to take advantage of the extra power. Unlike most turbo’s with traditional automatic transmissions, this engine keeps pulling after that initial turbo lag and burst of torque. I can truly appreciate that coming from a CVT. Where the drivetrain falters is when you’re really putting it through enthusiast-like paces and the CVT tries to simulate shifts. I understand Subaru trying to give consumers the illusion of shifts, but I think the CVT can be programmed to eliminate or diminish the unnecessary nature of such shifts in a CVT, but unfortunately, that’s the biggest knock on the drive train. I’ll also add that the ride is exceptionally quiet for a wagon with this type of power and ground clearance. Not as quiet as the Touring, but very quiet nonetheless. The OB also feels very sturdy and safe. It definitely drives more like a wagon/large sedan, but it feels robust like a proper SUV.

Start/Stop
I honestly don’t mind it, but I’ve been dealing with start/stop for a few years now driving VW’s. It’s not that annoying to turn off through the infotainment; it’s three touches of the screen, and it’s easy to disengage using the brakes. Like many of you, I do wish there was a physical button, but it’s definitely not a deal breaker.

Suspension
The way Subaru set up the suspension on this thing is fantastic. Typically on something with this type of ground clearance and weight, you’ll find that suspension is too stiff, has too much body roll, or is way too soft to where you don’t even feel like you’re tires are touching pavement. I have to say that Subaru did their homework on this aspect, and the fact that they offer aluminum lower L arms on this vehicle is quite nice. As expected, if you throw this thing into corners, you‘re going to get some body roll, but nothing that’s unexpected. Compared to the RAV4 and the CX-9, this thing blows both of them Out of the water in balancing the suspension.

Overall

We’ve only had the OB for a few weeks now, but so far it’s living up to our expectations and more. We definitely don’t feel like we compromised anything from going from Mazda to Subaru, and I would absolutely buy this over any Toyota product hands down. Like most of you, I would probably prefer an automatic/manual transmission paired with this engine because it is a very good engine. However, as far a CVT goes, this thing feels solid. It’s smooth and does it’s job more than adequately when driven like it should be. We haven’t had any of the ”common” build issues some of you have written about, but will definitely keep a close eye out for them. I’m sure we’ll have some complaints down the road, but for now, we are loving our Subaru.

Overall, we are very happy with our purchase, and we look forward to contributing more to this community!

-Alex
Azure, a well written, objective and useful post! I share some of your same findings about Toyota (I've owned four) and Mazdas.

Consider applying for an automotive journalist opening at Motor Trend and Car & Driver - I think they sometimes need a little help. :rolleyes:

Welcome aboard, and please give us an update on your Onyx in the future!
 

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2020 OB Onyx XT - Abyss Blue Pearl
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Discussion Starter #33
Azure, a well written, objective and useful post! I share some of your same findings about Toyota (I've owned four) and Mazdas.

Consider applying for an automotive journalist opening at Motor Trend and Car & Driver - I think they sometimes need a little help. :rolleyes:

Welcome aboard, and please give us an update on your Onyx in the future!
Thank you for the kind words! Looking forward to contributing more as I get to know the OB better.
 
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