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Discussion Starter #1
Well-met, Subaru owners!

Currently I drive an Acura TL and love the thing to death (and more or less intend on loving it until it dies...kinda) but my wife and I are avid outdoors-people and I'm running into more trails and areas I can't get to with a fairly low clearance sedan. So we're planning on moving to a 5th gen Outback sometime shortly after we get back from the Pacific Crest Trail (doing a thru next year). So I'm trying to conduct some more in-depth research than kelly blue book and consumer reports will tell me. The stuff I wish I knew sooner about my own car; like that the earlier 3rd gen transmissions were generally junk (luckily I was late 3rd gen), that the engine mounts usually crack around every 100,000 miles, but they don't do any recalls or factory fixes outside of warranty, etc.

So, for the 5th generation, what is there to look out for? Common to more rare problems that are often not widely known until you've owned one or are part of that car community. Things that commonly go wrong, or are just badly designed (The road noise in my car, as a more sporty model is not surprising, but obnoxious). Similarly, are there any fixes or alterations that you would broadly suggest for at least some users? For example my TL (and many other cars really, but I can't vouch for others) does far better with a low friction modifier automatic transmission fluid, making the clutch last much longer with harsher shifts.

I have a lot of plans for adding/altering small things on my eventual Outback, but I'm hoping to know any years I may want to avoid, alterations to do, and preventative maintenance to keep in mind. I've seen a couple possible things in forum searches here, but don't know what I'm missing.


Thank you all for any info and help!
 

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If you're looking for the problems read the last few weeks of threads on this board to get a sense of them or search the forum using "problem" -- the head unit (more for some than others depending on how you use it) can be a sore point/problem. Some people don't like the stock tires -- they're doing fine for me -- through sun, rain, and snow/slush this past winter. Some people have had battery issues and replace it -- mine was a few months old by last winter but did fine through a few weeks of sub-zero/single digit temps.

I'd encourage you to test drive both engines in MY18. if you want to look at/try other MY do that. I think Subaru made some nice updates in the 18s. When you test drive do city streets, highways, get it up to speed and listen, take it on your commute, sit in it for more than 30 minutes (some people have seat comfort issues). Take your time and get to know the vehicle a bit -- if you like the way it drives and it does what you want it to do and you like the price then you're all set. Good luck and have fun!
 

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2016 Outback Limited 3.6R
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When you test drive do city streets, highways, get it up to speed and listen, take it on your commute, sit in it for more than 30 minutes (some people have seat comfort issues). Take your time and get to know the vehicle a bit -- if you like the way it drives and it does what you want it to do and you like the price then you're all set. Good luck and have fun!
My dealership that I went to allowed me to take the car for an extended so I could see what I really thought about it, my total time out was about 4 hrs. That allowed me to take the freeway, drive in the city and allowed time to see the comfort and what not.

Being able to do that I feel was a huge selling point.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Much appreciate the input folks.

I'll definitely take a longer look down the problems thread. I'm largely hoping to choose which year to go with to minimize problems. Usually the latest year in the generation has less kinks, but it does always vary.

I think I will have to maybe rent one for a couple days too and see for myself how it does on some truly horrible forest roads.
 

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2013-15 2.5’s had teething issues with the new FP series engine. Avoid. 16-17’s have been solid but some 17-18’s had infotainment center issues.

Even our Legacy is a wild beast off pavement running circles around FWD sedans. The OB is just slightly better regarding clearing deep mud or rocky stuff. Any Subaru even the Impreza is a beast off the pavement. Pick your style and go.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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Much appreciate the input folks.

I'll definitely take a longer look down the problems thread. I'm largely hoping to choose which year to go with to minimize problems. Usually the latest year in the generation has less kinks, but it does always vary.

I think I will have to maybe rent one for a couple days too and see for myself how it does on some truly horrible forest roads.
if doing some real offroading or wanting to do some off road type mods read the threads on the "outback unpaved" section here.

pics, parts, and much discussion about getting a little more of a regular daily driver outback.

(like skid plates, lift kits, and BF Goodrich Ko2 on their own rims).

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if you are testing: Forester is coming out with a new generation this fall. this revision will put it on the global platform. which will make it better then it ever was.

Crosstrek, just got on the global platform for 2018, so the 2017 is a older animal.
...handy, but cramped for your "stuff" = no room behind the 2nd row.
(this was one of the top 5 selling vehicles last month,)

legacy,...if you still want a sedan, you could lift a legacy. ( subaru stopped selling outback sedans around 2007).


the big 3.6 engine found in the legacy / outback is great. (effortless compared to all others, on and offroad,..)

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if looking at used 2015 is a bad year across the board. (except the fast impreza WRX/STI, and BRZ all in manual).

(fine to test drive, but all the 2015 CVTs need fixing with 2016 parts,
extended warranty till 100,000 miles....don't know what subaru will charge for a factory rebuilt one ....

So just get a 2016-present. and avoid the drama. (2015s glut the dealers now. 2016 will come back in off lease in quantity. starting in august. although some may exist now ).

if buying 2016-present. eyesight is worth the get in price. (even old timey skeptics here like it,...a great aid in crawling traffic)

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what is coming new to the dealers in June: Ascent. with 3 row seating, new 2.4 turbo,
5000lb trailer towing ability in all over base model. (so stronger then any subaru before).
first retail ones running down the line in Indiana as I type this.

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cool old stuff: 2011-14 3.6 outbacks and legacys, ...last of the 5EAT transmissions.
 

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'17 Outback Limited 3.6R in Venetian Red.
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I have a '17 Limited and have no issues with the car (owned it for well over a year). Never had an issue with the infotainment system. I agree that the '18s seem to have more bugs that Subaru will eventually fix. I would vote for a '16 or '17. For me, the 3.6 engine was a no brainer. The 2.5 seems strained for a vehicle it's size. The flat 6 is one of the most harmonically balanced engines I've ever driven, with lots of torque and silky smooth operation. To me, since my OB is more of a street machine, the stock tires had to go. Otherwise they work well for the average driver, but don't excel in any one particular category.

Good luck and enjoy! These are pretty special cars IMO. They do everything well and are very practical, safe, and comfortable to drive in.
 

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Greetings-I've owned a 2014 Limited and 2-2015 Limited's. The 2014 and one of the 2015 I purchased new, with one of the 2015 being purchased used.

With the 2014-perfect car....except for the infotainment system, which would drop calls, turn on and off for no reason. Dealer replaced head unit twice and swapped the dash wiring harness. I complained to Subaru America about this and was OVERWHELMED by the positive response that I received. Because of that...bought a couple 2015s and a 2017 Crosstrek.

The 2015 I purchased new was completely trouble free for the 2 years I owned it. We were rear ended once with it and walked away with a scratched bumper. The other gent (driving a GM car) had his front end accordianed.

The 2015 I purchased used had the wind noise problem that you've surely read about, but dealer fixed it. Other than that, have had zero problems the 12,000 miles I've driven it.

All in all, I've put over 75,000 miles on three different models over the past 4 years (live in the country, lots of highway driving) and I couldn't ask for a more reliable, comfortable, safe, functional auto. No oil consumption or battery issues, just routine maintenance (which Subaru makes it really easy to do yourself). From my experience, Subaru really stands behind their products the rare occasions you have problems. And I like how they sponsor outdoor orgs as well as local charities.

Highly recommend Eyesight if you're doing a lot of miles.
 
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