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2007 Chrysler 300C built 5.7
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396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On a topic that's been beat to death, I can't find what I'm searching for but I know the answer is out there.

I'm trying to find whether the Outback with the 6MT or CVT would be best for light off road duty. I'm not talking about needing to crawl over obstacles (I've seen the CVT is better suited for slow stuff since the 6MT is pretty tall). I'm more concerned with getting up muddy/snowy trails in the mountains. My gut wants to say the 50/50 split with the manual would be best, but I want to think the more advanced system in the auto would be more capable... or maybe it's just a wash! In which case I'm just split between a more engaging experience with the manual or the better efficiency of the auto! :crazyeye:
 

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'11 outback 2.5i premium '12 impreza sport limited
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3,814 Posts
depends on who you talk to. going to hear lots of different answers, id say get a CVT, i know myself and many others with a CVT have gone places you probably shouldn't take an outback and had no issues. get what makes you happy
 

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2012 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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961 Posts
The old question...AT vs. MT for off-roading. For me, being off-roading for a while now (in other cars, not OB), I favor AT. Why? With AT, you get to enjoy the "other" aspects of off-roading (scenery, placement of tire, steering, chatting, etc) without having to costantly worry about the 3rd pedal and what your right arm is doing.

In a street wagon on high heels without LO range, i really don't see a big advantage. Crawl ratio will be insignificant in a vehicle like OB.
 

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2007 Chrysler 300C built 5.7
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396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That makes me feel better. I tested reverse gear on the 2013 I test drove and it backed up a large curb without issue -which put to rest concerns I had from reading here over the past few months.
I've never stressed this much about buying a new car haha.
 

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2012 Outback 2.5 i Premium
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474 Posts
The CVT should be able to handle anything the OB is capable is tackling. Manuals are popular among the off roading crowd because it's fun to row through gears and you can always grab the gear you want should the need for a lower or higher gear arise.

The flappy paddles on the CVT are a little more clumsy than a traditional shifter.

The only other reason is so you don't get hassled by the Jeep drivers that think automatics are for wimps.
 

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2004 Toyota Sienna, miss my eyesight. Life moves on.
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982 Posts
That makes me feel better. I tested reverse gear on the 2013 I test drove and it backed up a large curb without issue -which put to rest concerns I had from reading here over the past few months.
I've never stressed this much about buying a new car haha.
I love manuals, I love shifting my dirtbike, I didn't enjoy our CVT Polaris sportsman as much never shifting, however I would not want my OB in a manual. The few times I want to hold a gear the paddles are good enough. The CVT makes the car feel plenty powerful and its always spot on with the RPMs. No regrets here. I do need to get in my dads 05 6 Speed Vette again as its been a few months since I drove it.
 

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2011 OB 2.5i Prem CVT HK/AWP, Ruby Red Pearl
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3,321 Posts
... Outback with the 6MT or CVT would be best for light off road duty.
<O:p
For what frequency/% of the time? In our home + wife’s street DD = CVT.<O:p
Then there’s packaging, 6MT is basically Base. Not on the Ltd, and pretty much order/option-up a Prem (to your ‘acceptable’ cost/benefit).<O:p
 

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22,806 Posts
I did lots and lots of off pavement stuff in my 5spd MT legacy yes LEGACY. It was very good in the sloppy crap as long as the ground was flat and I could simply keep it in gear and motoring on through. Where the MT gets very difficult is when you do steep climbs. There were a couple of places and a friends crazy steep driveway where the MT simply had Zero ability to climb it power vs clutch ie gearing it was not possible to get the car to go period. I have gone a couple of places which had very steep climbs with the CVT and it didn't even blink that same climb with the 6spd MT would be a no go.

So all depends on what your off road use is? Logging roads 6spd MT will bang up and down those all day long zero issues. Any roads with very steep initial climbs or have anything like that the CVT will be superior. Its your call pending what your plans are dirt roads just about any car and MT will do just fine as long as traction can be found.
 

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2011 Outback 2.5i PZEV
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CVT will be just fine and requires less thought, like others have said. I've not done much off-pavement driving in my OB yet but have run it through some muddy track with some slight inclines. Does just fine. Acutally the trails I have been on I took several of my previous Land Rovers on as well. I know it won't take me everywhere I've been able to go in the past but so far have been impressed, just wish there was lower gearing to minimize breaking on the downhill tracks.

MT isn't much of an advantage off-road, IMO, until you get into serious technical stuff where you want to be the one in control of what gear you are in.
 

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2014 2.5 Outback Premium CVT 72,000 mi (previous: 2012 OB 2.5 base 6-MT, totaled at 73,532mi)
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534 Posts
I think in general automatics are better at not getting stuck: you can apply really gradual power to creep out of stuff that would have most clutches smoking like crazy. My grandpa had a late 60's Carryall 2WD automatic w/posi-traction. It was the ultimate off-road rig, never got stuck, pulled 4WD's out of the mud (his brother's).

However, I got the MT after reading about the max torque the CVT is limited to (can't be mated to a diesel or 3.6 due to too much torque). That had me concerned that the CVT is slightly underrated for the application. I only hesitated because I plan on keeping this Outback for about 500k miles, and want something I can repair myself out of warranty.

The one thing I don't like is the tall 1st and 2nd, but most of the time it's fine. The 2013's are supposed to be better that way (lower gears, more low end power?).
It's all about your own comfort level/plans.
 

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2013 Legacy Lim CVT Car: 2011 OB Prem 6MT Car: 2006 Miata GT 6MT mc: 2003 Honda GL1800A * Reunite Gondwanaland *
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3,565 Posts
Then there’s packaging, 6MT is basically Base. Not on the Ltd, and pretty much order/option-up a Prem ...
Yep, the OB we bought -- 6MT, AWP, moonroof -- is not available for 2013,
(and was either very rare on non-existent for 2012). If the 6MT packaging
options don't change, this is likely to be our first and last Soobie. The only
reason we didn't buy another Mazda (our 6th) is that they no longer offer
manual transmissions -- except in the lowest, stripped-down trim levels.

...gotta have a manual tranny and a glass roof -- or no roof at all,

Looby
 

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2007 Chrysler 300C built 5.7
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The one thing I don't like is the tall 1st and 2nd, but most of the time it's fine. The 2013's are supposed to be better that way (lower gears, more low end power?).
It's all about your own comfort level/plans.
Really? I hadn't heard of the 2013 6MT having revised gearing. Where did you read that?

I'm glad to see you CVT owners not having issues on trails and such. That definitely makes me feel better. The 90/10 split I keep reading about has had me worried, but if it's quick to redistribute power accordingly then there shouldn't be a problem.

What it'll really come down to is availability and price. If I get the manual, I understand I won't be able to have a backup camera/moonroof or upgraded sound system. If I get the CVT, it'll have to have at least one of those things so I can tell myself I got some of the things I wouldn't have been able to have with the 6MT.
I've been in contact with the big dealer in CO Springs and their pricing is unbelievably good. If my local dealer won't come down on their pricing, I'll be taking a little road trip south :29:
 

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2011,premium,2.5
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646 Posts
depends on who you talk to. going to hear lots of different answers, id say get a CVT, i know myself and many others with a CVT have gone places you probably shouldn't take an outback and had no issues. get what makes you happy

what he said, i done lots that i never thought i could do with a CVT but to my taste, nothing beats a MT i like more control over what i am doing... the cvt acts like ur down shifting but when i think i can down shift one more time it beeps at me...reminding me that is there's limits what i can do with it, but what u said, u should have no problem with the CVT but adding 1k to the price
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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838 Posts
However, I got the MT after reading about the max torque the CVT is limited to (can't be mated to a diesel or 3.6 due to too much torque). That had me concerned that the CVT is slightly underrated for the application. I only hesitated because I plan on keeping this Outback for about 500k miles, and want something I can repair myself out of warranty.

You may want to do some more reading on the Subie CVT's. While the current ones may be have torque limits, that won't be the case for long.

Subie has a new CVT that is designed for use with the diesel boxers. It is slated to release in Australia later this year. A tranie like that would simply need to have the gear ratios reworked and they could mate it to a h6 with out too much trouble. Likely you can expect to see a CVT for the 3.6's in the US in the next couple years.

I would guess that around 2015 with they redesign the OB again, it would be a good time to bring in that tranie to new markets.
 

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2014 2.5 Outback Premium CVT 72,000 mi (previous: 2012 OB 2.5 base 6-MT, totaled at 73,532mi)
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534 Posts
You may want to do some more reading on the Subie CVT's. While the current ones may be have torque limits, that won't be the case for long.

Subie has a new CVT that is designed for use with the diesel boxers. It is slated to release in Australia later this year. A tranie like that would simply need to have the gear ratios reworked and they could mate it to a h6 with out too much trouble. Likely you can expect to see a CVT for the 3.6's in the US in the next couple years.

I would guess that around 2015 with they redesign the OB again, it would be a good time to bring in that tranie to new markets.
Well thats great, but I was talking about the cvt that wa actually available to me this year. I didn't have the option to wait a couple years for a new car, the old one was finished.
 

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2014 2.5 Outback Premium CVT 72,000 mi (previous: 2012 OB 2.5 base 6-MT, totaled at 73,532mi)
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Really? I hadn't heard of the 2013 6MT having revised gearing. Where did you read that?
In the flyer Subaru sent me trying to get me to buy a new 2013, or maybe on subaru.com, one of the 2.
 
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