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2018 Subaru Outback 3.6R, 2013 Porsche Boxster S
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Discussion Starter #1
Just purchased a new 2018 Outback 3.6R! Happy to share my joy as well as some thoughts. I’ve been dropping by here for a couple years while owning a few other Subaru cars, always enjoy hearing from other owners. Here we go, my longest post so far.

Other cars I considered: Porsche Macan, Mercedes Benz GLC300, Audi Allroad. It came down to value, nothing else could match the OB. This was my first new car purchase, as most of my previous cars were purchased ‘slightly’ used. I debated between 2.5i and 3.6R, test drove both twice, and ultimately felt the 3.6R was a more exciting drive and a more meaningful upgrade from my 2010 OB 2.5i. Loyalty coupon sweetened the deal. I price shopped a lot of dealers, combined with timing, was able to get what some other dealers may consider a “steal”. Went back and forth between two colors Twilight Blue and Ice Silver, somehow fell back on the silver. May have picked up Wilderness Green Metallic, but didn’t see many in that color.

In two days so far, have added 250 miles ? Initial thoughts:

Compared to Gen 4: build quality is higher in Gen 5, still maintains a similar “car” feel, however the ride is more firm and refined. The 3.6R engine is butter smooth and quiet, noticeably over the first gen 2.5i CVT (which was a $1,000 option back in 2010). Yes, I can feel the added front weight of the bigger engine. Curiously, there are a couple things I miss from the 4th gen: double compartment center storage (two hatches), and trunk storage compartment. The leather seats are nice, however, takes some adjusting to get right, whereas the 4th gen cloth seats had minimal adjustment and met my needs. Also, the 4th gen cloth seats have warmer seat heaters. Having said this, big jump in overall interior quality between the generations.

Design: I like the ’18 update, has a classic, clean yet more aggressive look. More focused design and better consistency over 4th gen. Still a bit on the conservative side. Looking for that to change with 6th gen.

EyeSight: first use of adaptive cruise control, took some getting used to trusting the system initially. Nice feature in traffic and works very well, however, after 20 years of driving without it I don’t see it changing my driving style…yet. However, time will tell. MPG will likely take a hit using the system, depending how you drive or set front car distance tracker, because system may break more often (system looks ahead to first car, vs me looking ahead to multiple cars over).

Lane Assist: an evolving technology, helps keep the car inside lanes on minor turns which is actually useful and nice, however, when tested with minimal wheel input, can cause car to drift between inside lanes.

Harman Kardon system: sounds fairly decent after tweaking settings a bit, but didn’t blow me away. Bluetooth source appears to sound better than SXM, but will do more testing with CD/CarPlay.

LED Headlights: night and day difference to 4th gen halogens. Seriously, this should become standard across all trims, not sure why in this day of age, and can help Subaru maintain safety/value lead.

Wish list: automatic lane change just by using signals, active air suspension with ability to raise/lower car, panoramic moon roof. Interior lighting could be improved. How about some slight design tweaks for the 3.6R instead of just the badge? Greater customization will likely follow with the 6th gen with more color options, but Subaru is still a small scale manufacturer.

Current cars: 2013 Porsche Boxster S, 2010 Outback 2.5i Premium (transferring to family), 2018 Outback 3.6R Limited
Previous cars: 2006 Ford Mustang GT, 2003 Subaru Forester, 1997 Mercury Cougar (handed down), 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier wagon (handed down)
Driving experience: 20 years
 

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2018 3.6R Limited
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549 Posts
Congrats! SXM is heavily compressed - good for casual listening or talk shows. The best sound quality you can have have is either using USB stick with 320kbps mp3s or USB connection via AndroidAuto or Car Play.
 

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2017 Outback 3.6R Limited
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440 Posts
Congrats! SXM is heavily compressed - good for casual listening or talk shows. The best sound quality you can have have is either using USB stick with 320kbps mp3s or USB connection via AndroidAuto or Car Play.
I agree. My entire music collection (1000+ albums at 320kbps) fits on a tiny 128GB flash drive (like this one) that I just leave plugged into one of the USB ports. No need for SXM unless you want some of their talk shows.
 

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2010/2016 outback
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900 Posts
For me and my wife when the 15's came out and we sat in a loaded 3.6 or 2.5 and compared to my base 10 I felt I was in a lux car. As time goes on you forget that initial feeling but I still feel very comfy in my 16. We really liked our 10 but Subaru managed to move it upscale while reading that basic Outback feeling for Gen 5. I doubt that formula will change with Gen 6. With the new Ascent staring in the low 30's they can't get to far with the change and retain the current price structure. In fact, I think the price will stay the same or be lowered on some trim levels
 

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2018 Outback Touring 3.6R
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971 Posts
I came from an Audi Q5, but I don't really feel I went down-market. The 3.6 was a no brainer after driving both it and the 2.5. If Mazda had their diesel on the market, it would have been a tough choice. I think that besides the quietness and smoothness of the 3.6, it was the difference in behavior of the CVT that sealed the deal on the 3.6. Most of the time I don't feel like I'm driving a CVT. and I had a Forester 2.5 Premium for a rental for about two months, so I had quite a while with the 2.5 to realize I wouldn't be happy with it. Not saying there's anything wrong with the combo, just that it didn't meet my requirements.
 

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2019 Subaru Outback Touring 3.6R, Crystal White Pearl
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544 Posts
They need to add some basics before getting a little more out there.

1. Front bumper parking sensors
2. rain sensing wipers
 

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2017 Outback Limited 2.5, Twilight Blue/Ivory, Eyesight. Also 1995 BMW 525i with 240,000 miles
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2,291 Posts
They need to add some basics before getting a little more out there.

1. Front bumper parking sensors
2. rain sensing wipers
You consider these items as basic? Don't ever drive an old car from the 60s then. :)
 

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My Wife and I purchased a new 2018 OB Limited 50th. 2 days ago.

I hate writing much of a review with such limited time in the car, so a proper review may come in 6 months from now. But I don't want to forget my initial thoughts about the new Outback.

We as well, traded a really nice 2016 Audi Q5 3.0 Supercharged Premium Plus with only 31,000 miles for the new Subie.
Initially she was very adamant about not trading. She felt she was trading down way too much. But after only 3 days of ownership and 400 miles of real world driving (highway/city commute) she is pretty satisfied.

In no way is the Subie as performance oriented as the 3.0 SC V6 Audi. But the Outback has so much value at its price point. Our Outback isn't the top spec Touring, but it is optioned very close. The 6 cylinder has enough power to make driving enjoyable and performance is very adequate. The Subaru is quieter going down the road on its 18" wheel and tire combination compared to the Audi's 20's with 45 profile.

With combination city/highway driving, we are seeing fuel economy at 26-27 mpg at 6,000-7,400 ft above sea level on 87 octane fuel. (another point for Subaru over the Audi's required 91 premium fuel requirement) And this is driving it with a slightly heavy foot. I don't want to start a debate on break-in procedure, but I'm from the camp that during break-in you don't push the tach to redline, but you defiantly don't just putter the thing around either.

Back on topic,,
We are very satisfied with the 6 cylinder. I think for us, we would have been disappointed with the H4..
But as others have said, drive both. Then decide. I just feel the 6 cylinder was worth a bit of fuel economy reduction.

Overall, I'm happy with the new OB, and no regrets trading the Q5.

Cheers
Jeff,
 

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2018 Outback Touring 3.6R
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Back on topic,,
We are very satisfied with the 6 cylinder. I think for us, we would have been disappointed with the H4..
But as others have said, drive both. Then decide. I just feel the 6 cylinder was worth a bit of fuel economy reduction.

Overall, I'm happy with the new OB, and no regrets trading the Q5.

Cheers
Jeff,
I feel the same, only I had the 2.0T in my Q5. So the Outback is actually a performance improvement, and as you noted it takes regular. As much as people complain about the Harmon Kardon radio in the OB, I think it compares favorably to the B&O system my Audi had. Of course, mine was a 2012, so there were improvements since then.
 

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2018 Subaru Outback 3.6R, 2013 Porsche Boxster S
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30 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
My Wife and I purchased a new 2018 OB Limited 50th. 2 days ago.

We as well, traded a really nice 2016 Audi Q5 3.0 Supercharged Premium Plus with only 31,000 miles for the new Subie. But after only 3 days of ownership and 400 miles of real world driving (highway/city commute) she is pretty satisfied.

Overall, I'm happy with the new OB, and no regrets trading the Q5.
Interesting, what made you give up the Audi after only 2 years?

Congrats on 3.6R 50th edition! One of 250 if I'm not mistaken. How did you decide on that particular trim?
 

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2017 Outback 3.6R Limited
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440 Posts
A buddy of mine had an Audi in which the glove compartment got jammed and he couldn't get it open. The Audi dealer wanted over $600 to fix it.
 

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Repair/Maintenance costs are a big downside to the German Lux cars.

My son has to break that sort of news to owners on a regular basis.

Great cars but you really might not want one once the warranty expires.

Part of the issue is not all parts are stocked in the USA. He is always telling me stories about vehicles waiting for parts to be shipped in from Germany.
 

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2010 Outback Limited 2.5 Nav CANCELED
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151 Posts
New 2018 Outback 3.6R Purchase & Initial Thoughts

“Great cars” ?
Not in my opinion. We own a MB and its junk. Been in the shop more then any other car we have owned. Stuff breaks like the plastic window up/down switch, wire harness rubbed through in under 2k miles and more. Stuff you would expect from a Yugo.
Just annoying to drive too. “Turn on the cabin light for just a second please”…
Good luck finding the button to do it. Half the time I say f*** it and use my cell phone light. That super annoying “eco start” its so intrusive and abrupt the car lurches forward at a light when it restarts.
Never again, our prior Cadillac was so much better. And in fact our Subaru is way better and more pleasant to drive.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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2018 Outback Touring 3.6R
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Curiously, there are a couple things I miss from the 4th gen: double compartment center storage (two hatches), and trunk storage compartment.
Not so curious -- you can never have too much storage space! :wink2: I know that my wife will definitely miss both of those features of our '11 OB, especially the two-level console box. But I'm glad to hear about your impressions while I'm anxiously awaiting mine. I went from a BMW 325i stick shift to our '11 2.5i CVT OB, so am also looking forward to the 3.6R with a more powerful, smoother engine and less drone due to the CVT.

I always thought that the underfloor area on the Gen 4 was very cleverly designed. Does the Gen 5 still have the built-in storage for the cargo cover? I can't remember the last time I actually used it, but nice to have I guess.
 

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2018 Outback Touring 3.6R
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I always thought that the underfloor area on the Gen 4 was very cleverly designed. Does the Gen 5 still have the built-in storage for the cargo cover? I can't remember the last time I actually used it, but nice to have I guess.
If I remember everything the salesman showed me when it was delivered, yes you can still store the cargo cover below deck.
 

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'18 Outback Touring 3.6R, '11 Legacy 3.6R Limited. '11 WRX not stock
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448 Posts
You remember correctly the cover can be stored, sections 6-18 ~ 6-19 in the manual if needed.

Interesting I too was going with one of the German brands but took home the Subaru after an extended test drive trying to find reasons NOT to buy it. Just thought I was being a Subbie Snob. :laugh: 5K miles an NO regrets.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5 Limited
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143 Posts
You remember correctly the cover can be stored, sections 6-18 ~ 6-19 in the manual if needed.

Interesting I too was going with one of the German brands but took home the Subaru after an extended test drive trying to find reasons NOT to buy it. Just thought I was being a Subbie Snob. :laugh: 5K miles an NO regrets.
Lol yeah I'm another one who converted from a German car to a Subaru. I really miss how fun the GTI was, but dont miss all the problems I had with it for being a 2014.
 

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Someone mentioned they wished the Outback had rain sensing wipers. I have been shopping Outbacks to replace a German car but found it odd that rain sensing wipers are not even an option. For Subaru being so safety oriented it is a let down. I'm going to hold out to see what the 2019 model has in store.
 
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