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I have had 4WD vehicles before, but never an AWD. It is a brand new 2012 Outback 3.6R. I am used to a vehicle going down the road without a lot of input. I am always making minute corrections as I go down the road in the Outback. The steering feels, I guess, a little sticky? I am always adjusting the wheel. I have had the dealer check it. Their long time mechanic says it is just fine. No problems at all. I went out on a ride with him and showed him what I meant. He said it was just fine. Is this normal? I only have about 700 miles on it.
 

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I noticed this right away with my first subaru. In 2001 car had 6 miles on it. My mom got her first subaru in 2010. She described it as very direct steering. Few months later she said that she loved it and her take on the steering was that she was over driving the car. Back in 2001 I had the same experience. My prior car was a 4runner. Our 2010 ob seems pretty much subaru steering after 180,000 in my last one.
 

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It goes away as the stock tires break in, or when you replace them.
 

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Increasing tire pressure to 36 front and 34 rear helped for me along with bigger RSB.
 

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I have a '13 3.6 and it wandered too. As I have driven it, the wandering has become less noticeable. I now have ~1600 miles on it and I don't notice it at all. Give it a few more miles.
 

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I have a '13 3.6 and it wandered too. As I have driven it, the wandering has become less noticeable. I now have ~1600 miles on it and I don't notice it at all. Give a few more miles.

I only have about 700 miles on it.
 

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One thing I noticed is that the steering on my OB is really tight. What I mean by this is that extremely small steering wheel inputs are all that's required for highway corrections. Going from a '95 S10, which has lots of steering slop, to the OB caused me to make the car dart around on the highway. Once I was conscious of this and started making really small movements, almost more pressure than movement, things were a lot better.
 

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It goes away as the stock tires break in, or when you replace them.
I try not to discredit things I hear but the first time I heard this I didn't really buy it. I had a 2011 Legacy that was on different tires that never wandered. My OB did but its alignment was way off. Even though the alignment fixed it, and then the 19mm helped in wind, the longer I drive the easier it is. Its small differences but I have about 20k now between two cars so if its getting a little easier to drive its just down to tires now. So yeah the stock POS tires get better as they break in.
 

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I find the steering in our '12 very light. When I get back into my wife's Jetta the steering is much, much heavier. I guess the steering in my Saturn (that the Outback replaced) was also heavy because I never noticed the heaviness of the Jetta until now.
Steering feel is much heavier on the 3.6 vs the 2.5. I test drove both when I bought mine and the difference is noticible. Not sure if this contributes to any "wandering", I did not test drive each far enough to tell.
 

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The steering feel on my Legacy was heavier than my 13 OB. I've seen users make comments that when test driving the 13 was heavier than a 12. Sometimes I think the people who build the gearbox are inconsistent but what I really think happens is Subaru kept changing how tight they wanted the box to be.
 

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Actually I think there is a much higher probability that the software behind the wheel is the culprit for judging between heavy weighted and light weighted steering perception.

After going from American to Toyota and prior to that having a French car I think if the tires are wearing properly the lane wandering is driver induced. For sure every Subaru I've owned was easily over driven and bouncing off each side of the lane stripes compared to pretty much all the other brand vehicles I've owned where the steering was a bit loose and you could easily move the wheel each way a fair distance before the car or truck actually did anything. With Subaru not so much.
 

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I agree with subiesailor. The small steering wheel and tight steering in general made my OB feel like a handful on the highway at first. But when I drove my 300 after putting a couple hundred miles on the Subaru, I could easily sense why it felt like a handful. For one, the Chrysler has a steering wheel that wouldn't be out of place on a clipper ship. Adding to that, course corrections require comparatively massive angle adjustments even at highway speed.
I guess you could argue the Subaru's steering (at least mine) is tight almost to a fault.
 

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This seems more a conversation about steering than all wheel drive.

The Gen 4, rev a and b in our family both steer fine, handle fine, just different than each other and other cars.

It may also not be fair or a good comparison if the traction is compared to a traditional 4x4 that locks in center and maybe rear or front. It's certainly different than my 4x4 with electric lockers and so far gets me up and down the ski area service road I travel.

The transmission is the strangest difference for me. Mine's the CVT and it will be at higher RPM than I am used to in my 4Runner when climbing up the ski area service road.

The traction with stock tires is good overall. Our minivan has problems on same road I described and it is marked 4x4 only. My 4Runner has AT rated tires so it with the lockers dig right away.

It's too early for snow here but the two other Subarus in family and several owned by associates do very well in snow.

I do wonder if the OEM tires contribute much to the driving personality. As an example, the Michelin (Defender???) tires we just got on our van seem quieter, softer on pavement cracks but very good traction compared to many.

We chose the Outback over other fine competitors and I would only give 2 smaller VWs better marks than all of them for steering and handling.
 

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I agree with subiesailor. The small steering wheel and tight steering in general made my OB feel like a handful on the highway at first. But when I drove my 300 after putting a couple hundred miles on the Subaru, I could easily sense why it felt like a handful. For one, the Chrysler has a steering wheel that wouldn't be out of place on a clipper ship. Adding to that, course corrections require comparatively massive angle adjustments even at highway speed.
I guess you could argue the Subaru's steering (at least mine) is tight almost to a fault.
My wife took her VW yesterday across town she almost always drives the OB on the weekends given we don't have any kids car seats in the VW they don't fit.

I asked her if there was a difference in steering between the VW and the OB. Her response was yes why are you asking? I said I was just curious what her observation was and she says Oh well the OB is more direct you can't move the wheel much without the car reacting. The VW she says she can move the wheel a little and the car doesn't really respond. Then she points out that if she hasn't driven the OB in a while she tends to wander all over the place till she gets accustomed to keeping her steering inputs in check with the OB.
 
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