Hi Allen, i'm Dean, i'm from the SGV also. i bought my 13 outback from puente hills subaru. They helped me out a lot on the deal. i traded in my 03 nissan 350z for the outback and couldnt be happier. i would say the cvt on the 2.5 is a dream to drive, its so smooth and you don't even feel the shift. some people may argue the difference in mpg is neglectable between the 2.5 and 3.6. so it all comes down to what will you be hauling. the best thing to do is to test drive both and see which one you like most. I'll be making a long haul to death valley in my 2.5 next month (president's day). 5 people (including myself) with a trunk full of camping gear and a roof basket of luggage and possible a spare tank of gas. if you're making your purcahse after president's day i can definitely give you some feedback on the 2.5.