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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

New member here. I'm looking to buy a car in the coming year. Previous car history: '00 Ford Explorer which I loved for its ability to go anywhere and overall SUV feel. .hated how every time I went up a hill on the highway I'd have to move over because I couldn't maintain speed. .part of the reason I moved to the Mazdaspeed 3 when I graduated college.

Fell out of love with that car after 3 years and sold it. Got that 'sport car' bug out of my system. Was fun to drive but couldn't get over its handling on any little bump on the road, would throw you all over the place. Also started working from home and needed to save money for other things.

Anyway, after we buy a house in a few months I'll be looking to get a new vehicle and would like some opinions from owners.

1) 4 or 6 cylinders? I kind of want to try this CVT out but not if I'm going to have the same issue I had with the Explorer. I don't need to be the fastest car on the road and usually drive near speed limit.

2) I'd be using it for light duty stuff around town, would like to keep more than 5 years as we start a family, road trips, occasional trip off the beaten path. .I make trips to Pittsburgh and am in No. VA so the AWD is appealing to me. Also like the cargo room and would most likely install a hitch in case I want/need to tow my motorcycle somewhere.

3) If I go the OB route, after reading on here it seems there's issues needing correction via a rear sway bar? And the HK audio system and navigation which I was kind of excited about don't look to review well. Would love keyless entry but maybe not all the other stuff with the SAP trim. Any idea of this coming to the '14 models?

I'll have more questions but appreciate any feedback!

Matt
 

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2012 Outback Limited 3.6R Pearl White, Moonroof, Protection Package, Side Molding, Puddle Lights, interior lighting package and STI RASB
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68 Posts
I think you would like an Outback for your new home and family plans. Personally, we never even considered the H4 /CVT as we like power more than a few extra MPG. My wife drives up to DC for work and gets around 26 MPG for that 100 Mile round trip. I did add the rear sway bar to ours but I am not sure it will make a huge difference on the new model. Best advice I have is rent one for a few days and see how you like it for how YOU drive. Most rentals have the CVT. No one vehicle is perfect but we love ours for the abilities/safety/performance/reliability/ride and comfort.
Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think you would like an Outback for your new home and family plans. Personally, we never even considered the H4 /CVT as we like power more than a few extra MPG. My wife drives up to DC for work and gets around 26 MPG for that 100 Mile round trip. I did add the rear sway bar to ours but I am not sure it will make a huge difference on the new model. Best advice I have is rent one for a few days and see how you like it for how YOU drive. Most rentals have the CVT. No one vehicle is perfect but we love ours for the abilities/safety/performance/reliability/ride and comfort.
Hope that helps.
I think that's some solid advice that I was already considering. Where can I rent one. .? I've looked around it seems a bit tricky. Heard I can reserve it from Hertz? And that they may pull a switch on me when I go to get it.
 

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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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Our dealer "rented" ours to us for the first 3 days, while we waited for our mortgage refi to close. Might be able to rent from a dealer. Be sure any rental is a 2013, the 2012 handling is really different: softer, 40% more body roll.
 

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2012 Outback Limited 3.6R Pearl White, Moonroof, Protection Package, Side Molding, Puddle Lights, interior lighting package and STI RASB
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68 Posts
I think Budget had them in some areas as well, may just have to search or even call some dealers in the area. We bought from Frank White at Annapolis Subaru and they have a few 2013 PZEV Outback service loaners but I am not sure about rentals.
Side note, one of our neighbors just bought a 13 3.6R with Eyesight as their 16 yr. old totaled their V8 Explorer and they are loving it as a replacement for that.
 

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Maybe ask a dealer to rent a loaner? With the 4cyl you cant be afraid to stomp on the pedal when you need some power. With my 2005, I tend to use the sport shifter when passing with the 4 speed auto... plenty of pick up if you let it get some revs. I just got the 2013 with the cvt. I find myself using the paddles to engine break, but not as much for passing. If I was towing stuff around alot, I'd would go with the H6 and a transmission cooler.

You will get a huge variety of opinions on the H4 vs H6, but as suggested, best bet is to drive both and make your own decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Called around to some dealers and Enterprise. .the dealers acted like I was crazy. To think I'd want to drive a car for a weekend without a salesman breathing down my neck to decide if it's right for me. .

Enterprise here doesn't have them. Maybe one of the other rentals at the airport does guess I can try calling.
 

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2011 Outback 2.5i Premium, CVT, Steel Silver, all-weather package. Upgrades: Tweeter kit, BlueConnect, media hub, remote start, Curt 2" receiver hitch.
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You should definitely test drive both the 2.5 and the 3.6 to see which one suits you better. You should not need to pull over on hills, even with the 2.5. Some people who are used to V8 engines are afraid to let a 4 cylinder wind up. I come from European cars with smaller engines that really need to rev up... And none of them suffered from it. I fact, my last Mercedes (125 horsepower) is still on the road with 600,000 miles on the original engine. I have also driven low horsepower VWs (90 hp) and Toyotas (128 hp) and had no problems there. To me, the 2.5i seems pretty powerful. It has more horsepower and weighs considerably less than my truck, and I don't need to slow down on hills with the truck, either.

Also, I tow with the Outback quite a bit... About once a week on average. Seem times I tow my utility trailer with lumber, garbage, motor scooters, etc., and sometimes I tow my fiberglass camper (about 1,500 pounds). It does this easily... But that is no surprise, since I used to tow it just fine with my 128 hp subcompact Scion xD.
 

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2012 Outback Limited 3.6R Pearl White, Moonroof, Protection Package, Side Molding, Puddle Lights, interior lighting package and STI RASB
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68 Posts
I just did an online search and Hertz comes up but may be at BWI. I would start with a call to them and see if you can reserve it locally.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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I had a 13 as a loaner for few days - I certainly wouldn't be afraid of the CVT. It's just weird at first, but it seemed solid to me. The way my right leg hit/lay against the center console was odd. Honestly, I didn't find anything I hated or wouldn't be able to become accustomed to. But, it didn't seem 'light years' ahead of our 03. Just more electronic gadgets.

have you considered a Forester? it also has a lot of room for gear.
 

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'02 Bean H6, AWP & ORP, factory hitch
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4 cyl vs 6 cyl

You mentioned possibly towing your bike, maybe thru the Poconos and the Appalachians. I'd opt for the 3.6 simply because the engine would be under far less stress, it could use the additional torque rather than relying on rpm's to deliver the extra power needed for towing. Shifts would be much smoother too. My neighbor has a 2013 with the 3.6. He told me that he drove both before purchase and said that if you didn't live somewhere flat, such as Ariz. or So. Cal. the 2.5 worked too hard. If you are planning to keep it awhile (you might keep it forever!) go ahead and get the 6 cyl.
 

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2017 Outback, 14 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 07 BMW E-93
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The OB is 3600 pounds and a 173 hp engine didn't work out for us test driving both 12's and 13's because primarily of noise at interstate speeds. Didn't find the 2.5L appealing and I have owned cars and trucks with small 4 cylinder engines. Driving mountains out west and towing in the east made the 3.6L our choice. In fact buying another new 14 OB when they come out replacing my M3 BMW. If the OB comes with a 2.0L turbo that is starting to enter the Subaru line I would strongly consider that but my guess for 14 is the same current engine lineup.

Both engines are suitable for most people and the OB is the best vehicle I have ever owned to include my BMWs. The HK audio is excellent and Eye Sight system truely worth getting Nav and moonroof neither which I need but do use Nav all the time.

I siggest driving a number of them at the dealerships because you will be jackpot lucky to find a rental company that has one...
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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12,349 Posts
Take both for an extended test drive.

For most needs the H4 CVT or 6MT is adequate.

Some prefer the H6 5EAT for more power and smoother engine.

Really, you can't go wrong with either platform...you just need to find which one is the best fit.
 

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2013 OB 3.6R SAP
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As for the HK audio, take the complaints on this board with a grain of salt. Many of us like the HK system, including myself, and I have a dedicated listening room at home so I'm fairly picky.

As others have said, on this item, see for yourself. Take a CD or a USB thumb drive with music that you know well, and listen to it, preferably while driving. However, you will need to fuss with the sound control a bit - lower the bass and increase the mid-range. You can do this with a graphic equalizer if the car has nav, or with the bass/mid/treble controls if not.

As for the nav I've made my peace with it. I'm sure there are better systems out there, but with a few tweaks (lower the audio level and leave it on verbose) it's quite functional.

I will say that if the tech package is one of your primary buying considerations then you should look closely at an Acura. But if it's AWD, then stick with Subaru.
 

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'11 Outback 2.5i CVT - '06 Forester X 5MT
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To answer your first question. I think the OB would be a perfect fit. It has plenty of room to haul stuff and people. We got ours because we just started a family. The rear facing seat fits just fine behind the passenger seat with enough room for me (6'3") to be comfortable in the front.

I just bought an '06 Forester and it's amazing how much more room there really is in the OB. If one of your bigger concerns is hauling cargo and people, especially car seats. Go with the OB. I'm sure the '14 Forester will have more rear seat room, but the OB will still have more.

As for trim... GL. I will tell you this. I live in North Central WV and have had my 4 CVT through plenty of steep hills, back roads and everything in between. I have never felt underpowered and never been in the right lane on a hill. I'm usually in the left passing ;)

As far as transmissions go, the CVT is a dream automatic. Longevity can be argued, but as far as put it in D and go, the CVT outperforms and 4EAT or 5EAT I've driven.

Engine.. power should be youre deciding factor. MPG is minimal and they are both very dependable engines.

GL and come back with any questions.
 

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Hello all,

New member here. I'm looking to buy a car in the coming year. Previous car history: '00 Ford Explorer which I loved for its ability to go anywhere and overall SUV feel. .hated how every time I went up a hill on the highway I'd have to move over because I couldn't maintain speed. .part of the reason I moved to the Mazdaspeed 3 when I graduated college.

Fell out of love with that car after 3 years and sold it. Got that 'sport car' bug out of my system. Was fun to drive but couldn't get over its handling on any little bump on the road, would throw you all over the place. Also started working from home and needed to save money for other things.

Anyway, after we buy a house in a few months I'll be looking to get a new vehicle and would like some opinions from owners.

1) 4 or 6 cylinders? I kind of want to try this CVT out but not if I'm going to have the same issue I had with the Explorer. I don't need to be the fastest car on the road and usually drive near speed limit.

2) I'd be using it for light duty stuff around town, would like to keep more than 5 years as we start a family, road trips, occasional trip off the beaten path. .I make trips to Pittsburgh and am in No. VA so the AWD is appealing to me. Also like the cargo room and would most likely install a hitch in case I want/need to tow my motorcycle somewhere.

3) If I go the OB route, after reading on here it seems there's issues needing correction via a rear sway bar? And the HK audio system and navigation which I was kind of excited about don't look to review well. Would love keyless entry but maybe not all the other stuff with the SAP trim. Any idea of this coming to the '14 models?

I'll have more questions but appreciate any feedback!

Matt
My dad has a 99 Explorer 220,000 miles on it I've borrowed it a few times over the years. Last summer we were looking for a replacement for him. He ended up keeping the old exploder and getting a Infinity G35X he hadn't done the sports car thing yet. LOL

The old style explorer is very similar in size to the new OB except the new OB has slightly more hip room in the rear seat bench and better leg room and front seat space. OB has Little less floor space in the trunk but not a huge amount. Regarding performance the 2.5 CVT is light years better they are very similar in power but the CVT gearing makes it a whole different animal. Not to mention you have a larger fuel tank in the OB and the ability to get nearly 30mpg which the Explorer will not do unless its hooked to a Tow truck.

If the Explorer space was good for you and the SUV ability ie snow and off road ability was good for you then the OB is about as close as your going to get in comparable size vs price tag.

As for those hills? The CVT eats them up by far the best AT for the 2.5L regarding power and moving the vehicle especially in the hills. We have the Sierras and the Grapevine here. The 2.5 with CVT is more than capable of moving the OB faster than its suspension will handle in those drives. If your in a big hurryOB will do 70+mph on climbs the old Explorer would be sweating 65mph. Explorer simply is heavy has similar power rating to the lighter OB- and lacks the gears that the CVT has so very different mountain driving experience between the two.

I tow a bunch and have borrowed the old 99 Exploder to tow on a couple of long trips when my old car wasn't up to the task. The new OB by far is the better choice when your say 1700lbs and under on trailer weight start getting into the 1700lbs and up range in hot summer temps and the explorer has more cooling capacity than the OB but this is rarely much of an issue for me given all my towing has been 1700lbs and under for any of the hot trips for many years now. The OB will tow more than 1700lbs easily in cooler temps 80 degrees and under no problem the full 2700lbs is do able with trailer brakes etc. It's just the cooling capacity is a cross between a car and a SUV so in hot weather your towing capacity is limited

CVT is 1350LBs in 104+ temps on 5+ mile climbs
5spd AT in the 3.6L is 1500lbs in 104+ temps and 5+mile climbs

The MT 6spd doesn't have a heat vs trailer weight issue given you'll find the limit on the engine cooling before the MT has issues so they list it at 2700lbs regardless of temps.

But having done 180,000 miles in the old subaru 5spd MT and now have over 40K on the new CVT - the CVT has been really good!!!!!!!! Its also better for steep technical off road stuff where the taller gearing and throttle response in the 6spd MT would be a no go.

The 2.5 with CVT will feel fast compared to the old Explorer but its power is very similar.
The 3.6 will feel like a rocket compared to the old Explorer and feel like a very large car compared to the Mazda
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks everyone for the very detailed and informative responses. Looks like i'm on the right track here. Good to know that the 2.5 w/ CVT should be fine for most anything I throw at it. I'll pay attention during test drive(s).

To those that suggested the Forester. .from what I've read it's a little smaller and less refined? I think that'd bug me after a few years and I'd have some buyers remorse. Not concerned with cost too much on either vehicle.

I do like my technology but honestly I think the BT streaming is enough. .would like the big screen but guessing I'd prefer my Android phone w/ Google Maps to any car manufacturer's nav system. Maybe I can do something there aftermarket. .who knows.

Frustrating that I can't rent one of these for a weekend. Guess I'll have to settle for the car show in DC in February to poke around.

subie, I really liked the comparison to the Explorer. Mine was a MT so I could tell it what gear I wanted it in. .but even with that it just would not go up hills and maintain its speed. Size wise I think it was perfect, I don't need a jumbo SUV. Occasional trip to go skeet shooting or archery. .once in a blue moon need to haul my motorcycle somewhere (don't see this happening often, if I can ride it there I will), other than that it'd be an around town and roadtrip car. I like to do my own maintenance and was happy to see how accessible everything is under the hood when I saw a '12 at the dealer.

Matt
 

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Thanks everyone for the very detailed and informative responses. Looks like i'm on the right track here. Good to know that the 2.5 w/ CVT should be fine for most anything I throw at it. I'll pay attention during test drive(s).

To those that suggested the Forester. .from what I've read it's a little smaller and less refined? I think that'd bug me after a few years and I'd have some buyers remorse. Not concerned with cost too much on either vehicle.

I do like my technology but honestly I think the BT streaming is enough. .would like the big screen but guessing I'd prefer my Android phone w/ Google Maps to any car manufacturer's nav system. Maybe I can do something there aftermarket. .who knows.

Frustrating that I can't rent one of these for a weekend. Guess I'll have to settle for the car show in DC in February to poke around.

subie, I really liked the comparison to the Explorer. Mine was a MT so I could tell it what gear I wanted it in. .but even with that it just would not go up hills and maintain its speed. Size wise I think it was perfect, I don't need a jumbo SUV. Occasional trip to go skeet shooting or archery. .once in a blue moon need to haul my motorcycle somewhere (don't see this happening often, if I can ride it there I will), other than that it'd be an around town and roadtrip car. I like to do my own maintenance and was happy to see how accessible everything is under the hood when I saw a '12 at the dealer.

Matt

I've hauled a few bikes they aren't much worry unless your hauling them on a huge heavy trailer. Hauled a Honda ACE 750 from CA to Scottdale AZ in one of those old school Uhaul shorty box trailers - just fit with the mirrors removed. The Matrix we used was rated for 1500lbs and hardly even broke a sweat doing that haul with a bunch of other crap packed in the car and the heavy Uhaul trailer.

The OB gen 4 we have 42,000 miles we towed a 21ft racing sailboat for two years with it 1700lbs basic gear weight behind the car CVT was perfectly fine cooling was far superior to my prior 2001 Subaru. Towed great!!!!!! Sadly we sold the boat having owned it since 1998 though the owner has promised to offer it back before he sells to a stranger . LOL

We have been towing a 900lb 4x6 utility/tent trailer rig for the last two years which is more or less similar to what sort of set up and weight you would haul the bike with. The 2.5 CVT at 900lbs hardly even notices the trailer - we run between 21mpg and 25mpg towing it loaded with 4 people + camping crap so probably a good reference for the bike hauling trip with gear etc. Running 60-65mph in the hills in Northern CA we generally see a fuel tank average some place around 24-25mpg with the lowest hitting 21mpg. The car will easily accelerate on the fairly average climbs with that load doing 70+mph is fully within its ability even on the hills.

Last winter I ran that same trailer in utility format think high sided 4x6 heavy built utility trailer with 2x6 floor etc. We towed from LA to SF 8hr drive the trailer was full of old family stuff out of an old family house being sold. I think we were hauling around 800-900lbs of gear big heavy Atlas metal Lathe from the 1940's on a big heavy cabinet along with lots of other stuff. We climbed up out of LA on I5 which tops out at 4000ft I was doing 60-65mph speed limit is 55mph some pretty long sizable climbs and the 2.5 with CVT on the hard climbs was running around 3000-3100rpm just cruising along not working hard at all. It easily would accelerate to 70mph by bumping the rpms up to 3500 to get past double stacked semi's doing the 30-35mph grind over the pass.

Once on the flat section of I-5 we ran 70-75mph for about 6hrs strait and had a tank average right around 23mpg not bad for hammering it home with 900lbs of crap +900lb trailer stacked behind us that was about 6ft high on the trailer behind the car.

On the way down to LA with the empty trailer and the tall sides down flat which has the top of the trailer about even with the bottom of the rear hatch window regarding height we were posting 26mpg doing 75mph.
 

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2011 Outback Premium CVT, AWP, Steel Silver
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Thanks everyone for the very detailed and informative responses. Looks like i'm on the right track here. Good to know that the 2.5 w/ CVT should be fine for most anything I throw at it. I'll pay attention during test drive(s).

To those that suggested the Forester. .from what I've read it's a little smaller and less refined? I think that'd bug me after a few years and I'd have some buyers remorse. Not concerned with cost too much on either vehicle.

I do like my technology but honestly I think the BT streaming is enough. .would like the big screen but guessing I'd prefer my Android phone w/ Google Maps to any car manufacturer's nav system. Maybe I can do something there aftermarket. .who knows.

Frustrating that I can't rent one of these for a weekend. Guess I'll have to settle for the car show in DC in February to poke around.

subie, I really liked the comparison to the Explorer. Mine was a MT so I could tell it what gear I wanted it in. .but even with that it just would not go up hills and maintain its speed. Size wise I think it was perfect, I don't need a jumbo SUV. Occasional trip to go skeet shooting or archery. .once in a blue moon need to haul my motorcycle somewhere (don't see this happening often, if I can ride it there I will), other than that it'd be an around town and roadtrip car. I like to do my own maintenance and was happy to see how accessible everything is under the hood when I saw a '12 at the dealer.

Matt
If I total my Outback tomorrow (hope not) I will most certainly check out the Forester turbo with the cvt. Sounds like a great combo. My latest autoweek mag, who have never met a cvt they like, actually liked the one in the turbo forester.
I really don't need the extra size of the outback anymore so I would be fine with the slightly smaller Forester.
 

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2013 Limited w/EyeSight
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352 Posts
Thanks everyone for the very detailed and informative responses. Looks like i'm on the right track here. Good to know that the 2.5 w/ CVT should be fine for most anything I throw at it. I'll pay attention during test drive(s).

To those that suggested the Forester. .from what I've read it's a little smaller and less refined? I think that'd bug me after a few years and I'd have some buyers remorse. Not concerned with cost too much on either vehicle.

I do like my technology but honestly I think the BT streaming is enough. .would like the big screen but guessing I'd prefer my Android phone w/ Google Maps to any car manufacturer's nav system. Maybe I can do something there aftermarket. .who knows.

Frustrating that I can't rent one of these for a weekend. Guess I'll have to settle for the car show in DC in February to poke around.

subie, I really liked the comparison to the Explorer. Mine was a MT so I could tell it what gear I wanted it in. .but even with that it just would not go up hills and maintain its speed. Size wise I think it was perfect, I don't need a jumbo SUV. Occasional trip to go skeet shooting or archery. .once in a blue moon need to haul my motorcycle somewhere (don't see this happening often, if I can ride it there I will), other than that it'd be an around town and roadtrip car. I like to do my own maintenance and was happy to see how accessible everything is under the hood when I saw a '12 at the dealer.

Matt
I replaced gen 3 4Runner with Outback and know the Explorer. Good choice if you want high traction and more civility.

For power you're on your own. I made a point to go with the 4 and will rent when I need more vehicle for my business.

We got EyeSight and I'm sure glad my wife wanted it (it's mostly my car).

The times I really need more power are few compared to how often it's nice to get the better fuel economy. My mileage at 3 months and 2500 miles is pretty much like the EPA estimate or better.

Have fun shopping.
 
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