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Outback fuel mileage regression for 2013

25255 Views 118 Replies 65 Participants Last post by  bullhead
I was a buyer that waited until the 2013's were available because of the new engine and CVT, and the promised increased fuel mileage of the new 2.5.

I've been disappointed, to say the least, with mileage in the 24's for a mix of about 75% highway driving. We took one 1200 mile trip of all highway mileage, and it delivered just over 27 mpg cruising at 70 on flat roads.

Prior to buying, my principle experience had been driving 2011 and 2012 Outbacks which were loaner cars at my local Porsche dealer. And, in exactly the same conditions, their computers showed 27-28 mpg where mine shows 24 now.

So, my assertion is that the changes Subaru made to the 2013s actually reduced fuel economy rather than improved it. Looking at data seems to support that.

Two reactions to likely arguments.

1. The mileage of 2013s is all low mileage vehicles, and mileage will improve after break-in. I'd love to see any study that shows that mileage improves after break-in in more than a negligible way. I've tracked mileage in every car I've owned, and have only noticed an extremely small, if any, improvement. And my Outback has shown absolutely zero improvement after 3500 miles.

2. The EPA rates the 2013s higher, and their testing must have better results than prior years. Although the EPA actually tests very few cars, and generally takes and reports data from the manufacturer. And given scant resources at the EPA, they generally only test major model changes, so it is unlikely that the 2013 Outback would have been tested.

My mileage is not terrible, but is disappointing. It's not a deal breaker for me, but I do think it important that potential buyers know that the 2013s don't deliver better fuel mileage.
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Dude 3500 miles?

Christ my last two subarus didn't hit their max mileage till I had nearly 20,000 miles on them.
By how much? For what reason?

If that were the case, there would be a statistical difference between 2011s and 2012s on fuelly, which there isn't.

Sorry, I just don't buy it. Happy to chime in and admit defeat in 18 months if I'm wrong (in fact, I'd be insanely happy), but I don't think that's going to happen...
SubieSailor, 4 things.

1. My 70 mph experience was dead flat west Texas roads, zero wind, steady at 70 for 120 miles at a shot. 27 mpg. My contention is that it won't get much better than that.

2. Fuelly represents a larger sample size, more scientific approach to tracking mileage than anecdotal data, as your trip from LA over Thanksgiving.

3. I'm not 'crying,' but making an assertion that I believe useful in a potential buyer of a 2013 understanding what they're getting. And perhaps helping leverage Subaru into a software modification that might improve our 2013s.

4. My assertion is that 2013s have reduced mileage over earlier gen 4s. You have an earlier gen 4, so your excellent results kinda are helping me make my point. The 2013 has a new engine and a new transmission, and all the software that drives them. The results will be different than in your model year.
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Put more miles on your car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LOL! I do every day!
I wasn't trying to discuss whether mileage improves post break-in. That discussion seems to have been beaten to death here, and it's all anecdotal.

I was hoping to discuss whether the drivetrain changes in 13 actually reduced efficiency rather than improved it. Seems like a likely premise. Subaru claims an increase of about 5%, real world data on fuelly show a decrease of about 5%.
I gotta do that text thing
X2. I record the mileage and gallons of gas on the text writer on my phone and enter them on the computer later. Texting would be excellent!
I average 28 consistently, 50/50 city highway. Last weekend, Tahoe and back from Bay Area with a Yakima 16S roofbox loaded with ski equipment, averaged 31. Have 7500 miles. I have manually checked computer and computer reads .1 mpg low.
What speed got you 31? No way in heck were you 65+.
Thanks all for the comments. Just filled up, computer was at about 26, hand calculation was 24.0, 70% highway. My mileage goes down slightly every tankful, based on the hand calculation. Perhaps it is the winter blend, if it's made it down here to Texas yet, where we'll be in the mid-80s today.

I don't think I have an issue with driving the CVT effectively, it always cruises below 2000, and rarely do I get it to 3000 or above. I've raised the tire pressure to 34 (from 32) and have no results from that (except that the tires handle even better on curves!). I go in for 3750 oil change on Friday, and hope that helps some, as has been reported. Beyond that, I'll keep my fingers crossed and be hopeful for some improvement.

Great car besides the mpg. To be honest, I'll take the lower mileage in the 13 to get the improved handling, I think it drives like a sports sedan.
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I thought your oil changes were the same as mine at 7500 miles? If you drive mostly hwy, why are you changing them so often?
I'm getting my first change (today in fact) at 3750 because the dealer is willing to do it for free, even though it's the 3.6 that requires a change at that point.

Given new car, potentially miniscule shavings in the oil, maybe a little bit of hope that it will flush some of the heavy lubricants out of the engine and improve my mileage are the general reasons I'm doing this. And, of course, you can't beat the price!
Did the first oil change at 4100 miles with an OEM filter and 0W-20 Mobile1. Mileage (90% highway/10% city) immediately jumped from 27 mpg to 30 mpg. I don't know what is added to the factory oil but there is definitely something else in it that affected my mileage.
Got my first oil change today at 3700. Not sure what the factory load was, but they put in 0W.

Fingers crossed that I get the same results!

Regardless, I'll be back to report in a week or so.
i bought the car with 7 miles and when i left to come back overseas it had right under 1k miles. basically i filled the gas tank up twice and averaged about 26mpg.

will it go up, im sure it will and im not too worried about it. the wife is happy and it gets better gas mileage than my other car.
26 mpg and a happy wife are both really good things!!!

As the original poster of this thread, I've given up on my obsession with gas mileage, and just keep the computer to miles to empty. Besides, I now have my roof system all sorted out, and my mileage results are less relevant because I generally now have bikes on the roof, paddleboards on the roof, or a Hobie Cat in tow, or some combination of that. And, with our original objective of the Subie was mostly as a toy hauler, we are finding that it does that better than anything else. It is a treat to put toys on top of an Outback rather than a traditional SUV that's maybe a foot higher!
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