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After driving a Tacoma, I decided that the outback was a far better place to spend 30 minutes in while commuting. And with the seats folded down it has nearly all the cargo capability of a truck. (Besides height)

A few months since purchase and I’ve transported 700+ lbs of bricks, 650+ lbs of mulch, 120 ft of 2x12 lumber, misc other home project gear. I have the rear overload springs, but the moral of the story: truck with confidence.
 

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2018 Outback 2.5i Touring
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I drove a Tundra since 2006 and had the same purchase dilemma. I really liked having a truck to haul things, liked the seating height, and everything else a truck has to offer but didn't appreciate the mpg. I considered and test drove a 2017 Tacoma the same day I test drove a 2018 Outback. I really liked the Taco but price, safety features (Eyesight) and mpg ultimately lead me to purchase the OB. In comparison are there shortcomings to the OB? Yes, but there are advantages too.
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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including one 200lb driver it is really really easy to overload a outback by weight, ...way before you get to the max area volume of the car.

and not just on a trip to the lumber yard,....a simple trip to the grocery store or a family vacation. you got to sit and think about how much things weigh and add them up before you drive.

and even with overload springs. you are taxing the brakes (which wear overtime) and have to plan your stops accordingly.
 

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2010 2.5 CVT Limited
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Before the OB, I had a Toyota Hi-Lux (pre-Tacoma pickup). I drove that truck for 22 years. It was very convenient to have the bed available to haul odd loads, dirty loads, etc. But it was not a good truck for trips out of town and commuting. I could have upgraded to a newer pickup but I opted for the OB.

I came to a similar conclusion as the OP: the amount of need I had for the pickup's additional capability did not offset the benefits of an OB. I can still haul plenty in the OB and in cases where it won't fit in the OB, I can rent a trailer for $20/day. In the 3 years I have had the OB, there has been two times where I could not fit an item into the OB. One time was resolved as the item was delivered for free and the other time we rented a trailer. :29:
 

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After driving a Tacoma, I decided that the outback was a far better place to spend 30 minutes in while commuting. And with the seats folded down it has nearly all the cargo capability of a truck. (Besides height)

A few months since purchase and I’ve transported 700+ lbs of bricks, 650+ lbs of mulch, 120 ft of 2x12 lumber, misc other home project gear. I have the rear overload springs, but the moral of the story: truck with confidence.
Hey Mozart how does it ride with the ralitek springs when its just a lighter load? Did the ride get noticeably harsh? Curious given I’m debating about going that route my self. My 2010 OB is due for new shocks so trying to decide which way to go.
 

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Hey Mozart how does it ride with the ralitek springs when its just a lighter load? Did the ride get noticeably harsh? Curious given I’m debating about going that route my self. My 2010 OB is due for new shocks so trying to decide which way to go.
you,...? thinking about putting tougher aftermarket springs on a car due to go out the door,.

...out the door for a Ascent.
 

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2016 Carbide Grey 2.5 Limited Outback with Eyesight. Add-on: Geolandar GO15's on 17" WRX rims, Ecohitch
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I think the moral of the story is the rear overload springs. We re-tiled our condo and picked up the marble tiles ourselves (wife drives an X5).

I don't have the exact numbers on me, but she pretty much was carrying nearly double of what I was and the Outback was visibly low in the rear while the X5 remained at the same height. I think it was 20-23 boxes in the X5 while I had 13 in the OB (each box was ~50 lbs).

The Outback was good in a pinch, but I'm not fooling myself into believing that I'm hauling a heavy load on a regular basis. And for the 3.6 crowd...I had zero issues with any perceived lack of power with 600+lbs in the back.
 

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you,...? thinking about putting tougher aftermarket springs on a car due to go out the door,.

...out the door for a Ascent.
Yeah well home reno project being run by the wife. Lets just say my new 9114S is being spent on the house. So probably another 2yrs or so before we replace otherwise ok vehicles. I have the Sequoia for really heavy stuff. But rarely drive it. If I can put heavier springs on without resulting in teeth being rattled out of my head then its a contender. The OB is essentially the primary hauler. The last time I used the Sequoia for anything other than 5+ people hauling was 35 50lb bags of concrete. It settled a little and was kinda heavy?.
 

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I think the moral of the story is the rear overload springs. We re-tiled our condo and picked up the marble tiles ourselves (wife drives an X5).

I don't have the exact numbers on me, but she pretty much was carrying nearly double of what I was and the Outback was visibly low in the rear while the X5 remained at the same height. I think it was 20-23 boxes in the X5 while I had 13 in the OB (each box was ~50 lbs).

The Outback was good in a pinch, but I'm not fooling myself into believing that I'm hauling a heavy load on a regular basis. And for the 3.6 crowd...I had zero issues with any perceived lack of power with 600+lbs in the back.
x5 = hard ride,...like a lumber wagon with zero suspension.

probably be able to measure the same ride height in the parking lot empty as filled to the brim with bags of ready mix concrete.
 

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....I don't have the exact numbers on me, but she pretty much was carrying nearly double of what I was and the Outback was visibly low in the rear while the X5 remained at the same height.
I'm pretty sure the X5 has load-leveling suspension, so it's not really a relevant comparison. But it is fair to ask why the OB doesn't offer a self-leveling suspension.
 

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I'm pretty sure the X5 has load-leveling suspension, so it's not really a relevant comparison. But it is fair to ask why the OB doesn't offer a self-leveling suspension.
Cost. Subaru offered it in Europe but very few ordered the option. The lux owners never own long enough to replace or rebuild those leveling systems. The second or third owners often rip it out and just put standard suspension in.

My cousin has the x5 if your spending $1300 every 2.5yrs for tires you don’t keep it long enough to replace the leveling suspension.
 

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Before I bought my FIRST Outback, I drove a Ford F-150 truck. That big 5' x 8' bed sure came in handy a dozen times per year, but for most of the rest of the time driving the truck was more of a burden than a joy.

An Outback and a light duty utility trailer was a far better solution!
 

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I'm pretty sure the X5 has load-leveling suspension, so it's not really a relevant comparison. But it is fair to ask why the OB doesn't offer a self-leveling suspension.
Pretty sure it's just a stiffer suspension rather than load leveling. There was no "adjustment" in the height/level of the X5 unless this all happens instantaneously while the vehicle is off.

But yeah comparing BMW suspension to OB is apples/oranges. She has gone through rear tires at 15k/20k even while rotating every 5k. Fronts and rears are diff size which also has to do with that particular issue.
 

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2016 subaru outback 3.6r, 2011 Subaru ForesterXt
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After driving a Tacoma, I decided that the outback was a far better place to spend 30 minutes in while commuting. And with the seats folded down it has nearly all the cargo capability of a truck. (Besides height)

A few months since purchase and I’ve transported 700+ lbs of bricks, 650+ lbs of mulch, 120 ft of 2x12 lumber, misc other home project gear. I have the rear overload springs, but the moral of the story: truck with confidence.
Mozart,
A Tacoma is something I have been thinking about to throw my kayaks in but can you tell me why Tacomas and 4-Runners always appear to be going so slow on the Freeway? Does the gas mileage drop off real fast at highway speeds like a jeep?
 

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I was in a similar situation about a year ago. Was really wanting a new Ridgeline, but didn't want to spend $40k+ to get the features I wanted and wasn't sure I'd like driving it everyday and only needing the bed some of the time. I drove the 2.5i Limited Outback and really did like it, but convinced myself a sedan was probably "good enough" I ended up going from a '13 Accord Coupe to a '17 Accord Touring V6 Sedan. that decision was influenced heavily by the fact that '17 would likely be the last year of the V6 in the Accord and having driven nothing but weak 4-bangers for 15 years made me want the power and smoothness of the V6.

Fast forward nearly a year, and I'm really kicking myself for not making the practical decision back then. I'm very seriously considering taking the hit and getting the practical vehicle now so I can just move on. I'm a homeowner and DIY'er, and a bit of an outdoorsy-type with hiking and road biking. I have several projects to tackle around the house and an SUV/Wagon/Pickup would be far more useful than a sedan. I have an old 6GPF toilet I'd like to replace, but can't even get the box in my car (very few come as separate tank and bowl nowadays) Ridgeline prices have come down and one can negotiate a pretty decent deal on them now. I am, and have been, leaning going that route. If I need plywood to rebuild my basement/crawlspace door, I could go get it. If I need a sheet or two of drywall to do some water damage repair, I go get it. If I need to get rid of the old exterior door and water heater that have been sitting in my basement for three years, I can get that done, too. So many tasks were something short of an SUV/wagon just won't cut it. I can borrow my dad's Mazda5 van, or rent a trailer (Accord has a hitch for bike rack), or rent a truck from HomeDepot/U-Haul, etc, but the inconvenience of scheduling around vehicle availability and added costs (time and money) is not appealing and has stopped my projects in their tracks.

I think the OB would be a really good choice because I don't always need the open bed, dirty cargo capability of a truck. I'm also considering taking another test drive of the CX-5, and the 2.5i and 3.6R OB. I may also wait until the new RAV4 and Acura RDX are on the lots. I prefer the luxury features on my day-to-day driving. I like my sunroof, smart entry, remote start, Apple CarPlay, leather seats, etc so a mid-size PU like the Tacoma doesn't appeal to me.
 

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The CX-5 was my other choice, along with the new Tiguan. I also drove the Rav4 and CRV as well as some others in the same size range. But the diesel Mazda still hasn't arrived, and no top level trim Tiguans were available. I'm not saying I "settled" on the Outback. I'm very pleased with it, and have absolutely no regrets.
 

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....
Fast forward nearly a year, and I'm really kicking myself for not making the practical decision back then. I'm very seriously considering taking the hit and getting the practical vehicle now so I can just move on.....
Before I decided on the OB, I had in mind some coupes and sedans as potential vehicles. If I had gone that route, I surely would have bought a 4x8 folding trailer (like a Harbor Freight) so I could move larger items around when needed. In fact, the smaller 40x48 trailer may suffice.
Not as convenient as a wagon or SUV which is not as convenient as a pickup truck for big items, but does help close the gap.
 

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I drove pickups from 1984 to 2003 when it was obvious an SUV would serve me better in almost every way except total load weight. I still owned a pickup thru 2011 but only used it when the load was more of a mess, not because of the weight. My observation is very few pickup owners get enough use out of the bed to actually own one.
Last fall I sold a foosball table on CL to a guy that showed up with a pickup, it was raining, he paid me $20 extra to haul it in my SUV to his house, lol.
 

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We have a 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 standard cab, short bed, that was given to us when my brother-in-law passed away. My wife loves driving it for the high viewpoint, and the fact we have no payments. :) She won't even let me update the radio for something with Bluetooth. We don't need the abilities of a truck often, usually a dump run our bringing oversize cargo home. But when you need a truck, you need a truck. Small utility trailers won't always be enough. But there are times I've taken stuff in the Outback that I would have used the truck for before.
 
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