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Outback Wilderness Impressions | The Good, Bad, Ugly

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My wife and I have had our OBW for a bit over a month now and I wanted to share our impressions so far to help buyers looking at the Wilderness or Outbacks in general. Overall, we're very happy with the car. My prior vehicles were a Land Rover D2 and 4Runner, so I'm coming from old school body-on-frame SUVs. The 4Runner is on its way out to pasture, and I wanted something more nimble and comfortable to replace it with, while retaining some of the spirit of the other two. After taking a look at a dozen SUVs out there, the Wilderness had the goods I was looking for. For TLDR sake, I'll put it into bulletpoints:

The Good:

-The OBW is great fun to drive. It's quick and nimble, and noticeably peppier than the XT I tested due to its lower gearing. It's responsive on the road, almost surprisingly for its near 4000lb curb weight.

-The 2.4T has more power to give at any speed. You can be going 50 climbing a mountain at 9500ft and with a little peddle it'll happily zip to 70 if you're not careful. The Disco was an absolute dog, and the 4Runner wasn't much better, especially at altitude. Thanks little turbo! It's also so smooth--boxer smooth.

-Full-Time AWD really helps makes the car feel balanced when cornering, and traction loss is far less noticeable (or simply occurs less often) in snow compared to the part-time AWD systems in our other cars.

-The OBW's ride height is just little more comfortable for me to get in and out of than the other trims. That extra almost-inch means I can scoot right into the drivers seat rather than ducking in. When on the road you just get a little higher view, and can see a little more, which makes more of difference than you might think.

-The CVT is loads better than the 4Runner's slush box. If you didn't let it settle at the speed and gear it wanted the 4R would hunt and hunt, upshifting and downshifting, while driving me crazy. The fake shifting of the OBW's CVT, while odd if I think of it, actually does a decent job of replicating the expectation of gears in the back of my mind. More importantly though, it can hold the speed you want comfortably with no wobble or shifting. I was skeptical of a CVT, but after this experience I have nothing but praise to give Subaru. Mind you, I'm not flogging it, but for daily driving I've no complaints.

-The Eyesight-driven cruise control is incredible. Unlike radar-driven cruise control that I've used where the sensors are down the bumper and get disabled with road gunk constantly, the Subaru has them placed high and the windshield wipers can keep the OBW's cameras clean. Already that's a leg up, but the system works surprisingly well. I hate when cruise control surges up to and over your desired speed, and to control this Subaru provides behavior levels that can be adjusted. Eco mode is exactly the aggressiveness I want out of my cruise control: none. It gradually changes speeds, brakes down to 0mph in traffic while keeping a comfortable distance so I have time to take control if needed. I really love the system and it's saving my foot on my long commute.

-The isolation. The cabin is quiet, the electric steering is isolated, and the OBW rides over Colorado potholes and road debris like it's hardly there. This is a personal preference, but after years of being tumbled around in trucks I wanted a couch on wheels and boy did I get it. The OBW responds quickly for a boat, but if you're coming from something low and stiff it'll feel boat like. I'm mostly coming from lifted bounce houses so it feels downright sporty!

-Roomy cabin & great visibility. In the post-Hummer 2 era, some vehicle still have armored-vehicle like viewing slits they call windows. Others have massive A and B pillars or other crap that creates a ton of blind spots. The OBW has none of that. Instead, it has a lot of glass and incredible visibility. The cabin has tons of space and second row adult passengers have plenty of room.

-Blindspot warning mirror lights, and backup traffic warning. The blindspot warning lights are bright and located in a position unlike any other car I've seen. Instead of having a light on the mirror which you can barely see, Subaru has put them on the inside of the mirror pods, so it's bright yellow on black. They're very visible and useful, and I welcome tech that augments already good visibility for additional situational awareness. Combine that with an excellent backup traffic warning system that notifies me when a car is approaching while trying to backup, makes me really wish I had these features in all my past vehicles.

-I love StarTex. I can see how it's a love/hate thing for some folks, but I'm a huge fan. I've read the OBW has a different variant of StarTex that's softer and more supple. Compared to the old stiff leather seats of the 4Runner, it's pure luxury. That and knowing I won't have to condition it and baby it like leather, especially in a dry climate, makes me happy. It's not sweaty for me, but I'm also not one of those guys who gets drenched standing still in 70 degrees. Also, the seats are comfy and have good bolstering.

-The materials feel great, and quality. Yes, they're mostly plastic, but plastics have a wide range of quality and feel. GM and Chrysler are the poster children for crap plastics that feel poppy and cheap, like the whole dash and doors were formed from a single mold and snapped off it with tin snips like a scale car model. The OBW isn't that. The use of a variety of materials and textures forms a good look and feel across the cabin. There is some use of piano black shiny plastic around the shifter and display that I'm not a fan of, but the rest are matte materials and quality plastics.

-The tires are pretty decent in snow; better than most all-seasons. While not the best AT, they're a step up from an all-season tire, enough that I don't feel like I need snow tires on the OBW. I'll probably opt for something else when it comes time to replace them, but for the starter tire I'm happy.


The Bad:

-The infotainment sucks, bigtime. It's the biggest drawback of the vehicle. Voice control is so awful it's useless--it thinks and thinks and then still gets it wrong. Android Auto support is a joke. I'm not one of those people complaining about lack of physical buttons, but if you remove the buttons you need good UX in UI design, and Subaru's UI is garbage. If SOA is reading this, please implement my crappy UI doodle below to save me from having to dive into menus upon menus for simple tasks...like adjusting the seat heaters. It's beyond stupid, almost feeling intentionally bad.

Font Electric blue Screenshot Darkness Logo


-The OBW lacks a heated steering wheel, audio upgrade, and memory seats. What the **** Subaru? Canada gets the wheel and upgraded audio, what gives? Seems like a major misstep for the Wilderness package as a whole. Also, you gotta be kidding me on not including such a "premium" feature as memory seats. That's base model **** for most brands. At least allow me to add it as an upgrade, sheesh.

-The backup and forward camera quality is terrible. My potato phone from 2010 had a better image. Subaru literally could have spent a couple more bucks, like $2, and sourced better sensors. This is purely being cheap. Worst cameras of the 10 or so vehicles I test drove.

-The basic speaker package is meh. It's only saving grace is that since the vehicle cabin is so quiet, I might get more detail out of it than the HK system that was droned out in the Rover. On the other hand, you can clearly hear how not-great it is. It's a well documented after market upgrade, so no biggie.

-Rarely Eyesight can spot false positives and think I'm about to collide with something. A few times now it's put the car into brace mode, disabling the throttle, and preparing for impact, audio cues wailing. The whole event is maybe a second long, but it's enough to startle me each time. Hopefully Subaru erring on the side of false positives, means it'll actually work during the real deal.

-The turbo lag is real. Coming from NA vehicles that respond immediately when asked, the 2.4T is almost a 3-count between petal down and power kicking in when starting from a stop, and when power comes on it's a punch. This is less about the OBW and more just getting used to a non-linear throttle. If given the choice between this an an NA engine, I'd still lean turbo because **** does it perform at altitude.

-Gas mileage is mediocre. It can do 28 mpg on the freeway if you're gentle, but in mixed driving it's more like 23. That beats the **** out of the 4Runner, but since it needs 87 octane (midgrade here in CO) the running cost is about the same. When you factor in the OBW weighing almost 1000lbs less than the 4Runner, but costing the same to fuel, the price of a full-time AWD system becomes apparent, especially when paired with a less efficient boxer engine.


The Ugly:

-Two days after picking up the OBW from the dealer the combination meter's speaker started to fail, causing all audio chimes and turn signal sounds to squeak loudly. The dealership took it in and told us we'd be out a vehicle for a month, giving us a base-model Ascent. Not-great, made worse that the loaner car was an Ascent. They had it fixed and returned to us only a week later, but scratched up the instrument column and dash around the meter to the extent that I had to get a manager involved to order replacement trim. SOA called apologizing for the whole debacle and helped soften the blow with a $750 credit towards accessories/parts/labor, but having a new car break and then be further damaged by the dealer trying to repair it isn't a good look. No other issues have cropped up yet, so I guess time will tell whether this was a fluke or bad omen. I expected less than perfection in these rough times where the factories are being stopped and restarted, and vendors might be changing for part availability, so if that's the only problem for a while I'll consider myself fortunate.


Modifications to Date:
-Autostop Eliminator. Boy, is this one a must. Not having to hit a stupid button to disable ASS each time is a relief. After the cost of a new car, what's another $100 for a QoL improvement like this? If ASS bothers you, buy the AE. The install is easy as pie and the results are no more ASS toggling for life.

-Diode Dynamics SS3 Pods - White, Max DOT Fog. A massive upgrade to the otherwise "accent lights" Subaru calls fog lamps. $500, but possibly the most functional upgrade you can get, and major added safety on backroads and poorly lit highways. 10/10. You would have done it if it was a dealer option, so just do it. The install is easy, just plug and play. Note: Only the OBW is compatible with its round fog light housings; other 2022 trims won't fit the pods.

-Nameless Shock Strut. Adds just a hint of tighter turn in on corners. Not a huge difference, but it looks cool as ****. It's 20% function, 80% aesthetics, but it's an 8/10 for a fun add. Unlike others, mine installed in a breeze. 15 mins tops.

-Cargo net. I bought a cargo net off Amazon for a Toyota Highlander that fits perfectly in the back. Was far less than the OEM net and does the trick to bag groceries. Highly recommend.

-Thule roof rack bars, OEM. With my $750 SOA credit, I grabbed the roof rails. Way overpriced, and I'd recommend not buying through Subaru unless they're free like mine were. Now I can carry kayaks and stuff for that twice I year when we do that thing. They'll go mostly unused, and I'm leaving them off so I don't take the gas MPG hit.

-OEM aluminum engine guard. I actually dig this one. It overlaps the tiny piece of 0.5mm aluminum crap guard that comes stock, so it actually somewhat protects the front-underside of the bumper along with the engine. I've run over plenty of debris in the road that it's only a matter of time before this thicker aluminum plate saves me. Easy enough to install, and like $150 ish. Aftermarket might be a better option for this, but again I had that $750 credit to spend.
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Nice post! What do you think of the Lane Centering function? I’m still testing it out, trying to determine what its purpose is (i.e., in which application it would be useful). For me so far, it seems to require too much constant driver input to be truly effective — I’ll maintain a light grip on the lower wheel and will still get the “hands on wheel” notification. Ideally, they should transition to something that monitors attention without requiring hands on the wheel, as that defeats much of its usefulness.

I’m loving the OBW overall as well! The 2.4T and CVT pairing behavior is really excellent in this model.
 

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Thanks for sharing. I love the Wilderness trim. We seem to share similar mind regarding your impressions. I, too, would love to see a Heated Steering Wheel and the Harmon Kardon (or at least the Rockford Fosgate) audio upgrades available for this model. Maybe they will in the future. I hope that it isn't tied to a package like the moonroof package that you see in the Limited and LXT trims. I purposefully chose to buy a model without a moonroof. If I'm loading stuff on the roof, the last thing I want is something to fall out or slip and crack the glass.

I had briefly looked at a 4Runner when I was starting my search in 2020 for a replacement for my leased Forester, and quickly ruled it out. While seeming a good vehicle, it felt cramped and not as nimble as my previous Subarus, and it was also significantly more expensive, so I moved on.

StarTex has also grown on me. I was skeptical, seeing videos/reviews that suggested it will make your back sweaty, but I haven't had this issue. On exceptionally hot summer days, I will either remote start for the air conditioning to start cooling the cabin, or simply leave the windows open a crack.

I'm glad that Subaru is at least making things right with your service appointment. Things happen, I had a tire sensor go bad before my first service at 4000 miles, but the car has been solid since then. Now that I've learned the infotainment I'm more patient and tolerant of it. The only criticism I've had is the seat heaters being buried under the sub-menu. These are a frequent-touch item and I think they should be on the main screen as well. At least the on/off function - use the submenu to "adjust" it or something. I use an AutoStop Eliminator so I don't have to press the button each time I start the car which is nice because I usually forget.

At the end of the day I really love my Onyx, best Subaru I've ever had, but I am definitely drawn to the Wilderness. I never offroad, but I am a fan of having functionality and utility when I could use it rather than not having it. I am sure when my stock tires are shot and I put CC2's or WildPeaks (likely WP's) that it will perform even better.

Regarding Lane Center, @CityHunter - I use mine regularly in stop-and-go traffic. Half of my commute is through a pretty urban city with traffic lights every couple hundred feet, staggered on purpose so you can't speed through. I usually have this on following range "2 bars" or I tend to get the red light flashing about the obstruction detected, and I believe I have my Cruise Control setting at "2 - Comfort" and it's enough that people aren't trying to cut in front of me and enough that people behind me aren't honking. I've also used it time-to-time on the highway depending on traffic. While it has performed well, I still don't entirely trust it in heavier traffic situations, but if nobody's around me, I'll let it do its thing. I usually rest one of my hands along the "horizontal" spoke of the steering wheel and it seems to be enough pressure to keep it from nagging. Perhaps as you suggested their DriverFocus software will eventually replace the "keep hand on wheel" requirement if it can determine you're paying attention. Also, yikes at that thought.
 

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'22 OB Limited XT Abyss Blue
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My wife and I have had our OBW for a bit over a month now and I wanted to share our impressions so far to help buyers looking at the Wilderness or Outbacks in general. Overall, we're very happy with the car. My prior vehicles were a Land Rover D2 and 4Runner, so I'm coming from old school body-on-frame SUVs. The 4Runner is on its way out to pasture, and I wanted something more nimble and comfortable to replace it with, while retaining some of the spirit of the other two. After taking a look at a dozen SUVs out there, the Wilderness had the goods I was looking for. For TLDR sake, I'll put it into bulletpoints:

The Good:

-The OBW is great fun to drive. It's quick and nimble, and noticeably peppier than the XT I tested due to its lower gearing. It's responsive on the road, almost surprisingly for its near 4000lb curb weight.

-The 2.4T has more power to give at any speed. You can be going 50 climbing a mountain at 9500ft and with a little peddle it'll happily zip to 70 if you're not careful. The Disco was an absolute dog, and the 4Runner wasn't much better, especially at altitude. Thanks little turbo! It's also so smooth--boxer smooth.

-Full-Time AWD really helps makes the car feel balanced when cornering, and traction loss is far less noticeable (or simply occurs less often) in snow compared to the part-time AWD systems in our other cars.

-The OBW's ride height is just little more comfortable for me to get in and out of than the other trims. That extra almost-inch means I can scoot right into the drivers seat rather than ducking in. When on the road you just get a little higher view, and can see a little more, which makes more of difference than you might think.

-The CVT is loads better than the 4Runner's slush box. If you didn't let it settle at the speed and gear it wanted the 4R would hunt and hunt, upshifting and downshifting, while driving me crazy. The fake shifting of the OBW's CVT, while odd if I think of it, actually does a decent job of replicating the expectation of gears in the back of my mind. More importantly though, it can hold the speed you want comfortably with no wobble or shifting. I was skeptical of a CVT, but after this experience I have nothing but praise to give Subaru. Mind you, I'm not flogging it, but for daily driving I've no complaints.

-The isolation. The cabin is quiet, the electric steering is isolated, and the OBW rides over Colorado potholes and road debris like it's hardly there. This is a personal preference, but after years of being tumbled around in trucks I wanted a couch on wheels and boy did I get it. The OBW responds quickly for a boat, but if you're coming from something low and stiff it'll feel boat like. I'm mostly coming from lifted bounce houses so it feels downright sporty!

-I love StarTex. I can see how it's a love/hate thing for some folks, but I'm a huge fan. I've read the OBW has a different variant of StarTex that's softer and more supple. Compared to the old stiff leather seats of the 4Runner, it's pure luxury. That and knowing I won't have to condition it and baby it like leather, especially in a dry climate, makes me happy. It's not sweaty for me, but I'm also not one of those guys who gets drenched standing still in 70 degrees. Also, the seats are comfy and have good bolstering.

-The tires are pretty decent in snow; better than most all-seasons. While not the best AT, they're a step up from an all-season tire, enough that I don't feel like I need snow tires on the OBW. I'll probably opt for something else when it comes time to replace them, but for the starter tire I'm happy.


The Bad:

-The infotainment sucks, bigtime. It's the biggest drawback of the vehicle. Voice control is so awful it's useless--it thinks and thinks and then still gets it wrong. Android Auto support is a joke. I'm not one of those people complaining about lack of physical buttons, but if you remove the buttons you need good UX in UI design, and Subaru's UI is garbage. If SOA is reading this, please implement my crappy UI doodle below to save me from having to dive into menus upon menus for simple tasks...like adjusting the seat heaters. It's beyond stupid, almost feeling intentionally bad.

View attachment 529481

-The OBW lacks a heated steering wheel and no audio upgrade. What the **** Subaru? Canada gets them, what gives? Seems like a major misstep for the Wilderness package as a whole.

-The basic speaker package is meh. It's only saving grace is that since the vehicle cabin is so quiet, I might get more detail out of it than the HK system that was droned out in the Rover. On the other hand, you can clearly hear how not-great it is. It's a well documented after market upgrade, so no biggie.

-The turbo lag is real. Coming from NA vehicles that respond immediately when asked, the 2.4T is almost a 3-count between petal down and power kicking in when starting from a stop, and when power comes on it's a punch. This is less about the OBW and more just getting used to a non-linear throttle. If given the choice between this an an NA engine, I'd still lean turbo because **** does it perform at altitude.

-Gas mileage is mediocre. It can do 28 mpg on the freeway if you're gentle, but in mixed driving it's more like 23. That beats the **** out of the 4Runner, but since it needs 87 octane (midgrade here in CO) the running cost is about the same. When you factor in the OBW weighing almost 1000lbs less than the 4Runner, but costing the same to fuel, the price of a full-time AWD system becomes apparent, especially when paired with a less efficient boxer engine.


The Ugly:

-Two days after picking up the OBW from the dealer the combination meter's speaker started to fail, causing all audio chimes and turn signal sounds to squeak loudly. The dealership took it in and told us we'd be out a vehicle for a month, giving us a base-model Ascent. Not-great, made worse that the loaner car was an Ascent. They had it fixed and returned to us only a week later, but scratched up the instrument column and dash around the meter to the extent that I had to get a manager involved to order replacement trim. SOA called apologizing for the whole debacle and helped soften the blow with a $750 credit towards accessories/parts/labor, but having a new car break and then be further damaged by the dealer trying to repair it isn't a good look. No other issues have cropped up yet, so I guess time will tell whether this was a fluke or bad omen. I expected less than perfection in these rough times where the factories are being stopped and restarted, and vendors might be changing for part availability, so if that's the only problem for a while I'll consider myself fortunate.
Keptin, nice job on your writeup. You've taken the time to make well written, objective, meaningful observations about your experiences with your new ride, and that is appreciated by all.

Two comments:

1) Comparing the CVT and the 4Runner's transmission - since I've joined this website, I've read several raving complaints about Subaru's CVT where the OP was almost implying that the CVT was about the worse trans out there, and there were many far better options in the market. Reality check: over the past 10 - 15 years, aside from the gradual increase in CVT use across most auto manufacturers, there have been several new auto slushboxes introduced that wander in shifting (new 8 - 10 speeds), vibrate at a stop sign and bump hard at shift points (dual clutch), and aren't as dependable and smooth as the old 5 - 6 speed (and older) automatics. You made a good point about your 4Runner's trans behavior - it wasn't perfect, but what is? Bottom line for CVT bashers - yeah, I probably wouldn't mind a traditional automatic in my XT, but for those Subie bashers who think the grass is always greener with another brand? Think twice before you jump.

2) Regarding your experience with the damaged dash area, I went through a similar situation with our Chevy several years ago. Went in to fix one thing on my dash, they damaged another. Went in to fix that damage, they damaged something else. Had my brakes checked out at the same time, the 'tech' said they were in "great shape"... original brakes at 48k? I don't think so. Had my brakes checked again at an indy shop I trusted, and the front discs miked (I also did it) just barely to state spec. I finally said enough, and kept my car away from the GM Clown Show butchers. Let's hope your Subaru dealer is more competent than that!
 

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Thanks for sharing. I love the Wilderness trim. We seem to share similar mind regarding your impressions. I, too, would love to see a Heated Steering Wheel and the Harmon Kardon (or at least the Rockford Fosgate) audio upgrades available for this model. Maybe they will in the future. I hope that it isn't tied to a package like the moonroof package that you see in the Limited and LXT trims. I purposefully chose to buy a model without a moonroof. If I'm loading stuff on the roof, the last thing I want is something to fall out or slip and crack the glass.

I had briefly looked at a 4Runner when I was starting my search in 2020 for a replacement for my leased Forester, and quickly ruled it out. While seeming a good vehicle, it felt cramped and not as nimble as my previous Subarus, and it was also significantly more expensive, so I moved on.

StarTex has also grown on me. I was skeptical, seeing videos/reviews that suggested it will make your back sweaty, but I haven't had this issue. On exceptionally hot summer days, I will either remote start for the air conditioning to start cooling the cabin, or simply leave the windows open a crack.

I'm glad that Subaru is at least making things right with your service appointment. Things happen, I had a tire sensor go bad before my first service at 4000 miles, but the car has been solid since then. Now that I've learned the infotainment I'm more patient and tolerant of it. The only criticism I've had is the seat heaters being buried under the sub-menu. These are a frequent-touch item and I think they should be on the main screen as well. At least the on/off function - use the submenu to "adjust" it or something. I use an AutoStop Eliminator so I don't have to press the button each time I start the car which is nice because I usually forget.

At the end of the day I really love my Onyx, best Subaru I've ever had, but I am definitely drawn to the Wilderness. I never offroad, but I am a fan of having functionality and utility when I could use it rather than not having it. I am sure when my stock tires are shot and I put CC2's or WildPeaks (likely WP's) that it will perform even better.

Regarding Lane Center, @CityHunter - I use mine regularly in stop-and-go traffic. Half of my commute is through a pretty urban city with traffic lights every couple hundred feet, staggered on purpose so you can't speed through. I usually have this on following range "2 bars" or I tend to get the red light flashing about the obstruction detected, and I believe I have my Cruise Control setting at "2 - Comfort" and it's enough that people aren't trying to cut in front of me and enough that people behind me aren't honking. I've also used it time-to-time on the highway depending on traffic. While it has performed well, I still don't entirely trust it in heavier traffic situations, but if nobody's around me, I'll let it do its thing. I usually rest one of my hands along the "horizontal" spoke of the steering wheel and it seems to be enough pressure to keep it from nagging. Perhaps as you suggested their DriverFocus software will eventually replace the "keep hand on wheel" requirement if it can determine you're paying attention. Also, yikes at that thought.
Thanks for the reply re. the lane centering! I’ll have to test out different hand positions to see what works best. If I’m too involved with hand placement, I’d rather not even deal with it, but if my typical hand positioning is not as involved as the system requires, then it eventually auto-cancels the system, so I have to find the right balance.
 

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2022 OBW
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice post! What do you think of the Lane Centering function? I’m still testing it out, trying to determine what its purpose is...
Same here really. The Lane Centering Function does work, but it tends to wander in the lane, making the car feel drunk. It rides too close to the edges of the lane for my comfort. I've used it a few times on open stretches of road where there are few cars, but I'm not confident enough in the system to use it on busier roads. Given that I have to keep my hands on the wheel and nudge it in an interval to keep it engaged, I'd rather just control the car myself. I see little use for it for myself, but I love the Eyesight Cruise Control, just not Lane Centering.


1) Comparing the CVT and the 4Runner's transmission - since I've joined this website, I've read several raving complaints about Subaru's CVT where the OP was almost implying that the CVT was about the worse trans out there, and there were many far better options in the market. Reality check: over the past 10 - 15 years, aside from the gradual increase in CVT use across most auto manufacturers, there have been several new auto slushboxes introduced that wander in shifting (new 8 - 10 speeds), vibrate at a stop sign and bump hard at shift points (dual clutch), and aren't as dependable and smooth as the old 5 - 6 speed (and older) automatics. You made a good point about your 4Runner's trans behavior - it wasn't perfect, but what is? Bottom line for CVT bashers - yeah, I probably wouldn't mind a traditional automatic in my XT, but for those Subie bashers who think the grass is always greener with another brand? Think twice before you jump.
Exactly, I was trying to drive home the point that if you're coming from an older vehicle, the CVT is probably going to be an improvement over what you had. By the nature of the OBW being a soft-sprung 4000lb sofa-on-wheels, sportiness probably isn't your #1 deciding factor in buying the OBW. If most of your driving is casual, the CVT might actually be more comfortable in some ways than a traditional geared transmission due to its "infinite" gear ratios. Regardless, it's a good implementation of a transmission, and I'll take it over a wandering slushbox.

2) Regarding your experience with the damaged dash area, I went through a similar situation with our Chevy several years ago. Went in to fix one thing on my dash, they damaged another. Went in to fix that damage, they damaged something else. Had my brakes checked out at the same time, the 'tech' said they were in "great shape"... original brakes at 48k? I don't think so. Had my brakes checked again at an indy shop I trusted, and the front discs miked (I also did it) just barely to state spec. I finally said enough, and kept my car away from the GM Clown Show butchers. Let's hope your Subaru dealer is more competent than that!
That's a shame man. I've heard of similar experiences and know this isn't an isolated issue. Unless I was buying a Toyota/Lexus, I fully expect new cars to have some shakedown issues in the first year. I hold cars for a while, and my strategy with the OBW is to have an 8yr ish stretch where I don't have to worry about repairing it myself, like I did the Land Rover and 4Runner. Compared to other stories I've heard, Subaru handled the issue very well and it actually gave me confidence in the brand. SOA had my back, and the dealership managers did too, once I pointed out the issue. Time will tell how my OBW does, but right now I'd firmly recommend one.
 

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2021 Touring XT Abyss Blue Pearl
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RE: Lane centering. It just takes a little wiggle of the wheel every so often to satisfy the "hands on" requirement. The wheel is looking for that slight movement, not sensing the hand itself on wheel. I don't find it that useful unless I want to use both hands for a minute then it is great. And I won't use it anywhere but straight well marked roads. Lane keep assist I'm a big fan of as it saves me from drifting off the road if I'm distracted.
 

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'22 OBW (moonroof, OEM underguards, Pedal Commander)
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550 Posts
Good thread.

Took delivery of my OBW in the last week of June '21. Though I'd had Subarus before, at the time I was driving an '03 Honda Accord that I won in an '06 coin toss with my sister to decide who was going to steal our mom's car to get her off the road. Which meant that with the OBW, I jumped from the stone age into the space age. Stuff like the infotainment center, voice command, the combination meter with TPMS etc., interactive cruise control, on board navigation, lane keep assist/centering, the CVT -- all entirely new to me. I agree with the comments above that people coming new to this stuff are likely to be majorly impressed by the OBW. I sure was. And I still am after 12.5K miles on interstates, city streets, rural two lane blacktops, dirt roads, and off road trails. The car has handled everything I've thrown at it, and then some.

My likes at 12.5K miles:
  • excellent initial build quality, seems to be holding up quite well
  • solid road car, handles well, responsive, comfortable (heading to photo shoots, I often drive six to eight hours straight; arrive in much better shape with the OBW)
  • CVT and 2.4L turbo a good match
  • dash layout, especially combination meter
  • X-Modes on and off pavement, especially X-Mode 2 (the OBW isn't meant to be a true off-roader, but it still handles an amazing range of terrain and conditions)
  • lane keep assist (as an outdoor photographer, my eyes wander a bit as I look at lighting, terrain, etc.; LKA is a God-send on paved roads)
  • VDC system overall (has handled new snow, packed snow, ice, severe t-storms with torrential rain, stream crossings . . . oh, and also dirt roads, paved roads, rocky roads)
  • good brakes
  • cargo space
  • voice command (it actually works for me with simple tasks like cabin climate control, fan speed, bluetooth iPhone operation)
  • general level of vehicle information available
My dislikes at 12.5K miles:
  • gas mileage less than hoped (admittedly, some of this is related to the driver's right foot)
  • slight throttle lag
  • infotainment center action buttons too often buried in menus and placed on right side of screen away from driver ("Car Settings" icon at bottom of main infotainment center screen helps some with this)
  • not sure the CVT ever shifts into 8th gear unless I do it manually
  • lane centering (not a fan, find it unpredictable and prone to ping-ponging)
Bottom line: Would I buy it again? Yup, absolutely.
 

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2022 OBW
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77 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
  • excellent initial build quality, seems to be holding up quite well
  • dash layout, especially combination meter
The build quality cannot be understated. The Outback feels well built. While it body rolls due to the soft springs, the body itself is very stiff. The fit and finish on my OBW is outstanding; the upholstery stitching is clean, materials look top notch and feel expensive, and the panel gaps along the vehicle are all even. Not all have experienced that, but mine turned out peachy perfect...except for that combination meter issue.

I love the dash of the OBW with the dial cluster accents. One thing I didn't want in a new car was a LCD/OLED display for an instrument cluster with gamified graphics on it. Gross. Give me that timeless analog dial for speedo and tach.

Hey, I agree with your likes. Which cargo net did you get? This one?
Yep, that's the one! I just wanted a simple cargo net for groceries that I can toss into one of the cubbies when I'm not using it. It works great for that.
 

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2022 OBW
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77 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I had briefly looked at a 4Runner when I was starting my search in 2020 for a replacement for my leased Forester, and quickly ruled it out. While seeming a good vehicle, it felt cramped and not as nimble as my previous Subarus, and it was also significantly more expensive, so I moved on.
Old 4Runners were great vehicles of their time, and still are great vehicles despite their high price tag. They're reliable as all ****, easy and cheap to fix, and will outlive the Outback by a wide margin. Gen3 was bulletproof; 80s tech with a 90s wrapper. The Gen4 I owned was fantastic, even though it's the unloved middle child of the lot. Gen5 was great through about 2014, then it started to age...and age...and age. Now it's just a dinosaur.

By modern standards a 2022 4Runner is heavy, underpowered, inefficient, and is arguably unsafe. It's very well built, with quality materials, but buyers pay a very high premium for it. Word on the street is the Gen6 is coming in 2023 that'll ditch the old reliable V6 for a hybrid-electric system. If they also swap it to a unibody then that's the end of the true 4Runner lineage, but they have to do something to modernize it. I thought I'd own 4Runners for life after the overall great experience I had with mine, but looking at 2022's, they just felt...old. Not good old like aged whisky, rather more like a grandfather clock at the antique store collecting dust. It's ignored by Toyota.
 

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'22 Wilderness
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49 Posts
The build quality cannot be understated. The Outback feels well built. While it body rolls due to the soft springs, the body itself is very stiff. The fit and finish on my OBW is outstanding; the upholstery stitching is clean, materials look top notch and feel expensive, and the panel gaps along the vehicle are all even.
Yeah same. I have some complaints about things like infotainment and mileage but man... this car is put together really nicely. I had a WRX Premium back around '06 and while that car was a blast, the interior really felt like a cheap car that had been dressed up with leather seats and a couple novelties. This Outback on the other hand feels very premium, very refined, and I even love the StarTex so far, especially for my lifestyle. I wish a heated steering wheel and memory seat settings were available for the Wilderness!

Thanks for confirming the cargo net

Re: 4runner, I agree... they're extremely capable and reliable, but it's just not worth the price premium. And they are showing their age. I thought I'd end up in one, but frankly they are overpriced and kinda unrefined/"trucky". And shockingly, while the 4runner looks bigger, it's not - it's just taller. Which is harder to fit in my garage with a rack on top.
 

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Same here really. The Lane Centering Function does work, but it tends to wander in the lane, making the car feel drunk. It rides too close to the edges of the lane for my comfort. I've used it a few times on open stretches of road where there are few cars, but I'm not confident enough in the system to use it on busier roads. Given that I have to keep my hands on the wheel and nudge it in an interval to keep it engaged, I'd rather just control the car myself. I see little use for it for myself, but I love the Eyesight Cruise Control, just not Lane Centering.
Keep in mind that LC does do a certain amount of “follow the car in front of you” via eyesight. If the car in front of you is wandering…

See page 74 of the Eyesight manual for more info.
 

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2022 OBW
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The Outback headlights are fantastic, but the OBW fog lamps are lacking. I'd call them "accent lights" more than real fogs. Fortunately, their shape allows you to install the Diode Dynamics SS3 pod kit, which is excellent. Massive difference and I'd highly recommend, though it's not cheap. Then again, anyone with an OBW just spent $40k+, so what's another $500?
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R Limited
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I'm one of the resident HK so-called "premium sounds" hater. You are NOT missing out.

*Things I'm looking out / holding out for:

1. CVT - Maybe the 2022 WRX's "not a CVT" will work better?
2. Infotainment / audio - it's 2022. Get it together. It's been a steaming pile Gen 4 through present.

:D
 

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The Outback headlights are fantastic, but the OBW fog lamps are lacking. I'd call them "accent lights" more than real fogs. Fortunately, their shape allows you to install the Diode Dynamics SS3 pod kit, which is excellent. Massive difference and I'd highly recommend, though it's not cheap. Then again, anyone with an OBW just spent $40k+, so what's another $500?
Very cool, thanks! I’ll definitely check out the DD fogs. The factory ones do look great with their design, but yeah, they’re mostly just there for accent/aesthetics as they are.
 

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I'm one of the resident HK so-called "premium sounds" hater. You are NOT missing out.

*Things I'm looking out / holding out for:

1. CVT - Maybe the 2022 WRX's "not a CVT" will work better?
2. Infotainment / audio - it's 2022. Get it together. It's been a steaming pile Gen 4 through present.

:D
I’d also add camera quality to the list of things that could be improved. They’re on the equivalent level of the audio system in that they’re just good enough to be functional, but are also very evidently of low quality overall.

What is it you’d like to see improved with the CVT? I find it to be excellent this iteration. Very smooth and responsive overall. It would be nice to have an option to disable simulated gears; I find many people are now coming around on the CVT’s continuous thrust feel, particularly as electric vehicles become more prominent with similar gearing characteristics, so simulating gear shifts may not be as important now as they once were when CVTs were first being introduced into Subaru’s lineup.
 
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