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Tungsten 2018 Outback 3.6R Limited w/ES
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Discussion Starter #1
It was not a major concern when I was looking at prospective vehicles, whether the power lift gate was operated by a button or by wiggling your foot under the bumper. Our neighbour's SUV has the foot-actuated type, and it seems it could be handy if you're carrying something that requires two arms. Of course, the Outback is the button type.

I'm OK with the button, but I just wish they had implemented it differently...

We park the car, lock it, and my wife and I go into different stores. We each have our own key-fob. I come back first, empty-handed, and unlock the driver's door by grabbing the handle - that's a nice feature, very intuitive. It just unlocks the driver's door.

My wife comes to the car with her arms full, and as she passes the driver door, being the gentleman I am, I say "I'll open the back for you". I press the lift gate open button and hear a fast "beep-beep-beep", nothing! I try again and "beep beep beep", nothing. Now, I'm getting "the look" from the wife, so I get out of the car and press the button on the rear hatch, it opens. We load her cargo and close it.

My wife opens the passenger door by grabbing the handle. This unlocks all the doors. I try to convince her that I'm not a complete idiot and say "look - this stupid power lift gate button doesn't work". I press it to prove my point, and the rear door opens. I press it again and the rear door closes. It's like the car wants to make me look bad.

In their wisdom, Subaru has decided that even if you have entered the car with the key-fob, and make the overt action of pushing a button to open the lift-gate, it is somehow a safety feature that the door should not open unless you first unlock all the doors. Why can't that single button unlock and open the lift gate? Who makes these decisions?
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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... it is somehow a safety feature that the door should not open unless you first unlock all the doors.
Is it really so burdensome to unlock all doors (a single button press) before opening the rear gate?
 
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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited w/Eyesight
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You can also change the setting so that the driver's side door unlocks all doors instead of just the driver's door.
 

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2019 2.5i Limited Forester (hers) (4th Subie), 2014 Impreza Premium (mine)(#5)
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My wife opens the passenger door by grabbing the handle. This unlocks all the doors. I try to convince her that I'm not a complete idiot and say "look - this stupid power lift gate button doesn't work". I press it to prove my point, and the rear door opens. I press it again and the rear door closes. It's like the car wants to make me look bad.

In their wisdom, Subaru has decided that even if you have entered the car with the key-fob, and make the overt action of pushing a button to open the lift-gate, it is somehow a safety feature that the door should not open unless you first unlock all the doors. Why can't that single button unlock and open the lift gate? Who makes these decisions?
So change the settings on the car. By default, it's set that the drivers door ONLY unlocks the drivers door, as an actual passive safety feature for lone female drivers in the middle of dark parking lots. (Well, you know what I mean by that - that prevents someone else from running up to grab the passenger door and get in.)

However, you're more than able to get into the vehicle settings and make it so that unlocking the drivers door unlocks the whole car. I don't recommend it, but it is possible. Because it's really not a burden to push the button INSIDE the car to unlock the whole thing since you're sitting in there anyway.

Oh, and we can install a foot sensor as an aftermarket thing. (NOT through the dealership.) It's about $600 or so installed.
 

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2018 Touring 3.6R
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I previously had a BMW Sports Wagon with the foot opening tailgate. It worked fine, but honestly was no big deal. I wouldn’t pay extra for it, and think the current Outback setup does the job just fine. Particularly with the settings as recommended above.


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2016 Outback 3.6R Ltd. w. Eyesight
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Yes, I'd rather have the foot sensor from the factory. My arms are often full when I need to open the hatch, but I can always spare a foot.
 

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2019 Forester Sport. Love the Orange.
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No. Not an issue now(I hope) but as I get older I don't want to be flailing around on one foot with two armfuls of anything. In my mind I envision the Karate Kid in crane pose as I fall on my butt.
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R Limited
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...Who makes these decisions?
Ultimately, we the buyers make those decisions. When we don't demand what we want by not buying it until it is done the way we want it, The companies put out what they think we want. When we buy those items, we prove them correct.

There is no better motivation for a company to provide what a customer wants than said customer refusing to buy that item until it is what was requested. Keep in mind, this only works when customers do this in large numbers.


Cheers!
 

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2018 Outback Touring 3.6R
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I've only had my car a couple of months, but in the past also had a Q5 and a Tiguan. Many times I wish I could have opened the hatch with a foot swipe. I don't consider it a deal-breaker, as I could have had that with something other than an Outback. I felt the adaptive cruise was more important to me.
 

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Tungsten 2018 Outback 3.6R Limited w/ES
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Discussion Starter #10
Is it really so burdensome to unlock all doors (a single button press) before opening the rear gate?
No, it's really no problem at all; just that you have to know about it beforehand. To my shame, I confess that I did not memorize every word of the entire users manual, so I missed that. I just think if it's intuitive that simply touching the door handle to unlock the door, pressing a single button while you're already in the car should unlock and open the rear gate.

You can also change the setting so that the driver's side door unlocks all doors instead of just the driver's door.
I found how you can change the action of pressing the [open] button on the remote key fob, but I haven't found how to change the action when you touch the handle. Guess I better go out and have another look.
 

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2015 Outback 2.5i Limited, Ice Silver/Black
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Actually, I wish there was a manual defeat for the auto liftgate. But that's just me.
 
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2015 3.6R Limited w/ES
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YES.

Personally, as an able-bodied person of average height, the ONLY way I would consider a power lift gate to be a useful feature is if it could be foot-activated. My auto gate is slow and occasionally likes to make embarrassing clunking noises (fixed under warranty, then started back up just as warranty ran out). The manual gate on my 10 year old Impreza OBS got just as much, if not more, use (on average). That was 10 years of smooth, silent perfection (and much faster to boot). No maintenance. No repairs.
 

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No. Not an issue now(I hope) but as I get older I don't want to be flailing around on one foot with two armfuls of anything. In my mind I envision the Karate Kid in crane pose as I fall on my butt.
My other car has a foot activated system, but it honestly not that great. The instances where I feel comfortable waving my foot around with both arms full of stuff that is light enough for me to not lose my balance is rare.

Plus, unless you do it perfect, you often have to foot wave 3 or 4 times. Not worth the bother, by that time I can put something down and push a button.



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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited w/Eyesight
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I found how you can change the action of pressing the [open] button on the remote key fob, but I haven't found how to change the action when you touch the handle. Guess I better go out and have another look.
Vehicle Setting -> Keyless Entry System -> Driver Door Unlock -> All (driver door only is the default).
 

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2017 Outback 3.6R Limited
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I found how you can change the action of pressing the [open] button on the remote key fob, but I haven't found how to change the action when you touch the handle. Guess I better go out and have another look.
Vehicle Setting -> Keyless Entry System -> Driver Door Unlock -> All (driver door only is the default).
See also owner's manual page 3-45
 

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Tungsten 2018 Outback 3.6R Limited w/ES
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Discussion Starter #17
Vehicle Setting -> Keyless Entry System -> Driver Door Unlock -> All (driver door only is the default).
Yes, I thought that only applied to pressing the unlock on the keyfob; the wording is "remote entry" I believe. In any case, I experimented with that setting, and by selecting "all doors", the door handle unlock function will unlock all doors including the rear lift-gate.

As for that being a security risk, I would say that any door unlocked, including the driver's is a risk. If it is a concern for someone, then quickly lock every door as soon as entering the vehicle.

See also owner's manual page 3-45
In my manual, it's 3-42 that talks about the driver door unlock; 3-45 is about lighting?


I get the point; I have options and settings. It's a learning process to fully understand how every system works in every possible situation. Regardless of how the doors get locked or unlocked, I still would prefer that pressing the lift-gate button override the lock.

I'm asking the car to open the rear door, it is refusing because I forgot, or didn't know I had to unlock all doors first. This is a slippery slope to... "Open the pod bay doors HAL". "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that". ( I'm not serious, please don't reply to that last comment ).
 

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2017 Outback 2.5i Limited
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Foot opening would be nice. Can't think of too many occasions when setting something down to open the hatch was a burden, but it does happen.
 

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2015 Outback 2.5i Limited, Ice Silver/Black
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My auto gate is slow and occasionally likes to make embarrassing clunking noises (fixed under warranty, then started back up just as warranty ran out).
Only a theory at this point, but maybe one of your struts has failed, causing the drive motor to jump gears from the extra stress. Only speculation, as I have never even heard the clunking from mine.
 
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