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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
[BOUGHT] Prospective 2018 Outback 2.5i Limited Buyer

Hi All,

Wife and I recently had a kid and our mother in-law is living with us. Our 2015 Hyundai Sonata (22k miles) is getting its engine replaced under warranty due to worn bearings. Long story short, wife doesn't trust the car/brand anymore so we're looking to get something a little bigger and safer for our growing family.

We're looking at the 2017 Honda CR-V EX-L and the 2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited as our final contenders. Our other car is a Prius so both the CR-V and Outback feel plenty fast to us. Everything in the Subaru feels just a bit nicer and the price seems to reflect that. We've never owned a Subaru before so we had a few questions if you could help us out!

1. I remember hearing that a lot of the 2.5 boxer engines were having head gasket issues, has that been worked out for 5th Gen OBs?
2. Oil consumption - I know all cars consume a small amount of oil, but have people had issues with excessive oil consumption in their newer OBs?
3. I read that the 5th Generation OBs had weak A/C to the point where rear passengers wouldn't feel very cool. The 2018 OB we test drove had vents in the rear. Does that mean that the A/C unit has been beefed up in the 2018 model?
4. I understand that all models of cars have their bad apples, but aside from astoundingly bad luck, are there aspects of the OB you grew to dislike?
5. Reliability - Toyota seems to be "king", how do your Subaru's compare in your experience?

We were impressed with the 2018 OB in our test drive. I was concerned about excessive cabin noise during highway driving after reading the wind noise thread, but the OB was very quiet. Much quieter than our Prius and was similar to the Sonata (which to it's credit, has a very quiet and comfortable ride). My wife will be mainly be driving the car so I appreciate the AWD and EyeSight safety suite. I used to climb/camp a lot before our boy and will eventually start doing that again so I like the AWD and high-clearance which can support our outdoor activities.

Any other information or tidbits to sway to Subaru is much appreciated!
 

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I have grown to dislike how boring it is to drive. Nice car, but very pedestrian. Just not much fun to drive. My wife on the other hand loved her '14 Forester and now loves her '17 Forester.

I came from a long period of owning larger vehicles. More than 1 child and I would find the size of the OB unacceptable.
 
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'17 Outback 3.6R Limited, '05 Forester
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Here are my answers based on my personal experience - YMMV

1. I believe the head gasket issue has been fixed in the current generation of engines
2. No issue with oil consumption with both my 3.6R Outback and my wife's 2004 Forester 2.5XS
3. Where do you live? I've had no issues with the A/C in 95ºF+ temperatures here in Minnesota and driving in the mid-West. May be a different story in Arizona
4. Lots of minor things that irk me, but overall the good far out-weigh the bad. Other car brands had more negatives than the Outback for me.
5. I think you'll find that Subaru is right up there in both reliability and safety.

We no longer needed our big SUV, but the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape class were too small. We wanted AWD, higher than average ground clearance and above all, a 5-star safety rating. It did not take long to winnow our list down to 3-4 makes and after test driving, the Subaru was far and above the best one for our needs. I do not regret my choice. We are now a 2-Subaru family :smile2:

Hi All,
1. I remember hearing that a lot of the 2.5 boxer engines were having head gasket issues, has that been worked out for 5th Gen OBs?
2. Oil consumption - I know all cars consume a small amount of oil, but have people had issues with excessive oil consumption in their newer OBs?
3. I read that the 5th Generation OBs had weak A/C to the point where rear passengers wouldn't feel very cool. The 2018 OB we test drove had vents in the rear. Does that mean that the A/C unit has been beefed up in the 2018 model?
4. I understand that all models of cars have their bad apples, but aside from astoundingly bad luck, are there aspects of the OB you grew to dislike?
5. Reliability - Toyota seems to be "king", how do your Subaru's compare in your experience?

We were impressed with the 2018 OB in our test drive. I was concerned about excessive cabin noise during highway driving after reading the wind noise thread, but the OB was very quiet. Much quieter than our Prius and was similar to the Sonata (which to it's credit, has a very quiet and comfortable ride). My wife will be mainly be driving the car so I appreciate the AWD and EyeSight safety suite. I used to climb/camp a lot before our boy and will eventually start doing that again so I like the AWD and high-clearance which can support our outdoor activities.

Any other information or tidbits to sway to Subaru is much appreciated!
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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1. I remember hearing that a lot of the 2.5 boxer engines were having head gasket issues, has that been worked out for 5th Gen OBs?
That was a previous engine generation (i.e. 2010 and earlier). The current H4 engine in Legacy/Outback (FB25) is a totally different design.

2. Oil consumption - I know all cars consume a small amount of oil, but have people had issues with excessive oil consumption in their newer OBs?
Only a few. Most owners report minimal oil consumption. A small number of owners consider any oil consumption to be "too much," which I consign to the category of unrealistic expectations.

3. I read that the 5th Generation OBs had weak A/C to the point where rear passengers wouldn't feel very cool. The 2018 OB we test drove had vents in the rear. Does that mean that the A/C unit has been beefed up in the 2018 model?
Most owners find the A/C fully adequate, even in places like Houston or Phoenix. The vestigial rear A/C vents are present in Limited or Touring trim only; Base or Premium trim doesn't have them.

4. I understand that all models of cars have their bad apples, but aside from astoundingly bad luck, are there aspects of the OB you grew to dislike?
This is a personal matter. In our case, there is nothing worth mentioning.

5. Reliability - Toyota seems to be "king", how do your Subaru's compare in your experience?
Other than 3 warranty recalls, neither our 2015 Legacy nor our 2016 Outback has ever been back to the dealer for service or maintenance. YMMV.
 
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I'm very happy with my 2018 OB Limited 2.5. Subaru made some tweaks to make the cabin quieter compared to 2017 and earlier models, which might explain why you found it quieter during your test drive than you expected based on reading replies to the wind noise thread.

I had a 2014 OB Premium 2.5 for over 4 years. No problems with oil consumption. I kept up with scheduled maintenance and never had any problems.

You're also considering the CR-V. Two of my relatives have CR-Vs and find them very reliable and comfortable. In 3+ years, no problems, just scheduled maintenance.
 

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2018 3.6R Limited - Magnetite - LP Adventure lift
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"redesigned" AC in the 18s per Subaru. It was a common complaint, like wind noise and dead batteries.

We are researching too. We are very close to the H6 outback ourselves.

Oil consumption seems to happen around 30K and up, if it does. Don't let people tell you its' rare'. It may be on newer models, but a couple years ago it was in CR's 'thisrty thirty' of oil drinkers. Now? Who knows.

Most common complaints Ive seen:
Substandard battery
Wind noise
Weak AC
Squeaking seat rails.
HK audio is sub par
Consumes oil.
MPG less than expected.
CVT + weak motor, low tech engine

Biggest benefits -
Safe. Very safe.
More capable than any other AWD, period.
Average to slightly better than average reliability.
roomy.
decent handling for an SUV-ish vehicle.
Updates to 18s address some concerns.
Good resale value.

One word you'll hear often about the outback. - "Adequate". The 2.5 power is adequate. The HK audio, is adequate. The looks are adequate. Thats what I found it to be. Adequate. It is neither inspiring, or exciting in any way. But the poalces it can take you are.

There's really nothing else that does what the outback does. That's why it sells. If someone else made a car that had the same capability but did things better (turbo 4 engine, pano roof, better economy with more power, a nicer infotainment, better styling) then the outback would have to adapt. Nothing else does. Its the ground clearance, and the AWD system. If you need those, get the OB.

If you favor a more sporty or luxury ride, and wont be doing soft roading, or much snow driving, look at the competetion. Regal Tour-x, Used allroad, VW alltrack.

For us, we care more about capability and can live with the rest. But make no mistake. The outback is not a driver's car. Its not a car for people who like driving. Its not sporty, fun or inspiring in any way whatsoever. I personally can't stomach the 2.5 NA engine. Getting an outback is about the places it can take you, and take you there safely.

As to reliability vs Honda? Id trust a honda more, personally.

You should look a truedelta. Ive done a lot of research there. People here like to defend their purchases. When you call out the outback's weaknesses, they tend to get a bit snarky and defensive. "why dont you just get something else". Well, I just explained why. Its a choice. Which do you want? That was the hardest part for us. If the jeep Grand Cherokee wasn't such an unreliable dumpster fire, I probably would be getting that instead.
 

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I think Borsig's post should be auto reply for anyone who asks about buying an OB.

If you want a 4 door convertible, you are pretty much stuck with a wrangle unlimited. At least the OB is the collective of a few wants.

I personally don't think it is the best at anything except value. You get a really good car that is very reliable with a lot of nice features at a extremely nice price point.

I am on my third and still not disappointed. Would I be more turned on by a land rover? Sure, but I like other things and don't want a lot of money wrapped up into a car.

Sent from my SM-N920P using Tapatalk
 

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Poor AC has been addressed? Really? Ok I will be back on the sales floor checking it out! My car is old, but it couldn't cool the temps in our area even when it was new.
 

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If subaru would turbo it, put in a pano roof, and add some decent styling to the thing so its not so boring (at least it's not pure ugly- like say a honda element) they'd have a stellar car instead of an adequate one. But they're small market, sell all they make, and know better than you. (Or so Ive been told).

Find an ambassador and get a 500.00 off coupon before you buy. Present it after you negotiate.
 

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I find my suburu very fun to drive! Granted I have a 3.6 but I have owned many sports cars...vettes,Z's, Supra,RX-7, E-55 AMG,etc. Granted it's not as fast or nimble.....But it is fast enough and nimble enough to enjoy. I don't think I could say that if I has a 2.5! :D
 

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If subaru would turbo it, put in a pano roof, and add some decent styling to the thing so its not so boring
You just described the 2009 XT Limited (assuming a hood scoop counts as not so boring styling).
 

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I went from 07 CRV to 17 OB touring 3.6 R. Got tired of lack of power in CRV, looked at 17 CRV with turbo wasn't that impressed.

Went with OB couldn't be happier minor quirks ( wind noise, ac could be stronger) not every car is perfect.

Decided to go with OB because of reliability and better AWD than CRV..
 

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Came from years of Hondas and the last being a CR-V which traded in for the OB.

Best decision I made. Hondas are good but the OB has been better.

I have the H6 but sure the H4 is just as good. No issues whatsoever at 33k miles.


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I test drove a 2018 Limited *(Tungsten/Ivory) ...beautiful car. Loved it ....looking at a lease as a possibility!
 

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My wife and I also ended up going through the CR-V EX-L vs OB Limited debate. The CRV comes out about $4-5K cheaper, depending on how hard you twist their arm, at least relative to the 4 cylinder 2018s. We decided that the more capable AWD, much quieter cabin and better interior materials are worth the extra $$ for the Subaru. We drove the CRV and the Outback back to back and the difference in road noise is very noticeable.

On a side note, the ambassador coupons seem to be completely mythical, as I can't seem to find any active threads with them and looking for local groups here in NH on facebook has not turned up much either :(
 

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We also cross-shopped the 2017 CR-V Touring and 2018 Outback 2.5 Limited, and I swear I could have written the OP word for word. Both are great vehicles, so it came down to a BOB stroller fitting better in the larger outback and jitters about buying a brand new model. In our area, the OTD prices are very comparable between the two.

It's only been about 300 miles with the Outback, but we feel good about our choice. To be honest, im sure we would have been just as happy with the CR-V. It's all confirmation bias from this point forward! :)
 

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If subaru would turbo it, put in a pano roof, and add some decent styling to the thing so its not so boring (at least it's not pure ugly- like say a honda element) they'd have a stellar car instead of an adequate one. But they're small market, sell all they make, and know better than you. (Or so Ive been told).

Find an ambassador and get a 500.00 off coupon before you buy. Present it after you negotiate.
Boring? Not quite. Now, since your a VW fan why don't you consider the VW Atlas? Talk about blah looking. I think the next Gen Outback in 2020 will get that small turbo and big roof option.
 

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Boring? Not quite. Now, since your a VW fan why don't you consider the VW Atlas? Talk about blah looking. I think the next Gen Outback in 2020 will get that small turbo and big roof option.

The atlas is a god awful looking hulk of a vehicle. Its not a VW. Its some sort of abomination that Germans think (and rightly so) Americans want. Its fat, annoying, unattractive and takes up too much space when sitting next to others. Yep. American.

All kidding aside, no. There are VW's, and there are VW's that are made for americans. The latter, sucks. Passat alltrack diesel? Now wouldnt that be something.... Oh, wait. We dont get the good VW's, save the golf platform.

Atlas will sell because of warranty and third row. But its a horrid sight to look at.

Had the alltrack had the ground clearance of the outback, and symmetrical AWD (not haldex5) we'd probably be buying that instead. Its a much more fun car. Nice big pano roof, zippy acceleration, wonderful DSG tranny. Solid MPGs. Too bad they stopped 2.5 inches short of making it an Outback competitor.
 
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