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2012 Outback 3.6 Ltd
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We recently returned home from a 3 week, 2500 mile road trip in our 2012 OB 3.6 (Houston to New York with lots of detours on the way there and back). A few observations:

1. The 2012 is significantly better than our old 2005 OB (4 cyl, 5 spd) in most ways. Much more comfortable and easy driving: quieter, tracks straighter, front seating (at least for me, at 6 ft 2 in). The trade off is a slightly less nimble handling feel (but compared to my Boxster, neither OB is "nimble"). And the back seat is much bigger/better.

2. We had 4 mountain bikes on the roof, since one destination was a bike race my daughter entered (go Skyhawks!). Since the 2012 roof/rack is about 3 inches taller, getting bikes on and off is more of a challenge, even for me. I was very happy to feel how much more stable the new car felt with the bikes sailing along on top, even in some strong gusting cross winds. The 2005 with the same bikes and load can get "entertaining" in cross winds.

3. With the bikes, our highway mpg by tankful ranged from 17 to 22 (calculated--the onboard indicator was always about 1 mpg high). With the same bikes, the 2005 OB was about 22 to 25. I was feeling disappointed until I realized we were typically cruising much faster: 65 to 75 mph, easily keeping up with highway traffic everywhere. We experimented with cruising speed, and by staying below 65 we could get the mpg in the 21-22 range. We seldom could drive comfortably much more than 60 with bikes on the 2005 OB, and so the mpg range was always better.

4. US roads are filled with a significant portion of crazy drivers everywhere. If you think your home state (or a neighboring state) is a hot spot for wackos, I suggest you try a big road trip. Now the style of crazy might vary, but that's another story.
 
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