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Old: '13 Focus St ::: New: '18 3.6 Ltd in white
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all,
Currently driving a '13 Focus ST but the family needs more space on long trips so I've been hunting around for what to get. After I pruned away the CR-V because of the 1.5T reliability issues the last car standing on my list of MPG + Cargo Space + reliable is the Subaru Outback (which I've always loved anyway, I'm a hatch/wagon junkie). My driving enthusiast gut says get the 3.6, but I think the gas sipping 2.5i makes more sense if I'm honest. (And gives me an excuse to get a 2nd car. :sneaky: )

I've got a bead on a very low mileage (13k) 2016 Limited 2.5i with Eyesight and the HK sound system... but I have to say the 2018 with Android Auto and some general tweaks and updates looks to be a better option all around. But is it ~5k better?

What's your take on it oh Outback nerds?
  • Save some cash and go with the '16?
  • Or burn the dollars and keep hunting a good deal on a '18 with all the small upgrades?
Details:
  • Plan on keeping it until it dies, or at least 10 years give or take.
  • Mostly for regular road trips to visit family, camping, and hauling from home depot / garden stores.
    • Plan to get an EV for our around-town and commuting.
  • Don't mind doing my own minor work, would probably do a swaybar, sound deadening, and consider upgrading speakers.
    • Full HU/Amp/Speakers swap possible but a PITA.
  • Regularly 2 Adults, 1 dog, 1 toddler, and often a 3rd adult.
  • Lots of bags and toddler "stuff"
 

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18 Outback 3.6r Touring
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548 Posts
The ‘18-‘19 is the best of the gen5 Outbacks. All the kinks worked out, excellent refinements. ultimately you have to decide if $5k(if I understood your post) is worth it for a newer model.
 

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I went from a 2011 WRX with bluetooth but no touch screen and no android auto, used android auto on the phone instead, to an Outback with Android Auto via USB.

In my opinion Android Auto is not that different using it from the phone or from the car's touch screen. It's more reliable just using it on the phone in my limited experience. No worries about junk USB cables.

5K is a lot of money that can be used towards your EV or diapers or gas. If the primary purpose of the Outback is to provide the safest all-weather and most-terrain transportation for your loved ones and their stuff, it's the perfect vehicle.
 

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If I had a 10 year ownership plan, I would be buying the newest one I could afford. '16's are coming up on being 5 years old.
 

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'18 Outback Touring 3.6R, '11 Legacy 3.6R Limited. '11 WRX not stock
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405 Posts
With a family use car I'll go with the '18 and all the Safety, ya nannies, items you can find. I'll never be without them. The '18 is a quieter vehicle to most peoples ears.
 

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2007 Outback L.L. Bean 3.0, 2018 Outback Limited 3.6R
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137 Posts
Hey all,
Currently driving a '13 Focus ST but the family needs more space on long trips so I've been hunting around for what to get. After I pruned away the CR-V because of the 1.5T reliability issues the last car standing on my list of MPG + Cargo Space + reliable is the Subaru Outback (which I've always loved anyway, I'm a hatch/wagon junkie). My driving enthusiast gut says get the 3.6, but I think the gas sipping 2.5i makes more sense if I'm honest. (And gives me an excuse to get a 2nd car. :sneaky: )

I've got a bead on a very low mileage (13k) 2016 Limited 2.5i with Eyesight and the HK sound system... but I have to say the 2018 with Android Auto and some general tweaks and updates looks to be a better option all around. But is it ~5k better?

What's your take on it oh Outback nerds?
  • Save some cash and go with the '16?
  • Or burn the dollars and keep hunting a good deal on a '18 with all the small upgrades?
Details:
  • Plan on keeping it until it dies, or at least 10 years give or take.
  • Mostly for regular road trips to visit family, camping, and hauling from home depot / garden stores.
    • Plan to get an EV for our around-town and commuting.
  • Don't mind doing my own minor work, would probably do a swaybar, sound deadening, and consider upgrading speakers.
    • Full HU/Amp/Speakers swap possible but a PITA.
  • Regularly 2 Adults, 1 dog, 1 toddler, and often a 3rd adult.
  • Lots of bags and toddler "stuff"
Given your intent to use the Outback mainly for road trips with a pretty full load, I would spend the extra bucks on a 2018 3.6 Limited or Touring, if you can find either one. The 6-cylinder will provide the power you need, and the real world fuel economy won't be that much worse than the 2.5. The 2018 is pretty quiet with the tweaks Subaru made that year, and the sound system is OK once you fiddle with the tone controls a bit.
 

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2019 Outback Wagon 2.5i limited
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My driving enthusiast gut says get the 3.6, but I think the gas sipping 2.5i makes more sense if I'm honest. (And gives me an excuse to get a 2nd car. :sneaky: )
My last OB as well as the current, 2.5. It’s enough of a car unless you are hauling lots of stuff or towing. I kind of wanted more power, but knew I’d be watching the gas mileage all the time. It seems that some are unhappy about the mileage they get with the 3.6. Indeed, other cars with a V6 (rather than the Subaru’s boxer) are getting better mileage, I believe.
 

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2019, Subaru Outback Limited 3.6R
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2019 it has updated 3.1 HU System
 
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Old: '13 Focus St ::: New: '18 3.6 Ltd in white
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for weighing in folks!

"In my opinion Android Auto is not that different using it from the phone or from the car's touch screen. It's more reliable just using it on the phone in my limited experience. No worries about junk USB cables."
Yeah, the more I look the more that seems to be the case... also there seems to be a lot of people with buggy infotainment issues in the 2018, but it seems to have quieted down in the past year. Maybe it got fixed via updates? Or the bad ones all got replaced?

I'm currently leaning towards a 2018. The price difference isn't huge especially spread over the next 10 years, and 2 years newer with all the quality of life updates (quieter cabin most notably) sounds noticeably better and likely to have less annoyances cropping up in 5+ years.
I'd love to find a fully optioned 2019 for under $25k, but it's unlikely that I can find one that has all the features we want/need and comes in under budget (without 50k+ miles on it already).

As for the 2.5 vs 3.6, I know it's an infinitely deep rabbit hole with people on both sides hurling stones at the other side, but for the purposes of our usage the 5 mpg difference (looking at real world Fuelly data) is non trivial, that's over 20% difference. Looking through anec-data on there, many 3.6's have never gotten a fill up over 24mpg, and many of the 2.5's regularly get 32+, so my inner tree-hugger is likely going to win this battle. Also we will probably never/rarely tow anything, and will spend minimal time at high altitude. I'd love the power, but it's really not necessary for us I think.
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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As for the 2.5 vs 3.6, I know it's an infinitely deep rabbit hole with people on both sides hurling stones at the other side, but for the purposes of our usage the 5 mpg difference (looking at real world Fuelly data) is non trivial, that's over 20% difference. Looking through anec-data on there, many 3.6's have never gotten a fill up over 24mpg, and many of the 2.5's regularly get 32+, so my inner tree-hugger is likely going to win this battle. Also we will probably never/rarely tow anything, and will spend minimal time at high altitude. I'd love the power, but it's really not necessary for us I think.
Nothing wrong with the 2.5 and that is what most people choose. If I was going to do a lift and go with bigger tires or do much towing I would go with the 3.6 or the turbo in the Gen 6 but I've never had a situation where my 2.5 couldn't do the job. Like I've said in the past with me driving the 3.6 would get me from 0-60 in pretty much exactly the same amount of time as my 2.5 does.
 

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I've been researching and talked myself back into the 3.6... lots of people seem to regret getting the 2.5 but no one the other way. Argh. 😅
Either one is going to be a good choice. For me the higher purchase price and lower fuel economy and little to no added value (for me personally) made it an easy choice. Same with the trim level. Had I gone with a more expensive model and the bigger engine I wouldn't have gotten to the paid-off/no more monthly car payments as early as I did. For me that debt-free status meant far more than a few extra features and the ability to get to the next stop light before the car next to me. I'm sure I would also prefer to drive the 3.6 as well but not enough plus for the cost to me. Obviously that is different for everyone.
 

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I've been researching and talked myself back into the 3.6... lots of people seem to regret getting the 2.5 but no one the other way. Argh. 😅
until your driving habits change/fuel prices go up... especially if you're not using the extra torque of the H6. Drive enough miles in a year and the fuel economy difference can be quite a hit. I haven't driven that much in a number of years, so it doesn't bother me.

for fuel comparisons, your best bet for cost difference in a year or over the entire ownership is to assume you will get whatever the EPA lists the car (yes, in reality it might be different, but this is to compare cost differences).

If you drive the car like "an enthusiast" often, your fuel economy will be somewhat low with the H6. Might want to make a few "what if" versions of fuel savings in a spreadsheet over a given amount of miles (I'll do this - use some numbers as a baseline, then do what a worst case for economy might look like, a best case... then run a few columns with the price of fuel, assuming averages, and run some guesses for that with increases in separate columns... do that enough and you'll get the H4 and buy something nice with the savings).

also, stuff on the H6 can be more expensive. Every oil change is 6.9 quarts. the H4 has a smaller sump so it's 5.1 quarts. Less oil per change. about 30 quarts in 100k miles or 60 quarts in 200k miles. Not a lot of money I suppose, but might be worthy of note depending on how fancy of a motor oil you use.

Some points to consider.
 

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Old: '13 Focus St ::: New: '18 3.6 Ltd in white
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Discussion Starter #17
It's more an eco issue for me than financial, not going to go broke from 3-5mpg difference. I only do 10k mi per year including commute, and i plan to make that commute electric soon anyway. Heh.
 

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Instead of being overly concerned about this engine or that engine, consider each used car as an individual. Which one has meticulous maintenance records, clean upholstery and carpeting, steering feels tight and precise, etc. You'll drive yourself crazy trying to find a unicorn used car that's immaculate, low mileage, well priced, and with all the options that you want.
 

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I've been researching and talked myself back into the 3.6... lots of people seem to regret getting the 2.5 but no one the other way. Argh. 😅
No regrets on my 2.5i 17'. Honestly, MPG was the reason I got this, over the 3.6. I also didn't NEED the extra umph. Personal preference, everyone will have their reason.
 

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Old: '13 Focus St ::: New: '18 3.6 Ltd in white
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Discussion Starter #20
You'll drive yourself crazy trying to find a unicorn used car that's immaculate, low mileage, well priced, and with all the options that you want.
Usually sage advice but...

Honestly here in the northeast you can't walk down the street without tripping over a used outback for sale. Touring trims are rare, but right now i can have my pick of a couple different 3.6's limiteds under 30k miles without driving more than an hour.

And also I'm not in a huge rush for this purchase, i think I've put 100mi on my car since March since I'm working from home and we're being plague paranoid.
 
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