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If you have the luxury of time, this definitely works in your favor. The pandemic may last longer than anticipated and you may find even more late model vehicles becoming available as families face economic hardship and default on their car loans or sell assets. Hertz is going to be dumping 182k vehicles by December 31st which will further depress prices.

 

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2001 H6 LL Beany in Burgandy
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70 Posts
Very interesting. We are in a similar quandary. My car journey is: 1st car- ford escort wagon to a 2001 3.6 outback llbean.
Next is ?? Browsing other cars too maybe the crv, but still leaning outback, maybe try for a 2018 - still not sure... but what about the 2.5s? Going to test drive one today and see if I feel undercarred after 10 years in the 3.6. Can let you know.
 

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2016 Outback 2.5i Premium w/ Eyesight
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277 Posts
For me it came down to the upfront price. To get the 3.6 you have to go up to the next trim level so that was a price increase and the 3.6 price increase on top of that. So I cheaped out, :) Honestly, I am really glad for the fuel economy. I went from a Dodge Magnum 3.5 V6 to the 2.5 flat 4. So 22 mpg average to 29 mpg average. Even going for the flat 6 would have saved me gas...
 

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2016 OB Limited 3.6R
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229 Posts
No doubt 18-19 are the best years. I went with a 16' over an 18' because I wanted a 3.6R and at the time it was more than 5K difference and I didn't see the value. I prefer the 18' interior and less road noise, my father has one. But I stand by my decision to save the money, the 16' is still a beautiful car and very low road noise.
 

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2019 Outback Premium 2.5i, Abyss Blue
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2 Posts
I recently picked a 2019 2.5i over a similar-priced 2017 3.6R because it was newer with fewer miles and I don't see myself using a tow hitch for anything more than a rack of bikes. Sure the 3.6R gets to 60mph about 2.5 seconds quicker, but it's still not as fast or nimble as a V-6 Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. Both cars would easily last 10 more years but the 2.5 is going to use significantly less gas over that time. Whether gas prices go up or stay cheap I hope to put any savings toward something that is going to be fun and loud and doesn't need to carry the family and camping gear.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5
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22 Posts
I own a '16 2.5 Premium. AT tires, method wheels, 3 skid plates, and a heavy rooftop tent. I have never once wished I had the 3.6. I have no doubt it has gobs more power, but the 2.5 is not a small 4-cyl, it puts out plenty of grunt, it climbs well in the mountains too, with me, my wife, my daughter, and a week's worth of camping supplies.

Now then, personally, since you're not planning to trade it in, I don't think it's worth the extra $$ for the '18. The differences are TINY. You're gonna drive this car into the ground anyway, so why spend more $$? The '16 has almost the exact same interior and as far as I can tell, the only exterior diff is the two-tone grille up front.

I'd save that $5k for accessories, tires, whatever.

ALSO, I'm not sure if you can get the 3.6 in something other than the limited, or touring, or whatever package which has 18" wheels. 18" wheels are rougher driving and there are vastly more tire options for 17" wheels.
 

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2020 Limited
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I've had a 15 and 18 before the current 20 and honestly liked the 18 best of all of them. For me the CVT in the 18 was noticeably etter than the 15 to the point I wasn't upset it was a cut. I also found the additional safety features and android auto to be really good upgrades - especially with kids.
 

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2018 Touring 3.6
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17 Posts
I have a ‘18 3.6 Touring and will be hanging on to it. Very smooth car to drive and I’ve even began to appreciate the CVT, it’s for economy and comfort, not 0-60 times. Speaking of economy, the mpg is not bad if you are not heavy on the pedals.

And from what I read about the 6th gen safety systems, I really appreciate that I have the ‘18 instead of the IMO excessive safety nannies on the current generation.
 

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Old: '13 Focus St ::: New: '18 3.6 Ltd in white
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter #30 (Edited)
Thanks all, confirms my belief that the '18 changes are worth it for some of the things I value and am looking for.

I found a really solid low mileage 2018 3.6r for a great price at a local non-Subaru dealer, and went to test drive it today.
It was an early lease trade-in or something, has under 10k mi. and looks brand new. I couldn't find a ding or anything to complain about to the salesman.
Edit: Ugh, got scooped by someone. If that was you, you suck. :D

Coming from a tuned performance car I really can't imagine going with less power than the 3.6 I just drove in such a heavy car, so I'll be going 3.6 for sure. Lots of body roll, but less than I expected for how tall it is compared to what I'm used to, so that was a pleasant surprise. The flappy paddles and M mode definitely help, as "D" mode seems to hunt a lot more than I like. Sounds like aftermarket tuning may help tighten up the CVT response as well, so I'll consider that.

Currently haggling about price and trade-in value (don't want the hassle of private sale of my Focus ST if I can help it), but unless someone snatches it out from under me I should be a new (used) outback owner here soon.


Planned mod list (edited)
ProClip phone holder, first and foremost.
Rear sway bar, 20mm
Steering Dampener if needed
Bilsteins, Springs, and end-links once stock struts get bouncy
Front strut tower bar if feeling needed
Check out battery status, watch for a deal on a yellow/red top or generic 700 CCA
Aesthetics: Chrome delete, plasti-dip badges, maybe some Rally Armor flaps.
 

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'19 Outback Touring 3.6R
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258 Posts
Planned mod list:
ProClip phone holder, first and foremost.
Rear sway bar and end-links
Front strut tower bar
Check out battery status, watch for a deal on a yellow/red top (I hear the 3.6 has a better stock battery than the very weak 2.5 though?)
Aesthetics: Chrome delete, plasti-dip badges, maybe some Rally Armor flaps.
I would suggest looking at a stock WRX 19mm or 20mm rear sway bar with appropriate bushings, it's a straight bolt in replacement. 19mm sway bar I have the 20mm on mine and love it for spirited mountain driving or just fun on freeway on ramps.

Another suggestion is the Perrin steering dampener lockdown. Steering Dampener Lockdown I have one sitting under the passenger seat at the moment, haven't had time to install it.

The consensus seems to be that the front strut tower bar is not needed due to the improved stiffness of the body. 2015 Outback Strut Tower Brace

Good luck with your purchase!
 

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Old: '13 Focus St ::: New: '18 3.6 Ltd in white
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter #32
Another suggestion is the Perrin steering dampener lockdown. Steering Dampener Lockdown I have one sitting under the passenger seat at the moment, haven't had time to install it.

The consensus seems to be that the front strut tower bar is not needed due to the improved stiffness of the body. 2015 Outback Strut Tower Brace
Useful info, thanks! Have the swaybar on lockdown but hadn't heard anything about the steering dampener.
 

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2016 OB Limited 3.6R
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229 Posts
Coming from a tuned performance car I really can't imagine going with less power than the 3.6 I just drove in such a heavy car, so I'll be going 3.6 for sure. Lots of body roll, but less than I expected for how tall it is compared to what I'm used to, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Planned mod list:
ProClip phone holder, first and foremost.
Rear sway bar and end-links
Front strut tower bar
Check out battery status, watch for a deal on a yellow/red top (I hear the 3.6 has a better stock battery than the very weak 2.5 though?)
Aesthetics: Chrome delete, plasti-dip badges, maybe some Rally Armor flaps.
I've owned plenty of sports cars and coming from a daily driven Focus ST you will definitely want the 3.6R (or you'll hate the car and want to sell it) and you'll find the OB to be a dog in the handling department. The 20mm RSB & steering dampener should be your first mods as they are inexpensive and make a noticable improvement to responsiveness/sway. If you want even better performance in the corners purchase RSR springs or coil overs. You only need to drop it an inch, keeping most of the ground clearance, and you will really notice the difference. If you have money to burn/want to make it as tight as possible install the strut tower bar but note it is overpriced for the amount of improvement you actually gain as the 5th gen doesn't really need one. Of course all of these mods will be at the expense of a plush driving cruiser/offroad capability which the OB is known for. It's not an Audi Allroad so ensure expectations are managed prior to purchase.

The Subaru batteries are not very good. Any aftermarket battery with 700+ CCA will make you happy.
 
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2007 Outback L.L. Bean 3.0, 2018 Outback Limited 3.6R
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137 Posts
Thanks all, confirms my belief that the '18 changes are worth it for some of the things I value and am looking for.

I found a really solid low mileage 2018 3.6r for a great price at a local non-Subaru dealer, and went to test drive it today.
It was an early lease trade-in or something, has under 10k mi. and looks brand new. I couldn't find a ding or anything to complain about to the salesman.

Coming from a tuned performance car I really can't imagine going with less power than the 3.6 I just drove in such a heavy car, so I'll be going 3.6 for sure. Lots of body roll, but less than I expected for how tall it is compared to what I'm used to, so that was a pleasant surprise. The flappy paddles and M mode definitely help, as "D" mode seems to hunt a lot more than I like. Sounds like aftermarket tuning may help tighten up the CVT response as well, so I'll consider that.

Currently haggling about price and trade-in value (don't want the hassle of private sale of my Focus ST if I can help it), but unless someone snatches it out from under me I should be a new (used) outback owner here soon.


Planned mod list:
ProClip phone holder, first and foremost.
Rear sway bar and end-links
Front strut tower bar
Check out battery status, watch for a deal on a yellow/red top (I hear the 3.6 has a better stock battery than the very weak 2.5 though?)
Aesthetics: Chrome delete, plasti-dip badges, maybe some Rally Armor flaps.
The OEM battery on my 2018 3.6 died at 7K miles. Go for a Group 24 700 CCA upgrade; you can get one at Advance Auto for way less than $200.
 

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Old: '13 Focus St ::: New: '18 3.6 Ltd in white
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter #35
The 20mm RSB & steering dampener should be your first mods as they are inexpensive and make a noticable improvement to responsiveness/sway. If you want even better performance in the corners purchase RSR springs or coil overs.
Yeah, that's exactly what I'm putting together here as a plan. Start with the swaybar and decide if I want to mess with the steering dampener first. (Sounds like some cars are better/worse than others, so I'll see how the one I get handles.)
I'll hold off on the springs until I redo the shocks/struts which sounds like around 15-20k mi then probably do shocks/springs/mounts/endlinks all at once. I don't think I want to mess with coilovers, but dropping the springs a bit sound good to me since my offroading will be .01% of my driving, if that. :D

Dropping strut tower to the bottom of my list, thanks for the input.
 

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...snip.... Of course all of these mods will be at the expense of a plush driving cruiser/offroad capability which the OB is known for. It's not an Audi Allroad so ensure expectations are managed prior to purchase.....snip....
Having owned a 5th gen OB and a Caddy CTS, I would never describe the OB as a plush driving cruiser.

I routinely make the 700 mile trip between Baltimore and Atlanta. The OB not a very comfortable car for that trip.
 

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Old: '13 Focus St ::: New: '18 3.6 Ltd in white
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Discussion Starter #37
Having owned a 5th gen OB and a Caddy CTS, I would never describe the OB as a plush driving cruiser.
It's all relative... feels like a luxury yacht compared to my Focus ST. :D
 

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2015 Outback
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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"
2015 Outback Premium 2.5L bought with 42K miles, currently have 54K, I live at 6,000ft. Now towing a 2,000lb pop up camper with trailer brakes, had CVT and diff fluids as well as plugs changed by dealer, previously flushed brake system, replaced rear shocks with HD Bilsteins. It has sufficient towing power and tows the camper beautifully. Would the 3.6 be nicer? Maybe but the 2.5 is doing the job and the car feels very tight and the gas mileage is acceptable.
 

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2016 OB Limited 3.6R
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229 Posts
Having owned a 5th gen OB and a Caddy CTS, I would never describe the OB as a plush driving cruiser.

I routinely make the 700 mile trip between Baltimore and Atlanta. The OB not a very comfortable car for that trip.
To each their own. My point was the OB's handling performance favours smooth and plush over tight precise handling and that it is not a design flaw.. but a design characteristic.
 

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2016 Outback 2.5i Premium w/ Eyesight
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277 Posts
Useful info, thanks! Have the swaybar on lockdown but hadn't heard anything about the steering dampener.
The steering dampener really helped the tendency to wonder on the highway. Felt like I had to constantly fight to stay in my lane. Now with the dampener it is like every other car I've ever driven, move the wheel and the car responds. Bad original design in my opinion.
 
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