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2021 OB Touring, 2011 OB Premium
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806 Posts
We have a 2021 Touring (2.5i) and it seems to be just fine for our needs, but then again, we live in the greater Portland metro area, so it's pretty flat. We used to live in the Central Sierras of CA at 4600' and our 2011 OB Premium (also 2.5i) did just fine in the mountains, though if we needed "get up and go", we just pressed harder on the accelerator. Tahoe is quite a bit higher up than we were, and if you really desire some thrust, then the turbo motor is the way to go. Besides, good, used, newer model Outbacks are in high demand. Best of luck in what you do.
 

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Premium Member
2021 Outback Touring XT
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241 Posts
I had the same exact question when I was in a Gen5... do I go with the 3.6 versus the 2.5. I originally chose the 2.5. If it was once or twice doing the up-the-mountain trek I would've been fine. But, seeing the fact I was heading to ski slope constantly I ended up disliking it and wishing I woulda went with the 3.6. SO I DID! Got a 2019 3.6 and never looked back. When I traded that for my 2021 Touring it wasn't a question. If it were me and I was getting good money for my trade and had your constant hike I would do it. It is a SIGNIFICANT change, enough so that it would be warranted in my book. AGAIN... I did the same in 2019 for the EXACT same reason.

Good luck on your choice!
 

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2021 Outback Outdoor XT
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84 Posts
If you think you need more power than get more power. Only you know what roads, conditions you drive in.

I have the XT and drive like a grannie 90% of the time, especially in the city. However, I also visit the mountains a lot each year and was just there, where I had to merge onto a highway from a weird merge lane that curves with poor visibility of the flow of traffic on the highway, so you have to decide to get on it even before you can see what the traffic situation is like. We had 3 in the vehicle and I barely made it to the 110kmh speed limit before I saw a semi truck in my blind spot. Had to keep on the throttle to make the merge or do full ABS stop in the merge lane. Thankfully the XT had the power to continue accelerating so that I could create a gap between me and the semi to safely merge. Really appreciated the power in that moment and that is why I got the XT. Highway passing is always better to have more power than you need than not enough either.
 

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Premium Member
2020 Outback Onyx XT
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3,631 Posts
I would. I come from a 2.5i and I have the same observation as you. Mine would not keep up with traffic going uphill at 70mph when loaded and with a roof top box. Let alone pass o was spending time in the truck Lane. The XT is amazing in this case. It just doesn't care. Obviously it drinks gas while doing this, gas usage is not a concern to me.
 

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2020 Outback Premium
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73 Posts
I would not buy a new car right now unless you can get a great deal somehow. The market is a bit of a mess with markups and such.

Also, I have zero issues with highway driving/passing at 70-75mph 2.5 outback. I have even had a rooftop carrier and a hitch carrier loaded up with camping stuff plenty of times. I came from a 2017 wrx too, so I know what the turbo FA feels like.

I think people like to be a bit dramatic about the non turbo outback. Sure, the N/A engine needs to hit higher revs to make the power, but its there if you push the skinny pedal on the right.
 

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Premium Member
2020 Onyx
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12,657 Posts
Just an FYI it keeps getting repeated that the turbo runs on 87 minimum octane but since 2021 the manual says to use at least 91 octane while towing (to prevent overheating?!?!) The Ascent that has the same motor does not mention this at all. :unsure:
 

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239 Posts
I think people like to be a bit dramatic about the non turbo outback. Sure, the N/A engine needs to hit higher revs to make the power, but its there if you push the skinny pedal on the right.
It may seem that way, people being over dramatic or embellishing a story a bit. Take a guy that's coming from horse power. He'll step on the gas pedal of the 2.5 and it'll feel like a wet sponge but the lady that's been driving a Geo Metro for the last ten years driving the same car will swear it's a rocket.
Anyone can adapt different driving habits based on the vehicle given enough time but if you have a choice, why?

One thing about the 2020+, the little throttle meter at the top? Yeah, I regularly have to get up into the 50-60% range to get the car to move like my 3.6R in the 20-25% range. The 2.5 shows 12% just keeping up in city traffic, the 3.6R, 4%.

Power comes at the cost of more fuel being burned, there's no way around it. And with current tech we can only squeeze so much out of any given amount of fuel. I pay the bill and I have no problem spending it to move the car at a rate I feel comfortable with.

It just occurred to me that I once held the position that over working a small engine with a turbo to get it to perform was detrimental to it's longevity. But with this new 2.4T built from the ground up as a turbo engine I think it doesn't work as hard as the 2.5 with someone's foot in it to try to get it to work.
If I had my druthers I'd have the 3.6R and would love a blown version of it vs anything Subaru currently makes. But that's not a choice so I'll gladly take the 2.4.
 

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Premium Member
2020 Onyx
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12,657 Posts
I have a slightly opposite concern with my turbo. I'm afraid I'm not exercising it often enough. I believe that an engine should be run hard "itallian tune-up" to burn away deposits and such. With the 2.5 you will be running it at full throttle often enough that it's getting good exercise. The 2.4 in comparison is just loafing along and I can't go full throttle for more than a couple seconds without going way too fast. I find myself purposely seeking to accelerate up hill just to give it exercise but I'm approaching 100mph in a few seconds and have to back off. But in a turbo, the engine may seem like it's loafing but because of the turbo it's actually seeing pretty intense combustion so maybe I'm over-thinking this, but because I used to go over a mountain every day it just feels wrong to not fully exercise an engine.
 

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3,061 Posts
My main reasons for the XT were because of the highway merging. We have several lousy short merge lanes or even “stopped” merges onto a 55mph highway where drivers regularly push 65.

I formerly had a Legacy 2.5 4EAT, Outback 2.5 CVT, Fozzy 2.5 CVT, and now my OBXT.

Subaru did improve the CVT response in recent years, but I did notice a lack of power through highway speed merging, above 45mph. I test drove both the 2020 2.5 and 2020 XT and ended up really liking the XT. It runs quieter at highway speeds as well…

With great power comes great responsibility. I change my oil on the earlier side at 4000 miles. That equates to one extra oil change per year. (No rotation on that one, so they get rotated every 8000) So, for $65 and usually another $10-15 off with coupon, it’s cheap insurance for a high performance machine.
 

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239 Posts
I have a slightly opposite concern with my turbo. I'm afraid I'm not exercising it often enough. I believe that an engine should be run hard "itallian tune-up" to burn away deposits and such. With the 2.5 you will be running it at full throttle often enough that it's getting good exercise. The 2.4 in comparison is just loafing along and I can't go full throttle for more than a couple seconds without going way too fast. I find myself purposely seeking to accelerate up hill just to give it exercise but I'm approaching 100mph in a few seconds and have to back off. But in a turbo, the engine may seem like it's loafing but because of the turbo it's actually seeing pretty intense combustion so maybe I'm over-thinking this, but because I used to go over a mountain every day it just feels wrong to not fully exercise an engine.
Click and Clack once said the best way to make your car last is to drive like there's an egg between your foot and the gas pedal. I don't keep eggs around long.
 

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Premium Member
2020 Onyx
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12,657 Posts
Click and Clack are very entertaining but is it really just a myth that driving like a granny is bad for engines? It's been long said that low revving engines develop a ridge at the top of the cylinder bore that will cause a problem if the engine is revved high and the connecting rod stretches. That's why I used to make sure that my engine went to redline at least once every time I drove it, even if it was just in neutral. I was attempting to do this in the Outback XT but when in neutral the engine is held back to 4000 RPM or something so I'd need to be in gear to get it to spin faster.

Jeep had a TSB for engines that were run lightly not allowing valves to rotate. This may not apply to any other engine.


DIAGNOSIS
1. This condition may occur when the engine is not allowed to run at engine rpm that are greater than 3,200 rpm. At 3,200 rpm or higher the engine exhaust valves will rotate if not impeded by high carbon deposits. Low engine rpm and high carbon deposits are associated with short-trip driving where the vehicle engine is not allowed to fully warm to normal engine operating temperatures. Cold ambient temperatures will increase engine warm-up time and add to the opportunity of carbon deposit buildup on the stem of the engine exhaust valve.
 

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239 Posts
300 hp and 38 mpg? Rav4 Prime FTW

*and a CVT that doesn't feel like a CVT
Starting at $38k, close to where the OB tops off. Plus being a hybrid, a more complicated vehicle with much more expensive to repair technology. Plus a 12 hour charging time unless you wire for 240 or get the upgraded charge system. Already, I'd have a hard time keeping it charged just for my daily commute without upgrading and spending more, much more over the $38k. Lots more.

I like Toyota, don't get me wrong. Some of my best cars have been Toyotas. But I don't think this is an apples to apples comparison.
 

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432 Posts
I had a 16 2.5 limited for 108k miles. Two car seats and a lab, and regular mountain passes in WA. It was a phenomenal car and I stilliss it. When the XT came out I selected it for power up those mountains as well as the towing of 3700 lbs. No, it's not a Cummins but that is a respectable tow rating for a utility wagon.

(I thought I'd buy a trailer for household hauling but I ended up buying a used Ram 1500, whoooops)

Sounds like you already know your car will not get more powerful this ski season... So.... I'm pretty sure we all know what you're gunna do!
 

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2018 Outback Limited 2.5 w Eyesight
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223 Posts
Before anyone says you need 300 or 400hp to be safe, remember a 1985 Camaro IROC with the 305 V8 motor made 215hp, a 1988 Mustang GT 5.0 V8 made 225hp, and a 1975 Corvette Stingray had 165HP with the base 350V8, or 205HP with the "special" 350.

So yeah...our 2.5 boxer has 10 MORE HP than a 1975 Corvette Stingray! Drag Strip here I come!!!
 

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2021 Touring XT in Crystal White Pearl
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511 Posts
Ah yes, the first model yrs after smog regulation and cat converters. 1970 and 71 were last yrs for real hp ratings before we started using manf. started using turbos and superchargers to boost hp from smaller engines.
 

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2020 Subaru Outback Onyx XT
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107 Posts
Hi all,

I purchased a 2021 Outback Limited with the 2.5 engine about 8 months ago and love it so far. However, I can't help but feel it's a little underpowered for my weekend ski trips. I ski most weekends during the winter in the Sierras in Northern California and there is a stretch of I-80 between Sacramento and Truckee that the Outback always seems to struggle on. Last season I was able to make it by but I am looking forward to this season and wondering whether I will be comfortable doing that again. I am lucky that I got a good deal on my current Outback so it's worth what I paid for it new except for sales taxes. However, new XT's these days are very hard to come by and I'd probably only get a modest discount. However, I am seriously considering it because I really love the car and want to keep it for a while, but I'm on the fence about whether the power is sufficient for my needs. Hoping to hear input from others in similar situations.

Thanks!
YES!
 

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2023 Outback buyer...?
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59 Posts
Starting at $38k, close to where the OB tops off. Plus being a hybrid, a more complicated vehicle with much more expensive to repair technology. Plus a 12 hour charging time unless you wire for 240 or get the upgraded charge system. Already, I'd have a hard time keeping it charged just for my daily commute without upgrading and spending more, much more over the $38k. Lots more.

I like Toyota, don't get me wrong. Some of my best cars have been Toyotas. But I don't think this is an apples to apples comparison.
$7500 Federal Tax Credit, + other state/local/utility credits/rebates ($1500 in CA, for example) - can also offset EVSE/rewiring, if needed with credits, or just simply charge when possible and drive it as a hybrid that gets 40 mpg city. Net cost is well under the top tier OB.

I'd gladly put up a Toyota hybrid engine and transmission for long-term reliability and lower ownership costs vs a 6th gen outback, let alone XT. With all of the credits and rebates, you can have positive equity in your vehicle, actually too.

The Outback will win with 8.7 vs 8.2" GC, a bit more cargo space, and a wagon shape that I'd prefer. Ideally, give me a Rav4 hybrid powerplant in an Outback. Mid-tier power (219 HP) and great mpg (41 +/-).
I'm hoping Subaru will do more with their Toyota partnership and hybrids/PHEVs and not just the full EV they're promoting.
 

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280 Posts
Funny, I've never had issues with the 2.5 loaded with kids, dogs, gear in a Yakima box, etc. It's a personal preference thing. I also think here in the land of $5 a gallon gas we tend to accept a little less power for less pain at the pump than our American cousins.
Me too, never experienced lack of power in my 2.5, even loaded. When you step on it - it’s easy to get on highways around Ontario. It seems a lot of 2.5‘s reported here also only get around 26 to 28 mpg. I regularly get 6.3 L/100 km (actual) on highway driving (which is mostly what I drive) at 115 km/hr (or 37mpgUS @ 71mph). But that’s relatively flat to rolling hills ……
Anyway …… suits my needs perfectly which I what matters as you say.😎
 
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