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Discussion Starter #1
I currently drive a 2012 Volkswagen JSW TDI with a Pano sunroof. It's a great car and I got rid of an A4 wagon to get it. It gets great mileage and the interior is awesome with some nice features. I have owned a few Audis and a Tundra,Tacoma, and an FJ. Anyways, my wife's lease is up on her BMW 3 series and I was planning one replacing it with something more affordable. We have a 16 month old, so the extra room over the BMW was also a factor in the new car. I'm in Southern California and surf and skate almost everyday and enjoy the mountains and monthly surf trips down to Baja. I was originally looking to get a Tacoma again and have the wife drive the JSW since I work very close to home. The wife wasn't too happy about a truck, and we randomly thought of an outback. I have heard nothing but great things about them and they fit the bill very well as a replacement since they are affordable,reliable,have great space, and has AWD for surf and snow trips.

We haven't driven one or even checked one out yet, but as long as the car seat fits well and we like it, we will hopefully be getting one fairly soon. Right now, I'm leaning towards a 2.5 premium with the all weather package in Grey.

Looks like a great community here and hopefully I'm driving an outback sooner than later.
 

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We had a 2011 Golf TDI, while we loved everything about the car I was VERY worried about the fuel pump problems and wasn't going to risk a $9,000 repair out of warranty or having to fight VW in warranty.Right now there is a class action suit against them for that problem. So at 11,000 miles it went bye bye. Does my wife love the Subaru, I told her I was going to get her a new one once the 2014 model comes out. In 30 plus years of marriage and getting her a new car every 2 years this was the first time she said, " you're not selling my Subaru, I want to keep it forever" I told her I would get the exact same one, color and all. Though the Outback isn't the fastest or best handling SUV out there, I have to say for the money and reliability you can't beat it. The more miles you put on it the better the engine runs. With her driving 122 highway miles each day the seats have to be good and I can tell you with a back back they are great. In 41,000 miles we have had ZERO problems. Just try and stay away from the dealer and give it about 10,000 miles the break in. Will it feel like your VW, no but you won't have to worry when it will break down not if!
 

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2012 Outback 2.5 Premium - Former: Golf TDI
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A couple of observations from a former 2011 Golf TDI (essentially the same as JSW for my points below) owner:

-Don't expect the interior quality, fit, or finish in the OB to match the JSW. The OB is deffinently a nice car inside, however the hard plastics and half-a$$ed attempts at any soft-touches will make it feel "low budget" compared to the JSW
-Don't expect there to be as many "ah hah" features either such as the carpeted door cubbies (keeps vibration noise down), felt lined glove box (same reason), multi-function display (the new OB limited has one but not nearly as useful), AC'd glove box, etc. Again, I have lived without them however I do not deny that it added up to a wholesome experience in the Golf (felt like a MUCH more expensive car than it was)
-Handling will be nowhere near as sharp or crisp in the OB; the 13' OB's have some suspension tweaks that help to firm it up a bit, but nowhere near a driver's car like the JSW/Golf. The flipside is, the OB is a MUCH more comfortable, smooth cruiser - that is where this thing excels
-Did I mention that the HPFP in my 2011 Golf imploded at 28,000 miles? No reason at all, just went at about 300 miles in to my current tank of verified D2. I absolutely love VW engineering (yes it brings some headaches along with it), the drive, the interior quality, etc. but there was no way I was going to have another $9,000 ticking time bomb sitting in my garage. Hence why I went back to another Subaru and haven't looked back since.

Might I suggest checking out the 2013 Passat's as well in your search? No doubt that the OB's hatch space lends itself to taller items, but the Passat's trunk is cavernous, not to mention that it has MORE legroom than even the OB. We were a huge fan of it on the few test drives we took, however having a hatch plus AWD were a must for the family hauler. Best of luck!
 

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2020 Outback Limited, 2.5, Non-Turbo
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Ex Sportwagon TDI Owner from So. Cal. here too...

You'll find the OB is much roomier all around, more comfortable, and more reliable. The reclining back seats are like a limo. The 4-cyl. gets great gas mileage (the 6 not so much). I am now on my second OB after the TDI. I love the OB. I do yearn for the low-end torque and driving fun of the TDI. But I live in the So. Cal. mountains on the weekends, and nothing beats the snow capabilities of the OB. Good choice!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much for the info. I definitely considered the passat as I convinced my neighbor to buy one after he was loving my JSW. However, it doesn't fit my needs in the hatch/rear department. I want to be able to have my boards and son in the back seat at the same time, as well as other beach stuff. Right now and with my Audi, this has been very easy to do, by folding down one seat any skiing everything through. That is why another wagon or small SUV is what I'm looking at. I'm personally just not an SUV guy and much prefer a wagon and this would mean owning both the JSW and the outback, which would be perfect for our needs.

I don't expect the outback to come anywhere near the JSW, and that's totally fine with me. My wife coming from a BMW, will likely drive the JSW daily anyways. I hope to drive one very soon and maybe even trade in her BMW if the price is right.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I had a chance to go check one out today. Didn't have time to test drive it, by my wife and I wanted to get a good feeling for the room and interior. We both really liked the interior and my wife was actually a bit surprised on how much she liked the interior. The space was great and looks like a very noticeable improvement over the JSW in that department. We checked out a dark grey 2.5 premium with the all weather package and the popular package #3. All in all, very excited to get in one soon and that will depend on the trade, otherwise we will just wait a couple months until the BMW lease is up.
 
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