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2019 3.6 Touring & 2018 H6 Limited. Previously also owned a number of Outbacks.
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Discussion Starter #1
I traded in the 2013 2.5i Limited for a 2018 3.6R Limited after some research and a an entire Saturday around few dealerships to test some stats (like emf value that 99% of people don't care, but I do); the emf value for the 2018 is now higher than the 2013 but the driver's side is still the lowest of all cars listed below so don't add a seat massager on the new model, please! Below is a list of vehicles we have rented, driven, tested or considered purchasing, honestly I wanted another bigger car for a change (with in-laws riding once a while) but I went for another Outback. I only considered AWD/4WD vehicles.

Highlander: quiet but handling was vague, road centering require more 'attention' a typical Toyota passenger car trait carried down from Camry. AWD & ground clearance can be better.
Honda Pilot: similar to Highlander with a 4WD that is supposed to be quite capable per review. A good alternative if not going to engineering pass & less concerned about emf.
MDX: same review notes as Honda with less emf but the headroom for the rear seats are atrocious (my wife sits in the Outback middle backseat with 2 fists of space over her head). With the mdx, her hair touched the ceiling.
Grand Cherokee: along with MB GLE have the highest emf values. It was one of my favorite cars & still a favorite rental. Bad brakes & not sure if they 'fixed' the moose test.
MB GLE: I can't believe the emf values are identical to GC; I won't want to sit on the passenger side. Less room than expected, no trunk space. very quiet.
Volvo XC 90: gorgeous car that handles great but Loud & teeth rattling ride even at lower tire pressure. Seats are like rock. It's nothing like the xc70!
RX 350: sea sick ride, no cargo space, loud acceleration vs. 3.6R (very surprised).

Other cars evaluated based on spec with no experience: all Audi except Q7, passenger rooms & cargo rooms are all too small vs. Outback. Historical emf values for Audi were high but I have not tested them myself. Actually I think Q7 cargo rooms maybe less than the outback as well. Traverse & its Buick siblings - pillow like handling, quiet ride but for some reason they tire me out on long rides.

NOTE 1st & foremost Outback's AWD, safety & ground clearance along with the eyesight complete stopping ability beats 80-90 percent of its competition, and that's one of the keys in my decision.

Why 2018 Outback (comparing to 2013 3.6 SAP that I already like):
- driving dynamic is similar with more precise handling
- quieter especially at lower speed & windy condition
- seats are just as comfortable if not more supportive
- unexpected items not on my original wish list back in 2013: tire pressure display with toggle of one button, digital speed with current posted speed limit right in the middle of the dashboard, blind spot indicator light is the BEST I've seen, steering responsive headlight... auto reverse braking.
- kudos on the getting alignment right with absolute zero toes (3.6R no longer pulls to the right).

What I did not like:
- the truck should have a manual override mode require little effort
- fit & finish on certain body panels can be better. I know outside panels do not affect performance but still... it's a hassle at the worst & still an eyesore at the best.
 

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Nice reviews. Yeah, there's a lot of great upgrades on the 2018. I'm trying to hold out for a 2019, but I'll be very happy if I decide to go for a 2018 either way.
 

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'14 Subi OBW, '18 Subi Forester
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I occasionally have to hire a firm to do site surveys for fields and other issues that can disturb sensitive scientific instruments, so your EMF concerns caught my attention. Without meaning to be invasive, do you have a pacemaker with defib function? Or is there something else new that we should be potentially concerned about? What instruments are you carrying to make that measurement, and what frequency range / power level is of concern?
 

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2010/2016 outback
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To bad the Ascent is not available now I would like to see how it did in your test. Also, the 19 model year for Outback should be good for the consumer. New Ascent and Forester on the SGP will be available so the Outback will be the seen as rotting fruit. Discounts should be huge the for the 19 model year. Good time to pick up the remaining 3.6.
 

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I occasionally have to hire a firm to do site surveys for fields and other issues that can disturb sensitive scientific instruments, so your EMF concerns caught my attention. Without meaning to be invasive, do you have a pacemaker with defib function? Or is there something else new that we should be potentially concerned about? What instruments are you carrying to make that measurement, and what frequency range / power level is of concern?
Since it is Halloween, I was thinking he is a ghost hunter or buster......>:)
 

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Ok, I must be to old,

https://www.google.com/search?q=emf.....69i57j0l5.6837j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

what's this emf value you talk about ?

I happen to like the 2018 outback 3.6R better then the 2016 we traded in for it.
I believe it?s electromagnetic flux or fields. Basically since everything is a **** computer or wireless tech it is creating or emitting emf. For example if you have an iPhone the manual actually says don?t put it against your head. Has to be like an inch away.
 

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2019 3.6 Touring & 2018 H6 Limited. Previously also owned a number of Outbacks.
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Discussion Starter #9
The EMF meter I used is a tri-field meter I bought from Amazon for ~$150. I start looking into EMF when one of our friend's infant developed Leukemia & I read articles for people with Leukemia living around power stations... higher incident but no concrete evidence. Common sense tells me not to sleep around a high power line & not putting the power line underneath my private parts... and surprisingly I have got reading on cars listed above where the readings were off meter's scale! 100 milligauss or greater. When we moved into our new house, I called the power company just to see how they would react. The next day an electrician came out to our house armed with an electronic meter & he compared the reading with mine... room per room & gave us a report, per room! Free service! It's one of those if you don't ask & since you can't see it... oh well. Note there are no set standards for what value is safe/unsafe but the report came back as acceptable for our house. We also used the meter to discover the main power line that comes into our house... & found it run across the top of the bed in one of our bedrooms. By moving the bed away from the wall by few inches the reading dropped by 90%. Again Outback has the LOWEST emf driver side reading...
 

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I know this is old thread, I'm hoping you still read... I need HELP with EMF questions! Do you know if the cars are constantly connecting to cell towers? I have a 2016 outback limited and was initially told the nav was passive and just a receiver... then someone said no, it pings towers, then someone said the nav doesn't but the onstar does ping/send out cellular radiation... Even if you don't subscribe... I'm getting so much conflicting data and no response back from Subaru themselves!! Can anyone say with certainty what's what?
 

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'15 Outback 2.5i Premium
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I know this is old thread, I'm hoping you still read... I need HELP with EMF questions! Do you know if the cars are constantly connecting to cell towers? I have a 2016 outback limited and was initially told the nav was passive and just a receiver... then someone said no, it pings towers, then someone said the nav doesn't but the onstar does ping/send out cellular radiation... Even if you don't subscribe... I'm getting so much conflicting data and no response back from Subaru themselves!! Can anyone say with certainty what's what?
If you have a car with proximity keys (pushbutton start) it absolutely does emit RF.

There's even a warning about that in the owner's manual as far back as 2015

If you wear an implanted pacemaker
or an implanted defibrillator, stay at
least 8.7 in (22 cm) away from the
transmitting antennas installed on
the vehicle.
The radio waves from the transmitting
antennas on the vehicle could
adversely affect the operation of
implanted pacemakers and implanted
defibrillators.
I think the 2016 and later models with a Starlink subscription also interact with the cell network, but can't say for sure.

GPS navigation is entirely passive.

Bluetooth is also two-way, so that system also emits RF.
 

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HI Skipw,
Thanks- I know there's RF in those keys- I'm still trying to figure out if it's constantly transmitting or just when I push it? Supposedly they can be "stolen" which means it's constantly transmitting? This confuses me. My bigger worry, as you mentioned, is the cell network... If I don't subscribe, will it still transmit for the company or whomever collects data? I was also told by a dealer that the nav system isn't passive, that it's pinging towers all the time... and I've read that some new gps models get online to get new maps etc while you drive, sending as well as receiving data. I just don't know what to believe anymore! And that note about the antennae you copied- where in the book was that? I'll try to look it up, I'm wondering if you've got a model without nav or starlink, if it still has that warning?

Thanks!
 

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'15 Outback 2.5i Premium
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According to that warning, the cars with proximity keys have transmitters in the cars. I presume they "ping" the keys on a regular basis but don't know the details. The warning was from the section in the manual devoted to Keys and doors/Keyless access with push–button start system, so I presume the models without push-button start do not have those systems and the warning would not apply.

Most cellphone GPS apps rely on the cell network for the map data they display, and also do rough triangulation on cell towers as an alternative method of location. That tower triangulation is less accurate than GPS when GPS is working correctly, but does work in places where GPS doesn't, such as inside buildings.

As far the factory nav system using the cell network for maps, I've never heard of that applying to these cars. The MY 2018 manual for the nav system explains on p.199:

SUBARU MAP UPDATE

Maps can be updated using a USB memory device.
For details, contact your SUBARU dealer.
Based on that, I believe what the the dealer told you about "getting new maps while you drive" is incorrect.

Does the nav system triangulate on cell towers as a backup to GPS? I can't answer for sure, but find it highly unlikely. Again, from the 2018 manual (p.197):

LIMITATIONS OF THE NAVIGATION SYSTEM

This navigation system calculates the current position using
satellite signals, various vehicle signals, map data, etc.
However, an accurate position may not be shown depending
on satellite conditions, road configuration, vehicle condition
or other circumstances.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) developed and
operated by the U.S. Department of Defense provides
an accurate current position, normally using 4 or more
satellites, and in some case 3 satellites. The GPS system
has a certain level of inaccuracy. While the navigation
system compensates for this most of the time, occasional
positioning errors of up to 300 feet (100 m) can and should
be expected. Generally, position errors will be corrected
within a few seconds.

The GPS signal may be physically obstructed, leading to
inaccurate vehicle position on the map screen. Tunnels, tall
buildings, trucks, or even the placement of objects on the
instrument panel may obstruct the GPS signals.

The GPS satellites may not send signals due to repairs or
improvements being made to them.

Even when the navigation system is receiving clear GPS
signals, the vehicle position may not be shown accurately or
inappropriate route guidance may occur in some cases.
Nothing in there that remotely suggests that it can fall back on cell-tower trangulation when GPS is unavailable.

"StarLink" may very well continually ping the cell network to keep "the mothership" (and the NSA, plus who knows who else) apprised of your location, how fast and what direction you're going, and perhaps some vehicle health information "for your own security". Personally, I find that a bit creepy. If you deep-six any subscription for that type of service, it may go away. Or maybe not. Dunno.

Mind you, I have a 2015 model, without the factory navigation system, without push-button start, and no OnStar-like communications (which provides for automatic emergency assistance in an accident, location of a stolen car, remote door lock/unlock, etc.) The answers I gave above are not based on first-hand experience.
 
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