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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited, No Eyesight, No Navigation
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I have a friend that brings 3.6R Subaru Outback from other parts of the country and sells them here. he sells every single one of them within 2-3 days of getting them....

I will say it again, that CVT and the 2.4L turbo, bad combo when you get into the throttle (I had an ascent as a loaner) it is not well sorted. Day to day leisurely driving, it's fine. I also found that the CVT was much nosier than the one in my 14 Legacy...
The reported smoothness of the 3.6 is something that just keeps getting repeated, and it seems like nobody questions this claim. Maybe the amazing smoothness applies to particular years more so than other years (?).

I have a 2.5 that feels pretty smooth. However, I was so intrigued by the alleged smoothness of the 3.6 that I decided to take multiple test drives of the 3.6 (2018 and 2019 models) at multiple different dealers. I popped the hood before and after each test drive, observing, listening, and paying attention. I mean, I guess the 3.6 is smooth. But my 2.5 feels just about as smooth. So, this selling point for the 3.6 is tenuous at best.
 

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The 3.3 H6 in the SVX I had was noticeably smoother and turbine-like compared to the three 4-cylinder turbo Subarus that I've had. I don't see why the 3.6 wouldn't be just as smooth, so I wouldn't doubt that the H6 is smoother.

I like turbos though and given the choice, will always choose a 4-turbo over a 6. The reason is weight. Even with the extra plumbing and an intercooler, the 4-turbo is lighter than the H6.
 

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'13 BMW 135i, 6MT, PPK / '20 Outback Limited XT
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I haven't had a chance to hoon She Who Must Be Obeyed's (SWMBO's) Limited XT yet - I need to feign some reason I need to drive it w/o her along for the ride. My intention is to stick it in sport and paddle shift the heck out of it to get an idea of what it will do once outside of the default 'Perma-Eco' mode. ; -)
 

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I haven't had a chance to hoon She Who Must Be Obeyed's (SWMBO's) Limited XT yet - I need to feign some reason I need to drive it w/o her along for the ride. My intention is to stick it in sport and paddle shift the heck out of it to get an idea of what it will do once outside of the default 'Perma-Eco' mode. ; -)
I wouldn’t call that sport mode. Manual mode, sure.
 

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2017 2.5 Touring
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Tech question about the 2.4T. I know the air is cooled after boosting heats it up, and it is done in the intercooler on top of the engine. Question is how is ambient air forced or blown over that intercooler. There is no hood scoop, or is there?
 

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2015 Outback 3.6R Package 23
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The reported smoothness of the 3.6 is something that just keeps getting repeated, and it seems like nobody questions this claim. Maybe the amazing smoothness applies to particular years more so than other years (?).

I have a 2.5 that feels pretty smooth. However, I was so intrigued by the alleged smoothness of the 3.6 that I decided to take multiple test drives of the 3.6 (2018 and 2019 models) at multiple different dealers. I popped the hood before and after each test drive, observing, listening, and paying attention. I mean, I guess the 3.6 is smooth. But my 2.5 feels just about as smooth. So, this selling point for the 3.6 is tenuous at best.
I had a 2.5 loaner recently when the mechanic couldn't get a failed wheel bearing off my 3.6. The dealership to my girlfriend's Connecticut place is up and over a 10% grade hill with a 575 foot vertical rise. I really noticed the difference on that hill. Otherwise, the 2019 loaner was so much quieter than my 2015 that I could probably live with it. I have a 7 year/100k extended warranty on my car and it won't be off warranty for another year. I'll eventually trade it for another Outback and I really don't know what I'll do. As they keep making the car quieter, I won't hear that strain noise as much.
 

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2020 Limted XT Black/Ivory
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It’s internal. The top rung on the grille is open and there’s a duct running to it on the bottom of the hood. It probably takes in even more air than the old hood scoops.
 

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I had a 2.5 loaner recently when the mechanic couldn't get a failed wheel bearing off my 3.6. The dealership to my girlfriend's Connecticut place is up and over a 10% grade hill with a 575 foot vertical rise. I really noticed the difference on that hill. Otherwise, the 2019 loaner was so much quieter than my 2015 that I could probably live with it. I have a 7 year/100k extended warranty on my car and it won't be off warranty for another year. I'll eventually trade it for another Outback and I really don't know what I'll do. As they keep making the car quieter, I won't hear that strain noise as much.
Mitchell Subaru? Those hills around there are pretty big for CT.
 

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2015 Outback 3.6R Package 23
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Mitchell Subaru? Those hills around there are pretty big for CT.
Yep. Up and over Avon Mountain to West Hartford on US 44. I have a similar 10% grade hill climbing the Sherburne Pass in Killington. West Mountain Road or the East Mountain Road alternate route are probably 12% grade. The 2.5 Outbacks friends own I've borrowed strain but can hold speed. The 2019 is a lot quieter than a 2015. I think I could probably live with it. It's not like I'm in Colorado going through the Eisenhower Tunnel all the time at 10,000+ feet where the turbo really matters. It's moot since I don't plan to trade for at least another few years. If I totaled mine, I think I'd be fine with a 2.5 Limited trim with the roof/NAV/heated steering wheel option package.
 

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Yeah, I have family our that way and did the commute from Simsbury to Hartford pretty regularly when I lived there. The 2.5 was fine. My old Explorer used to overheat any time I took Hartford Rd over into Bloomfield.
 

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2020 Outback, 2020 WRX, 2011 Legacy, 2005 Legacy GT wagon
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My first response is that the salesperson, being a salesperson, wanted to sell what was in stock (or has decided what they are most likely to be able to sell to you) and therefore pushed the 2.5.

You can't tell if that's what you really like until you try the turbo. The stronger engine should transform the drive of the car, and that might be what you are looking for, but you'll have to try it.

Salespeople will throw in the supposed greater fuel economy of the 2.5 as a selling point, to clinch the deal, but please tell me what the big difference is in fuel consumption is between the two engines, since I don't see it. The 2.5 used 10-12% less gas last time I checked.
I sell Subarus, but I sell exactly what the customer wants, I wouldve offered you a test drive in the Ascent. Its alot bigger, but you can definitely feel the power difference. Its all about the smiles per mile.
 

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The reported smoothness of the 3.6 is something that just keeps getting repeated, and it seems like nobody questions this claim. Maybe the amazing smoothness applies to particular years more so than other years (?).

I have a 2.5 that feels pretty smooth. However, I was so intrigued by the alleged smoothness of the 3.6 that I decided to take multiple test drives of the 3.6 (2018 and 2019 models) at multiple different dealers. I popped the hood before and after each test drive, observing, listening, and paying attention. I mean, I guess the 3.6 is smooth. But my 2.5 feels just about as smooth. So, this selling point for the 3.6 is tenuous at best.
pretty smooth is NOT smooth. I have 2 2.5L legacies and a 3.6R and the difference is night and day when you are in the throttle or just tooling around.

Acceleration is effortless for the flat 6 with the e5at... it is not strained at all... the flat 6 in the outback is quieter going down the road and in day to day operations. Also when you first start a cold engine from most if not all manufacturers, they adjust valve timing to allow for part of the combustion to complete in the exhaust to warm up the catalytic converters and during this time they are not as smooth.
 

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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited, No Eyesight, No Navigation
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pretty smooth is NOT smooth. I have 2 2.5L legacies and a 3.6R and the difference is night and day when you are in the throttle or just tooling around.

Acceleration is effortless for the flat 6 with the e5at... it is not strained at all... the flat 6 in the outback is quieter going down the road and in day to day operations. Also when you first start a cold engine from most if not all manufacturers, they adjust valve timing to allow for part of the combustion to complete in the exhaust to warm up the catalytic converters and during this time they are not as smooth.
Well, I guess something is wrong with your 2.5 engines. Get them fixed.
 

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20 Outback Premium
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Yep. Up and over Avon Mountain to West Hartford on US 44. I have a similar 10% grade hill climbing the Sherburne Pass in Killington. West Mountain Road or the East Mountain Road alternate route are probably 12% grade. The 2.5 Outbacks friends own I've borrowed strain but can hold speed. The 2019 is a lot quieter than a 2015. I think I could probably live with it. It's not like I'm in Colorado going through the Eisenhower Tunnel all the time at 10,000+ feet where the turbo really matters. It's moot since I don't plan to trade for at least another few years. If I totaled mine, I think I'd be fine with a 2.5 Limited trim with the roof/NAV/heated steering wheel option package.
If you think the 2019 2.5 is quiet, try a 2020 2.5. We've had both, night and day difference. The 19 was nice, but you could tell by the noise and smoothness it was a NA 4-cylinder. When shopping we compared 2016-2019 models and they all seemed similar. The 2020, by comparison, is much quieter and so smooth we cannot feel it running at idle. While it doesn't have the power of a 6, it has the smoothness of 6 and 8 cylinder vehicles we have owned in the past. Test drove 3 different 2020 2.5's, all comparable.

Last Ascent we tried was a 2019 and found the throttle tip in rather abrupt, but otherwise it drove fine. Don't know if the tip in is better on the 2020 Ascent, and we haven't driven a 20 Outback XT.

20 years ago we might have gone for the turbo in the Outback, but now we're more interested in economy and the 2.5 has delivered so far. Fuelly link in our signature block has our mileage history. The mileage in our 19 2.5 was about the same, maybe 0.5 mpg less overall, but we're much happier with the 2020 because its overall refinement and smoothness (the whole vehicle, not just the engine) is that much better.
 

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2018 Outbacks, Grey Premium & Silver Limited
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So I finally got around to test driving a 2020 OBXT today and while I liked it, it just did not wow me like I thought it might and frankly wanted it to.

I had this same conundrum with the old 3.6 engine versus the 2.5L and last time I went 2.5 because I could not in my mind justify spending so much extra to get what just was not enough for me. I suppose if I got into another lease it would just have to come down to the numbersand I know I would be happy with whatever I decided on.
 
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