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Having had as many as five Subarus in the family at once we are now down to my beater, a '98 Legacy sedan with a little over 250,000 miles and a new 2013 Legacy Outback.

I have been down the road with the leaking head gasket issues, mostly on the 2001 Outback that we sold before buying the new car and I was always able to work around that without replacing the gaskets, but now I am wondering about the track record for the four cam chain driven four cylinder cars.

Should I expect gasket problems with this engine? I had misgivings when we bought the car, but was evenutally reassured by someone telling me that the current generation of twin cam motors was completely different from the late '90s ones, and that, with the long production run of the six cylinder engines, the "bugs" had been worked out.

BTW: Having driven and ridden in many Hondas I have to say that the lower end ones feel very light and fragile to me. My youngest son has a high end Honda and likes it, but I am just plain sold on Subaru cars, especially for use here in the eastern snow country mountains.
 

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The 2013 has the new FB series engine...it's only been out since the 2011 model year in the Forester, but is does look like some design changes have occurred that may reduce the HG risk.
 

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This is exactly the kind of information I am trying to find out before possibly buying our first Subaru, a 2013 OB. I have to admit the head gasket issues on the older 2.5 really have me worried. Also unsure about CVT durability as we rack up a lot of miles. I will be following this with interest.
 

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Mombe, overall we couldn't be happier with the 2013, but there are a few comments that should be made, so here is a little feed back, not necessarily negative, but notable anyway.

I am trusting that Subaru has used it's experience in competition to eliminate any larger issues with the new engine design. Only time will tell.

I was in the European car service business for over forty five years and am sort of set in my ways and feelings. As a result the "feeling" of the transmission seemed odd to me at first and still does to an extent. The effect of not having obvious ratio changes is notable, as is the way that the transmission chooses to interact with speed/load and engine RPM. As I say, I don 't have any negatives there, but be prepared to acclimate yourself to the new operation.

The brakes are excellent, much better than our 2001, but have a slightly different feel.

The air condition system seems much improved. Time will tell over the next few months as to how much better the heating works.

The performance and economy is very noticeably improved over the 2001. My wife just returned from a 1500 mile round trip off the mountain and the car offered up better than 30 MPG, perhaps close to 35. We steadily get 27 MPG for daily driving up here in the mountains.

Handling is great, perhaps not as great as my 98 but very good indeed. The steeing is a tad twichy, and I am use to the extremely quick response of light British sports cars, but I have become accustomed to it.

Ergonomics are as you find them. We like most everything in the cabin, but the steering wheel is so cluttered with gizmos that you have few choices for hand positioning. The sound system is superlative, perhaps the best I have ever heard in a car costing less than fifty thousand dollars.

One big negative about Subaru NA. We had a rust issue with our 2001 that had to do with a production fault. The rear sub-frames that were installed during a couple of year's periods in the early 2000s were not treated as they should have been. The result was that the steel rusted VERY badly and presented a dangerous situation, as in the suspension falling out from under the car. :) Our 2001 was well within the time boundaries of the resulting recall, but Subaru NA refused to offer any meaningful assistance because we lived about fifty miles south of the Virgina state line. Our winter weather and road conditions here are very similar to those in New Jersey but Virginia was the southern cut-off point for the recall, and try as we could we couldn't get Subaru to help although they admitted that the problem was of their making. The correction which involved a full tear-down and rebuild of the entire underpinning of the rear of the car cost almost $3000 but the local franchise jumped in and helped with both the labor and the parts. We were and remain unhappy with Subaru NA! After being treated so badly by Subaru NA we almost didn't buy this new one, but we ended up doing so and hope that things work out better this time. Subaru did cost themselves dearly on that decision as now instead of our whole hearted recommendation to a prospective Subaru buyer we have to temper our feeling with the admonition that Subaru is NOT the world's best customer relations outfit.
 

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Mombe, overall we couldn't be happier with the 2013, but there are a few comments that should be made, so here is a little feed back, not necessarily negative, but notable anyway.

I am trusting that Subaru has used it's experience in competition to eliminate any larger issues with the new engine design. Only time will tell.

I was in the European car service business for over forty five years and am sort of set in my ways and feelings. As a result the "feeling" of the transmission seemed odd to me at first and still does to an extent. The effect of not having obvious ratio changes is notable, as is the way that the transmission chooses to interact with speed/load and engine RPM. As I say, I don 't have any negatives there, but be prepared to acclimate yourself to the new operation.

The brakes are excellent, much better than our 2001, but have a slightly different feel.

The air condition system seems much improved. Time will tell over the next few months as to how much better the heating works.

The performance and economy is very noticeably improved over the 2001. My wife just returned from a 1500 mile round trip off the mountain and the car offered up better than 30 MPG, perhaps close to 35. We steadily get 27 MPG for daily driving up here in the mountains.

Handling is great, perhaps not as great as my 98 but very good indeed. The steeing is a tad twichy, and I am use to the extremely quick response of light British sports cars, but I have become accustomed to it.

Ergonomics are as you find them. We like most everything in the cabin, but the steering wheel is so cluttered with gizmos that you have few choices for hand positioning. The sound system is superlative, perhaps the best I have ever heard in a car costing less than fifty thousand dollars.

One big negative about Subaru NA. We had a rust issue with our 2001 that had to do with a production fault. The rear sub-frames that were installed during a couple of year's periods in the early 2000s were not treated as they should have been. The result was that the steel rusted VERY badly and presented a dangerous situation, as in the suspension falling out from under the car. :) Our 2001 was well within the time boundaries of the resulting recall, but Subaru NA refused to offer any meaningful assistance because we lived about fifty miles south of the Virgina state line. Our winter weather and road conditions here are very similar to those in New Jersey but Virginia was the southern cut-off point for the recall, and try as we could we couldn't get Subaru to help although they admitted that the problem was of their making. The correction which involved a full tear-down and rebuild of the entire underpinning of the rear of the car cost almost $3000 but the local franchise jumped in and helped with both the labor and the parts. We were and remain unhappy with Subaru NA! After being treated so badly by Subaru NA we almost didn't buy this new one, but we ended up doing so and hope that things work out better this time. Subaru did cost themselves dearly on that decision as now instead of our whole hearted recommendation to a prospective Subaru buyer we have to temper our feeling with the admonition that Subaru is NOT the world's best customer relations outfit.
In NA Subaru looks like a saint when it comes to customer support. The other brands I've had over the years and experienced dealing with those companies was FAR FAR FAR worse on a scale that doesn't even come close to the Subaru response I've had.

One particular NA auto maker actually told me to go F- my self when I asked for some assistance in covering the cost of replacing a poorly designed pump gasket which fails any time a heavy load was placed on the pickups transmission. LOL
 

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jackscars, thank you for your thoughts. I really appreciate your experience with fuel economy with the 2013 and that is very promising for us. Hopefully the 2013 works well for you. I got used to the CVT very quickly after our test drive. I am pretty mechanically minded and fully appreciate the theory and mechanics of it and can therefore understand the efficiency gains. I don't mind thinking outside the box but just hope they have done their homework.
 

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The head gasket shouldn't deter you from buying a new Outback. Near as I can tell, that issue stayed in the past generations. As for the CVT, Subaru has had one since at least 2010 and tranny issues are few and far between. The 3.6 has more problems with its old 5 speed auto -but even those have very, very few issues. The 2013 CVT is an improved version of the older one so I wouldn't worry about it.
 

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In NA Subaru looks like a saint when it comes to customer support. . . . LOL.
You have me LOL, or should that be COL . . .

I've read uncounted numbers of posts here confirming that Subaru of America has helped to some degree with head gasket, as well as other, issues when the original warranty is passed. (Granted, not in every case, but I am impressed by the positive ones.) I've also noticed that it's staff seem to be easily approached by phone or e-mail. Compared to other car marketers, it does look rather good.

However, that doesn't seem to be the same up here in Canada. Subaru Canada Inc is a different company (there's no "Subaru of North America") and although the Outbacks distributed by SCI are made in the same Lafayette, Indiana assembly plant and have much the same equipment, and issues, I haven't yet read or heard of any cases where it has provided financial help with head gasket repairs, or similar issues, when the car is out of warranty. (That might be par for the course with other automotive mfrs/distributors here.) I'd sure like to hear from other Canadian Subaru owners to the contrary; but for the time being, there's no saint north of the border.

Might I take the liberty of suggesting the quoted statement be "In the USA, Subaru looks like a saint when it comes to customer support. . . . ."
 
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