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Discussion Starter #1
I have wanted an Outback for a long time. But being a Mother of three I went the minivan route for the last 20 years. But now, I am down to one kiddo to drive around and I'm ready to buy my first Outback. I just can't decide which one. Here is the type of driving I do. Aside from the day to day town and highway driving, I like to take solo trips. Just last month I drove my husbands Prius from Arkansas to Yellowstone. I car camped in it for 7 seven nights. I took it off road in McCulloughs Peak searching for wild horses although I eventually had to park it and hike when the jeep road ruts got too deep. I am a bit of a pig and need leather seats due to spillage and such. I can drive a shift but hate them so it must be auto or CVT. My husband seems to think I need a 3.6 in case I ever get a wild hair to tow something, but I don't like losing gas mileage. Could I tow with a 2.5? What are your opinions on the following-
CVS vs a true automatic
2.5 vs 3.6
Subaru nav system vs buying my own
EyeSight system- Is it all that and a bag of chips or something that is going to end up irritating me?

I would appreciate any input. I'll be buying this month so I really need to figure out what I want/need.
Thanks!
 

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'11 outback 2.5i premium '12 impreza sport limited
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the towing capacity of the 3.6 is 3000 lbs and the 2.5. is 2700 lbs. the 6 cylinder accelerates a little better, but not that much, its no sports car. its gonna cost you a lot more in the long run. the subaru outback is exceptional offroad, lookup reactivity or reddoak's threads here, all you need to remember is to turn off the traction control. factory navs suck, especially subaru's.
 

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2013 Outback 3.6R Limited
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Sounds like a 2.5 CVT would definately meet your needs. If you read through older threads many OB owners have towed with the 2.5 CVT with no issues. A 3.6 would tow a trailer better than the 2.5 but if you don't plan on pulling one very often I don't think the extra $ and gas for a 3.6 is justifiable.
I got a 3.6 because I pull trailers somewhat often (boats, dirt bikes, etc.) but I think that a 2.5 would have met my needs.

The sat nav is not that great. The dealer convinced me that the 2013 nav system had been vastly improved over the 2012. Well the 2012 must have been really bad because the 2013 still sucks. I still prefer my Garmin.

I don't know much about the EyeSight. Sounds like some nice features and would make your car a little safer but I feel i would quickly become very annoyed with it. Plus the added price and the fact that they force you to get the sat nav to get EyeSight. I don't have Eyesight though so that is just my opinion. Maybe others with EyeSight will weigh in and say it's great.
 

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Sounds like a 2.5 CVT would definately meet your needs. If you read through older threads many OB owners have towed with the 2.5 CVT with no issues. A 3.6 would tow a trailer better than the 2.5 but if you don't plan on pulling one very often I don't think the extra $ and gas for a 3.6 is justifiable.
I got a 3.6 because I pull trailers somewhat often (boats, dirt bikes, etc.) but I think that a 2.5 would have met my needs.

The sat nav is not that great. The dealer convinced me that the 2013 nav system had been vastly improved over the 2012. Well the 2012 must have been really bad because the 2013 still sucks. I still prefer my Garmin.

I don't know much about the EyeSight. Sounds like some nice features and would make your car a little safer but I feel i would quickly become very annoyed with it. Plus the added price and the fact that they force you to get the sat nav to get EyeSight. I don't have Eyesight though so that is just my opinion. Maybe others with EyeSight will weigh in and say it's great.
Welcome!!!

Your a prime candidate for the Subaru product line up thats for sure. Sounds like your thinking long term vehicle post kids maybe with some shoulder or winter season camping ability?

Sort of depends on what your vision is for your future camping gear. Winter and shoulder months hard sided campers or Tear drops are the only way to go regarding staying warm at night and having full weather. Of course the trailer plan is also impacted by the budget you see your self allocating for the camp trailer.

Another thought is some camp sites do not allow trailers and if you like going to out of the way camp locations you might find that many do not allow any type of trailer due to the road in and out of the camp area. Which case a popular solution to this are the midsized 4x4 pickups with the light weight fairly slick poptop 4x4 campers which keep mileage fairly respectable for the midsized trucks.

Lots to think about for sure.

Wife and I are very active campers - sailboat racers - etc etc etc - we have towed boats and small trailers with our 2.5 since 2001. Now have the new 2010 2.5 with CVT which is at 41,000 miles and is far far better at towing than our 2001.

The CVT was a big change for us given our cars were all Manual Transmission cars prior to that mainly due to the lousy 4spd At's that most 4cylinder cars were sold with back in the day.

The subaru CVT is now hands down my top choice and favorite AT it handles the job in a manner that never leaves you looking for a gear change and gets the most out of the engine.

As for towing?
Here is the part you don't hear about till you have a owners manual in your hand.

The 5spd AT sold with the 3.6 has a max towing capacity limit of 1500lbs when your driving in 104+ temps and doing 5_+ mile climbs.
This is related to the cooling capacity for the Transmission.

The CVT has a 1350lb limit same conditions

The Manual transmission is not limited by cooling so it retains the 2700lbs however the 2.5 in 104+ temps and 5+ mile climb will be lacking engine cooling at that weight long before it lacks power. Which was our issue with the 2001 2.5 5spd power was not much of an issue it was cooling capacity vs the load you were hauling.

For summer camping ie mild temps - I set a max empty weight of 1200lbs for our camping rig so I could essentially go Anywhere with it easily! I ended up with a 990lb empty 4x6 tent trailer made by Lifetime. Very high quality very simple basic set up two queen beds with a 4x6 floor up off the ground. The top of the trailer is designed to carry a quad or any sort of gear you might want to strap to it. Think Utility trailer with a tent that pops out of the bottom. With this set up the 2.5 will go anyplace and pack along lots of toys and gear easily. We run around 21-23mpg in the hills at speeds around 55-65mph - and on the flat highway at 65-70mph we see 25-27mpg without trying very hard.

When we leave the trailer at home and just run with a heavily packed car and roof box we see anywhere between 26-31mpg depending on wind - car speeds etc. With 27-28mpg being the usual default prediction in most cases. Keep in mind that these mileage numbers were not seen till we had about 20,000 miles on the car - early on the numbers were all over the map and much lower our 2001 was the same way when it was new - clearly there is some breakin that takes place and mileage improves once you get a few miles on the car.

The 3.6 is a nice engine the power is nice if your doing lots of high altitude trips which case thats the only reason I would buy the 3.6. Your capacity ie load capability really does not change much between the 2.5 and the 3.6 when it comes to real world use.

So it comes down to power - vs mileage and purchase cost more than anything else.
 

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Also if the Prius was a nice fit size wise and you don't see your self getting crazy with trailers or needing a larger car like the Outback.

Take a look at the new XV Crosstrek this is basically the mini outback or SUV version of the Subaru Impreza. Little smaller package - smaller price tag - lots of character - very off road capable - still rated for 1500lbs towing capacity.

Also sports the highest mileage rating of any Subaru products right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Welcome!!!

Your a prime candidate for the Subaru product line up thats for sure. Sounds like your thinking long term vehicle post kids maybe with some shoulder or winter season camping ability?

Sort of depends on what your vision is for your future camping gear. Winter and shoulder months hard sided campers or Tear drops are the only way to go regarding staying warm at night and having full weather. Of course the trailer plan is also impacted by the budget you see your self allocating for the camp trailer.

Another thought is some camp sites do not allow trailers and if you like going to out of the way camp locations you might find that many do not allow any type of trailer due to the road in and out of the camp area. Which case a popular solution to this are the midsized 4x4 pickups with the light weight fairly slick poptop 4x4 campers which keep mileage fairly respectable for the midsized trucks.

Lots to think about for sure.

Wife and I are very active campers - sailboat racers - etc etc etc - we have towed boats and small trailers with our 2.5 since 2001. Now have the new 2010 2.5 with CVT which is at 41,000 miles and is far far better at towing than our 2001.

The CVT was a big change for us given our cars were all Manual Transmission cars prior to that mainly due to the lousy 4spd At's that most 4cylinder cars were sold with back in the day.

The subaru CVT is now hands down my top choice and favorite AT it handles the job in a manner that never leaves you looking for a gear change and gets the most out of the engine.

As for towing?
Here is the part you don't hear about till you have a owners manual in your hand.

The 5spd AT sold with the 3.6 has a max towing capacity limit of 1500lbs when your driving in 104+ temps and doing 5_+ mile climbs.
This is related to the cooling capacity for the Transmission.

The CVT has a 1350lb limit same conditions

The Manual transmission is not limited by cooling so it retains the 2700lbs however the 2.5 in 104+ temps and 5+ mile climb will be lacking engine cooling at that weight long before it lacks power. Which was our issue with the 2001 2.5 5spd power was not much of an issue it was cooling capacity vs the load you were hauling.

For summer camping ie mild temps - I set a max empty weight of 1200lbs for our camping rig so I could essentially go Anywhere with it easily! I ended up with a 990lb empty 4x6 tent trailer made by Lifetime. Very high quality very simple basic set up two queen beds with a 4x6 floor up off the ground. The top of the trailer is designed to carry a quad or any sort of gear you might want to strap to it. Think Utility trailer with a tent that pops out of the bottom. With this set up the 2.5 will go anyplace and pack along lots of toys and gear easily. We run around 21-23mpg in the hills at speeds around 55-65mph - and on the flat highway at 65-70mph we see 25-27mpg without trying very hard.

When we leave the trailer at home and just run with a heavily packed car and roof box we see anywhere between 26-31mpg depending on wind - car speeds etc. With 27-28mpg being the usual default prediction in most cases. Keep in mind that these mileage numbers were not seen till we had about 20,000 miles on the car - early on the numbers were all over the map and much lower our 2001 was the same way when it was new - clearly there is some breakin that takes place and mileage improves once you get a few miles on the car.

The 3.6 is a nice engine the power is nice if your doing lots of high altitude trips which case thats the only reason I would buy the 3.6. Your capacity ie load capability really does not change much between the 2.5 and the 3.6 when it comes to real world use.

So it comes down to power - vs mileage and purchase cost more than anything else.
As far as campers go, we have a big camper we pull with a Nissan Titan. When I camp solo, I prefer a tent or just putting the back seat down and sleeping in the back. As far as towing, I'm talking a small trailer with a couple of kayaks or canoes. Nothing really heavy.
 

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my wife went from a van to an Outback - she still complains about losing the 'high-seated view' and likes her mom's Forester better I think. But our 03 is still a very nice 'do anything fairly well'-type car.

If possible, do a lot test driving in your prospective vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Now to add a bit more confusion!

I have always said I wanted an Outback. But a friend just told me she thinks I would like a Forester. What are the major differences between the two? As far as cargo space goes, I am a photographer and will be carrying lighting equipment etc. but I've always been able to fit basic equipment in my husbands prius. If I need to take something big, I am not selling my 2003 Honda Odyssey and can use it when necessary. Do they Forester and Outback have the same ground clearance/off road ability?
 

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As far as campers go, we have a big camper we pull with a Nissan Titan. When I camp solo, I prefer a tent or just putting the back seat down and sleeping in the back. As far as towing, I'm talking a small trailer with a couple of kayaks or canoes. Nothing really heavy.
This is ours
PopUp Times Magazine – Lifetime Tent Trailer

Pict of a trip we did last summer
SubaruOutback.org Member Galleries - subiesailor Gallery

The new Lifetime trailer is a little different now little smaller and doesn't have the top deck where the bed frames fold across to form the top deck- it has tall sides that flip out forming the two single sized beds on each side of the tent. However the quality of the trailer and tent are second to none. The Jumping Jack trailer sold under a different brand is built by the same people but that is a larger heavier trailer at 6x8 and 1200lbs empty.

You might find the lifetime trailer very interesting given it also doubles as a proper utility trailer by simply slipping the tent out of the bottom and you have a 4x6 utility trailer with 2x6 planked floor to move stuff. We use ours in junk hauling format quite a bit LOL
 

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I have always said I wanted an Outback. But a friend just told me she thinks I would like a Forester. What are the major differences between the two? As far as cargo space goes, I am a photographer and will be carrying lighting equipment etc. but I've always been able to fit basic equipment in my husbands prius. If I need to take something big, I am not selling my 2003 Honda Odyssey and can use it when necessary. Do they Forester and Outback have the same ground clearance/off road ability?
If you sleep inside the car I suspect the forester will be too short.

The Forester and the Impreza are essentially the same car different body styles. The new Forester is due out very soon the 2012 and older is very dated and one of the oldest offerings Subaru currently sells. So I would wait on the forester till you see the new one.

The new one should have far better mileage and the new CVT which is far superior to the old 4spd they sell the 2012 and older versions with.


I personally think that Subarus best off roader will be the new XV crosstrek paired with the CVT.
Promotional video but gives you a sense of what these cars can do
subaru xv vs land rover
 

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2013 2.5i Limited, Special Appearance Package, Brilliant Brown Pearl, Saddle Brown Leather, HK Audio, Moonroof, Navigation
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By the way one of our regular posters has tried a low slung cot set up in the OB for sleeping in the car and has found it to be a great option. Depending on the new Forester and XV length and if the front passenger seat back can be flipped forward to give you a long flat space - this idea might actually be very appealing to you. Worth contemplating and thinking about for sure

Edmunds has a long term test Subaru Impreza which is identical to the XV minus the off road type stuff. Same interior and car
http://blogs.insideline.com/roadtests/Vehicles/2012-subaru-impreza/
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Can I get all the bells and whistles with a crosstrek? I need leather as I am brutal with staining seats. Also- how is the gas mileage on them vs outback?
 

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Crostrek limited comes loaded to the gills as far as I know. Yes leather and sun roof

I like it for the small compact efficient camping rig.

Reported mileage is hard given there are very few of them on the road yet and they have the all new more efficient engines that probably need to get a few miles on them before you see the true mileage numbers.

These numbers will give you a general idea - most cases people are able to beat these numbers once they get 20,000+ miles on the new cars with the CVT transmission
http://www.edmunds.com/subaru/?ps=new
 

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Poster bradze - has the impreza which is essentially the same car just lower to the ground and less SUV type stuff on it. I bet he can give you a good idea on expected mileage.
 

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I'd have to try laying in the Outback with the seats down. I'm 5'7 without my heels and I fit in the back of my 2012 Subaru Forester but there's really no room to spare between my head and toes. And the floor with the seats down is not completely flat. It's tilted at an incline since the cushioning on the rear seats keeps the seats just a bit beyond level.

eilishp, you should look at your vehicles of choice at Subaru Research Site- specs, prices, options, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.. Outback, Legacy, Forester, WRX, STI, Impreza, Tribeca, BRZ, XV Crosstrek or on the Subaru website. Most likely if you really want the mileage and off-road clearance the XV seems more suited for you but that's if you fit in the back laying down. As for towing, the Outback would be the more appropriate choice. I'd go with the 3.6R just because I'd rather have more than enough than not enough.
 

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Towing is not all it's cracked up to be...

eilishp, If you car camped in a Prius, that's impressive! The amount of money put into a larger engine and towing capable vehicle is rarely ever returned so think long and hard on that one if you didn't have a hitch on your vans in the past... The math just doesn't work and if the kids are leaving the nest, then focusing on a good road car that's efficient and comfy would pay back daily. I've also car camped a bit and have driven Impreza, Forester, Outback and Tribeca so here's some ideas...

I don't fancy camping in an Impreza or XV Crosstrek... The Forester would be roomier and is actually quick and agile handling with the newer FB25 motor it shares with the Outback and tighter suspension. The mileage on the Forester for long road trips is actually pretty good if you look on fuelly.com or on the Forester forum even with the older (battle hardened and smooth) 4speed tranny... When it adds a CVT next year, it should be really efficient around town as well. The interior is pretty basic, but camping with the big panoramic sunroof on the Limited trim might just be perfect for you.

The Outback is with the 2.5i is quieter and more refined with good acceleration and AWD chops, especially in the 2013 refreshed model. The 3.6 is thirstier and I didn't feel it added much for my driving style anyway... The interior on the Limited is luxurious, but it might not hold up as well on camping/heavy outdoor use IMHO. The surfaces are prettier but not as rugged as the Forester's. Outback is built in Indiana and Forester is built in Japan and exported globally (so the Forester is a bit simpler inside but more rugged).

The dark horse candidate here may be the Tribeca, but the tea leaves say that's going to be discontinued as the market is going away from 6 cyl SUVs and they just don't sell so Subaru is sticking to it's knitting with smaller AWD vehicles.

I'll also throw out a complete darker horse which is to buy a good low mileage Honda Element with AWD. That will have lower wheel base than the Outbacks and you have to adjust to the "suicide doors", but I've owned and camped in one and loved it (especially with the moonroof to star gaze in the rear seats which seems to be perfect). Of course, since I'll be flamed by the Subie faithful, I'll just save them the trouble!

:9:
 

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What are your opinions on the following ..

Subaru nav system vs buying my own
Why would anyone want a brain-dead, permanently-out-of-date NAV,
when a far superior high-end Garmin GPS can be had for under $200?

It can also be moved car-to-car -- or into the motel room, or carried
into the home and put down next to the PC for loading updates, &/or
custom POIs, planning/saving routes, etc., etc.

Looby
 

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Why would anyone want a brain-dead, permanently-out-of-date NAV,
when a far superior high-end Garmin GPS can be had for under $200?

It can also be moved car-to-car -- or into the motel room, or carried
into the home and put down next to the PC for loading updates, &/or
custom POIs, planning/saving routes, etc., etc.

Looby
Actually if you want the best NAV just get a big new Android phone. The google maps turn by turn rivals anything I have seen + when integrated with Bluetooth it does everything a hard coded car NAV does. Also in terms of updates the google maps is best. Our old NUVI would lead us to closed restaurants quite often
 
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