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I'm sure this has already been addressed, but I just traded my '17 for an '18 (long-ish story), and I've noticed that the '18 IS quieter. In addition to general road noise, I don't hear the transmission at low speeds like I did with my previous OB.
 

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2016 3.6R Outback; tungsten metallic with E/S and every option. I also have a Samsung Note 8 smartphone for trouble-free Bluetooth functionality.
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What Michelin tires did you get? Thanks for any info you can share.

Michelin Premier A/S installed by Discount Tire. They did a great, quick job.


By 3.6 has been near flawless since I got it. The only thing that was changed, apart from the crappy original tires was the battery which died during a long road trip. It was swapped out at a local Subaru dealer and been working fine ever since.


I have never heard any noise from the transmission so I don't know what @okiefo is talking about. The 3.6 is super-smooth and a joy to drive. I have always hated the stupid ersatz shift points, and even wrote a nastygram to Subaru of America about that. They replied they had to put them in because some duffusses complained there was no "shifting" when the CVT was first released. Morons. The duffusses, not Subaru. Well, on second thought, Subaru made a moronic decision putting in these dumb shiftpoints.
 

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Well I'm one. Moron that is. I like the shift points. I despise a straight CVT. It's like driving a lawn mower. I always drove my wife's old Altima in "sport" mode largely because it turned on "simulated" (they're not actually simulated, it really is shifting to different ratios) shift points.

But I agree with you about the 3.6R being a real pleasure to drive.
 

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Michelin Premier A/S installed by Discount Tire. They did a great, quick job.


By 3.6 has been near flawless since I got it. The only thing that was changed, apart from the crappy original tires was the battery which died during a long road trip. It was swapped out at a local Subaru dealer and been working fine ever since.


I have never heard any noise from the transmission so I don't know what @okiefo is talking about. The 3.6 is super-smooth and a joy to drive. I have always hated the stupid ersatz shift points, and even wrote a nastygram to Subaru of America about that. They replied they had to put them in because some duffusses complained there was no "shifting" when the CVT was first released. Morons. The duffusses, not Subaru. Well, on second thought, Subaru made a moronic decision putting in these dumb shiftpoints.
Sorry, just now seeing this. The transmission noise I'm talking about is just that "whirring" sound that can be heard at parking lot speeds. I can tell a CVT Subaru is driving past without looking up. I noticed right away that the 2018 doesn't whir. It's not an annoying sound, just something I've observed.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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18 cvt for 2.5 was changed to reduce noise. Shorter bands I believe.
There have been incremental internal changes every model year since 2015. Two I know about are:

1) Shorter pitch (i.e. shorter links) in the chain, which increases chain flexibility and reduces the minimum bend radius.

2) Variable pitch in the chain ... i.e. the chain is assembled from links of several slightly-different lengths. This has the effect of spreading the spectrum of noise produced by chain, which also reduces the peak noise level at any single frequency.

Very subtle and clever design changes!
 
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2021 Outback Onyx Edition XT
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There have been incremental internal changes every model year since 2015. Two I know about are:

1) Shorter pitch (i.e. shorter links) in the chain, which increases chain flexibility and reduces the minimum bend radius.

2) Variable pitch in the chain ... i.e. the chain is assembled from links of several slightly-different lengths. This has the effect of spreading the spectrum of noise produced by chain, which also reduces the peak noise level at any single frequency.

Very subtle and clever design changes!
Sorry to dig up the dinosaur thread.

@ammcinnis are these changes for both the 2.5's standard CVT and the 3.6's High-Torque CVT, or just the 2.5?

Trying to get as much information as possible about the CVT before I pull the trigger. Leaning towards a Legacy 3.6R now - I imagine this is the same HTCVT as in the Outback 3.6...

I'm a little confused with the last couple posts in the thread. Does the 18 have simulated shift points in "D" or is this a feature of the 2017 model?
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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... are these changes for both the 2.5's standard CVT and the 3.6's High-Torque CVT, or just the 2.5?
Short answer: I don't know ... and I don't remember the original Subaru source document for that information.

That said, I seldom, if ever, notice any "noise" from the CVTs in our ancient 2015 Legacy 2.5 or 2016 Outback 2.5. Most of the time, tire/road noise is dominant.
 

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Pilot: I have the 2018 3.6, and was much more satisfied with the "feel" of the 3.6 over the 2.5. I honestly don't feel like I'm driving a CVT the vast majority of the time. I'm not certain if it's the simulated shift points (yeah, there are some subtle ones in D), our just the higher power and torque of the 3.6 that helps keep the RPMs low. I had a Nissan Rogue rental a couple of weeks ago, and drove a Forester 2.5 rental for over a month. I would not have been satisfied with either one as an owner. But the 3.6 convinced me that I can happily live with a CVT.
 

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I have a 2018. It seems to be quieter, then 2016 that I previously drove a bit, but the 2018 is newer with far less miles. I do like the new smaller steering wheel and set up much better.

The one thing I noticed on my 2018, when even if a window is slightly down that the tires are very noisy.
 

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Pilot: I have the 2018 3.6, and was much more satisfied with the "feel" of the 3.6 over the 2.5. I honestly don't feel like I'm driving a CVT the vast majority of the time. I'm not certain if it's the simulated shift points (yeah, there are some subtle ones in D), our just the higher power and torque of the 3.6 that helps keep the RPMs low. I had a Nissan Rogue rental a couple of weeks ago, and drove a Forester 2.5 rental for over a month. I would not have been satisfied with either one as an owner. But the 3.6 convinced me that I can happily live with a CVT.
Right on, thanks. (I’m ATC also...)
 

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I test drove a '16 with around 20K miles and then turned around a drove a new '18. The '18 was definitely quieter.

Now ... not all things were equal. Worn tires versus new tires can be huge for example. The same route however was driven. With that being said, it was more engine noise that I heard with the '16 versus road noise. The '18 is supposed to be insulated better for noise too (windows, hood, under body, etc).

Edit:

I had a similar experience where I drove a Nissan Altima CVT. I found the experience to be very jerky. It was like the engine/cvt could not settle in on a spot. Subaru was a completely different experience ... super smooth.
 

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I'm a little confused with the last couple posts in the thread. Does the 18 have simulated shift points in "D" or is this a feature of the 2017 model?
My response is yes, but it's a qualified yes. I didn't notice a shift point until I traveled cross-country (after breakin) and really pushed the acceleration on a couple of I-70 ramps. Then I only notice one simulated shift (up around 60ish), and even that was not the same as the automatic I was driving before purchasing my Outback -- much less noticable. More typical (or gradual) acceleration, for me, doesn't display such shift points -- smooth all the way up to highway speed. I like the way the the CVT behaves and the way the vehicle drives, both city and highway.
 
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