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2018 Outback 3.6 Touring
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello...
I'm looking to buy my first Outback. I've wanted one for quite some time, and there are two that I'm looking at in particular. One is an '05 4-cylinder, and the other is an '01 6-cylinder. Both vehicles are comparably priced, the 6 has about 30K more miles. The 6 features more amenities as well (leather, roof, etc).

While I've not done a TON of research, it seems from what I have gathered that the 6 is a better engine than the 4. What input/feedback do you Subaru/Outback veterans have on the subject?

Thanks,
nashrock
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
I prefer H6's. No engine issues over the past 10+ years, no timing belt maintenance ($400 - $700 maintenance on the 4 cylinders, H6 has a chain), and seemingly few headgasket issues which plague the 4 cylinders.

The H6's have two common issues, both of which are 15 minute fixes and easy/cheap to repair. TPS (erratic shifting), just replace it.

The other is the serpentine pulley bearings - plan on replacing both as soon as you get it. $10 in bearings and do it yourself or just replace the pulleys for $10-$20 each that already have new bearings in them. thread and part numbers and details are stickied in a thread on this forum.

Easily make 200,000 miles with only spark plugs and tensioner bearings maintenance.

Everything else being equal I can't see a reason to get the 4 cylinder unless gas mileage or novelty/newer model is a compelling factor. Neither of which matter at all to me, but it does to some folks so only you can make that decision.
 

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Somebody Else's XT
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14,437 Posts
The 05 looks better, has more modern safety features and 30k less miles. I don't think that's enough of an offset vs. the better engine and upgraded trim of the '01. Get the older car if you want fewer hassles or surprise bills.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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7,355 Posts
What kind of driving will you be doing. I recentl;y went through this myself and i picked the 05 due to better city gas mileage. I am very happy I did, i like the 05 Ltd better then the 2002 i was looking at.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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7,355 Posts
One MAJOR downside to the 2005, if it has the climate control dual zone you are very limited (read almost none) as far as stereo choices. I had to upgrade to a 2009 radio to get an aftermarket bluetooth/ipod interface to work.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
Good point rasterman, depending on how you operate you may or may not pay attention to mileage. If you trade cars in at a certain mileage, like 100,000, which many people do, like many of my friends and relatives. Many people won't drive a car past 200,000 miles. If you're like that, then you should pay attention and crunch some numbers - like if you're only going to own the car 3 - 5 years, how much per year..etc.

If you can tolerate higher mileages then 30,000 miles doesn't much inform the purchase because you operate differently. I drive the vehicle until there's a compelling reason to move on, which is up to me to decide and I have the capacity to do that on an individual basis which mileage doesn't dictate at all. I plan on roughly 300,000 miles and plan maintenance accordingly...30,000 is such a drop in the bucket and I save so much money on the front end buying Subaru's at %50 or less of their value that I couldn't care less about 30,000 miles.

Other folks will fall between those two ends of the spectrum and a wise and informed purchaser would take that into account as rasterman brings up.

has more modern safety features
H6 only came in LL Bean and VDC models in 2001 - so it has side impact air bags and dual stage front bags, and may have the VDC system.
 

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2018 Outback 3.6 Touring
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I greatly appreciate everyone's input. I actually like the '01 look better than the '05... maybe strange, but true.

Most of my driving is highway. I've put well over 40K miles on my current car in the last year. The better mileage is obviously appealing on the 4, but I'd rather spend a little more in gas in gradual trickles than a lot more in engine repairs in one shot (or more). Looks/sounds like the 6 is by far a better motor than the 4, which is what I've heard previously.

Again, thank you all for your input. I really appreciate it, and I look forward to joining the ranks of the Outback owners!

nashrock
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
The 6 does okay and can get 27 even 28 if you keep the speedometer to 55 or 60...but who can do that? It decreases much quicker and we just got 21 mpg on our current 1,000 mile holiday travels when you're doing 75 mph. But that's on our 200,000+ mile wagon which seems far pickier for some reasons. Our H6 sedan does a few mpg better for some reason.
 

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2013 Outback 3.6L Limited with EyeSight
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218 Posts
Have a 2 month old 6-cylinder Outback with no regrets for not getting a 4-cylinder after 4,100 miles.

Highly recommend the H6 for increased satisfaction in the long run.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,483 Posts
The 6 does okay and can get 27 even 28 if you keep the speedometer to 55 or 60...but who can do that? It decreases much quicker and we just got 21 mpg on our current 1,000 mile holiday travels when you're doing 75 mph. But that's on our 200,000+ mile wagon which seems far pickier for some reasons. Our H6 sedan does a few mpg better for some reason.
Its lighter.

200k on a Subaru is nothing. The only factors that need to be taken into account are driving conditions/habits, throttle response, carrying capacity, maintenance cost over time and comfort/safety conveniences.

The H6 Outback models, especially the VDC, come out on top in everything you can think of in use and versatility, plus it has more power and torque output. Fuel economy on any car is dependent on many factors and can be fine tuned by the operator in type of gasoline, maintenance and the right foot.

Open up a H4 on the highway, then do the same with the H6. Big difference.
 

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2011 Tacoma TRD Sport Double Cab Long Box
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Open up a H4 on the highway, then do the same with the H6. Big difference.
Agreed. Off the line there isn't a huge difference, but there sure is there! My '04 H6 MOVES if you punch it anywhere past about 55 MPH. Our H4s aren't nearly as exciting.

My best highway MPG is about 26, though I did get about 25 holding 85+ MPH for three hours through upper Maine...really can't complain about that! Our 1st gen H4s will do almost 30 MPG holding 65 on the highway. I know my H6 can't touch that, but around town the difference is much less--typically only about 1 MPG. If there weren't so many hills, the difference might be bigger (I think the H4 loses a great deal of fuel economy to them, while the H6 doesn't so much).

Interestingly enough, my mom's 01 H4 sedan does no more than 1 MPG better than my H6 wagon on the same roads (not sure about highway), and she has a very light foot--me not so much! I would have thought there would have been a bigger difference.

Though I think the 2005 looks nicer than the 2nd gens, the H6 is definitely the better ride.
 
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