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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We all know that xmode is just software. So why can’t I pay Subaru to install dual xmode or even the new wilderness xmodes (which allow you to go over 25mph) in my 6th gen outback? I take mine off-roading quite frequently and the xmode turning off after 25mph is a MAJOR annoyance. So I asked my dealer if they could just install the wilderness software and they said to contact Subaru of America. I did and the rep said they can’t answer anything technical, but when I asked who I could speak to about this “technical” issue they just referred me back to the dealer. Seems like Subaru is engaging in some shenanigans over something I know a lot of crosstrek, forester, and non wilderness outback owners would gladly pay for. Has anyone else inquired about this and gotten an actual answer? I can’t imagine it’s anything mechanical because the wilderness has the same engine as the other xt trims.
 

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It is not just software. The software they have applies to the final drive ratio present only on the Wilderness. Also the Wilderness has an additional pressure sensor involved somewhere that may be a requirement of the system (never have read an article that says clearly where).
 

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The wilderness has an extra pressure sensor in the transmission but I don't know if this is tied in to the new x-mode.
 

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I just thought of a potential hack - Subaru will never do it, but you could create a device that monitors the canbus, and when it detects that x-mode is on, it watches the vehicle speed and turns it back on if the car drops down into x-mode capable speeds and will automatically re-activate it, unless you manually deactivate x-mode. It would be similar to the way the auto-stop eliminator works.
 
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I just thought of a potential hack - Subaru will never do it, but you could create a device that monitors the canbus, and when it detects that x-mode is on, it watches the vehicle speed and turns it back on if the car drops down into x-mode capable speeds and will automatically re-activate it, unless you manually deactivate x-mode. It would be similar to the way the auto-stop eliminator works.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The drive ratio I am skeptical of because I believe the shorter ratio improves the climbing capability (and I believe Subaru highlighted this in the press release), but not xmode going over 25mph. Also, I would happily pay to add the transmission sensor if that was the only obstacle. Another point to consider- given that they don’t currently offer owners the option to upgrade to dual xmode despite it being compatible with both engines (offered on the forester which is the 2.5i engine, and the onyx outback with the 2.4t) I think this is just Subaru purposefully withholding these software upgrades in order to sell specific “off road” trims: the forester sport, outback onyx, and now the outback wilderness.
 

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The drive ratio I am skeptical of because I believe the shorter ratio improves the climbing capability (and I believe Subaru highlighted this in the press release), but not xmode going over 25mph. Also, I would happily pay to add the transmission sensor if that was the only obstacle. Another point to consider- given that they don’t currently offer owners the option to upgrade to dual xmode despite it being compatible with both engines (offered on the forester which is the 2.5i engine, and the onyx outback with the 2.4t) I think this is just Subaru purposefully withholding these software upgrades in order to sell specific “off road” trims: the forester sport, outback onyx, and now the outback wilderness.
The XMode programming that they have for over 25mph in the Outback is written for the Wilderness. As a result it is written for the shorter ratio. It absolutely is a factor.

Ultimately if you want/need the feature. Trade yours for a Wilderness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The XMode programming that they have for over 25mph in the Outback is written for the Wilderness. As a result it is written for the shorter ratio. It absolutely is a factor.

Ultimately if you want/need the feature. Trade yours for a Wilderness.
For argument’s sake let’s say that is indeed the issue… then still, why wouldn’t they offer dual xmode as a software upgrade?

Also, I think it goes without saying that trading in my outback for a new wilderness (and taking a $10,000 hit) for a simple software upgrade (which would be about $1,000 at the absolute most) would not be a sound financial decision. Maybe instead, the multi-billion $ automaker should offer software patches to its customers. And again, I’m open to the drive ratio being the primary issue, however they still don’t offer dual xmode as an option. Why is the onus on the customer to shell out money for things a corporation could and should be offering at a much lower cost to begin with? Also, my way uses a lot less resources. You’d think that’d be a priority for the company that bills itself as the outdoorsy brand.
 

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If they could make a profit by offering upgrades like that then they would do it, but every little thing they do needs extensive testing and it's way more costly than you think. It would be cheaper for you to learn how to hack the canbus and do it yourself and Subaru wouldn't have the liability of needing to test the thing.

Step 1: Sniff the canbus to identify the "command" to turn X-mode on.
Step 2: Learn to read vehicle speed on the canbus
Step 3: Program a device to issue the X-mode command when the speed goes below 25 mph

 

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Subaru extracts value from the customer by offering trims with different features. They don’t offer dual mode on any Outback but the Onyx and Wilderness for the same reason you cannot get memory seats on those trims. They chose to market it that way. It worked on me. I wanted an Onyx and debated waiting for a Wilderness. However, I wanted memory seats, power folding mirrors, and the upgraded audio system. I spent more and ended up in a Touring XT as a result.

You would probably have better luck taking this up with a tuner like Cobb than with Subaru. I do not expect Cobb to do it either unless they figure out performance tuning on the Outback (which is a whole other discussion for another thread). However they are more likely to do it for the reasons mentioned above and in SilverOnyx’s post.
 

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Tesla was going to or has offered a performance upgrade through software. $18K was the price being thrown around. Anyway, it will be lots of work for Subaru to qualify for safety and long term reliability for such a change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If they could make a profit by offering upgrades like that then they would do it, but every little thing they do needs extensive testing and it's way more costly than you think. It would be cheaper for you to learn how to hack the canbus and do it yourself and Subaru wouldn't have the liability of needing to test the thing.

Step 1: Sniff the canbus to identify the "command" to turn X-mode on.
Step 2: Learn to read vehicle speed on the canbus
Step 3: Program a device to issue the X-mode command when the speed goes below 25 mph

I get that these software patches would require a lot of research and testing beforehand. But in the example of dual xmode, how much additional testing would they really need if it already works on two different models with two different engines? So let’s compare these two routes:
  • Subaru backed software patch: dealer certified, so if anything goes haywire with vehicle the dealer will back their work.
  • Individual canbus hack: riddled with liabilities, so if anything goes wrong I’m SOL (but for 25mph+ xmode this may be the way to go)

I really appreciate you trying to help so I hope you know that I’m not trying to be dismissive. I just find it absurd that there is a simple cost effective solution to be had, and instead of the automaker taking on the risk and the $, it’s up to consumers to keep footing the bill and risk screwing up their cars. And again, dual xmode already works on two different models with two different engines and transmission tuning. So I don’t think it’s unrealistic for them to find a way to get both 25mph+ xmode (granted this would be harder) and dual xmode figured out as upgrades.

And to your first point, I just don’t think they want to risk the profits from their “off road” trims (for example if you take away dual xmode from the sport forester, what separates it from other trims besides the orange accents), or from the profits had from people prolonging their payments with trade ins as the other person suggested. Either way, this type of practice it’s unethical (pushes consumers to risk 3rd party tinkering), irresponsible (needlessly uses a lot of resources), and downright dishonest.
 

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There's nothing unethical about them making sound business decisions. If you want to talk about business ethics - my background is in the healthcare industry. Subaru is arguably one of the most ethical companies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Subaru extracts value from the customer by offering trims with different features. They don’t offer dual mode on any Outback but the Onyx and Wilderness for the same reason you cannot get memory seats on those trims. They chose to market it that way. It worked on me. I wanted an Onyx and debated waiting for a Wilderness. However, I wanted memory seats, power folding mirrors, and the upgraded audio system. I spent more and ended up in a Touring XT as a result.

You would probably have better luck taking this up with a tuner like Cobb than with Subaru. I do not expect Cobb to do it either unless they figure out performance tuning on the Outback (which is a whole other discussion for another thread). However they are more likely to do it for the reasons mentioned above and in SilverOnyx’s post.
Yes but those upgrades can’t be obtained via software. I’m not trying to skirt around the point you’re making because yeah the company needs to make a profit and trim levels is how those profits are maximized. But when the pros of software upgrades (less cost to consumers, environmentally sound, etc) far outweigh the cons (less profit) for said company then it just leaves a bad taste in the customers mouth about the way they do business. And think of how many more customers Subaru would get if car software/feature customization became a unique feature of their already environmental/outdoors oriented brand (which is currently sliding since they still have yet to release an electric car or hybrid ob or forester).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There's nothing unethical about them making sound business decisions. If you want to talk about business ethics - my background is in the healthcare industry. Subaru is arguably one of the most ethical companies.
I can’t imagine the stuff you’ve seen in that industry. Just today I saw a news article about a mom having to pay $24k a month for her child’s prescription, even though it’s available for $45 in the UK. Makes you lose faith in people real quick.
 

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I get that these software patches would require a lot of research and testing beforehand. But in the example of dual xmode, how much additional testing would they really need if it already works on two different models with two different engines? So let’s compare these two routes:
  • Subaru backed software patch: dealer certified, so if anything goes haywire with vehicle the dealer will back their work.
  • Individual canbus hack: riddled with liabilities, so if anything goes wrong I’m SOL (but for 25mph+ xmode this may be the way to go)

I really appreciate you trying to help so I hope you know that I’m not trying to be dismissive. I just find it absurd that there is a simple cost effective solution to be had, and instead of the automaker taking on the risk and the $, it’s up to consumers to keep footing the bill and risk screwing up their cars. And again, dual xmode already works on two different models with two different engines and transmission tuning. So I don’t think it’s unrealistic for them to find a way to get both 25mph+ xmode (granted this would be harder) and dual xmode figured out as upgrades.

And to your first point, I just don’t think they want to risk the profits from their “off road” trims (for example if you take away dual xmode from the sport forester, what separates it from other trims besides the orange accents), or from the profits had from people prolonging their payments with trade ins as the other person suggested. Either way, this type of practice it’s unethical (pushes consumers to risk 3rd party tinkering), irresponsible (needlessly uses a lot of resources), and downright dishonest.
No one forces you to do anything and take any risks- don't try and shift personally responsibility onto Subaru.
Honestly you're being silly, find me another manufacturer that does it? It's the entire point of trims.
 

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Tesla was going to or has offered a performance upgrade through software. $18K was the price being thrown around. Anyway, it will be lots of work for Subaru to qualify for safety and long term reliability for such a change.
But then you have to own a Tesla (no thanks). 🏄🏻
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
No one forces you to do anything and take any risks- don't try and shift personally responsibility onto Subaru.
Honestly you're being silly, find me another manufacturer that does it? It's the entire point of trims.
It’s not shifting responsibility or being silly. On one trail my xmode turned off over 10 times bc of the over 25 limit (constantly having to look down and turn it back on is honestly a major safety issue when off-roading). In that same trip I drove thru snow and even though I made it the dual xmode would have come in handy. Keep in mind Subaru provided a software patch for the auto start stop feature because they got so many complaints about it. So the new software created a button/switch right on the home screen instead of having to go thru several different steps. So consumers demanded a software patch and it was offered free of charge. Is it really unrealistic for them to offer a patch that I am willing to pay $1,000 for? And your point about other manufacturers doesn’t hold up in this case because subarus off-road mode is all software and is not mechanically engaged such as 4H and 4L on 4runners, Jeep’s, etc.

Also, before confidently dismissing my line of questioning, maybe you should re-examine the power you readily surrender to corporations instead of critically thinking cost effective consumer friendly solutions that they could be taking for your benefit and asking for change. The status quo of this wildly imbalanced company consumer relationship could use some new perspectives.
 
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