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  1. #1
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    Best Subaru wagon for the Front Range?

    So my wife wants a new car, and is looking at an Outback. We are on the fence with regards to the 4 or 6 cylinder engine.

    Any feedback from Subaru owners?

    If I put 4 bikes and friends into a 4 cyl. Outback, how will it handle the I-70 drive up to the tunnels? Is the 6 cyl. the right call if I'm used to hauling ass around the state with bikes and friends, or will the 4 do OK?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Best Subaru wagon for the Front Range?

    Turbo preferably. The hills just kill performance.

  3. #3
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    Whatever you do, don't get an automatic transmission in it.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylgeist View Post
    Turbo preferably. The hills just kill performance.
    Outback has choice of 2.5L 175 hp flat 4cyl, or a 3.6L 256 hp flat 6 cyl.

    No turbo

    That's what I'm wondering, will the 175 hp be enough?

  5. #5
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    Best Subaru wagon for the Front Range?

    If you can swing it I would definitely get the 6 if you will be in the mountains a good deal. Everyone I know with the 4 cyl doesn't enjoy the passes. If its infrequent the 4 is just fine.

  6. #6
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    i have a 2012 2.5 premium w the 6-speed trans.



    if the 3.6 was offered with a manual trans i would have that!... it's not

    i was concerned about the 2.5 with cvt trans and have been driving a manual trans car for a loooooong time so the 6-speed was the choice for me.

    i have read other 2.5 owners in hilly/mountain areas with the cvt to be happy with that trans... but, i'm sure they know their areas and know to keep their momentum up!

    3.6, i don't believe, has the cvt... it has the 5eat (?) auto trans. although, i do not know.

    if mpg is more of the concern then maybe go with the 2.5.

    if power is more of a concern then the 3.6 is prob the better choice.

    there is no turbo option for the 4th gen outbacks.

    visit a dealer and test them!

    good luck.

    joel

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker View Post

    If I put 4 bikes and friends into a 4 cyl. Outback, how will it handle the I-70 drive up to the tunnels? Is the 6 cyl. the right call if I'm used to hauling ass around the state with bikes and friends, or will the 4 do OK?

    Thanks
    oh, sorry... now to answer your question!

    if this is a load that you will regularly carry... then i would opt for the 3.6.

    if you will be doing this occasionally... the 2.5 will get the job done!!

    joel

  8. #8
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    Thanks joe, the 6 has a 6- speed automatic, no choice of the cvt. my main concern is power, the wife's is mpg.


    I'm ready to test drive its just hard to get the time, and no way the dealer is going to let me haul ass up to Loveland to see how it can handle I-70 slopes at speed, with bikes.

  9. #9
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    go to subaruoutback.org and ask your question there... plenty of outback owners in mountainous areas.

    while having my oil changed at the dealer, this AM, i test drove an impreza that i'm hoping my daughter will like

    have fun.

    joel

  10. #10
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    That outback looks so monstrous compared to wrx wagon.

    If it was me I would not get a 4 banger without a turbo for Colorado driving, nobody like to have there engine set on boil the whole way up a pass or the constant having to shift or the auto tranny shifting. Just my .02

  11. #11
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    Best Subaru wagon for the Front Range?-sub.jpg

    Got the 3.6 last year, took it all through the mountains and you couldn't even tell it was fully loaded.

  12. #12
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    I'm sure the new 2.5 Outbacks are a little better, as they make a little more hp (173 hp vs. 165hp) and have another gear (6spd vs. 5spd) but my wife's '01 Outback is a pig when it's loaded down. I'd opt for the 3.6.
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  13. #13
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    I have a 2002 Outback Sport with the NA 2.5 and manual trans. While I have thought about installing a turbo, it's by no means a slug. Then again, my previous vehicle was an 88 Vanagon with a gutless 2.2. Now THAT was sluggish. My wife just got a 2011 Legacy with the 2.5 and the auto trans with paddle shifters. She does not like wagons (or Vanagons) which I cannot wrap my head around. The Leggy is nice. I don't think it's sluggish on passes either but I wouldn't own a 4 cylinder auto for myself.

  14. #14
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    I would most definitely go with the 4 cylinder turbo! If my wimpy Prius can handle the passes, I think that will work just fine. In fact, my in-laws have a naturally aspirated 2000 Outback 4 cylinder which still has a better power to weight ratio than many of the oversized SUVs. Plus turbos supposedly work better at altitude and get better MPG's when driven judiciously.

    Edit: Sorry I just realized that turbo wasn't an option. How much fully loaded mountain driving do you plan to do? Weigh the tradeoff with MPG and think if it's worth it to get over the pass 30 seconds earlier.
    Last edited by mtbklutz; 02-16-2013 at 08:12 PM.

  15. #15
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    I have a 2009 Forester with the 2.5L and 5-spd manual and while it is a great vehicle, every time I head up I-70 I find myself wishing it had more power. Not a huge deal, but it does nag at me. If you don't mind coughing up more coin for the 6-cyl and the extra gas, I'd go for it.

  16. #16
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    Is the Outback even considered to be a wagon anymore? The latest generation looks more like an SUV to me size-wise.

  17. #17
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    Any naturally aspirated car/truck will loose around 3% of it's power for each 1K ft of elevation above sea level. I'll let you do the math, but it aint pretty.

    But it really doesn't matter, because even with a turbo, there will always be some knob in the left lane on the I-70 impeding your progress.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  18. #18
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    Get 3.6 and put a Curt Hitch yourself...you will be golden.
    Ahhh....Crested Butte...bring back good summer memories.
    Best Subaru wagon for the Front Range?-2012-06-23-19.45.59.jpg

  19. #19
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    So now the question becomes; how can I convince my wife that the 30mpg figure she wants from the 4 cyl is a myth and the 6 cyl that gets 25 mpg. will be better for her (me) in the long run?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker View Post
    So now the question becomes; how can I convince my wife that the 30mpg figure she wants from the 4 cyl is a myth and the 6 cyl that gets 25 mpg. will be better for her (me) in the long run?
    Take her for a test drive up a route with a steep hill. I test drove both the 4 and 6 Outbacks on the dams west of Fort Collins, and there was no way I was going to purchase the 4 after that. Listening to that CVT rev so high on the big hills was a bit scary. The 6 was much better- great power. Would have bought one, but the Subaru dealer also had a used Volvo XC70 that won me over...
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71 View Post
    But it really doesn't matter, because even with a turbo, there will always be some knob in the left lane on the I-70 impeding your progress.
    And that will invariably be another Subaru - probably green with a Coexist bumper sticker. You'll be able to plug up mountain traffic just fine with either model. Might as well save some gas and get the 2.5

  22. #22
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    I test drive cars in Golden so you can drive up 70. I usually drive up to Genessee on 70 and back down the frontage road to get some tighter corners in.

    I haven't driven a newer Subaru, but I drove a 2005-ish Outback with a 4 cyl. Didn't like it at all as far as power was concerned. At the time I drove a Civic which I thought was better (probably because it's a lot lighter).

    I just picked up the Jetta TDI...that car hauls ass up the hills. No 4WD, but it's still pretty good in the snow. No problem doing 80 up Georgetown hill and would go faster if I didn't fear an expensive ticket.

  23. #23
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    sloppyart is correct - definitely go to Golden and test everything up I70... We tested just about every small SUV up I70 and down the frontage roads - you really get a good feel for power and handling etc. My wife was looking at those wagons (and small SUVs) and the difference in passing power on the hill (between 4 and 6cyl) was significant enough to make her eliminate the 4-cylinder from contention. Have her test them back to back and she'll have a better feel for the differences.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker View Post
    So now the question becomes; how can I convince my wife that the 30mpg figure she wants from the 4 cyl is a myth and the 6 cyl that gets 25 mpg. will be better for her (me) in the long run?
    So you don't believe the manufacturers mpg on the 4-cylinder, but you do on the 6?
    I have a 2002 Outback wagon, 4-cylinder, and my average mileage has been 26 mpg. Doubt you are going to see that 25 mpg on a 6-cylinder, especially now that the Outback has grown larger.

    How often are you planning to drive the car up I-70 fully loaded? If it is just an around-town vehicle that goes to the mountains on the weekend, opt for the best mileage you can get and save yourself some expense on gas. It adds up. Driving in the slow lane a little on the weekends doesn't hurt, unless you are the type whose ego can't bear to let someone pass you. You may be a bit slower on the climbs, but you still get where you want to go.

    I am with Sloppyart. My boyfriend drives a Jetta TDI wagon and that thing ROCKS up hills and gives you great mileage too. It is our summer bike hauler.
    I drank the 29er koolaid- turns out it was POWERade

  25. #25
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    I too am looking at Subaru Outback, Forester or the new XV Crosstek. I would have to believe that a 2.5 liter with a manual transmission would handle I-70 just fine. The reason I say this is that I have a 2003 Pontiac Vibe with a 5 speed 1.8 Liter 4 and i have no problem zooming up I-70. Granted, I'm in 3rd gear doing about 5-6k RPM's but it seems these little engines thrive in those higher RPM's.

    For those of you with the manuals, do you have a problem winding the engine out when you're cruising up I-70?

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