How do rate 2.5 vs. 3.6 Subaru Touring Outback? Price diff is quite substantial!

Asked by Jan 19, 2017 at 04:14 PM about the 2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i Touring

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

I've test driven both Touring models and don't see significant difference; but, I
wonder how the 2.5 will do when I travel the West Va. mountains.  I will not be
towing anything with this SUV.

12 Answers

116,005

My Forester with the 2.5 does OK in the mountains but that is all you can expect - merely adequate at best. Passing on a slope is not a good idea.

3 people found this helpful.
8,760

I believe the cost bump is NOT worth it. Spending +$5k to get much more power may be reasonable when chasing higher priced offerings (remember the G37 vs ill-fated G25?), but in this case the increased efficiency of the gutsy 2.5 makes the jump imprudent unless fuel prices don't mean anything or highway passing means everything! The additional mass imbalance from the heavier 6 also makes the routine handling less crisp. Others make better 6's. There's also the question as to whether the supposedly-beefed-up CVT is up to it. Subie's stout 2.5i has always been a fine hill-climber at low- to-moderate speeds; I wouldn't worry about it at all on the Blue Ridge. In those situations it seems as grunty as the 6. Save the money.

11 people found this helpful.
28,635

The H4 can tow up to 2,700 pounds.... While the H6 can tow 3,000 pounds.. SO, the main difference is an extra 300 pounds and of course more acceleration. In California, the posted speed limit for towing is 55 mph anyway, so, this extra performance is really not necessary. We didn't have any problems towing up to 9,000 feet in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon...

9 people found this helpful.
28,635

Regarding highway passing power.... The H4 is completely fine.. Yeah, I'm sure that the H6 is slightly faster, but, aren't we just talking relative terms here??

2 people found this helpful.
8,760

It's all relative. A few weeks ago I had the choice of round-tripping Chicago from Boston with either one of my for-sale OBs or my wife's thirsty G37x. I took a nice '13 OB for economy, but had to be VERY careful passing trucks on I80's narrow two lanes. Clearly the G37x's V6 would have performed these wintry tasks effortlessly. I expected to net maybe 29mpg on 87...and did so at 60mph, but the poor aerodynamics of the OB pushes eco down to 26mpg at 85mph...the same as the G37x! (albeit using premium). The best choice would've been the '12 Legacy I just bought, which, with far better aero, nets 32mpg at speed. It's interesting that fuel eco figures are given at LOW highway speeds, where aero is less a factor. The OB's over-elevated carcass clearly is a kite in the wind, despite being better acoustically insulated than prior iterations. So if you scramble these matrices a question becomes whether, at very elevated speeds, the better aero of the Legacy Sedan offsets the poor aero of its sister OB sufficient so that a Legacy 3.6 (CVT only) gets similar eco to an OB 2.5?! Interesting, eh?

1 people found this helpful.
28,635

Ernie, yeah, the extra 15 mph over 70 which is usually my highway speed minus the trailer really does depress your mileage and can often get you cited for an "exhibition of speed" violation. That can be a VERY EXPENSIVE ticket and even land you in JAIL!!! Not a good idea.. not to mention being unsafe. https://www.losangelesduiattorney.com/glossary/exhibition-of- speed/

1 people found this helpful.
28,635

Generally, anything between 20 and 25 mph over the posted speed limit is exhibition of speed, 5 mph over, at 70 is no PROBLEM. AND, at 70 MPH, you're going to get much better fuel efficiency. It's NOT worth it. Fines can be in the thousands and your insurance premiums will skyrocket.

116,005

With three people in my car you have to work the heck out of the transmission and engine to get up the hills at 55 to 60. Four people would be embarrassing. Of course in my area we have Mountains.

2 people found this helpful.
8,760

Agreed; prudence is indeed required. Now that makers (NOT Subaru) are making torquey 2L turbos the need for 6's is abated. The Boxster/Cayman evolution, as well BMW/VW-Audi et al, iare good example. Subie's turbo efforts are great at the track, but lousy daily drivers.

8,760

Again, Grasshopper, the loss of efficiency at speed is greatly leveraged by Cd, which is pretty ugly with the too-tall Outback. Very interesting how slamming the same body back down to a correct height significantly lessens drag at elevated speeds. That's the point you're missing. If the threadhead values acceleration over the 5th door the Legacy 3.6 is a better fit for his needs than a 2.5 OB...especially at elevated speeds.

1 people found this helpful.
30

In my area the interstate speed llmit is 75. There is a huge difference between 55 and 75 in economy terms. I've had two 2.5 Outbacks, a turbo 2.5 Legacy, a 3.6 Tribeca and a 3.6 Legacy. The 3.6 Legacy gets the best gas mileage of them all (27 average so far vs a solid 25 in my 2.5). It's also much smoother and more responsive. Where I had to really step on the 2.5 to get into traffic, the 3.6 just lopes into traffic, and that's probably a big reason for the better mileage. The 3.6 feels like a much more grownup car, quieter, more responsive.

8,760

Huge anecdotal evidence over the years indicates an average 5mpg penalty for the H6. Makes sense, as it's 6 of the same cylinders instead of 4. But that's with the older 4 and 5EAT. Not sure how they exactly compare with CVT's. But Subaru is eager to drop the 3.6 as way too thirsty as soon as they can ramp up the new 2.4T premiering in the Ascent. We'll keep our fingers crossed that the combination of Toyota's expertise in direct injection and more rugged turbo integration helps Subaru in this mainstream effort.

2 people found this helpful.

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