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All-New 2010 Legacy/Outback

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  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    I'm anxiously awaiting the delivery of my new 2010 Outback 3.6R with nav, and it is set to arrive around the beginning of October. While I have obsessively researched it for many months, it seems that I overestimated some of the capabilities of the nav system.

    While I knew that it does not have a 3D view, I was disappointed to find out it does it offer text-to-speech for street names. And while I knew it locked out some functions while driving, I am learning that it locks out almost everything (supposedly even changing playlists from an iPod). And even worse, I understand it even locks out some of the functions of the voice activation.

    So here are my questions...

    1) Can any current owners who are using the system provide a review of the system? Likes and dislikes? Tips and tricks? Pro/con comparisons to handhelds like Garmin?

    2) Please expound on what is locked out when driving. To what extent can you program it using the voice activation while driving? Does it understand free text like addresses and street names or does it just have a fixed vocabulary? Can you do things like change albums for music on a USB stick while driving? Does it show album art?

    3) Has anyone found a source or technique for hacking or unlocking the lockouts while driving? There are many stores on the Internet that sell plug-and-play harnesses for doing just this, but I haven't found anything for the Outback?Legacy. I recently contacted www.CoastalEtech.com who specializes in Toyota overrides and others, and they said they have no current plans to support Subaru but could in the future. I understand that the Subaru software is very similar to Toyota's, so I'm hopefully something will come out soon.

    Thanks!

    Elliot
  • Elliot... you have provided some great insights while I have been researching the 2010 Outback, and I greatly appreciate your assistance! I hear your concerns with the Nav... we have spent time debating this before and is one of the major reasons that I have made the decision to purchase a 2010 Volvo V50 R Design over the 2010 Outback 3.6R. Below are a few more reasons for my decision...

    1. The Outback has lost its "fun to drive" element with the new design. I actually received a 2009 Legacy 4-cyl as a rental car last weekend... I found it a much better experience than the CVT and averaged 31MPG. I guess I just don't like the engine revving of the new 4-cyl.
    2. Although the Subaru, even the 3.6R, is a lower cost vehicle than my current Acura MDX, The mileage does not really improve much. I am concerned that gas will eventually head back up and want my next car to be "fuel efficient".
    3. Subaru continues to be behind in its technology offering... no keyless drive (available on Toyota, Nissan, etc... not just luxury brands), poorly functioning Nav, integrated media, etc.
    4. Front seat support & comfort... I just prefer the offering of the luxury brands in this area. As I age, this becomes of greater importance.
    5. Resale value... as the gap between the bottom and upper end of the Subaru range continues to increase, I worry about resale of the 3.6R Limited. Back in 2007, I only saw average return on my '05 Outback 3.0 VDC, which is one of the reasons that I went back to the Acura.

    Don't get me wrong, the Subaru Outback is a great VALUE. I am just looking for some additional capabilities and am willing to pay for them. Back in 2004, when I purchased my 2005 Outback 3.0R VDC, Subaru and the European Sportwagons really offered a similar product, with the Subaru costing thousands less. Now the product offering and ammenities have split significantly. Clearly Subaru is out of the business of "playing" on the edge of the luxury sportwagon market.

    A comment on the Volvo Nav System... Volvo has done a nice job working with Garmin to develop a dealer installed portable Nav system. The Volvo Garmin Nuvi installs to a permanent bracket to the center channel speaker grill on the dash. It uses the car's electrical system for power and an installed antenna and drive sensor for better reception and dead-reckoning capabilities. This is one of Garmins top of the line models. Volvo has tested this product and installation for viewing safety and ergonomics and even includes Garmin Traffic and Weather Service for the life of the GPS. This Volvo Garmin Nuvi GPS costs about $850 installed. About $300 more than the same true portable model and $1500 less than the Volvo factory installed option, which is not as advanced as other manufacturers. If you purchase a separte charger and mount, the Volvo Garmin Nuvi device can also be portable. Volvo may have hit the mark with this product concept, blancing the "installed" positives of factory and costs/flexibility of portable. Perhaps Subaru will develop such a concept sometime.

    Anyway, I am still a Subaru owner at heart and really wanted the chance to own another Subie. Not to fear though... I am a high-mileage driver and replace cars every 2-3 years. Hopefully next time, Subaru will have caught up with the masses with technological options and will offer a diesel in the US market.

    Enjoy your new Subaru!
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,959
    I know what you mean about tirerack. It seems that every time I've researched a tire it is nearly 50/50. Some people hate a tire, others love it. I'm not real sure what all that time and effort reading all the tire reviews ending up doing for me. Not much help for you.....just a comment.
  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    ssminton, Interesting story and a nice tangent... although I was hoping to get my questions answered, not be told why I shouldn't have bought it in the first place. LOL :confuse:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,396
    Too bad, Elliot. Muahahahahahaha! :D
  • The Volvo V50 R Design is interesting, especially for me since a manual AWD in premium trim is said to be available for 2010. But I when searched the mid-Atlantic area I found plenty of V50s but only a few V50 R Design automatics and no manuals. Additionally the MSRP for automatics in premium trim is $38K. With the limited selection you're left with little room to bargain. And to really match up to the Outback with regards to interior space you'll need to step up to the V70 which loses your AWD capability. For myself I'm currently considering an offer for a loaded Outback 2010 manual for $26.5K plus TTL. It may not be as sweet as a V50 R Design but it fits the bill.

    "... I have made the decision to purchase a 2010 Volvo V50 R Design over the 2010 Outback 3.6R. ..."
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    From tirerack - I found the Outback owners give best ratings to General Altmax HP ... check it out.
  • rysterryster Posts: 476
    I have the General Altimax RT on my '06 Chevy Impala...by far the most disappointing tire I have used in the past 20 years. The RT is basically a non-directional version of the HP. Terrible treadwear, horrible winter performance, poor traction on wet roads. After 20,000 miles of driving, they are down to 6/32 tread depth remaining on all four tires. Wear is even, but they are wearing quickly.

    I have been considering a 2010 Legacy 3.6R, and the OEM tire is the Bridgestone Turanza EL400...a very poorly rated tire.

    I would have no issues with the Conti model on the Outback, and wish they used that tire on the Legacy 3.6R.
  • I test drove a 2010 Outback 4cyl CVT Premium model this weekend and thought I'd post my thoughts here. For reference, I have never owned a Subaru, any my only experience with any Subaru was with a test drive of an Impreza wagon about 7-8 years ago. My current vehicle is an '02 Toyota 4Runner Sport Edition. In the past I have owned Honda, Toyota, and Mazda models. So my only point here is that I really had no specific expectations of the Outback, other than to see how it stacked up against vehicles I've owned or driven in the past. I really am looking for a 4Runner replacement with significantly better mpg, more comfortable ride & seating positions, but with close to the same utility as my 4Runner. That's how I came to consider the Outback.

    First, the car looks better in person than in pictures, although the grille isn't very attractive. So I have no real problems with the look, though as others have mentioned, I do tend to have an affinity to a more wagon-type design. This car really straddles the fence between wagon & suv, seeming a little more suv-like to me. I checked out the interior in the showroom, and was actually quite impressed with the general quality of interior materials and design. There is a good deal of storage & cupholders, comfortable seats (though the seat-bottom may be a little short for taller drivers), plenty of room in the back seat, and behind the seats. It is wider than my 4Runner, with more legroom, shoulder room, and headroom. It's probably just a bit shorter though, mostly noticed behind the rear seats.

    Somebody mentioned earlier about it being hard to see out the rear window. Yeah, I see what they mean (rear headrests interfere, and the rear window isn't that big), but it's not that big a deal to me personally. As for the window tint, yes it is dark, but I think it's OK -- gives good privacy and blocking of sunlight. I drove it on a dark, rainy day and saw no problem with it. However, there are a couple of things that I did not like at all. First, the sunroof is soooo TINY! Honestly, what's the point in having one if it's the size of a mail slot? The Forrester's sunroof on the other hand is huge (which I much prefer). Second, those mirrors not being break-aways is so stupid. I pretty much expect to see that on every car & truck nowadays, except for perhaps the cheapest economy cars. There is no excuse for that and it really bothers me because I use that function on all my cars quite frequently. I like to fold them when driving up to an ATM, a mailbox....any drive-up kind of thing, and also when parking in my carport, to give a little extra room and protect them. I've lost a mirror before when a friend backed my Civic out of a garage and snapped off the mirror. That is NOT something I ever want to worry about again.

    Now for the actual test drive. I drove approx 5 miles on winding and mostly smooth 2-lanes (no highway driving). I was concerned if the 4cyl/CVT combo would offer enough performance. Well, I'm happy to say, yes, I think the performance is totally acceptable, including both acceleration & handling (but remember I'm comparing to a truck-based sport-ute, so I would expect it to be better. Now, it doesn't handle like my Mazda Protege5 to be sure, however, for what it is I felt it handled the rain-soaked curves of a winding road (speeds of 35-60mph) just fine. It always felt secure to me. And I have to admit, I really liked using the "manual" mode paddle shifters, too. Now, my one beef with the car that really surprised me was the thrash of the engine at 4,000+ rpm. Wow, this thing can get loud, yet with normal cruising/driving, it seems quite refined. But mash the pedal a bit and raise the rpms, and suddenly this thing seems a bit cut-rate. Maybe that's just the nature of that engine, but that really surprised me. My 4Runner is quieter (though it's not quiet either). So if you drive an Outback gently, it will sound just fine, but it suffers from split-personality at higher rpms and that noise enters the cabin in a big way, drowning out any kind of road or tire noise (there wasn't much of that though).

    One last thing. After looking over the interior closely, I asked to look at the Forester interior. I compared the Outback Premium (cloth) to a Forester Limited (leather). I have to say, I thought the Forester's materials looked inferior to the Outback. Not that it was bad, but it just didn't measure up to the Outback. Also, the Forester felt a little narrower/tighter than the Outback, though it had tons of head room and excellent visibility. I did not test drive the Forester for comparison though.

    I guess my final thoughts are that this is an attractive enough vehicle outside. The interior is very nice (I'm not into techno-gadgets etc, so can't answer to that part). The performance is pretty much what I'd expect from this type of vehicle, even a bit better than anticipated. The price is competitive. The econmy (22/29) for the 4cyl/CVT is excellent, especially considering the AWD. I was just let down by the lack of refinement in the drivetrain at middling and high RPMs, in addition to an inferior-sized sunroof (very important to me), and lack of break-away mirrors that should absolutely be standard. I'll have to test drive more competitors over the coming months to see how they stack up. I'm in no hurry to replace my 4Runner, but at nearly 170k, I suppose in time it will be necessary, plus I really want a more car-like ride again while keeping the utility of the vehicle. The Outback is still in the running at this time.
  • I went in thinking Outback and came out thinking Legacy GT.

    First I drove a 2.5i Outback Limited. I was expecting too much
    drive train noise, but it didn't really bother me that much, not
    coming from a quiet luxury car. You could hear the whir of the
    CVT sometimes, but the engine covered it much of the time. I
    was expecting a lack of power, but it wasn't really struggling.
    Coming from a WRX, I was expecting to be underwhelmed. But what
    car with the passenger space of the Outback drives like a WRX?

    I used the paddle shifters with the car in "D". They do "shift"
    in D and are useful for passing. The car took itself back to D
    eventually. I didn't use them much in "M", so I'm not sure what
    the difference is.

    Then I drove a 3.6R Outback Premium. (I want a Limited, but at
    this point, I just wanted to try the other power train.) As I
    turned out of the lot I knew I liked it better. The power and
    noise were nicely improved. 'nuff said. The 2.5i is out of
    the running.

    Then I drove the Legacy GT Premium. I really like a stick shift.
    It is "notchy" and not as smooth as some, but still more fun than
    an automatic. I'd probably like it just as much with the H6. (I
    don't know why they have both the H6 and the turbo, with similar
    HP and torque.) I also liked the handling better, though I'm not
    sure why. Is it just the lower stance, or is the suspension
    different?

    If there was an Outback Limited (or better, a Legacy Wagon --
    just remove the cladding and the clearance) with the stick and
    the H6 or turbo, I'd have an easy choice.

    As it is, it's Utility vs. Fun. For me, the pros & cons of a
    Legacy GT Limited vs the 3.6R Outback Limited are:

    Pro: Fun to drive.
    Con: Premium gas, less rear headroom, less cargo space,
    no hatch, no roof rack

    How many times a year do we *need* the utility of the wagon?
    How many times is enough to buy Utility instead of Fun?

    I'm 6'5" and severely headroom challenged. The Outback &
    Legacy are standouts in headroom, especially in the higher
    trim levels, thanks to the option of not getting a sunroof.
    We need good rear legroom, too, for a rear facing car seat.
    I was having trouble finding leather & Limited-like-trim
    with our space requirements. I had given up on a stick and
    fun-to-drive.

    Hmmm.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    I've seen a lot of talk about the Outback now being an SUV or SUV-like, rather than a wagon. I don't get it. For example, the Taurus, the Avalon, the Suzuki SX4, and now the Legacy are all tall sedans. Seems there is a market for that now. But, when you make a wagon out of tall sedan, it will be taller than most other wagons. However, the Outback is still what it has always been: a Legacy wagon raised a couple of inches with cladding added to make it a bit more butch than the normal Legacy wagon.

    That stuff sells. That is why the Legacy wagon (whose body looks exactly like the Outback, but only a bit lower on its suspension) is no longer sold here. Americans like the tall look in wagons, CUVs and SUVs. But the OB is still a Legacy wagon raised up a bit. It is not an SUV. Neither was the Audi allroad (but most people were not fooled by Audi's attempt to simulate an SUV). :P
  • I have a 2010 Outback Limited with 700 miles...I have noticed when I am driving between 65-70 mph the bottom part of the steering wheel has a small vibration/shimmy. We also have an 06 Forester...I took the Forester out on the road at the same speed and that does not have a vibration/shimmy. I am wondering if the tires are out of balance or if it is because they are new tires...before I contact the dealer I would like to know if this is "normal" or not...any ideas would be appreciated.
  • robsisrobsis Posts: 160
    I would have the balance checked.....this is not because the tires are new. A re-balance should take care of your problem.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    The issue you describe is not normal.

    New tires should, if properly balanced, also not shimmy.

    The most likely problem is that your wheel balance is askew. Have this checked and it will likely solve your problem.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    Has anyone cross-shopped the new Chev Equinox (2010) LTZ AWD against the Outback 3.6R?

    From what I understand the Equinox is much improved over previous iterations. I am not sure the AWD component is as good as the Subaru's, however.

    Anyone have any insight into this?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    As seabrook mentioned the V50 is a bit smaller than the Outback, especially the new one.

    I'd say it's about half way between a WRX wagon and an Outback, in size and performance.

    We took one from DC to NY and back, a road trip a couple of years ago. It was a turbo with a stick. It wasn't nearly as quick as Bob's WRX, which I've driven, but not lacking in any way.

    My disappointment with the V50 was road noise. I sat in the back of the wagon (there were 3 of us) and it just wasn't very comfortable for the 5 hour drive, I was begging to get out by the end of it.

    Headroom in the V50 is much, much better than the S40, which I found sorta cramped.

    They may have improved the sound insulation and I'm sure it has more power today than it did a couple of years ago, but just look for that when you're on a test drive.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 'nox will probably see more comparisons to the Forester.

    I like the styling and I'm curious to take a look at one, but I haven't driven it yet. The EPA highway rating is appealing, for sure, though car mags haven't been getting overall mileage that stands out.

    I did drive the Saturn Vue, based on the same platform, and what I didn't like was the numb steering. My Toyota Sienna is bad, but the Vue was worse. Like operating a video game steering wheel.

    I'll definitely check one out at the next auto show I attend. It's attractively styled, unlike the GMC clone, which is frighteningly ugly.
  • Thus far, I am very satisfied with my V50 R! To be honenst, it reminds me a lot of my '05 Outback 3.0R VDC, except with what I would call better "fit and finish". You are correct on the size... I would say that the car is close in interior size to the '05 Outback but a tad narrower, bumper to bumper shorter, and less ground clearance. Since the shape is "boxy", and the front passenger seat folds flat, I have already found the cargo space to be more useful. I took my whitewater kayak for a spin yesterday, inside the car... no problem. There is no doubt that the vehicle is in the "compact" category and is similar in size to both the BMW 3-series and Audi A4 Avant wagons.

    I still very much wish that the Subaru had worked for me, but their business model and my needs seem to have headed in different directions. For the masses, I agree that the new Outback model is most likely the right choice, and you certainly cannot build a "luxury" vehicle today for $30K. Thus, Subaru has decided to focus on price and utility. I cannot say that I blame them.

    Despite my final purchase choice, I can completely understand why those on this board love Subaru and the 2010 Outback. It is just not the best for me at this time.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I didn't realize you already had it - congrats.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    I am very close to ordering a 2010 Outback 2.5 CVT, Limited trim to replace my 03 Forester XS 5 spd. Main reason for change is greater comfort, room, mpg -- & I prefer to have a car less than 7 years old :blush:

    We have driven both 2010 Forester & Outback & could live with either, but are leaning heavily toward OB for increased comfort, room, & mpg. I realize that the OB is bigger & I will be trading some nimbleness for comfort. One other thing - I tow a 2000 lb boat occasionally - only 100 - 1000 miles/ year. The O4 Forester has handled the job well. My only hesitancy regarding the OB is a small concern that perhaps the CVT will not do as well towing.

    Before making the final decision I would like to ask a question: Anyone here feel like they should shout "NO, DON'T DO IT, YOU'LL BE SORRY!"

    Thanks for all the good information & comarderie I always find here.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Far from it...

    The CVT is used by Nissan in the heavier Murano, so I don't see a problem with towing a light load like yours.

    Go for it.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    I agree with juice. The CVT Outback is rated to tow 2700 pounds (with trailer brakes), which is the same as last year's model with the 4EAT.

    Bob
  • Today, I drove the Outback for the 2nd time. I have been shopping for a new car for the past 3 months and my wife is about to kill me. I need a trunk that is high-up because I have a troubled back. I started with the CRV which did not have enough power. Next was the RAV 4 V6 which has a very low trunk( I keep calling it a trunk. I'm not sure if that's correct). The highlander is too big and the Venza drives like a boat. I tried the 2009 Tribeca yesterday and fell in love until I saw that it would only get 16 mpg in the city. Two weeks ago I tested both the Forester Turbo and the Outback 4 cyl. The Forester was nice. I did not like the fact that the storage space compartment between the driver and passenger seat felt like it was loose on all the models in the showroom. I like the Outback but I wanted to try the V6 which the dealer did not have. I returned today and I liked it. I did not love it but to save my marriage I think I will get one.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    Does anyone know if there are any plans for HID Xenon headlights on upcoming iterations of the Subaru Outback?

    On that subject, does everyone feel the Xenon HID lights would be an improvement on this vehicle or are the halogens which come on the car now adequate?
  • The Acura MDX that I have been driving for the past three years had Xenon lights. In my new vehicle, I specifically avoided them. I found that the Xenon did not provide better visibility than say my 2005 Subaru Outback. My main complaint with the Xenon is the reflectivity factor in snow... it is unbearable. I feel like most of the winter, I drove around with only my parking lights on during nightime snowfall. My Acura also had "adaptive" headlights that bent around corners. I also did not necessarily notice any advantage to this. Overall, I think the headlights in my 2005 Outback (Halogen) were better than my 2007 MDX (Xenon). Thus, in my new Volvo wagon, I avoided Xenon and stuck with traditional Halogen lights.
  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    I read an article a ways back, don't remember where, but it was talking about how HID's are a fad and not a safety feature. Because HID's are so bright, it prevents our eyes from adjusting more to the darkness and makes it hard to see anything else outside the beam of HID light. As a result, slightly dimmer halogens results in better overall night time vision. Sounds like reverse logic, but I totally believe it.

    For this reason, I have no desire for HID's and am personally overjoyed they're not on the new Outback.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 683
    On that subject, does everyone feel the Xenon HID lights would be an improvement on this vehicle or are the halogens which come on the car now adequate?

    The halogens on my Outback are perfectly adequate at legal highway cruising speeds. However at100+ mph speeds through the Dakotas I found seeing a deer far ahead standing at the side of the road with zenons on my W8 Passat was literally a life saver.

    But how much extra are you willing to pay for the zenons? And I suspect collision and theft insurance rates are escalated too.
  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    The halogens on my Outback are perfectly adequate at legal highway cruising speeds. However at100+ mph speeds through the Dakotas I found seeing a deer far ahead standing at the side of the road with zenons on my W8 Passat was literally a life saver.

    :surprise: So.... at the risk of sounding like a total snob, wouldn't the real life saver be, oh I dunno... to not drive 100+ MPH in darkness??? OMG, WTF? :confuse:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not V6, but rather H6, for horizontally opposed. :shades:

    Go for it.

    The HID vs. halogen debate will continue forever. I've seen good and bad samples of both.

    The HIDs on the Audi TT are lousy. Many are quite good, though.

    Same with halogens. The lights on our 2002 Legacy were very weak, yet I've owned 2 Forester and the lighting was excellent on both, particularly my 98 model. Dodge Intrepids also had very poor lights (rental).

    So it's not just the type of lighting, but also the optics, i.e. the shape of the lens, that matters.
  • aaykayaaykay Posts: 539
    So it's not just the type of lighting, but also the optics, i.e. the shape of the lens, that matters

    Plus some of them don't come set correctly from the factory, and the setting and the lens angles may need to be fine-tuned a bit.
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