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Subaru Outback VDC

andykelseyandykelsey Posts: 2
edited July 24 in Subaru
I will be in the market for a new vehicle in the
next 6 months and am the Outback VDC is by far my
favorite choice. Although it's a bit expensive
(above my original budget) it seems to be a top
quality car and has the right mix of features I'm
looking for. I've seen good performance reviews on
this car, and it seems to have a fairly good
reliability record. I'm seeking any inside info on
this vehicle, or opinions based on ownership. I
haven't seen a great deal of feedback on this
vehicle specifically, since it is so new. Also,
any strategy for purchasing this vehicle w.r.t.
Subaru dealers... what is the best I can expect in
terms of invoice price, any rebates, when is the
best time to buy, how does out of state purchase
work (I live in CA, frequent CO)...

Thanks,

Andy
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Comments

  • bob5ebob5e Posts: 4
    Andy -

    I just bought a wintergreen VDC from Wentworth Subaru in Portland (no sales tax). Optional equipment incl: security system upgrade, rear spoiler, mats, cross bars, and cargo tray. Final price was $30,650.
    Using Edmunds TMV, it should have cost lightly above $31k. Another good dealer is Larry Miller in Salt Lake City. IF you are a Costco member and use their Auto Program, Larry Miller will quote you a price of $30,650 as well with similar options. I researched a number of dealers and these were the two best that I found for pricing. Don't believe those dealers who say they can't deal below MSRP - just take your money someplace else. Good Luck.
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    Also see the Car and Driver review from this month to get an opposing view. They did not give it a very flattering review but stopped short of trashing it.

    While I agree with some of the Brown review....
    1) Zoom factor. The car does not go zoom. Its faster then the H4 but 8.8 sec to 60mph in transmission killing hands of C&D the is not very impressive. Thats slower than the Lincoln Town Car/Grand Marquis. Definately not in the ZOOM range. Also they report their best time....In my hands it was in the high 9s in the very similar LL Bean version without killing the transmission. May have been in the mid 9s if it was broken in. C&D reported it as 0.8 sec faster to 60mph the H4 (I think). I think its about 1.5-2sec faster to 60 than the H4 but my time for the H4 is 11.5sec with the auto. However, the H6 is smoother and quieter under acceleration. BUT not much difference at highway speed. You will be turning about 500 more rpm at 80mph but its only a little bit more quiet. The wind noise is the same as the H4 and the predominant sound you hear at that speed. I'm really not sure why some have said its much more quiet than the H4. Our H4 is very quiet. Mostly what we get at highway speed is wind noise. Same as in the VDC. On the plus side the VDC is a little faster to 60 than the Passat 4-Motion which has about 20hp less. Although both are better than the H4 and probably get about the same gas mileage.
    Where I thought he H6 was nice was on highway merges. It pulls much better than the H4 35-75mph. Still if you push the H4 hard it pulls just fine but not as well as the H6. The H6 is better and each person will have to decide if they wany to pony up the extra bucks or buy a different brand.
    2) Interior. Its not all that different from the regular Ltd. You do get nicer looking leather and the fancy steering wheel but its really not all that different. Nothing to make you go WOW! The seats in the LL Bean felt the same as in my wifes 2k Ltd. So I dont think there is any thing in there to make you go WOW! At least not over the regular Ltd. Please keep in mind that the Acura TL costs a ton less than the VDC. The interior of the VDC is on par with other $30k+ cars. Better than some and not as good as others.

    If you look in the Car and Driver review they put it very well: It would be a great car in the $25k range but its not that great of a deal in the $30k range. I think its still a pretty good car in the very low $30s but I would not pay any more than that nor would I rush out to buy it. Once you decide you can pay more than $30k for a car you have a lot of options from Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, Audi, WV, Volvo, and SAAB. In most cases if you finance over 60months the difference will be less than $50-100 a month (depending on what you can put down). If you can afford $30k+ the extra per month is not a significant amount of money to drive what ever you want. I'm sure lots of people will buy the VDC but I think its a little more car for lots more money.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,678
    I think you pretty much nailed it.

    Unless you "have-to-have" an AWD wagon, there are a lot of very nice cars in the upper $20K - low $30K range. The Acura TL sedan and CL Type-S coupe immediately come to mind. I've driven both the TL and the CL (not the Type-S), and they both feel much quicker than the LL Bean I drove.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Andy: if you feel that the traction and stability control are a bit overkill, take a gander at the LL Bean model. I've seen them in the low $28k range, with freight included.

    8.8s is not remarkable, but the pricier 4Motion C&D tested took 9.4s in the same test. Also, while the 4Motion is rated for 17/24 mpg, the H6 gets 20/27, and considering both burn premium that can really add up.

    The Soob is really the only reliable AWD wagon you can get. VWs aren't quite there yet. Neither is Audi. Volvo XC's are notoriously problematic.

    Also, the 2001 Passat is around the corner, and it'll get no more power but 150 extra pounds to carry around. That means the Soobs advantage will only get bigger.

    Other alternatives? Get the H4 and supercharge it. Plenty of shops in Cali. Also look at a 5 speed manual Legacy GT, and a Forester S Premium while you're at it.

    All are fine, reliable cars.

    -juice
  • Andy,

    The LL Bean model is very much worth looking into as an alternative to the VDC model based upon your comments. I drive one and find it thoroughly enjoyable so far. As for gas mileage, I filled the tank for the second time this afternoon. Recorded 19.96 mpg. Conditions were mixed travel and temperatures ranging from low 20s to single digits. This was .5 mpg better than first fillup. We have had snow in the midwest for several days now and, OBVIOUSLY, no difficulty!

    If I can share any LL Bean thoughts with you, feel free to e-mail me at <<A HREF="http://yellowbikedon@compuserve.com">yellowbikedon@compuserve.com>.

    Don
  • I took delivery of my VDC a week ago. Like many people interested in these cars (like Andy), I could find no one who could give me an honest impression from an owner's perspective. I'll be glad to share any thoughts with those who are interested. I wrung my hands for weeks comparing the Passat, XC, and A4.

    My initial thoughts/recommendations are:

    If you are interested in a status car - DON'T buy an Outback VDC! I've owned 3 Audi Quattro's, a Volvo Turbo, etc. and I've never before stood back and said "damn, that doesn't LOOK like $30k!" If you want your $30k+ car to get admiring glances or envious stares, I suggest you look at one of the fine European offerings in this niche. If you are looking at versatility and foul-weather capability, the Outback may be for you

    If you are interested in high speed, seat-of-the-pants acceleration, or high-speed canyon runs, DON'T buy an Outback VDC - you will be disappointed! The car was designed for balance, not speed, and to that end I must say I'm very impressed with what Subaru has done. The car has handled very well on any road surface or situation (and it's been through a lot already!), but it's not going to have the feel of an Audi or VW. Then again, given the Wilderness tires and 8" of ground clearance, this is to be expected. Of course, you performance guys (hey, my other car is a sports car :-) ) want a manual tranny anyway, so go on to the Audi/VW posts!

    If you interested in the L.L Bean, do yourself a favor and at least take a look at the VDC. The difference is not just "traction control and a fancy stereo". The VDC system has a rear power bias, so those of you who like the feel of a rear-driver might appreciate the feel of the VDC over the LLB. Also, the VDC has much better sound insulation - you can't tell on a 5-mile test drive, but if you keep one overnight, you'll hear the difference. And of course, it's hard to argue that it's not cool to have a car that knows when you hit something like "black ice" (possibly before you do), tells you about it, and instantly tries to correct any dangerous car movement caused by the situation.

    All in all, I'd say the Subaru VDC (status-appeal aside) stacks up very well against the other cars from Europe. Sure, the seats aren't quite as nice as in the Volvo, and you can't get Xeon headlights like on the Audi, but the cost of ownership on the Subie will certainly be lower, and the VDC (IMHO) is the best "foul-weather" vehicle of the bunch with the most all-around versatility.

    VDC Guy
  • 4fun4fun Posts: 9
    What a sweet engine, all the way above 6000 rpm, and possibly too quiet for sport driving. The auto trans and AWD waste quite a bit of power, so the engine mostly enhances luxury. The saleman said they are trying to qualify a more powerful variable valve timing version.

    Stability/Dynamics control is a luxury in itself, though technological rather than materialistic. Porsche decided to use viscous coupling in their Carrera 4(AWD) as the basis of their stability management(PSM). I wonder if the two companies are sharing technology (boxer engine H6 & viscous coupling AWD, SUV, ... Subaru roadster?), since Porsche owns part of Fuji Heavy Industries (parent of Subaru)

    My wife wants to dump our 2K Odyssey EX for the VDC, but I also thought it would be a better deal at $26K same as the Ody, only if our three kids can ride in the VDC back seat, in peace. I am still waiting to the new Impreza WRX arriving in March.
  • I took delivery of my VDC a week ago. Like many people interested in these cars (like Andy), I could find no one who could give me an honest impression from an owner's perspective. I'll be glad to share any thoughts with those who are interested. I wrung my hands for weeks comparing the Passat, XC, and A4.

    My initial thoughts/recommendations are:

    If you are interested in a status car - DON'T buy an Outback VDC! I've owned 3 Audi Quattro's, a Volvo Turbo, etc. and I've never before stood back and said "damn, that doesn't LOOK like $30k!" If you want your $30k+ car to get admiring glances or envious stares, I suggest you look at one of the fine European offerings in this niche. If you are looking at versatility and foul-weather capability, the Outback may be for you

    If you are interested in high speed, seat-of-the-pants acceleration, or high-speed canyon runs, DON'T buy an Outback VDC - you will be disappointed! The car was designed for balance, not speed, and to that end I must say I'm very impressed with what Subaru has done. The car has handled very well on any road surface or situation (and it's been through a lot already!), but it's not going to have the feel of an Audi or VW. Then again, given the Wilderness tires and 8" of ground clearance, this is to be expected. Of course, you performance guys (hey, my other car is a sports car :-) ) want a manual tranny anyway, so go on to the Audi/VW posts!

    If you interested in the L.L Bean, do yourself a favor and at least take a look at the VDC. The difference is not just "traction control and a fancy stereo". The VDC system has a rear power bias, so those of you who like the feel of a rear-driver might appreciate the feel of the VDC over the LLB. Also, the VDC has much better sound insulation - you can't tell on a 5-mile test drive, but if you keep one overnight, you'll hear the difference. And of course, it's hard to argue that it's not cool to have a car that knows when you hit something like "black ice" (possibly before you do), tells you about it, and instantly tries to correct any dangerous car movement caused by the situation.

    All in all, I'd say the Subaru VDC (status-appeal aside) stacks up very well against the other cars from Europe. Sure, the seats aren't quite as nice as in the Volvo, and you can't get Xeon headlights like on the Audi, but the cost of ownership on the Subie will certainly be lower, and the VDC (IMHO) is the best "foul-weather" vehicle of the bunch with the most all-around versatility.

    VDC Guy
  • We researched the 2K OB for weeks and decided to wait to test drive the VDC. The day one arrived at the dealer we test drove it. Once we drove it the difference was obvious. The pick-up was far better in the 6H not to mention the quiet ride and the sound system. Several people had called about holding a white VDC and that just happened to be the color we drove and liked. The dealer was hard pressed to come down in price because "he could sell the white one for sticker price many times over". We said fine we would go to a dealer in the next town and get a winestone. Boy did he drop the price! We spent just under $31K. He wanted nearly $33K with the upgrades.
    The thing that surprised me the most is when after the papers were signed the dealer said "oh by the way it takes 92 grade gas" I hadn't counted on that with the price of gas the way it is! I am getting about 20.5 mph right now. I've had it a month and have about 1500 miles on it. Lots of Christmas shopping! Another thing that I'm not happy with is the back seat is not wide enough for 3 adults. I can take my 3 children as long as they don't grow too big! Everything else is wonderful. I am especially loving the heated seats in this weather! And the interior stays warm much longer than our other cars even after we have been out of it for a couple of hours. Go figure!
    We live in an area that it is important to be able to get over a "mountain" to get to work no matter what the weather. Our first ice storm found many cars stuck spinning their tires while I was able to easily move around them. I felt so safe in the VDC that I had no question that the car would get me home safely.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,678
    Well put!

    I've driven an LL Bean and a VDC, and I have to agree with your comments. I've posted my comments on these two vehicles in several areas, and I have to admit, I was somewhat disappointed in the performance of the vehicle at first. But given the role that this vehicle assumes, it makes sense from Subaru's standpoint to offer it as such.

    Still wish for a 5-speed tip-tronic tranny though. :)

    Bob
  • tshadletshadle Posts: 38
    Good morning,
    I ordered a VDC back in Sept. from a dealer in S. PA. The options I picked were the mirror, the alarm and the air filtration (same as the Bean). Also the spoiler, gate bar, trailer hitch and diff. protector.
    I was told the car would be in around Thanksgiving. The holidays came and went and no news, not even a phone call. I was getting ready to go through the hassle of comparison shopping the other dealers in the area. After reading some of the posts here I decided to contact the salesman (who is the owner of the dealership).
    He said "I didn't forget about you." He said he has yet to get a VDC on his lot and that getting a VDC from the factory with options on it was like pulling teeth. He mentioned the trailer hitch in particular. I had seen only one VDC on the lot closest to us. I drove by again last night and it was gone. I know they are hard to get.
    So, he said he would get the VDC in as soon as possible and put the options I chose on at the dealership. He said it would be there in another two to four weeks, five weeks tops, which would put my wait around 16 weeks or more. I'm still not sure if I should just wait or start the whole comparison shop thing again for new vehicle plus trade-in. I guess then I'll have to wait another 6 to 8 instead of 4 to 5 plus pay more money. This pisses me off!
    Tom S.
  • Hello all,

    Thanks in large part to the many positive comments posted on this and related boards, my wife and I took delivery of a DC late December. Like others here, we went through the agonizing Volvo/Passat/DC-Bean debate, and even though many DC features are overkill for us right now (we live in Southern California!), we decided on the DC. So far, it has been a real pleasure to drive, the audio system is waaay better than what we have at home, and in every respect is a step up from the twelve year old Mazda 323.

    Only one hint of trouble - when we back out of the driveway first thing in the morning, the rear brakes make this ghastly screeching sound. This is not heard at any other time while in motion and braking. We took it to the dealer who insisted that this was "normal breaking in" and "all all-wheel drive vehicles have this problem". I ask you wise folk out there - should we be worried, or are these just jitters of the newly awed? Thanks in advance.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The discs will get rusty if you park for more than a day or two, and the sound could have been the pads cleaning that layer off. I took a two week vacation and all three of our cars had rust on the discs.

    If it only happens after you park for several days, I'd say it's fine. If it happens even after you've only been parked for a few hours, I'd have it checked out.

    -juice
  • I ordered my VDC on Jan 6 for mid-March delivery. My dealer told me he gets 2 VDC's per month, that January's were gone, February's were gone and that March was the soonest he could get me one. I read with some horror the message from TShadle that he's been waiting 16 weeks! The lease on my current car is up 3/31, so I'm working against a hard deadline I also ordered from a dealer in S.Pa. Tom , if you're out there, do you mind telling me the dealer you're working with?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It shouldn't take that long. It's a fairly pricey vehicle and some local dealers in DC have them in stock at pretty good discounts.

    Shop around. The catch is you may not get exactly the color and options you want.

    -juice
  • tshadletshadle Posts: 38
    was Tony Lawrence at Lawrence Subaru in Hanover.
    Juice - you're darn right it shouldn't take that long.
    I'm still trying to find out why he said I can't get any of the options I ordered from the factory (mirror, air filter, alarm, lift bar, spoiler, diff. protector). The trailer hitch I can understand. I tried getting info from SOA about this and when it was ordered and they have nothing, only that the vehicle is due in early Feb.
    As one poster suggested on the Dealer Forum, I think he DID forget about me and just didn't order the vehicle, a shame because his price was the lowest and trade-in the highest in the area. How he stays in business letting orders go I have no idea.
    It's been so long now I am seriously looking at the Highlander. We had a 4-Runner 8 years ago and liked everything about it EXCEPT the ride and step-in height.
    Good luck.
  • taratara Posts: 30
    Hello! I just wanted to introduce myself, my name is Tara and I've just started working for Edmunds.com. I'll be your new host for Station Wagons:)
  • robnisrobnis Posts: 78
    To bad you are having trouble. The Subaru dealership in nearby Harrisburg has a nice stock and they give an internet deal at $300 over invoice.

    Rob
  • serge2serge2 Posts: 7
    How new Outback would stack up against Mazda Tribute ? Given both have 200hp or so engines,
    similar capabilities, interior room and almost
    10 grand price difference? I always wanted 6 cyl
    Outback to be my first new car in the near future, but Subaru raised price so high now I have to look in different directions....
  • tshadletshadle Posts: 38
    Rob,

    Was that Faulkner Subaru you were thinking of? I think they will be my next choice if I decide to go that way. Thanks for the tip.

    Tom
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Tom: the USA Today gave the Highlander a scathing review, which surprised me a lot.

    It was slipping a lot up an icy incline, despite AWD and traction control. They also complained about a jiggly ride and brakes that required lots of pressure (even though it had brake assist).

    Drive one, certainly, but I'd look out for those flaws. The power and price sound good, though.

    Serge: the Tribute isn't a true Mazda. The engine comes from the Taurus (Duratec V6) and the tranny comes from the 4 cylinder Contour.

    That tranny (CD4E) has been extremely problematic in other applications, and I can't imagine it would do any better in a heavier vehicle with more torque. That plus 6 recalls already!

    On paper, the Tribute is a bargain, though. Roomy, powerful. It's not nearly as upscale as the Outback, though. I've seen LL Beans selling for $28k, while similarly equipped Tribute fetch $25k, so the price difference isn't as big as you'd think.

    Plus, that $3k buys you a quality product with a longer warranty and much better reliability.

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,678
    I wouldn't call it a scathing review. Yes they found some faults, but it wasn't all bad. To me, "scathing" means they virtually hated the vehicle. That's clearly not the case.

    They found fault with the AWD, and called it as boring as a Camry. I agree with both those comments. Some of the other stuff, like the shift lever, are really just a matter of personal preferences&#151;and nothing really major.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Actually, I read it that way. He also called it boring and kept comparing it to a Camry in a derogatory manner.

    It almost sounds like we read different reviews! ;-)

    Heck, I like the Camry and haven't tried the Highlander yet. I'll check one out on Saturday at the car show.

    -juice
  • robnisrobnis Posts: 78
    It was the Subaru dealership on Paxton St, just next to their other Toyota and Mazda shop. Ask for the Internet sales person to get the $300 over invoice deal on the VDC.
  • tshadletshadle Posts: 38
    In Post #454 of the Highlander SUV Forum a test driver already ran into the situation I'm worried about on the VDC:
    "the traction-control system (which limits wheel spin by braking wheels individually or adjusting braking pressure - can't be turned off) didn't allow us to move forward because one of the front wheels kept spinning. The poor salesman didn't even mind helping to push the vehicle out!"
    This was in deep snow. Have any of you new VDC owners experienced a similar situation in snow or sand?
    Tom
  • theobtheob Posts: 148
    Tom,

    In the H6-3.0 brochure, Subaru describes the VTD (which is on the VDC) as allowing for not only one spinning wheel, but 3 spinning wheels and the VTD shifts the torque to the wheel with traction. Thus, you should be able to move forward with 3 wheels on ice and one on dry pavement. Haven't tried it yet, but the car's coming in sometime in the next week. I might have to ice down my driveway just to try it out ;-).

    Hey! a new way to keep people off my driveway! ;-)

    HTH,
    Theo
  • Or just recommended? If just recommended, any bad experiences using less than premium?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    According to Subaru, it's recommended.

    You can use regular 87 octane, but you'll be giving up about 5 horsepower. The engine will retard the timing slightly to avoid pinging.

    FWIW, most people cannot "feel" 5 hp. Premium is recommended on our 626 and we've used regular without noticing any difference whatsoever.

    -juice
  • Purchased car in N. Virginia last month- no problems- everything has been great! Will have 3000 miles soon and will take it back to dealer for service. I also got the fancy "no wax" finish- It looks good- so far.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Join us over in Owners Clubs, under Subaru Crew. Those topics are very active and we'd love to hear more about your experience.

    -juice
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