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Subaru Legacy/Outback: MPG-Real World Numbers



  • kidalikidali Posts: 17
    Thanks xwesx.
    you seem to know your stuff.

    You recommend a Subaru dealer, or should any decent mechanic be able to identify and replace whatever is needed?

    I'll be taking it in once the weather starts warming up a bit (and my wallet is a little more full :)
  • I test drove a 09 3.0 OB two times, two different cars. First drive was in 40 degree temperature, the second in the 20's. Both times I thought the 3.0 engine was lethargic. It simply runs out of breath above 65 MPH. Around town it's just adequeate.

    According to the trip meter, which I reset after a short warm-up, the mileage averaged around 17.5-18 MPG. Both test drives were around 10 miles long, with the Normal (Sport) setting on the SI-Drive. Both test drives were about half highway and half local traffic.

    I personally would not recommend the 3.0.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    For this type of work, any good mechanic should be able to assist. If you can find a reliable independent Subaru mechanic, your car will be quite thankful. :)

    When considering how much money to throw at this problem, take a look at your driving, estimated fuel economy if running well, and mileage, then compare that to what you currently pay, and consider the difference between the two. Also consider that if the car is running more efficient, the engine will likely last you longer.
  • rfrfrfrf Posts: 31
    Am in the middle of making purchase decision and you put your finger on one of the remaining issues for me. Have you tried SI drive Intelligent mode?
  • robsisrobsis Posts: 160
    Yes and it does fine...not sure about the reply as to the poor aspiration of the 3.0 as I have not experienced that at all. I have test driven both the 08 and 09 3.0 at 5200 ft in cold weather and they wanted to both run strong well into the 90's, when I stopped due to the speed limit on the test road....! the sport mode seemed to bring it on stronger; however, I did not notice a huge difference when I put it in sport-sharp. The Intelligent mode seems the best overall for just plain everyday, which is why I believe that Subie put it there in the first place. The other modes are fun for short periods of time; however, you can just tell that your sucking more petrol.....


  • rfrfrfrf Posts: 31
    Have read through the posts re mpg estimates fro the 3.0 - not great, at lst compared to the Sub reported EPA of 19/26. did u notice if the Intelligent mode helped w/ mpg? I bet the 3.0 rides great.
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    Auto trans 2.5 first tank calculated 28.3 mpg (350 mi/12.36 gals) today, with varying speeds for break-in period. Very pleased with this & I expect to do better when temp warms up & its broken in. I'm mostly all highway, rarely touch brakes & coast to stops. Same very gentle driving with previous vehicle (Silverado 5.3 extcab 4x4) got only 16mpg.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's pretty sweet, you beat my new Miata (smaller car, smaller engine, two wheels driven). I got 27 on my first tank, about the same on my 2nd.

    28+ is sweet given the size of the vehicle. Never mind that it's AWD.
  • thallbergthallberg Posts: 18
    I have a 2009 Legacy SE (2.5 engine) and only get 19.5 in town, according to the cars computer.
    I also have a 2003 VDC Outback wagon (3.0 engine) that gets 19/26 dead on.
    Kinda makes me wonder why I didn't go for the 3.0 R.
    I have no complaints about the 2.5, except you can hear the engine a bit more. I just expected better mpg.
    Do you reset the display after filling with gas?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We have a similar engine in our PZEV Forester, and my wife is getting around 25mpg. Not bad, for an automatic with AWD that size.

    She does mixed driving, mostly around town. Our record is 33mpg on the highway but we usually see around 30.

    I do reset the trip computer for each tank, actually that's how our Subaru is - each trip computer has it's own average.

    My Sienna is different - you have to manually reset the trip computer, and it's just one average.

    My Miata doesn't have one, that feature was new for 2009 and I have a 2008 model, so I just divide the miles driven by the actual gallons used.
  • nornetnornet Posts: 24
    Just removed the winter tires and have averaged just under 21 mpg since November. This is with an aggressive winter tread and winter blend gas. Not very impressive but you can't be obsessed by mpg.
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    You may be driving your new Miata in a bit more spirited way than I have so far driven my Outback. I had to smile when I saw your post because I had narrowed my choice to the outback and miata (my wife has a Forester and my son has my old 94 Legacy). More (any!) twisty roads on my commute and I might have gone Miata. Had I bought a Miata, I would have kept my truck for its utility. I chose to trade in the truck rather than allow it to sit mostly unused in my barn with the poor quality E10 gasoline in its tank. Nothing good happens to vehicles that sit unused. I'm very happy with the new Outback.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Miata is my 2nd car, I also have a minivan for family duties.

    I love it, but it makes a terribly unpractical "only car". I could never do it if I didn't have the van.
  • Hello,

    I have a 1996 Outback wagon with the 2.2l engine, 5-speed transmission, and quickly approaching 200,000 miles. The last 21,000 miles I have averaged 28.2 MPG.

    We also have a 1995 Impreza wagon with the 1.8l engine, auto trans, awd and about 185,000 miles. I don't drive it very often so the records aren't as detailed due to my wife and daughter sharing the care. Teenagers never fill the tank, lol. However, when I do drive it on long trips it averages 1-2 MPG less then the bigger Outback.
  • staypuftstaypuft Posts: 6
    So far my 09 Legacy SE PZEV 5-spd gets 24 mpg mixed city-freeway to work and 30 mpg on the last 500 mile trip (no mountains) at an average speed of 80.

    Very pleased considering my lead foot.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 2010 model with the CVT can break 30mpg highway, so kudos for continuous improvement.
  • lgandadlgandad Posts: 1
    Hello,do not know if you still own this vehicle,just bought the same one used.My mileage is identical.VERY disappointed.Gave up a car that got 35 mpg hwy.that was very poor in snow and rain.Figured the outback would give up a little less mpg,but never imagined it to be 18 city maybe 22 hwy.Have changed pcv,o2 sens.,mass air flow,complete tune up,No difference.I love the way this car drives,and its reliability but my old Suburban gets 20 mpg hwy.So I"m on the fence about getting rid of the Subaru.Thats the reason for replying to this thread,has any one come up with a solution to this problem?
  • kidalikidali Posts: 17
    If you're talking to me about my 97 Outback Wagon, yes, I still have it a year and a half after purchasing it. Funny, I was just trying to figure this out again, recently.
    I always watch my mileage, and last week gave me one of my worst ever, so I was wondering if something has got worse. (O2 sensor?)

    Last week I got 13.5km/100l (if you're in the states, it's less than 17.5 miles to the gallon) but that particular week was nearly ALL city stop-and-go driving.

    When I do week's with 80% highway, I nearly always hover around 10l/100k - a lot better (23.5).

    The specs for the car new were 21mpg city (I'm getting 17) and 26 hwy (23.5). I realize with age mileage will worsen. Since you've changed all those items with no change in results, maybe you've save my pocket book some trouble.

    I still like how it runs, but am having some torque issues. Some days I can press on the gas and have almost NO response, and others, it responds but feels gruff and sluggish. Only on Some days does it feel like I would say 'nimble' or 'more like it should'. Also, I've noticed when the AC runs, I hear a 'switching' noise in my dash - somewhere to the left, when the condenser turns on, and each time it does that, the car's torque responds differently (so in a 20 minute trip, I feel like I'm driving 2 cars every 4 minutes - a slow one, and a normal one). I suspect there's a central computer issue. I don't know if they can just replace a mainboard or something.

    As for the mileage, I'm content to deal with it. Even if I did all that work and met the companies claimed specs, I'd only save about 8 litres or 8 dollars a week. It'd take me over a year, I figure, to pay off the labour and parts of having those items replaced.
  • kidalikidali Posts: 17
    Here's a year and a half's worth of almost obsessive observations:

    My average week is somewhere around 11l/100k. (about 21.3 mpg).
    I've been vigilant about putting in a good fram air filter.
    I recently decided to try a synthetic oil to help both my gas mileage, and engine knock that I've been getting. It's helped with neither. (Castrol edge).
    On weeks that I put in higher grade gas (91 octane), I get better mileage than weeks where I put in a lower grade (87), but then the trade off is the higher gas price, so there are no savings.

    The car seems to like travelling best and runs smoothest at about 95k/hr (about 59 miles an hour). Deviate from this, and it affects mileage.
  • kidalikidali Posts: 17
    Regarding my last comment:

    If I usually drive between 105 and 120 (65 - 74mph), I still usually average somewhere between 19 and 21mpg if I'm doing 70 to 80 % highway driving.
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