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All-New 2010 Legacy/Outback



  • Does anyone out there know if: a) it would ever be feasible for Subaru to put a CVT transmission on a 6 cylinder Legacy? and 2) has there been any further talk at Subaru about putting an auto tranny back on the Legacy GT with the turbo engine?

    I currently drive a 2010 Legacy LTD with CVT and while I'm mostly very happy with it overall, I keep wondering about the 3.6 LTD next time and what the advantages might really be.

    Worse mileage I'm sure, but is the heft/feeling of the 6 that much better? Is it worth losing the great mileage on the CVT for the different in feeling/performance in the 6? Is the car that much smoother on the highway? Less vibration? What are the real advantages and disadvantages of the six?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nissan and Audi have put CVTs on powerful V6s, so I'm sure Subaru could if they wanted to.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I was thinking exactly the same thing. It's coming; just a matter of time.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • interesting, sounds like it may be on Canadian cars that the bluetooth speaker is in the middle console. I just checked the US site and sure enough where my bluetooth is located there is a covered storage compartment. The steering wheel also has the answer/hang up button on it, my car does not have this feature.

    I am doubly peeved at Subaru for doing this stupid move just for Canadian cars. Talk about poor planning.

    Thanks for letting me know.
  • nickelnickel Posts: 147
    After 3 years with a Tribeca, I bought an Outback 3 weeks ago. Mine is a 2.5 Premium with the Moonroof Pack. You will feel 2 huge differences:

    - The steering in the Outback is hard. I thought it was only mine, after so many web induced preconceptions. This steering is never going to have a shaking issue this hard. It looks like Subaru, concerned after the shake complains worked it that way to avoid the noise. After 1 week, I even had to go to the dealer to try another one, but is the same. So no worries about shaking, but coming from the Tribeca you will feel like in the new car no sporting steering (direction wise) will be found. To be more precise, the Tribeca is a marvel when you address the highway curves. You feel you can take any curve over 100 mph. Forget about that in the Outback. Car and Driver refer to it when the first reviewed the car, to use their words: Artificially heavy steering just off-center.

    - The pump trips will make you happy. I have been averaging 25.2 mpg in 60% highway. That is more than 460 miles per tank, that in my case is over 6 days between fill ups. The Tribeca was 19.5 mpg, or 300 per fill up (4 days). Maybe for some people the act of filling the car is smooth, but in Minnesota, those 13 to 14 more fill ups per winter are good to avoid. They wear you down.

    - I paid Subaru VIP, that is, invoice.

    - Inside the main difference again the OB are the sound system (I had the premium sound before) and the automatic passenger seat (OB is manual).

    - In favor of the OB, the back seat is easier to in & out. I like the wireless link mirror (the OB had the link on the visor). Also, the OB came with the rubber tray in the back. I use the parking brake a lot, and it takes to get use to the new, electronic one (nothing to be concerned other than no one but you knows where it is, so explain to wife or friends when you lend it).

    - The Tribeca never gave me issues with the transmission, but I am amaze at the easyness of the CVT. Of course the car is slower (from 0-60), but in highway I go 50-80 quick enough as to be afraid of cops.

    - My estimated costs are going to be down at least by $700 a year, because uses less fuel and oil. Marginally, the 17 tires will be at least $300 cheaper when time to change comes. Also the resale can be easier and maybe better residual.

    - I plan to keep the car six years. My biggest gripe is the fact that the original hitch (to be used just to carry bikes) is close to $600 installed. I still have months to decide.

    All in all, is my 4th Subaru, and I am happy with it. Is a notch down in my own personal preference to the Tribeca, but I couldn't keep it for personal (marriage) issues.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Thanks for the review, Nickel!

    Regarding the hitch, I strongly recommend aftermarket. has a variety of high-quality hitches for under $200 (class II or III) and they are a breeze to install. Even having a shop do it, you'll likely save close to 50% versus the price you estimated above.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The ex got the Tribeca? Must've had a good attorney. ;)
  • nickelnickel Posts: 147
    It was a lease, but anyway she has a hell of an attorney
  • ilyazilyaz Posts: 3
    I am thinking of buying 2011 Limited edition. The standard stereo does not seem to come with a USB port. There is an option to install a "media hub" for almost $500, but it appears that this hub is nothing but a cable with a USB port. It seems that my only alternatives are:
    1. To buy the car without the hub and replace the stereo with a unit from a 3rd party provider like Crutchfield.
    2. To buy the car without the hub and try to add the USB interface to the standard stereo myself.

    The bad part about #1 is that I will lose steering wheel controls. About #2, I have no idea whether this is doable and how easy and cheap it is to do it well. Do you know?

    thanks much!
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    2. To buy the car without the hub and try to add the USB interface to the standard stereo myself.

    I don't have an Outback, but I recently added an iPod interface to my '06 Honda CR-V. The cost of the device, including professional installation, was $240. It allows me to control my iPod (a 4th generation Touch) using my car stereo controls, displays song titles on my factory-installed Honda stereo, charges the iPod & does not interfere with my steering wheel controls. The sound quality equals that of CDs played on my Honda stereo.

    I've had it for just a couple of weeks, but I'm pleased with it. To see if this is available for your Subaru, go to

    Hope this helps.
  • I'm not sure if anyone has any experience in this area but, has anyone encountered a great deal of traction issues with their legacy mine tends to have wheel hop and the front wheels lock up to the point that they squeek when the car starts going
    this occurs even with traction control off
  • I'll be in the market for a new (or newer) car in a couple of months, and would like a bit of feeback on driving and owning a Subaru.

    I'm an RN, and recently transferred from CCU to home health; instead of driving to work three days a week and leaving the car in a parking ramp for 13 hours, I'll be driving from patient to patient five days a week. I live in northwestern PA, right along Lake Erie, so there's 4-5 months of winter.

    Right now I drive a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta wagon TDI, and while the fuel economy is still pretty good at 206,000 miles, the winter handling is pretty, well.... awful. I'm looking for a vehicle that an handle a foot or so of snow and mud during the spring (some of my patients are in rural areas). Many of the other guys at the fire department have four wheel drive pickups, but I'll be driving 50-80 miles a day and feeding an F150 just isn't in my budget.

    What's it like having an Outback? Should I look at a Forester instead, or is there some other vehicle that might make sense for me? I've considered a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, if for no other reason than it's built in Toledo. This time around I'd like to deal with an American car company, or buy a foreign model that's built in the states. Thanks for the advice!
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    Should you choose a 2009-2011 Forester, be sure to NOT buy the base model that does not have lumbar support! I got a back ache in 30 minutes driving one. My 2010 Forester XT Limited which has the lumbar support is very comfortable.

    The back seat room is almost the same for the 2009 and later Forester and 2010-2011 Outback. There is an advantage to choosing the 2011 Forester (without turbo) which has Subaru's new, sturdier and easier to service engine. The Outback does not yet have the new engine. The Forester's MPG won't match your TDI's, but snow drifts won't matter.

    The 2010-2011 Outback with its CVT automatic will have somewhat better MPG than the Forester, but a higher purchase price. The Forester does not lean as much in curves.
  • bob192bob192 Posts: 19
    A Subaru would do much better in snow with the AWD. I don't know about foot deep snow though. Fuel economy is very important though. You should get a mileage reimbursement and it probably wouldn't cover the cost fueling a big pickup or even a Jeep. I have two family members who did home nursing for a while and one with a Jeep Liberty took a beating on the fuel cost. On top of that, the IRS says the miles to your first stop each day is considered the commute and they don't have to reimburse them. This leg was usually the longest one of the day. My Outback gets low to mid twenties in local driving and it was built by American workers in the state of Indiana. Good luck.
  • jtny1jtny1 Posts: 18
    I love my legacy the forester has less leg room! But I do not think the new legacy/outback is as good in snow as old ones, I think they did something with the symetrical awd, they don't advertise it either that way anymore. It was nto bad in snow it was fine but just not as good as old subi's i had. On another note if it had been out before I got mine I would probally get the 2011 Kia sportage, I hear great awd plus a lock you can turn on to keep it in 4x4 mode. it is also roomy, affordable, pretty and has got pretty nice reviews. You could look at the sister suv by hyndai also. I love my subaru but i just feel they cheapened ahe awd system for better fuel economy, etc and after all subaru was always noted for 1 thing its awd drive system, so they kind of sold themselves out!
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    Automatic 4 cylinder Subarus have had similar torque split for years: about 85% front/15% rear until more rear is needed. Manual have 50%/50% at all times.

    6 cylinder Outbacks (all automatic) have closer to 55%/45%.

    More recent models which have traction control are much BETTER in snow than the older ones which had a problem with left-to-right front wheel slip.

    My garage is on an always not-plowed alley: My 2010 (and 2005 VDC) do better in snow drifts than my 1997. Several of my past VW and Audi models with AWD had insufficient ground clearance for this alley.
  • Hi, RNMedic. Although I now live a long way from PA winters, I lived there for 15 years in the past (late 80s and 90s) and I cannot recommend any car more strongly for winter driving than Subaru. I've had Audis too, and while they are OK with regard to their traction in winter weather, the ongoing reliability issues are too much to deal with. My Subarus in PA ALWAYS got me to and from places safely (34 miles r/t commute daily through hilly terrain), ALWAYS pulled me out of snow banks while Jeeps and many other vehicles sat spinning their wheels. I've had the old GL-10 wagon as well as multiple Legacys and Legacy wagons (since replaced by Outbacks). Subarus are just built to handle bad weather, and the new ones are even better than the ones I drove 10 years ago in PA. They have all the latest traction control equipment standard plus Subaru's legendary AWD system. I now live in Southern CA and still drive Subarus because I often go up into the mountains to ski here and they still amaze me in snow and ice. They handle well no matter where you are. I have friends and family all over Massachusetts and Vermont and they wouldn't drive anything else. Get the best one you can get in terms of options and extras....and enjoy it. I am currently driving my 5th one and there will definitely be a 6th one, and a 7th one....
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I concur with what everyone else has said here. Subarus are excellent in the winter. If you want some extra traction insurance, get a set of good winter tires. By doing so, you can go just about anywhere. You don't need a truck; get a Subaru. An Outback will be the most comfortable, a Forester a bit more nimble. Either one is a winner.

  • Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions and advice. I have to say I'm relieved to find out Subaru makes cars here; definitely puts them at the top of my list.

    Which leads me to my next question. With my wife changing jobs, I might have to go with a gently used Subaru instead of new. Was there a model year that was particularly good for Foresters or Outbacks? A model year to avoid? A particular trim level to look for, or keep away from?

    My wife's vehicle, a Honda Pilot, has heated leather seats and a sunroof, which I've come to love -- though at opposite times of the year. Thanks again!
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    edited November 2010
    Was there a model year that was particularly good for Foresters or Outbacks? A model year to avoid? A particular trim level to look for, or keep away from?

    You might want to give priority to models with stability control (which includes traction control). That will help in situations that need maximum traction and provide additional safety in winter conditions. The earliest model with it is labeled "VDC" on one model of the 2005 6 cylinder Outback. Four cylinder Outback models got stability control later and I believe Forester stability control started in 2009. The Forester is made in Japan and the Outback is assembled in Indiana which may affect your choice. I suspect the Japanese made models are slightly more reliable.
  • If you have long legs, you will need a telescoping steering wheel, which was not available until 2008 model year Outback. Otherwise, you will drive hunched over like me. I have a 2005 Limited and the front seats are far from comfortable. For 2006, the front seats were redesigned a little and didn't seem as bad as mine.
    If you do get a 2005, some of them have a problem with the wiring harness cracking by the tailgate causing the tailights to go out (it's an easy fix if you know the cause!) and the rear wheel bearings go out around 60K (Subaru extended the warranty on this).
    Oh the cat goes out early too, but by gov't law, they have to replace it up to 80K or so.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    edited November 2010
    They're all good, but the Legacy/Outback 6-cylinder (turbos too I think) with both VDC and VDT have the most sophisticated AWD with a 45/55 front/rear default power split.

  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    Be sure to drive both the Forester and Outback. You may prefer the driving characteristics of one much more than the other. I have a 2009 Outback and love it. My wife has a 07 Forester and she feels the same about her subaru - but she dislikes my Outback. Meanwhile, I prefer the Outback. I find the older generation (pre 2009) Foresters to be noisy. Once you decide which to get, then focus on the trim levels - which differ every year, with previous year's optional equipment gradually becoming standard equipment. I believe my 09 Outback was the first year with VDC standard across all trim lines. Most, except the very base, have heated seats.

    Fuel economy is very slightly better in the Outback than the Forester. I drive all highway 50-60 mpg with less than 2% city driving. My calculated average for the first 38K miles is 29.7 mpg. The trip odometer is close, but very slightly optimistic.
    I have gotten as high as 33 and 34 mpg on long trips at steady speed with pure gas (not E10) and my low was 25 in the snow. When I drive my wife's Forester the same way - hypermiling techniques, coasting to stops and not using the brakes, I get about 0.5 to 1 mpg less - probably due to increased wind resistance. Most people get lower mpg than I do.

    Don't test drive one in unfamiliar territory during the deer rut at dusk. I hit a deer with a beautiful certified LLBean Outback on a test drive.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    Subaru makes one of the very best winter-driving cars on the market. Both the Outback and the Forester are competent. I have driven a 1997 Outback for 14 years this December but would not touch a new 2010 or 2011 Outback because an unknown percentage of these cars have some sort of design defect which causes them to shake and shimmy while steering at highway miles. There have been a large number of different "fixes" applied in an attempt to remedy the problem but none of them definitively work and some merely mask the problem. RUN - DON'T WALK AWAY from an Outback dealer who denies knowledge of the problem. After complaints from all over Canada and the U.S. there is way a given dealer is ignorant of this problem, especially since Subaru has issued a series of TSBs about the problem with more to follow.

    But don't abandon Subaru because of the defective OB which probably won't be truly fixed until the next full re-design unless they get really lucky with the next TSB.

    The Forester is also a great car, especially in the XT (turbo) configuration. Heavily updated this year for 2011 it has many improvements including creature comforts such as a better audio system which has been traditionally been a weak point of the car, it is greatly improved. It has 8.9" of ground clearance in the XT version and a bulletproof and incomparable full-time AWD system. Highly worth a look. I am considering it to replace my old OB.

    If you are or would consider a slightly larger vehicle you could do no better than the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, new from the ground up. I have investigated this new vehicle thoroughly now for several months and have driven no fewer than six! You have the option of a 6 cylinder Pentastar engine (more frugal and brand new this year) or the venerable but effective HEMI which has been repeatedly on the Ward's Ten Best Engines list. If you pull a trailer, get the HEMI. If you enjoy good acceleration, get the HEMI. The quality, fit and manufacture (in Detroit at the North Jefferson Assembly Plant and you can't get much more unadulterated American that than!), the vehicle is truly impressive. It is VERY quiet at highway speeds (literally as quiet as the Rolls-Royce Ghost at highway speeds, has unparalleled off-road and snow capabilities, superb audio system and Garmin NAV. The interior has fancy Italian touches for a bit of class and it is definitely a pleasant place to spend time in.

    The downside is that there is a fairly steep purchase price a higher gas bills compared to the Forester but you also have a better dealer network and the legendary Jeep brand for off-road and snow-handling prowess.

    And one more thing: don't be put off by the past poor reliability of Jeeps. This new 2011 JGC is a brand new bag and in no way comparable to Jeeps of yesteryear!

    You will do yourself a disservice if you fail to consider the new Jeep GC.

    That is all I have to say. Enjoy your new Forester XT or Jeep Grand, whichever you buy.
  • nedlyjnedlyj Posts: 89
    Really? Run away from the 2011 OB? I don't agree at all. There is no "shake and shimmy" in my 2011 OB, there is some road vibration in the steering wheel at 75mph. Yes the new JGC is a new beast - which means nothing except it's a first year model in a line that has had serious quality issues in the past. Won't know anything for several years. The only thing we do know about the JGC is that regardless of how good it is it will lose 75% of its value in 3 years. The new OB is an extremely nice vehicle that's worth recommending.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    ^ And how does this have anything to do with Subaru???

  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    You talk as if you know it all but you know very little. Just because your OB has not started shaking (yet) it does not mean it won't at some indeterminate point later on. The fact is buying the car is a gamble. If you don't believe that just go to the many sites (including this one) that report shakers literally by the hundreds and yes I have counted some of these reports.

    To recommend such a car with a clear propensity to shake in many individual cars (not all) is both irresponsible and arrogant. How would you like to buy a car someone had strongly recommenced only to be saddled with a shaker and all its attendant miseries? I think the Golden Rule should apply here.

    As for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, although it is new (and that is the whole point - it is entirely new from the ground up) there are exactly no reports of anything save rare minor glitches and there are certainly no frequent reports of serious issues like shaking steering wheels in multiple cars on multiple websites by multiple people. Its past reliability issues are irrelevant and despite them it does have a strong cult following, like the OB used to have until reliability issues reared their ugly heads.

    And if you think that what you are calling "some road vibration in the steering wheel at 75 mph" is normal (apparently lots of OB salesmen say the same thing despite the fact their service departments have received multiple TSBs in a futile attempt to mask the problem, you are in denial. Unwittingly, you are giving a perfect description of the shaker problem although yours may not be as noticeable as others at this point.

    Look, don't misunderstand me. I have been a Subaru OB fan for a lot longer than most on this board, having driven the very same 1997 (in service 13 December 1996) for 14 straight years this coming December so I surely don't call a spade a spade for nothing. It sickens me that a brand new car is prone to a real problem. I wanted one to replace my elderly OB but I won't run the risk of picking up one that has a problem I would detest and could not get fixed and I ain't about to spend literally months jumping through Subaru hoops while they try to mask my issue.

    Dump the shaking OB, buy the JGC. You'll be glad you did and that advice to other potential buyers of SUVs is bound to give you a warm and fuzzy feeling.

    Have a nice day, now.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Was there a model year that was particularly good for Foresters or Outbacks? A model year to avoid? A particular trim level to look for, or keep away from?

    Generally the head gaskets of model years 2002 and prior were an issue, but you're likely to buy newer than that anyway. The H6 models never had that issue.

    What else? 2002 WRX manual transmissions were a bit fragile. Wheel bearings on Imprezas prior to 2002 and Foresters prior to 2003.

    For any used Subaru, turn off the radio and find a big, empty parking lot. Drive in a tight figure-8 pattern on dry pavement, open the windows and listen. It should be smooth in all directions.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I agree that VDC will be an option to look for in your Subaru. 2008 was the first year that the Outback began offering this as an option on non-H6 models. In 2009, it was standard. I owned a 2008 with an automatic and it was a fantastic car. I only bought it for a temporary car (owned it four months), so I did not put a set of studless snow tires on it, but with some it will get you where you need to go.

    If you do not get VDC, the 2005 through 2009 Outbacks had limited slip rear axles, which enhances their 'go' from two drive wheels (one front, one rear) to three.

    In terms of interior passenger room, they are MUCH smaller than the 2009+ Forester or the 2010+ Outback, but they have more cargo space than the new Forester. If you consider the Forester, 2009+ (the early 2009 models are nearing three years old now) have VDC and better ground clearance than earlier Foresters or 2005-2009 Outbacks.

    Again, with a good set of winter tires, any of them will get you where you need to go... and back! I strongly recommend making sure you have the normal emergency winter supplies, along with a small shovel and a nice recovery strap, as you never know when you'll need to pull others out of the ditch. ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • gmginsfogmginsfo San Diego, CAPosts: 116
    My trusty local Evans tire shop, which does all my routine oil changes and tire rotations, discovered that loose valves on my two rear tires' pressure monitoring system was behind my losing 1-2 lbs. of air and the panel's low tire pressure light illuminating every 2 weeks or so. They tightened them up and all's well.

    Now, how about someone getting back to me about my previously expressed concerns over downshifting with the paddles, as I frequently do when the arrows allow it. Any possibility of this wearing out the tranny? I'm "sensitive" to this issue because the 4-speed auto on my '03 Forester went bad by 90K miles, which was as disappointing as it was surprising, especially since I'm a pretty conservative driver.
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