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Real world mileage with 2.5 and CVT

easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
I didn't see a thread dealing with actual mileage on the newer Legacy/Outback with the CVT so I thought I'd start one. I'm pretty sure the EPA rating is higher than with the old 4AT so let's see what we're actually getting.

I wasn't sure how "full" the dealer had mine on delivery but I filled it 4 days later and had 25+/-, which was all in town and some of it in snow. On the next tank I drove it up into the mountains, we live at 5100 feet and went over some high passes (through the Eisenhower tunnel and 10,000 at Vail pass) and then back again 3 days later. Most of that was at 65-70 MPH.

I got 29.6 MPG on that tank which I thought was great. Only about 30 miles of that was non freeway and obviously the downhill coming back really helped offset going up, but still I'm pretty happy.



  • godeacsgodeacs Member Posts: 481
    Congrats on the your new ride AND excellent gas mileage!.... :)
  • matt1320matt1320 Member Posts: 20
    Is this drivetrain in an Outback or Legacy (in order to define performance vs.weight)? While traveling I-70, did the car feel underpowered? My wife and I test drove a 2010 Outback 3.6R Premium w/HK & Moon, and a 2.5i Limited w/Moon. We're unsure if the size and weight of the 2010 Outback would overwhelm the H-4 in terms of acceleration/performance; Are the increased cost of the H-6 and lower MPG's worth it? Your insight would be appreciated.
    Merry Christmas,
  • easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
    Sorry I didn't put that in, it's a Legacy. There were just the two of us adults, one set of skis, boots and cold weather gear, a couple of changes of clothes and some groceries we were taking for a dinner party.

    We didn't feel it was underpowered and that had been a concern of my wife's when we first looked. I've generally been driving V6s and V8s but as I've gotten older my right foot has gotten a bit "lighter".

  • 10years10years Member Posts: 48
    When I went with my son when he bought his H-4 CVT Outback, we had three big dudes
    in it for a test drive. We pulled a fairly steep highway grade up a hill for about 1.5 miles at an elevation of about 4,500 to about 75 MPH before he eased off. The car performed adequately pulling that grade without much fuss, it could have gone more for sure.

    Test drive the H-4 at highway speeds and judge for yourself.

    The H-6 will cost about $3,000 more for equivalent trim packages and get 4 less on the mpg per EPA. On the other hand there's no substitue for power especaily for crunch highway passing. Decisions decisions.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Tough call indeed, but 30mpg sounds great. Think of the range.
  • gbockersgbockers Member Posts: 4
    Hi all, well I'm at the end of my first tank of gas (provided by dealership) and am only getting 24mpg combined 35mph side roads and highway. I drive "like an old lady" so I'm usually aware to not over-rev the car. Is this usual for the first tank of gas on my 2.5i with CVT? Thanks! G.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    You're doing great because Subies improve with age.

    I bet you'll be getting 1-2mpg better after it's broken in.
  • easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
    That's about what I got with my first/dealer tank. I don't think they had it "topped off" like I do. Actually the sticker say 23MPG/city, so that for a first tank is not off. BTW, are you in an Outback or a Legacy?

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 16,130
    The first tank will often show very low mileage, as a dealership will often not fill it all the way up, plus the first however-many-miles-before-you-bought-it likely included quite a bit of idling, etc., that yielded very poor mileage. Usually when I buy a car, the readout average is right around 10 mpg. So, if the dealer did not reset the trip meter when the tank was filled, the result at the end of the tank will be depressed.

    35-45 mph is actually a good speed to achieve excellent fuel economy if little or no stopping is involved, so keep an eye on the economy and look for it to improve with even the next tank. If you are in an area that uses winter-blend fuel, the economy will jump later in the year, as well.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
    I just filled up and got 26.96mpg on this tank. About 1/4 of it was interstate the rest was in town, some of it with my mountain bike on the back. Considering that the car still has less than 1100 miles on it I'm happy.

  • easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
    I just finished a 515 mile tank, all but about 50 of those miles were from Salt Lake City back to Ft. Collins-Interstate 80 to US 287. About 150 of that was during some snowy conditions so I had to keep the speed a bit lower, the rest was at 70-75mph.

    The car had me, my ski gear and some extra weight I was carrying for a buddy. I'm still a couple of hundred short of 3,000 miles on the car-Legacy-2.5-CVT.

    32.2 on this tank, for a not yet broken in or oil changed engine I'm pretty happy.

    Anyone else tracking their mileage?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Sweet - our Foresters can break 30 but that's near the record and yours is still very green.
  • socalkid1socalkid1 Member Posts: 3
    I'm in the market for a 2010 Outback and would love to know what kind of mileage people are seeing on the 3.6r. It seems there is plenty of feedback on the smaller 4-cyl and I'm just trying to weigh my options vs. cost. Thanks in advance for your feedback.
  • psdxohpsdxoh Member Posts: 4
    2.5 CVT: 520 mile trip @ 60-70 mph 80% was PA mountains - 30.4 mpg. 250 mile trip @ 70 mph with less drastic terrain - 31.1 mpg. Urban driving with a mix of city & freeway is 25.5 mpg average for 2 tanks. Our Outback has 2,000 miles, factory tires and all mileage was calculated based on actual gallons purchased and miles driven since last fill-up.
  • dcm61dcm61 Member Posts: 1,567
    ... all mileage was calculated based on actual gallons purchased and miles driven since last fill-up.

    Curious ... how did the trip computer MPG compare to your calculated figures?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That's impressive. About 2 mpg better than we're getting out of our lighter Forester.
  • avery1avery1 Member Posts: 373
    Did you run into snow? If so, how did the 4cyl do?
  • easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
    ateixera wrote; "About 2 mpg better than we're getting out of our lighter Forester"

    I would attribute that to the CVT versus whichever tranny the Forester has. Still 4AT?

    BTW, your mileage comports with that experienced by a friend with a new (09 or 10) Forester.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    And we're not even complaining.

    Our smaller, even lighter 1998 Forester manual got about the same. I'd say peak mileage is actually better with our 2009 automatic.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILMember Posts: 694
    My new 2010 Forester XT is getting much better city mpg than my 2005 3.0R Outback with 5EAT did. So far I'd estimate 2 or 3 mpg better in slow speed city slogs.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Really? I'm surprised it's that much better.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILMember Posts: 694
    Of course it is not broken in yet so my foot is light on the pedal. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    True, but if you continue to drive that way after break in, you'll likely do even better. :shades:
  • psdxohpsdxoh Member Posts: 4
    Yes on the snow. The rpms would get up as high as 2500 when climbing the mountains at 70 mph, but that's not high enough to make objectionable noise - at least to my ear. I think Subaru designed the engine with enough torque at a low enough rpm that the engine doesn't have to spin up to keep it rolling up a hill. I think the rpms were about 1900 at 70mph when on flat ground. If you're not in a big hurry - the 2.5 w/CVT is a very nice drivetrain.
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Member Posts: 166
    For what it's worth, our 2009 Legacy 2.5i Limited is pushing around 32-33mpg highway with the 4AT, we recently took around a 400 mile round trip from NJ to central PA. Cruise Control was on a majority of the time once we got out of NJ. I think it's great, because the specs for it say that the EPA mileage is in the mid 20's for highway. Combined and city it seems to drop into the low to mid 20's, but I've never seen it drop into the teens.

    And that's good enough for me. I used to own a Jeep Wrangler that got 9 mpg if I was lucky on the highway. It also couldn't go faster than 60mph and had a tendency to catch on fire. :P
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
  • matt1320matt1320 Member Posts: 20
    Mileage update for our Graphite '10 OB 2.5i CVT Premium w/mnrf. Miles were driven on surface roads in SW Chicago suburbs with 2693 mi. on odometer. Drove 366.1 mi. and filled with 14.7 gal. of 87 octane (lowest octane rating in Chicago area). According to the OB's mileage display this gave 26.1 MPG, manually this gave 24.9 MPG.
    So why the difference in mileage?......
    After refilling the tank, resetting the trip odometer, and clearing the avg. MPG in the computer, I noticed something. The needle on the fuel economy meter was not moving; It was fixed in the negative position until 1.0 miles were registered on the trip odo. Additionally, the avg. MPG indicator in the dashboard did not give a reading unil the trip odo showed 1.0 miles.
    Does this mean the computer calculates avg. MPG based on whole miles only?? Is this the source of the difference??
    So I checked my math using the numbers from our last tank: 366.1 mi. driven and 14.7gal. filled.
    Removing the value in the tenth position: 366/14=26.1 MPG = Computer
    With the value in the tenth position: 366.1/14.7=24.9 MPG = Manual
    What do you think? Does the same hold true for your calculations?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I think it waits 1 full mile so the average has some significance.

    If you zero out the odometer while coasting downhill, it would probably read 99.9mpg or something like that.

    The trip computer is using the ECU to estimate metered fuel, while you're using actual gallons used. 1.2mpg is a bit optimistic but not so far off that it's not useful.
  • easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
    I too noticed that the needle on the "fuel economy" (vacuum) gauge doesn't move for the first mile or so. As to the difference between avg and actual mileage I always chalked that up to the fact that the "real time" reading is an extrapolation based on MPH and RPM and maybe even temperature and climb/descent attitude.

    I didn't realize you could "clear" the reading on the dashboard. I notice you wrote "average MPG", mine (Legacy Limited) has a distance to empty reading. Most of my other cars have allowed me to change the dashboard settings. Maybe I should read the owner's manual :confuse:

  • matt1320matt1320 Member Posts: 20
    edited March 2010
    Extrapolation??? Two points for you. The temp here has been cold and the terrain is basically flat.
    There are 2 pegs in the gauge cluster, one left and one right. The left toggles and clears the trip odo's. The right toggles and clears the display in the dashboard. In the dash display, there are displays for avg. MPG, instant MPG, and distance to empty. You can toggle through the different displays at any time, but when the peg is depressed and held on a particular display, it will reset. We leave the display on the avg. MPG setting and reset it, and the trip odo, after refilling the fuel tank, prior to leaving the fuel station.
    Back in the day, my grandparents' Chevy Caprice wagon (the family Trukster) had a gauge that indicated instant fuel economy like our OB does. Weird.
  • easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
    "The right toggles and clears the display in the dashboard. In the dash display, there are displays for avg. MPG, instant MPG, and distance to empty"

    Hey, look at that! I guess I should have figured it was there, my last 3 or 4 cars have had similar buttons.

    One other thing I've noticed is that the "distance to empty" is VERY SENSITIVE to real time changes in driving pattern. For example I'll fill up near home and put 50 miles or so on a tank, then I'll get on the interstate and head up to the Rockies for some skiing. As I start down the highway to Denver the DTE will go from 390 to 400 plus, until I start climbing the mountains, then it'll drop like a rock going up to the Eisenhower tunnel. On my way home (all downhill) it'll climb like crazy.

    I'm assuming that this rapid change may be a function of not having many miles on the car (about 3700) but as I get more miles it'll still change, just not as rapidly.

    Thanks for the head up regarding the right hand button

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    They must assume you will continue to drive in the same fashion for the rest of that tank, whether you're autocrossing or hypermiling.
  • avery1avery1 Member Posts: 373
    How is it doing in all the snow?
  • easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
    ateixeira wrote; "They must assume you will continue to drive in the same fashion for the rest of that tank, whether you're autocrossing or hypermiling"

    Ummm, no. In fact the opposite is true, it seems to change almost every 10 miles or so DEPENDING ON HOW THAT DISTANCE DRIVEN.

    BTW, mine does great in the snow, but then I grew up and lived in snow country (except for that 30 year sentence in Texas) so I know the way to drive in snow; no sudden maneuvers, no sudden starts or stops, 4 wheel drive only helps you GO, not STOP, and most important, the OTHER GUY IS AN IDIOT. This last one applies everywhere, not just in snow!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Then they are assuming you will continue to drive as you have for the past 10 miles. :D

    That's basically what I meant.

    Let's say you change drivers at a gas stop on a road trip. The new driver goes 20mph faster than the previous driver.

    Makes sense for the trip computer to estimate the new driver's range.
  • matt1320matt1320 Member Posts: 20
    The Boss says it's good. Her previous car was an '01 Dodge Stratus R/T coupe, a Mitsu eclipse wearing a Dodge costume. It was powered by a 24v 3.0L V6 rated @ 200hp that averaged 22MPG in winter, and 25 MPG in summer in the same traffic that the OB is now in. It was a great car in the summer on warm, dry, smooth pavement. Any other road condition degraded its ability/safety.
    The OB's winter MPG is the same as the Stratus' summer MPG, and she uses the remote start to preheat when it's cold. Also, the OB's long travel suspension and taller tire sidewalls are more forgiving on our sh!++y cratered roads.
  • boulderbobboulderbob Member Posts: 1
    edited March 2010
    I had the experiment of filling up in Golden. miles to empty (MTE) changed to 400. Drove to Beaver Creek, leisurely. Parked over two nights and drove back. as I passed Golden, and the MTE says 410.

    The next week I took 5 people, their ski stuff (I have the Thule/Subaru top box) over to Glenwood and Aspen. No problems at the tunnel approaches, or Vail pass. Average was 26-28 MPG.

    2.5 CVT "Goldie"
  • easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
    Filled up last evening on a 315 mile tank with about 40 of it being on the interstate at 75 MPH, the rest was ALL in town, maybe 15 miles at 50 MPH, the rest at 40 or less.

    12 gallons exactly, and I topped it off. 4130 miles on the odometer.

    26.25 MPG, not too shabby.
  • easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
    Just prior to Memorial Day I had a tank that had ZERO freeway miles and about 25 miles of open road, the rest was all in town, maximum of 50 MPH and a fair amount of stops. I got 26.2 on that tank.

    I turned over 5,000 miles so I got the oil changed and tires rotated because we were going to Mt. Rushmore and that area. One one tank, with all but 100 miles being interstate we got 33.2 MPG. That was with two adults, a golf bag and a suitcase in the car. Usually drove 75 on the freeway.

    Pretty happy with the mileage. The only thing I don't lke is the seats don't give enough support and my back hurts after two hours in either seat. The lumbar support doesn't help so I'm going to look around for a little "bolster" thingee.
  • easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
    Just returned from a trip from norther Colorado to the San Francisco area. On two three of the tanks I got above 35 mpg; 35.3, 35.7, 35.2. This was with two adults, various suitcases, one set of golf clubs and, on the tankful from Reno to Salt Lake City 3 cases of wine. That one was the 35.2. Except for about 25 miles that was all at 70 mph on Interstate 80.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 16,130
    That's incredible on an AWD vehicle! Are you sure you weren't being pushed by somebody? :P
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Seriously, did you drive down from Pikes Peak to sea level? :D

    Amazing fuel efficiency!
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    edited August 2010
    Are those recordings from the car's mpg readout, or from your actual mpg measurements? I've found my WRX's mpg readout to be a bit optimistic by about 1.5 - 2 mpg. Either way, it's impressive.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 16,130
    I've found my WRX's mpg readout to be a bit optimistic by about 1.5 - 2 mpg.

    I find the same with my '10 Forester. It typically reads about 27.3 when I fill up and I usually get up to 0.5 mpg under 26 mpg calculated. This tank, though, we are at about 385 miles on the tank (local driving) and the readout is showing 29.4 (so, maybe an actual 27.5?). I'm happy about that for sure, with nothing different except having changed the air filter just before the last fill with a K&N. I hope the two are related, but I actually bought it because it is reusable for life, basically, so it will cut down on waste.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • easypareasypar ColoradoMember Posts: 191
    Those are CALCULATED, not off the onboard calculator. I only use the onboard computer as a rough gauge, and only on the "distance to empty" readout.

    I did point out that the Reno to Salt Lake leg is (I think) slightly downhill. Still, with all the stuff in the trunk I'm pretty impressed.

    Turned over 10K miles coming through Wyoming so took it in for the oil change. I've always just changed my oil on the 5,000 mile marks, much easier to track than the 7,500. Also with as much in town as we do I don't like to go that far on them.
  • gwsubarugwsubaru Member Posts: 1
    edited August 2010
    I have a 2010 Legacy and get about 34-35mpg. 90% interstate 65-70 MPH. The onboard calculator shows 1.5 -2 mpg better than that most of the time. My wife & I and one other adult with luggage for 3 days drove 430 miles to Ocean city Md. and the onboard calculator showed 36.3 MPG (2000 ft drop in elevation). After three days of driving about another 100miles at or near the beach it showed 32.6 & I calcultated 32.8. Very pleased so far.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    You should have told me, I would have waved to you. We were there as well. :shades:
  • ldl20ldl20 Member Posts: 10
    Family trip to Ocean City, MD, from Northern, NJ. Almost made it back and forth on 1 tank, as we traveled 454 miles before filling up again on the return trip not too far from home (it's a 2011 Outback Premium with moonroof, AWP, and various accessories that had a little under 550 total miles, so I didn't want to have the fuel light go on so soon in its life). These 454 miles included some slow driving up and down the strip, idling and more slow driving near the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, and I filled it with a hair over 16 gallons, for a total of 28.4 mpg. Not bad at all. We came from a 2004 Odyssey which was good on gas, especially for its size, but not this good.

    BTW: car never felt underpowered on the highway

  • gearhead8gearhead8 Member Posts: 12
    I actually believe we will run out of gasoline in my lifetime, so MPG is real important to me. So, yes, that is me in the azurite blue Outback crawling along in the right lane at about 60 MPH. Yes, I am passed by everone and I pass no one.
    I calculate every tankful.
    In the 2600 miles I have driven in my 2011 Outback with CVT, I have averaged 32 MPG. 65% of that is interstate cruising, the remaining 35% is suburban driving witha little stop and go driving.
    This past weekend, I was driving into a 20 MPH headwind. That tankfull was 2 MPG lower than the previous tankful. In terms of aerodynamics, the 2011 Outback is like a brick compared to the 2006 Outback I owned previously.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I have averaged 32 MPG

    *gasp* AVERAGE?!

    That is sweet! I can break 30mpg in our 09 Forester PZEV auto, but not when I mix in stop and go.
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