What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?

A bit of history: My WRX was making some noises and it's finally getting looked at. Credit where it's due, though. My dealership did come through for me on Thursday. I told them I couldn't pick up a loaner Thursday when I was scheduled to (because of this) and they tried holding it for me 'till Friday. I ended up in a filthy Corolla rental Friday and got the Outback loaner on Saturday. The guy who had the Outback decided he didn't want to return the car until late Friday.

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So, fast forward to today. I've had the car for two days, and I have to say, I'm impressed.

I'm surprised by how refined the interior is considering Subaru's past. They've really come a long way.

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I have the 2.5L boxer and while it predictably isn't going to smash you into your seat it never felt inadequate for average use. I could merge in and out of lanes with ease. The trade-off is that you get an impressive 33/25 miles to the gallon over the 3.6's 27/20. Which, considering its size and AWD system, is mighty impressive.

This thing is rolling with a CVT. Some people hate it, I don't mind them. I don't find it any more offensive than an automatic, and if the end game is that I'm getting better fuel economy in this type of car, so be it. It does make the same unappealing groans, though not as bad as early generation CVTs.

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It has paddle shifters, which honestly are only useful to hold the transmission at a certain ratio for engine braking down hills, which I did, and was great! It was far more effective than your traditional automatic's 1,2, and 3 selections and you don't get the jerks amd thunks that some automatics with flappy paddles provide. The ones that don't rev-match, anyway.

Illustration for article titled 2015 Subaru Outback: Quick Thoughts
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I took it out on a very brief road trip to Chantry Flats in Angeles National Forest for a bit of hiking. I had to. I had an Outback.

It had to climb a muddy hill. It didn't break a sweat, but then, nobody else did either. I don't think I'll have a chance to test its ruggedness, especially now. Its main duties from this point on will be to ferry me to work and home until my car gets fixed. I doubt it'll take more than a few days to replace the busted throwout bearing.

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It'll be a better commuter than my WRX, though. The cabin is a very comfortable and just generally a nice place to be. I've got free XM radio and the bluetooth audio and phone integration works flawlessly.

Other things of note:

  • Body roll is surprisingly low for a car this high off the ground and this comfortable.
  • It zips around town like any mid-size sedan would.
  • Interior accent lighting is tastefully/intelligently done.
  • Infotainment system is a vast improvement over previous ones.
  • Huge amounts of space for passengers and luggage without it feeling like a massive vehicle.
  • Electric steering lacks feedback but is very responsive and becomes much tighter the faster you're moving.
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I really like it. If I could have a second car I'd have a tough time choosing between this and the Forester. It's a genuine swiss army knife.

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