By Steve & Tamami Laser
Time really does fly when we’re having fun. It seems like only yesterday when we took delivery of our shiny new 2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited long-term test car. Yet we’ve already passed the six-month mark and topped 4,000 miles.
Just to recap, we sold our previous midsize crossover after 10 years (brand X) and decided to downsize a bit. We selected the Outback based on a previous one-week test of the 3.6R Limited. While we gave serious thought to leasing the 6-cylinder model, we settled on the 4-cylinder because the monthly payments better fit our budget.
Here’s our video report highlighting the first six months of Subaru Outback ownership. One of our favorite features is the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.
While we’ve tested many vehicles fitted with all-wheel drive over the years, this is the first one we’ve actually owned. In addition to providing extra traction and ground clearance during light-duty off-road jaunts, it also adds a sense of security on wet pavement as well as completely dry roads.
As we demonstrated in our video, off-road driving on modest trails or gravel roads is easy in the Outback. Another feature that we really like are the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters that let us “downshift” and “upshift” with the flick of a finger. It makes the Continuously Variable Transmission more fun to drive.
This is also the first car we’ve owned with a backup camera. And now that we’ve used it for six months, we can’t imagine living without it. Instead of just “guessing” how close this boulder was from our rear bumper, or having to get out and look, we backed up to within a few inches and snapped this photo of the display.
Back at the ranch, our dogs were waiting to go for a ride. They feel at home in the Outback thanks to our “security blanket” setup in the back seat. We use this aftermarket canine hammock to keep them away from the front seats while still providing lots of space for their travel beds. As soon as they hop out, we can transform the seat to carry oversize cargo with ease.
Going surfing? This medium-size board fit inside the Outback with room to spare. With the right side of the split-rear folding seat lowered there’s still space for a third passenger in the car. Of course, Subaru offers all kinds of accessories including the cargo floor protector in our car, as well the ability to tote boards with the roof-mounted luggage rack.
This video recaps one of our first trips in the Outback away from Los Angeles when we spent a weekend at Carlsbad in San Diego County. We made a quick walkaround video in the sand at the edge of a beachside public parking lot.
We’ve purchased many new cars over the years from a wide variety of brands. Every single one had to go back to the dealer for minor issues within the first few months. The friendly service advisors at our Subaru dealer are easy to work with.
We drove the Outback back to our dealer, Subaru Pacific, in Torrance, Calif., three times during the first six months. The first visit was to address a squealing noise from the engine compartment that we couldn’t isolate. It turned out to be a defective drive belt that was replaced at no charge. The second visit was to handle a recall notice to upgrade the software for our in-dash infotainment and navigation system.
The third visit was for regularly scheduled maintenance, including an oil and filter change. As part of our lease deal, there was no charge for this first scheduled service. At the end of six months, our total cost for maintenance was zero.
One tip that our salesperson shared during new-vehicle delivery is to turn off the pre-collision braking system with this switch on the dash before entering an automated carwash. We forgot to do it the first time and our Outback kept putting on the brakes. (Check the owner’s manual for instructions if your Outback, or other new Subaru model, is equipped with the Eyesight safety system.)
While we do wish for a bit more power on the hills, Subaru’s 4-cylinder Boxer engine has been delivering good fuel economy, with about 22 mpg on average. That’s satisfying for us considering the daily climb up and down the steep hills in our neck of the woods.
The Outback looked right at home when we arrived at this fancy resort hotel for a night on the town. We have other destinations in mind, so be sure to check back with us for our next report when we pass the one-year milestone.
With fall in the air and winter not far down the road, we’re actually looking forward to some rainy weather. Our Outback could use a wash…and so could we.
Click on the link below to read our first report:
The 2016 Outback test-car lease in this story is funded by the editorial staff of CarNichiWa.com
Story, photos, and videos © 2016 CarNichiWa.com