By Steve & Tamami Laser
It’s hard to believe that two years have gone by since we started a three-year lease on our 2016 Subaru Outback Limited. Time really flies when we’re having fun and we’ve driven more than 18,000 miles since then.
While the majority of our travels have been for routine daily chores, we made more than a dozen trips up and down the coast this year to visit popular spots including Huntington Beach, Newport, Laguna, Dana Point, and San Clemente. Our dogs went with us to join the fun and they now consider the Outback to be their official home away from home.
Our video highlights the second year with our Subaru Outback and takes a look at 10 things that we’ve grown to “love” about the car during this long-term relationship.
While we have the option to purchase the Outback when the lease expires in less than a year, we haven’t decided whether we want to make it a permanent member of our family. Let’s take a closer look at some of the features and attributes that we “love” after driving the Outback nearly every day for two years.
Vehicle Size – The Outback is just the right size for us – it’s not too big and it’s not too small. We might say it’s in the “Goldilocks” zone since it replaced a previous crossover (from another brand) that was too big for us. Subaru calls the Outback a “Sport Utility Wagon.” This SUW has proven tremendously successful for the automaker. Since the Outback was introduced in the 1990s, Subaru has sold more than 2 million units.
Cargo Space – It’s really amazing how much we can pack into our Outback. Like the time we went on vacation and put all of this gear in here (above). Or the time we moved and threw too much junk in the “trunk.” The cargo net that we purchased from our dealer helps to keep smaller items organized and easy to access when needed.
Power Tailgate – This feature is really convenient and we use it all the time. We can open the tailgate remotely using the keyfob if our hands are full, or use a switch above the license plate. We can also press a button on the dash to open and close the tailgate.
Pet Friendly – Our dogs love the Outback. They’re so comfortable riding in their twin travel beds (aftermarket accessories) that they often fall asleep while we’re driving. We also carry some of their favorite toys and treats to keep them happy on longer journeys.
Ride and Handling – This was one of our previous “likes” that turned into a “love.” The Outback delivers a nice, smooth ride on most surfaces. While we wouldn’t call the ride quality sporty, it’s better controlled than some larger crossovers that we’ve owned and tested.
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive – We’ve said it before and we’re still impressed with the sophisticated Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system in our Outback. It makes it easy to drive on gravel roads (like the one in our video) or rain-soaked streets. It also makes the car feel more secure on completely dry roads, in sweeping turns, and climbing up steep hills.
EyeSight Driver-Assist System – This is one of our favorite Outback features. The twin stereo cameras mounted near the inside rearview mirror work together monitoring the road ahead for safety features like the Pre-collision Braking System, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning. We’ve had plenty of occasions where we’ve drifted out of our lane (to the right) or didn’t apply the brakes quickly enough when a car was stopped in front and the system gave us alerts.
Paddle Shifters – These are really convenient and we use them all the time for upshifting and downshifting the transmission (which is a CVT). When we’re going downhill and don’t want to ride the brakes, we use the paddle on the left side of the steering wheel to downshift. And when we’ve made it to the top, we use the paddle on the right side to upshift (above).
Voice Control – This is a handy feature that allows us to control various features and functions by voice and get directions. We use voice control to help find restaurants and gas stations, for example, without taking our eyes off the road.
During a trip to the airport in Orange County to pick up a visitor, we quickly located a nearby restaurant using the voice control button and our Outback’s navigation system. While there are more sophisticated systems out there (we’d like to have Apple CarPlay™, for example), this one has worked well for us.
Maintenance Cost – The maintenance cost for our Outback after two years is $0. The minor issues that we previously discussed during our first year of ownership were covered by the new-car warranty. Our dealer, Subaru Pacific, also gave us two years of regularly scheduled oil changes for “free” as part of our lease deal. (We’ll need to pay for our next service visit.) Meanwhile, our Outback’s boxer 4-cylinder engine has been running great and we haven’t needed to add oil between changes.
Of course, like any relationship, there are things that continue to bug us, including the lack of power on hills and the design of the front seat headrests. Click or tap on the following links to read our previous stories:
With less than a year to go on our lease, it’s time to get back on the road and enjoy our Outback.
The 2016 Outback test car in this story is privately leased by the editorial staff of CarNichiWa.com
Story, photos and video © 2018 CarNichiWa.com