2015 Subaru Outback

Discussion in 'Subaru' started by dobsont, May 13, 2015.

  1. dobsont

    dobsont "How's your mileage?"

    I've had this car for about 2 weeks now. I couldn't be happier with it. We were coming from a 2012 Kia Rondo, and I just could not get decent fuel economy in that car.

    The Subaru is a whole other story.

    I consider myself a manual transmission guy. I always have been. My partner is not. We tried, she could do it, we had a kid, driving the manual with a kid made her uncomfortable, and we sold off a very nice little Honda Fit M5 for the Rondo.

    The Subaru has a CVT.

    Colour me convinced. This CVT is fantastic. Assuming that it holds up mechanically, I can't see myself buying another geared AT ever again. Maybe not even a manual! :eek:

    The car is rated for 9.3L/100km city and 7.1L/100km highway. In my opinion this is very impressive for big AWD car like the Outback.

    I now have a little over 700kms on the car, and can already report that I have absolutely no trouble exceeding the stated fuel economy rating. Some highlights:

    I'm finding what works well in the city is to accelerate up to speed moderately quickly (inst. consumption reports btw 15 to 25 LHK), then to back off to a *really* light touch on the pedal. I can cruise along maintaining 50 and 60 kph with consumption numbers in the range of 4 LHK.

    It is not unlike a pulse/electric-assisted glide approach that one might take with a hybrid.

    Also: the deceleration fuel cut on this car is very aggressive. Looking ahead for red lights and lifting off the gas to coast in gear up to the light seems to work very well.

    I made about a 15km city trip the other night in moderate/light traffic using these techniques and my FE displays reported the trip in the range of 6.7 L/100km (LHK) - about 28% better than it is rated for. Of course not all trips were like that. Sometimes one gets stuck in traffic.

    First fill up: hand calculated at the pump: 8.9L/100km, 90% city, over 258kms. Car had 304kms total on it at the time of the fill up - so not broken in yet.

    We took another 200+km road trip that was about 85% highway and achieved 6.7L/100km - again, very, very good for a car this size.

    The car has a very excellent prius-like fuel usage display. As you can see, once the car warms up, it does well. This was another city trip in light traffic, average was in the mid 7s.

    kbergene and BillLin like this.
  2. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Nice vehicle, Tom. My co-worker has the same exact model , but I don't think he cares at all about fuel economy.
    BillLin likes this.
  3. dobsont

    dobsont "How's your mileage?"

    Thanks Edwin! I really like it. First new car I ever owned.

    Re: your co-worker. It kinda seems like he's not alone on that one.

    On this forum it is mostly tumbleweeds with the odd interjection by Wayne about how well Subarus are selling these days...

    I'm a bit surprised that there isn't more FE/Subaru talk out there. (I say this because I'm basically the exact stereotype of an Outback owner, right down to the birkenstocks and bicycle commuting. Fuel economy appeals to both my frugal nature and my inner hippie. But I digress.)

    I anticipate posting to this thread as I fine tune my techniques with the car. I've been doing the hypermiling thing for quite a few years, so hopefully I'll have something to say that is useful to someone someday. :p
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  4. dobsont

    dobsont "How's your mileage?"

    Here's something:

    The car does not like coasting in neutral.

    The owner's manual says it has to be towed with all 4 wheels off the ground.

    I tried a very low speed niceON coast up to a stop sign just to see what would happen. Once the car went into neutral the rpms jumped up as I cam to a stop. They did not come back down until I put it back in gear. This is something that I absolutely will not be doing with this car (and it is something I did a ton of in the Kia Rondo).

    I do, however, put the car in neutral at stop lights (when I have to stop at all, which I try to avoid). Watching the torque/hp or engine load display on my ultragauge, it is clear that placing the car in neutral while idling at a stop light is a fuel saver. It seems like there is no point in requiring the engine to work against the transmission and brakes unnecessarily.

    I really wish they'd built in an auto start/stop function on this car. That technology has gotten to the point of being virtually seamless. My car has a push button start and there's no practical way to key it off without killing the ECU. Shutting the engine off at a stop light is too fiddly and impractical in this car.
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  5. dobsont

    dobsont "How's your mileage?"

    Deceleration fuel cut on the 2015 Outback 2.5 is programmed to be very aggressive. It engages quickly, and stays engaged right down until you are virtually stopped. This is excellent.

    In my Kia I did a lot of coasting in neutral up to stop lights. This is better.

    It seems to me I can get a pretty decently long zero consumption "coast" in gear out of a dfco with the Outback relative to other vehicles. It is almost as if it knows that I want to do a big long coast in gear without a lot of engine braking.

    I think what is happening is that the CVT is staying at the higher ratio, which allows the rpms to stay low and the car to coast longer with less resistance.

    If you use the brakes or paddle shifters the CVT goes into a lower ratio resulting in engine-braking that is basically typical of a normal automatic.

    SO: dfco? works great in the 2015 Outback.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  6. JoseFM16

    JoseFM16 New Member

    Have a 2015 Outback as well. New to hypermiling. Working on an average mpg of 35 on my commute. Have yet to make it above 30 mpg. Need a lot of practice still.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  7. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    JoseFM16, welcome!

    I'm glad you rekindled interest in this topic. Perhaps we can all give each other encouragement and tips for getting the most of this Subaru CVT. Tom (dobsont) has given us a great start. I have noticed similar fuel cut behavior in the 2.0 liter with CVT on the Crosstrek, along with the less helpful characteristics with neutral coasting. City driving is my weak point, and I will have to try out Tom's suggestion of moderate acceleration then feathering the accelerator to maintain speed. I'm getting more and more accustomed to the threshold for dropping the fuel consumption on the flats and minor rises in elevation. The economy gauge on the Crosstrek uses an analog +/- gauge for showing instantaneous MPG relative to the current trip gauge (A or B) that is being displayed, so I just try to get the needle in the plus range as often as possible. The TPS gauge on a Scangauge II is useful as well.

    There is a cold engine indicator on the Crosstrek. It shows blue until the engine warms up sufficiently. I suspect it is active while the engine is running in open loop. The blue indicator goes out quickly so I'm guessing it corresponds to hitting 120 degrees F or so. Sorry I still don't use Metric or think Metric.

    With my 4-mile commute, it has been very difficult to get good MPGs (over 30 miles per gallon in my book), and any traffic light turning red will kill all hopes of having a good run. Longer runs (over 5-6 miles) and the warmup hit is more easily overcome. So... I still use my Prius for commuting to work when I can. Yes, I am now shuffling cars in the driveway.

    Good luck all!

    xcel likes this.
  8. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    I do, too. Luckily, traffic signals on my town commute are well regulated based on road sensors and timing. When I do encounter a predictably long stop, I stop the engine with the key (no push button for me...) and with the CVT in neutral, then turn the key to the ON position, ready to crank. Seconds before the light turns green, I can crank the engine, put the CVT in gear, and allow the CVT plenty of time to engage. I would think the same procedure would work with the push button start; just be prepared for the system restart.

    I wonder how much fuel savings the hybrid Crosstrek gains from its start/stop system versus the hybrid drive?... It wasn't cost effective to get the hybrid version though lack of supply made it a moot point. I know of two hybrid Crosstreks in the area and both are owned by a Subaru salesman.
  9. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    If that's anything like my Echo, it switches off at 55*C coolant temp and translates in my UltraGauge as 138.2*F. It is not tied to loop status, and in any season is way past going to closed loop.
  10. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    You're right about that... With the SG II, I could see that it was in closed loop. And by the time the blue indicator went off, it was around 120 F, so probably warm enough to call for heat in the cabin if needed.


    Edit: OK 50/55 C. :)
    jcp123 likes this.
  11. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    Nice! Sounds about right.
  12. Kinder

    Kinder Well-Known Member

    I'm a little late to the thread, but let's not let it totally fade out. I am driving a '17 Outback base model that I bought about 8 weeks ago. It uses a key, not a push-button start; I also don't believe I have the eco-monitor, just the economy gauge like on Bill's Crosstrek. Not much to report yet as it has been extremely cold and snowy for most of the time I've owned it. This includes two stretches where there were multiple consecutive nights of -20!! Unreal. And there is still a thick glaze of ice on the road that has been there since the week I bought the car. Let's just say I am not yet beating the EPA but was happy to read that last summer others were!

    I can back up the good impressions of the CVT. I have owned about 10 cars over the years and only have driven an automatic for about 9 months total in my life. I was not expecting to like the CVT and thought I would end up going to Minneapolis to find a manual Subaru Forester or maybe Crosstrek despite preferring the Outback in most other aspects. But leaving it in D, I find it coasts extremely well--less engine braking than any car I have ever driven. It allows the car to speed up while in gear even on the relatively moderate and short hills around here. Considerably more so than my MT 2012 Accent while in 6th gear. Combined with the CVT's low highway gearing and the fact that I very rarely am in a city, the manual seemed unlikely to save me any fuel, so I took the plunge.

    Question: The paddle-shifters are a bit of a mystery to me with regard to mpg--should I be down-shifting when I go down hills or approach a stop? I have been, thinking it will at a minimum save on brake wear. This feature has also been invaluable on the icy roads, as I can use engine braking to slow. But in terms of the best mpg, I am not sure. Come dry roads and warmer temps, I'll be able to do more of my own experimenting. What have others been finding?
    BillLin likes this.
  13. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    Wow, Minnesota's just the way I remember it. (it was winter)

    I don't have enough run time and careful observation to give you any useful info. Sorry. I only use the downshift/3rd gear when coming off our hill in the morning (200' drop). Other than that, I'm usually on my short commute to work. I've been finding engine on neutral coasting more useful than relying on fuel cut when approaching lights from a long distance and expecting to stop. MPGs for no load is much higher than with the low load prior to fuel cut.

    Sounds like you have a very nice car in the Outback especially for your area and usage. The Outback is another favorite seen in my work parking lot, other than all sorts of FSPs. Soccer moms with a full team on board come to mind. :D

    Enjoy and thanks for sharing!

Share This Page