Remind me not to buy a late model Subaru.

Aug 13, 2017
I like their price/features/stellar awd and reliability up to 100k miles. That being said. Just got home from a 2600 mile jaunt through the West's wide open spaces. I noticed numerous times with multiple new/newish Subaru's a pattern that confirms what I saw a couple summers back on my last Western swing. 80mph speed limit, cruise set at 82-83 on the freeway. Passed by Subaru doing 85mph+ get to next uphill portion of same road. Pass said Subaru that is now laboring up the grade at sub 82-83mph speed, sometimes substantially slower than the speed the old lady's minivan is locked onto. I like it best when they get out of the fast lane like any courteous driver would do and let the faster vehicles pass which is about everyone. This happened dozen's of times. I think the engines on these cars are fully adequate as far as horsepower if I recall. Is the gearing/CVT that far off?
I have several members of the Subaru cult in my family. The ones I have ridden in rode like cheap cars-- Just my perception. I doubt that they would not be able to maintain speed on a moderate incline unless at high altitude and not turbo boosted
Some vehicles seem to let the vehicle speed stay lower than the speed set on the cruise control on uphills. Generally only a few km/h but they won't catch up to the set speed on a long uphill.
I'd guess the cruise control programming is set to avoid big throttle openings and downshifts to avoid harshness and possibly keep from kicking the cruise control off if the traction control activates in slippery conditions.
That's the CVT doing. It tries to maintain the engine RPM's low, so that's changing a bit the transmission ratio.
On almost all newer cars (not just Subarus) the speedometer is 2mph too quick. So their speedo shows 85mph, but their true (GPS) speed is 83mph. Some of my cars had that issue, but I fix that by going one size up in tire size.
My experience has been exactly opposite. Living in Utah, I have plenty of opportunity to travel mountain passes in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and other neighboring states. I don't know if it is how the CVT is programmed or the cruise control, buy my Outback has always been very aggressive at accelerating to maintain set cruise speed while going uphill.

One of my first experiences where I was made keenly aware of this was coming home to Northern Utah after spending a few days in Wyoming helping my son paint a new home. I typically set my cc at about 82 or 83 mph while traveling I-80 through Wyoming, and every time I went up a mountain pass, I would pass quite a few cars. Then going down the back side of the pass, with my cc maintaining the same set point, many of the same cars I had passed would now pass me. Then we would do the same dance on the next mountain pass.

My Outback has the 2.5 liter engine that puts out a modest 172 hp. But I have never had a problem maintaining faster than average speeds.
Never really understood the attraction/devotion to Subaru. I've looked at the Outback wagon back in early 2000's, but the frameless window glass made me nervous about catching my chin on entry with a tight parking spot. Additionally, these and Mazda's rust pretty fast in SW Ontario.

Since then, the brand shows up frequently as being less robust that other brands for engines, suspension, and other areas. Too many other brands to choose from IMHO.
I won't deny I have something of an attraction but my logical brain has won out over the years but I am susceptible to temptation as witnessed by my owning of many VW's over the years. I almost bought a new Legacy years back but the day I was going to pull the trigger it was sold already and they didn't have what I wanted on the lot. I Bought a Passat instead, that same day.
I've done a lot of miles in a neighbors 2017 Outback limited in the last two years. The 3.6l and CVT were NOT gutless...

I took it in for service and got a 2020 Outback base model four-banger as a loaner. It was pretty gutless, however.

But no way would I own one, even the 3.6l. I did a pre-purchase inspection for someone on a 2017 Crosstrek last year. The cooling systems was rusting away after 3 years of modest use in the car-friendly PNW climate. They have still to fix design flaws in the system that goes back decades. Needless to say, it was a pre-"nonpurchase" inspection.
I few years ago road tripped in a 13 Crosstrek. SOOOO underpowered. The mountain passes made it scream to keep the speed up and I floored it and set the cruise into a strong SE wind in Montana and floored it was screaming to get 90.

Now, the Forester does a ton better, I think. That extra 0.5L and 30-40HP makes a difference. But high speeds and wind and mountains make any 4 cylinder struggle, regardless of brand.