Subaru Outback & Snow Chains

Discussion in 'Snow Talk' started by NjB, Nov 17, 2016.


    NjB Active Member

    Currently deciding on a new car and have it narrowed down to either a VW Tiguan 132 TSI Comfortline AWD or a Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium which I will be driving to Vic Resorts.

    My heart wants the Tig but my mind says the Outback. Only problem being I read somewhere that the current Outback has issues fitting chains on the front wheels due to limited space behind the wheel. Can any Outback owners confirm this? Is it a big deal to run the chains on the back instead? BTW the chains I am thinking of are the Thule SUV Easy Fit or similar.

    CarveMan Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Paging @snowtyres

    His company expertly fitted some chains to my last car that supposedly wasn't meant to fit them. And in fact standard chains were fine, not the super-thin ones.

    New Tiguan looks great, first sighting on the road the other day, R-Line.

    emkae Active Member Season Pass Gold

    It was a few ago now but I had an outback and just bought bog standard Konig chains.

    Also a few years ago as well, but last time I looked at a Tiguan I was quite disappointed with the lack of luggage space in the back

    If this is important then outback wins

    Marty_McSly Addicted Member Season Pass Gold

    All-new model released this year. They've addressed that issue in spades. It now thumps Gump and CX5 for luggage space. Up from 300-odd to 600-odd litres with the back seat up. Probably still less than the Outback but then the Outback is the closest thing to my trusty Falcon for packaging that I've seen so far.
    :thumbs: Annabuzzy likes this.

    teckel Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    @NjB - where do you plan to use them? Mt Hotham or elsewhere? Spider chains may be an option, if not Mt Hotham. Would definitely NOT use them on the rear wheels.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016

    BilbyBill Well-Known Member

    :thumbs: skifree likes this.

    NjB Active Member

    Thanks - I will drive to Buller & Falls - Hotham very low on my priorities unless the Orchard is in prime condition.

    I thought it was VicRoads regs to have diamond chains and Hotham was just more specific? (i.e. no Aldi diamond chains etc)

    An older thread on this site I think mentioned people running them on the rear wheels on the Outback even though the car manual apparently says front wheels.

    The new Tig is nice (but more $$) and I like the tech in it (adaptive cruise on both is excellent with the Tig winning out on maintaining speed on hilly descents on the highways) - wifey prefers the Outback (but she has her own Calais so doesn't get final say as this is my toy)

    Marty_McSly Addicted Member Season Pass Gold

    I would have thought the closest competitors to the Outback in the VAG stable are the Golf or Passat Alltrack or even the Skoda Octavia Scout?
    :thumbs: Annabuzzy likes this.

    Zimboo Addicted Member

    Subaru all the way here. (Forester for us).
    Would have thought VW would be doing everything they can to get sales after their emmission scandal.

    CarveMan Moderator Season Pass Gold

    If you're buying chains then 100% get diamond. Ladder are rubbish.

    Ludaning Active Member

    Ive got the 2016 2.5 premium outback. Love it. Has everything you need and then some. My wifes got the 2014 Forrester. I prefer the more firmer ride ( if you can call it that) . Forrester seems a bit 'floaty' for me. But she loves it.
    Although I haven't fitted chains to the outback I hired som from Jindy just in case and the place I hired them from never mentioned fit issues.

    Ludaning Active Member

    Love my setup
    :thumbs: dibl0c, NjB and dawooduck like this.

    currawong Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    If you get the outback, you are right to stick with petrol. Too many people around here have had expensive issues with subie particulate filters.
    outbacks used to be lower height than most other suvs which was great for putting skis & boards on the roof. then they got bigger and higher :headbang: . not sure if there is much height advantage now

    Ludaning Active Member

    Apparently the diesel issues are of you only drive the car short distances. The cat converter needs time to heat up and work effectively. With short trips this doesn't happen and it gets clogged up. I went petrol as I do shirt trips. I guess diesel would work if you lived in the country.

    currawong Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    I'm talking about country people who drive reasonable distances and have still had trouble with subie DPFs. VW diesel owners around here have not had the same trouble. Possibly because VW have been cheating and Subaru not.
    :thumbs: CarveMan likes this.

    CarveMan Moderator Season Pass Gold

    That's not great - all the DPF issues I've read about are from people not doing enough distance driving to let it get up to temperature.
    :thumbs: MickM and Ludaning like this.

    sixty_eight Dedicated Member

    If you wait a little while, the Holden Adventra is making a comeback.
    :thumbs: dawooduck likes this.

    currawong Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    they would have been driving mt beauty to falls creek several times a week and probably to albury or further afield ~fortnightly.

    subaru dealer said that driving to falls wasn't enough to warm it up. that's >30km and ~1000m climb.

    VW owners with similar driving habits have not had problems

    CarveMan Moderator Season Pass Gold

    I reckon I'd get it warm driving up to Falls!!

    But that's rubbish, it should be plenty.
    :thumbs: currawong likes this.

    snowtyres Active Member Season Pass Gold

    No problem in fitting Thule/Konig 12 mm. clearance snow chain to 226 60 R 18 100V summer tyres on front wheels of Subaru Outback 2016- (There are issues using 16 mm. clearance chains)

    Snow chains for Volkswagen Tiguan 2016- depends on the wheel/tyre size that the vehicle is supplied with. The wheels/tyre size are different to the previous model.
    VW Tiguan 2016- is supplied with 215 65 R 17, 235 55 R 18 or 235 50 R 19 summer tyres fitted to 7.0 wheels so there maybe a clearance issue. Correct snow chain selection is subject to clearance check on this new model.
    Volkswagen approves fitting of snow chain to 215 65 R 17 winter tyres on 6.5” x 17” winter wheels.
    Best to check the owners manual when you are at the VW dealer under the “winter driving - snow chain" section.

    Thule/Konig/Rud snow chain warranty/guarantee does not cover any snow chains that are used on a vehicle that is fitted with wheels, tyres or a wheel/tyre combination, that is not approved to be fitted snow chains by the vehicle manufacturer.

    We would not suggest using the Thule Easy Fit snow chains on either vehicle as we have found issues with the ‘tensioning wire-cable locators' failing in service. This part can not be serviced or repaired. Please call for details

    Ludaning Active Member

    Yeah that's no good. All the stories I heard were issues from short distances. I knew about it but still went with the outback although was always going for the petrol version.
    We do have friends who had issues driving short distances. After a few years they ended up trading it in. As a result he now hates Subaru.

    dawooduck Pool Room Season Pass Gold

    My Euro corolla DPF faulted about 3 times in the 6yrs I had it. To clear it, TBC drove it to work and back or I just fanged it around a bit. The Subaru DPF looks to be a lemon because a drive from Mt Beauty to Falls should easily clear things out.
    :thumbs: currawong likes this.

    teckel Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    VicRoads allow spider chains, diamond pattern and ladder pattern. Hotham insists on diamond pattern only. I personally would never use or recommend ladder pattern or Aldi diamond pattern for any car on any road. Too subject to failure.
    I've successfully outfitted many cars with 9mm chains without incident. If I can fit my girly middle finger tip around the back of the tyre, it's going to take a 9mm chain. (My finger tip would be about 1cm in depth, maybe more)

    NjB Active Member

    Hmm pity - they looked awesome for a quick fit and for me would have been worth the extra money. Thanks for pointing out the various Thule/Konig 12 mm chains as a workable option though - will look in more detail.

    I drive a Golf 2.0 TDI now (one of the naughty ones) and I love the way it drives but am over diesel (greasy refueling - less pumps - needing alpine mix - needing regular highway drives for the DPF etc). The Tig drove beautifully with typical VW handling and its tech is awesome (I like bright shiny toys) but sadly the otherwise great panoramic sunroof's internal shade is silly in that it is not 100% blockout (partly see through). Also the Tig I am looking at with Driver Assistance Package (digital instrument cluster, adaptive cruise etc) + luxury pack is $7k more than Outback. The Outback is a damn impressive car with good room (the only non standard "SUV" I am looking at) and driver has top notch lumbar support - but the 2.5 petrol engine is a little lacking in guts (about 1 sec slower 0-100 than my current Golf whereas the Tig is 2 secs faster) - it also lacks CarPlay & Android Auto which I really want for improved GPS routing.

    I looked at the Passat Alltrack but it didn't "wow" me and is TDI only. Golf Alltrack (like current Golf) is too small with a rear facing baby seat (even thoug Tig is based on same MQB platfrom I believe the rear seats have more room). No local Skoda dealers for servicing which sadly rules them out because I have heard good things about the forthcoming Skodia Kodiaq.

    CX-5 is about to be replaced and I don't want to wait 6 months. Captiva is called a Craptiva for good reason. Can't get adaptive cruise (must for me) on the Tucson despite great handling (also lacks other tech). Ford Kuga is being renamed Edge and getting mid-life face lift but it won't be here for 4 - 5 months. Hate "boringness" of a Toyota (I now they are good cars). Everyone is telling me to keep away from current Nissans. And I am not monumentally stupid enough to buy a Jeep despite their appealing looks. And Mitsubishi is "blah" - though my brother loves his new Pajero Sport.

    currawong Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    A skiing friend has a subie XV (petrol) and is very happy with it. not sure how the space compares to golf, nor performance, but it could be another option

    chriscross Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    No hesitation recommending the Outback (petrol). Plenty of ski room in the back, Konig T2 Magic chains no problem to fit (once you've done it once). Drove up to top bb car park this year on fresh snow when passenger misread the sign which apparently said to fit chains to all vehicles. No problems. Fitted them for the way down, however. Excellent in very snowy FC carpark in August. No, it's not made in Germany but built in Japan for Australian conditions.

    dawooduck Pool Room Season Pass Gold

    I have two sets of low profile 225/45 17 chains for sale. Koenig Magic K7. Used once or twice.

    MickM Dedicated Member Season Pass Silver

    I have a Pug wagon (308 Diesel) and my mechanic says you need to drive at 100kmh for at least 15 minutes before the DPF cleaning cycle kicks in. This should be done once a week. I easily do that daily and never had an issue in current car (200,000km on clock or previous (307 diesel with 375,000km on clock).

    Annabuzzy Addicted Member Season Pass Gold

    Brought home a new VW Tiguan comfort line 132tsi today. It's pretty good and a lot bigger than the old car.

    As a NSW resident I don't really need to worry about chains. I've only used them once on a 4wd/AWD.
    Ted Harper

    Ted Harper Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    I have an XV (bottom-of-the-line, petrol, 6 speed manual box) - it is my surfing and skiing car; some of you will have seen photos of it in the Perisher threads variously buried and dug out in our lodge carpark in Smiggins.

    It is a very good car, particularly for the money - I paid about 30k for it about 2.5 years ago as a demonstrator, but with only 30km on it (turns out nobody wanted to demo a manual). I get about 6.5l/100km from it on decent drives - a bit more with skis or surfboards on the roof, a bit less on country runs with nothing on the roof.

    It has quite a small boot, so is ok for (say) 3 people or less for a ski weekend - skis on the roof, half of the back seat folded down or used for luggage as well as the boot. Plenty of space/length inside it though, my surfboards (6'1" and less) fit inside it wth half the back seat folded down.

    Good in the snow - I always carry a set of chains but have never fitted them, including some fairly gnarly days and deep snow lodge carpark entries/exists. It has an annoying ground clearance though that seems to accumulate a lot of snow underneath when parked long-term in the snow - that is if it was lower or higher off the ground it wouldn't get filled-in underneath with blown snow like it does.

    At the other end of the scale, what about a Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid as a random SUV suggestion? Petrol (supercharged V6) plus electric, also gets in the range 6.5-7l/100km on highway drives with stuff on the roof and 4 or 5 people in it. Electric range is about 20km - charge from mains or from the petrol engine - so no petrol consumption at all for short trips, doubly so if you have a solar power system. There's also a Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid (with I think a new model arriving really soon) but I don't know much about it other than it exists.

    Gumbo Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    The issue is the conditions required for the car to set a dpf regen/burn. A mountain road will not do it and many drivers will also cause it to not regen. I have the conditions that are required at work but pretty much above 100km/h and in cruise conditions I.e light throttle low load.

    Most cars we get in requiring a forced dpf regen/burn when you put the scan tool on them they show how many dpf burns have been began and how many have been completed an generally it is non complete and heaps started but aborted.

    I tell customers to go on a 45min drive on the highway not loading the motor every week and generally the issues don't reoccur.

    Only issue with a forced dpf burn is that to get the filter hot enough to burn it dumps a heap of extra diesel in the motor causing the oil to require replacement after a forced burn.

    Another note a incomplete factory burn can cause issues to because if you sit and watch the soot levels during a burn they go up before going down so if you have a partial burn you end up blocking the dpf more.

    I would love to put a gas analyser on a car during the dpf burn as I recon as it is not tested as part of emissions it prob is just shifting the pollution all to that point.( not really cleaner for the environment but hiding the issues)
    :thumbs: DJM likes this.

    NjB Active Member

    How have you found the car so far? Did you get it with DAP &/or luxury pack?

    I had a look at one with sunroof today (luxury pack) and the see through internal cover is a big disappointment
    Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Well-Known Member

    I am tossing up between a Subaru outback AWD and going the whole hog and getting either 4 WD Toyota Hilux or Land cruiser.I am looking at the 2nd hand market.

    Beerman Dedicated Member Season Pass Silver

    Have never been a fan of any VW since 2001. Company i worked for had a variety of VW's. None of them were any good.
    2 mates have had Golf's, one brand new, one second hand. Both at the garage a lot more regularly than they should have been and cemented my thoughts toward VW.
    Most vehicle manufacturers design their cars to win awards, and VW have certainly scored their fare share, but they are designed to fail as well. The Germans are very good Engineers, and know how to build in designed redundancy, the other euro manufacturers are 'behind' the Germans in this area, which isn't a bad thing.
    Unfortunately VW is one of the leading auto manufacturers accelerating the throw away mentality.

    Annabuzzy Addicted Member Season Pass Gold

    No luxury pack here. I wouldn't have minded leather but I hate sunroofs.

    It's fine so far. Not too much to say as we've only tootles around the city. Certainly a very well put together car. Handles well. More than enough power. A bit wider than the preceding version and a lot more boot space.

    The wife is particularly happy with it.

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend Season Pass Gold

    Interesting @Gumbo many thanks.

    Hully Dedicated Member

    My bro has had issues with his last 2 high spec Forester Diesels going to return to workshop for 'burn off' status when driving off Falls and Hotham (following driving up from Melb!!!!). He raised the issue with Subaru Australia and questioned alpine diesel as a cause but they fobbed it off. Has gone back to petrol for his new Forester....though STI so a real boy's toy.
    :thumbs: currawong likes this.
    DPS Driver

    DPS Driver Dedicated Member

    Petrol Outback. Can't beat 'em. My last two were also the 6 cyclinder versions. Awesome set up and bullet proof.

    I've had many Subarus starting back with an "86 DL wagon, several Foresters & Outbacks and never had any great issues with any of them. Great cars and well built.
    :thumbs: currawong, Whiteman and Ted Harper like this.

    Whiteman Addicted Member Season Pass Gold

    ^^^^ What he said. I have 2 Outbacks, 6 cylinder donk. Can't go past them.:thumbs:

    Marty_McSly Addicted Member Season Pass Gold

    I've never really been inspired by the engine options in the Outback. The diesel seems a bit light on for the heavy body. Would be better if they did a 2.5D for it. Similarly the 2.5 petrol isn't enough engine for my tastes. The 3.6 has never been on my radar in the past because of cost and lack of a manual gearbox option. I guess now that manuals have almost totally disappeared from the Oz market that's not such a big deal any more. Ironic that the Yanks have a greater availability of manuals than we do. o_O:confused:

    I believe some overseas markets get a 2.5 petrol turbo Outback. That would be right in the sweet spot IMHO.

    NjB Active Member

    Doh! forgot about this and was about to place a deposit today on a 162TSI Highline Tiguan which has the 235 R55 18 tyres. So after a quick look it seems the only chains that will fit are the Thule \ Konig K-Summits spider chains which automatically rules out Hotham (even though I plan to really only go to Buller & Falls). Are spider chains rubbish compared to regular diamond pattern?

    snowtyres Active Member Season Pass Gold

    Give Richard a call at RCS on 03 9822 9539 and i can discus some options with you
    :thumbs: NjB likes this.

    NjB Active Member

    Thanks for the advice on the phone today much appreciated. I am currently waiting for some info back from my local VW dealer.

    NjB Active Member

    I had a look at both the Highline & Comfortline Tiguans. On the Highline there appears to be about 15mm gap (one finger) between the tyre and the supporting plate at the base of the springs (whatever that is called) which doesn't sound like it is enough for 12mm chains. Whereas the Comfortline has about 30+mm (I can get two fingers in between them)

    NjB Active Member

    I measured more accurately and the gap is only 14mm on the highline so no hope for chains. Are the Thule/Konig K-Summits really a no go for summer tyres? This type of spider chain (or maybe the Clack & Go) appears to be my only option. Happy to avoid Hotham if I use spider chains.

    Marty_McSly Addicted Member Season Pass Gold

    Why not do what the Euros do? Buy a 2nd set of wheels for alpine duty. If the base or Comfortline have narrower 17" wheels they would do the trick with appropriate tyres, as long as the Highline doesn't have bigger brakes that mandate the 18's. But that would be most unusual. If you get the 30mm clearance with smaller wheels it gives you more options for chains.

    NjB Active Member

    Simple $$$$ Can't justify cost for just at most a few trips a year when odds of needing to use chains are less than 10% on any given trip. Just looking for a simple legal & safe solution on the off hand chance I need to use chains.

    Waiting to hear back from VW dealer if there is any flow on effect on different tyres \ rims (such as brakes like you mentioned).

    Getting to the point where I might be forced to forgo the Tiguan altogether as the wait for a Comfortline that complies with chains is just too damn long - I might have to go with the underpowered Outback or a less refined, larger and slightly more expensive Sante Fe Highlander (Adaptive Cruise is a must for me)
    Mr. Mook

    Mr. Mook Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    If you lived in the mountains this would be the way to go.
    If you don't, its the price of a few hundred dollars (or less if you're cheap) for a set of chains that you may need to fit once or twice vs the thousands for a full set of wheels & tyres that you fit every winter or time you go to the mountains just in case you might need them.

    Change all 4 wheels twice every year (or every trip) or put chains on occasionally.

    oldgeezer Active Member

    Yes, diesel BMW had problems about the 3rd year we had it, and is manifested when I pulled out to overtake around 95 and nothing happened whereas it had taken off like a rocket up till then. Useless dealers took a couple of days to diagnose the problem and supposedly fixed it but same again twelve months later. The again yet another twelve months later by which time I was fed up with them for not just that but other dodgy work and useless front desk guys. So off it went to independent mechanics, both ex-BMW dealer mechanics. They knew what it was right away PLUS told us what we had to do to avoid the issue: (a) change the oils twice the BMW recommend mileage and (b) get the temperature up high to combust the particles as the designers had envisaged, i.e. high speed autobahn driving. The former may have been related to another design assumption pertaining to the standards to which diesel is refined in Europe v Singapore. (True or not, not sure but it was from a guy who used to know lots of stuff by virtue of having worked in strategic intelligence analysis). Anyway back to point (b) these ex-BMW guys acknowledged how of course in Australia getting up to autobahn speed for considerable distance was just impossible of course but the same effect could be achieved say between Sydney and the Snowies by, when we got to any decent long climbing hill to use the manual gear selector and drop back to about 4th gear to get the revs up but maintain max speed up the hills.

    teckel Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Clack & Go chains or any similar 9mm diamond pattern chain will suit. If you have any doubts about them, give me a call on 5963 7029 during office hrs (but not Tuesdays or Wednesdays)