Faulty Subaru Head Unit? (2016 Outback)

Spouse and I bought a pre-owned 2016 Outback over the summer (4 cylinder, AT, backup camera without Eyesight).

I would appreciate feedback on some glitches I am encountering with the factory head unit, with a secondary question about how to tell what firmware/software it might be running (any way to see if it has had any updates applied from home vs. taking it to the dealer).

Here are the two glitches:

When using turn-by-turn navigation over Bluetooth connection (iPhone) the navigation clips (audio cuts out when switching between HF and the source). When navigation hands off to the source, whatever source happens to be in use at the time (i.e. SiriusXm), will have an overlay on it stating “call ended”, with the last dialed number displayed on the screen.

If I am driving without the use of phone-based navigation — but have made any earlier use of the phone to place a call — I can’t hit the “Phone” button on the head unit without it functioning like a redial button. If no recent calls have been placed, it will behave normally (phone contacts and speed dial menus will appear). However, if I place a hands-free call while driving, it attempts to automatically redial after I hang up — if I touch the button labeled “Phone” on the head unit.

The battery has been disconnected and the phones paired, removed and re-paired with no improvement. Is this a known issue and if so does it sound like it is a glitch in the software/firmware — or might it be a hardware problem with the factory head unit?

Thank you for your replies — and Happy Holidays, Car Talk community!

Yeah it has a glitch. There is a software fix for it but unless you are still under warranty, the dealer will charge around $150 to put it in. Your warranty is 5 years, 60k miles, but that may be just for the powertrain. This might come under the bumper to bumper 36/36 warranty so you would not be covered.

If you have a few skills and a little patience, you can download the fix from Subaru.com, save it to a USB stick and then follow the directions to install it in the head unit. You plug the USB stick into the iPod port.

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It could easily be a problem with your phone, either hardware or software. Or a glitch caused by differing Bluetooth versions on the phone and the head unit. That’s not supposed to happen, but it does.

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Shadowfax, you could be right — but if you are, I’m guessing it’s anybody running the latest iOS on iPhone because there are three phones I’ve been able to use with this head unit and none of them work correctly.

I’d be curious if anybody else using the stock head unit in the 2016 Outback (the basic version without built-in navigation/maps) — and who also uses iPhone with the latest iOS — has had the same problems? It would be helpful to hear from anybody with this same model to determine how much may be an incompatibility with the phone vs. the head unit possibly malfunctioning.

Since my last post, I updated the head unit at the dealer but nothing changed (still clips the audio on turn-by-turn directions and reports that it has hung up on a “phone call” after every hands-free announcement). Now I also have a new problem since the updates: The head unit doesn’t always load my contacts so I can’t dial off the head unit unless it “feels” like loading my contacts. Before, it would consistently load my contacts while paired over bluetooth — but if I called anybody, the next time I pressed the “Phone” button on the head unit it would simply function as a redial. I guess the redial problem is resolved because there are no contacts in the unit for it to dial (deleting and re-pairing the phone didn’t help either).

To make matters worse, I found out from the dealer that sold my spouse the previous two Subarus that they would have done the updates without charge. That dealer is now ~90 miles away due to a move. The local dealer, who also had our older 2004 Outback for 10 weeks last year and failed to diagnose it correctly (separate discussion on that one), charged $165 for an hour of labor to install updates that didn’t work. And because the head unit has not yet been diagnosed as the fault, the extended “platinum” warranty on the car didn’t cover it. And, of course, to bring it back for further diagnosis? Yet another fee! :unamused:

2016 crosstrek having eerily similar issues, software update didnt fix min either, did it myself after stealership wanted 150 for free usb files and 1hr of my time and 2usb thumbs.

Google subaru head units and you’ll find a trillion complaints…subie has a problem and wont fess up or recall, seeing talks of class action suit…even with the quirks the wife loves her subie and the dang thing is easy to work on so I can live with a quirky stereo

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