Subaru 4 cyl vs 6 cyl

I’m looking at new Subarus & see that both 6 & 4 cyl models have virtually identical hp & mpg ratings. Any thoughts on why a 6 would be preferable to a 4? Only differences I see are: The 4 has higher torque at lower rpm & a turbocharger

There are actually 2 iterations of the 4-Cylinder engine–one with turbo-charger and one without. The 4 cylinder w/o turbocharger is merely “adequate” and will not satisfy someone with a “sprited” driving style.

As you noted the turbo 4-cylinder and the 6-cylinder have the same power output. The difference is the nature of the power application. I have the 6-cylinder, and I really like the quiet, strong application of power when I need it. On the other hand, if you like a “fast and furious” application of power, then you might like the turbo 4 cylinder model.

I drove both, and I decided that the 6 fit my lifestyle and my character far better than the turbo 4. On the other hand, if I was in my 20s, I might prefer the turbo 4.

I would suggest that you test drive both, and be sure that you really “stick your foot into it” with both of them. They both accelerate very rapidly, but the noise level is vastly different. At the end of a 1/4 mile drag strip, I am sure that the turbo 4 would win, but I am very satisfied with the 6. So far the only vehicle that has ever been able to out-accelerate me was a Harley Davidson!

Also–you should note that the oil change schedule for the turbo model is something like every 3,700 miles, as opposed to the 7,500 mile oil change interval for the 6 cylinder model. While I usually change my oil every 4,000 miles or so, I like to know that I won’t ruin anything or void my warranty if I let it go a bit longer.

also have to factor in how much it gonna cost you to replace a turbo if it blows out.

That’s very helpful. My wife has a turbocharged Passat & I hate the jerky acceleration.

I’m also thinking that having 6 cylinders do the work of 4 would better distribute the effort & stress.

Drive both for an hour in stop and go traffic. If you can stand the turbo lag of the 4 cylinder, then you’re good to go.

The turbo overall feels much more powerful and has better torque and does not feel like it runs out of breathe like the h6. My wife drives the manual transmission Legacy GT wagon with the turbo four. The h6 has more linear power but less of it. Drive both and see what you like better.

I would not fret about replacement as its very old school thinking of the 80’s to think turbo’s fail. Also the idea of turbo lag is gone in modern turbo engines.

The turbo passat 1.8T pales in comparison to the Subaru 2.5 turbo.

One other point that might interest you:

The 4-cylinder models use a timing belt, whereas the 6-cylinder model uses a timing chain.

I have not tired those engines. You should try them before you decide, that is what test drives are for.

I would suggest that in general, a six will be smoother and a four will feel like it has more spirit.

The H6 requires premium gas.

Actually, premium is “recommended”–at least that is the wording in my '02 Owner’s Manual. Of course, I did find a drop in both gas mileage and in power output with regular gas, so I do usually run the car with premium, but in NJ, premium gas is actually the same price or cheaper than regular gas in most states.

As to the 4-cylinder models, I would be very surprised if the turbo-charged model didn’t require premium gas. I know that the non-turbo 4 specifies regular gas–does anyone know for sure about the gas requirements for the turbo-4?

The turbo 4 requires premium in the Legacy/Outback.

This is speculative since I have not driven either of these. It appears, however, that the Turbo 4 has a sharper power peak with respect to RPM which is expected. Why go for that if the peak power is the same and broader for the 6 cyl? HP is only half the story. What are the torque figures and what RPM are peak for both torque and HP? The T4 might be lighter than the 6 as well. A few pounds can make a big difference in a small car.

Turbo 4 shift more, higher performance
6 cyl shift less, way less often

I expect that if I did test these cars, there is no way I would want to be in city traffic with the T4 and a manual trans. On blue highways or rural interstate, bring it on! My wife OTOH, gets alarmed when a car downshifts or is downshifted. (She also gets alarmed if try to pass any more than one car at a time on a broken line. My wife does not understand me?.)

“My wife does not understand me?”

Sure she does. She just doesn’t like some of the stunts you pull. I gots the same problem, too, pal. ;^)

Peak torque and more of it is available in the turbo at a lower RPM making the flat 4 turbo feel much more powerful. There is a short period to about 2500rpm out of boost and then it goes nicely. Below 2500RPM its no slouch but when the power comes on the engine is quite powerful.

The H6 is linear but has less torque available 215 ft lbs@4200RPM which makes it feel less powerful in real world driving since you need to rev it for power. The turbo 4 has 240 ft-lbs @3600RPM.

My wife who owns and picked the flat 4 turbo wagon as her mum mobile loves the occasional rush of power. Her criteria for a car was manual transmission, station wagon and heated seats…Nicely limited choices.

Unless things have changed with the newest models, only an automatic transmission is available with the 6-cylinder model.