Time for the Rematch: 2018 Subaru Outback vs. Gold Mine Hill – Round 2! [Video]

Can the Outback make it up the hill without X-Mode engaged?

Last time, our long-term 2018 Subaru Outback struggled to crest the top of Gold Mine Hill.

As the Subaru failed to crest stage three on our last run up Gold Mine Hill, we contended its CVT was largely to blame. While we shut off the traction control on the attempt, it cut power when two wheels were in the air. However, after that video, some folks suggested that we made an error in setting up the car to climb the hill.

Chief among those suggestions was this: rather than the CVT, X-Mode is the issue. One viewer commented:

I suspect that the reduction in power had nothing to do with the CVT and was actually due to X-Mode being enabled despite VDC being off. In the Owners manual X-Mode is described as “enabling smooth application of torque for easier control of the steering wheel.” Thus, it seems reasonable that X-Mode is what was cutting power. The fact that X-Mode and VDC (traction control) can be manged independently may be confusing to buyers but its something I would expect “professional reviewers” to at least investigate.


Several other comments broadly made the same point. To that end, we decided it was best to run the hill again and try your suggestions out. Can the 2018 Subaru Outback make it up the hill without X-Mode engaged? Does it have something to do with the VDC traction control system? In this video, TFL’s Tommy Mica takes the Subaru for another crack at stage three. Check out the video above to see how that turns out.

Thanks for watching! Check back to TFLcar.com for more news, views and real-world reviews. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow for more videos published throughout the week. If you missed our first attempt, watch the video below!