Compared with Audi’s new, fifth-generation 2017 Audi A4 sedan, the 2017 Audi A4 Allroad is nine-tenths of an inch higher. Ground clearance grows from 5.2 inches to 6.5.
It’s not exactly Rubicon ready.
But wait. Audi added four inches of black cladding above the front wheel arches; four-and-a-half above the rear wheels. Jeep Jamboree, here we come. (Read More…)
I own a 2011 Subaru Outback that just reached 107,000 miles. The past four bills I’ve received for it have cost anywhere from $300-580 a pop (two were for maintenance, plus the timing belt and new brakes up front).
Should I get used to high bills for it, or am I just getting ripped off by the dealership?
Settling the debate between whether Mazda’s Koeru concept from Frankfurt was a new CX-5 or CX-9 (or CX-7?), CEO Masamichi Kogai told Automotive News that the answer may be “none of the above,” apparently.
On Monday, Kogai said that the Koeru could get the green light as a sporty crossover, sold alongside the CX-5 as a wagon-esque crossover aimed “to generate more driving pleasure,” Kogai told Automotive News.
Media reports on Tuesday likened the lower, fastback, five-door Mazda wagon to a possible Subaru Outback competitor, which completely forgets what an Outback looks like today.
Over the last month, I’ve spent more time driving Subarus than any other vehicle. This was not intentional.
It all got started in August, when I went to Pebble Beach and I asked Subaru for a press car. I don’t normally take press cars, but I decided that I wanted to continue my tradition of going to Pebble Beach in a station wagon, which now spans four years and four different wagons: a 1997 BMW 528i Touring, a 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, a 2000 Volvo V70 Cross Country, and now the Subaru.
Subaru has a problem, though it’s a problem many other automakers would love to have. The small Japanese automaker is growing at a rapid rate and it’s fully expected to run out of capacity to fulfill demand sooner rather than later. Most automakers would simply expand and flood the market with more units to feed the sales rush, but for Subaru it might mean becoming the opposite of the market position and perception they’ve taken years to cultivate.
As Bloomberg‘s Kyle Stock puts it, “Being small, though, is the reason Subaru has become such a big deal. With manufacturing capacity maxed out, it now has to decide what kind of company it wants to be.”
The SUV craze of the 1990s caught Subaru by surprise. The company simply did not have a product that everyone wanted. The North American division of Fuji Heavy Industries had no choice but to play the cards they were dealt. The engineers looked into the VW Golf Country 4×4 for inspiration, then took a Legacy wagon and lifted it, added some molding, big fog lights with mesh screens, and a roof rack. The marketing people ingeniously called it the Outback and hired the best known Aussie in America, Paul Hogan, to promote it.
The results of this marketing brilliance were sales that exceeded expectations, possibly saving the company. The Outback was such a huge hit Volvo and Audi followed suit and jacked up their own wagons, creating the Cross Country XC and the allroad quattro. At the 2014 New York International Auto Show, with yours truly in attendance, two models first dressed as vegan organic French-press coffee drinking hipster hikers, and later as that blissfully ignorant well-dressed couple that every thirty year old yuppie think they will always be, unveiled the fifth generation of the Outback.
Of all the things that struck me during my week with the 2015 Subaru Outback at the end of August, it was the realization that this nameplate has been around for two decades which shocked me most.
Is this because I’m getting old, that when I think something occurred recently, I find out it actually happened 20 years ago? Subaru first showed North Americans a Legacy Outback at the New York Auto Show in 1994. In other words, there are people who have been driving for four years who never knew a world without the Subaru Outback.
Yet during this long period in which the Outback, and Subaru as a whole, became increasingly successful, there have never been any properly direct Outback rivals, at least none that have made real hay off the Outback’s format. And yes, by the Outback’s format, I really mean the AMC Eagle’s format. (Read More…)
TTAC Commentator Detroit Iron writes:
Long time no talk (I sound like a native American an Indian). (Yeah, not so much. – SM)
I have an 09 Outback with ~65k miles. I had noticed a bit of a burning smell after running it for a while and it was pretty strong after a recent trip. I thought it smelled like a belt slipping but when I popped the hood the two belts looked fine. After looking around for a minute I realized that the passenger side CV boot had torn and was dripping grease on to the cat. Checking the other side revealed that the driver’s side boot was also torn. Apparently this is a pretty common failure for scoobies. The Internet says I should be concerned if I hear a “popping” sound or the clunk associated with failing bearings. Luckily I am hearing neither. The dealer had a set price of $370 per boot for replacing the boots that the service manager somewhat disconcertingly blurted out almost before I finished describing the problem. The independent shop thought they could do both for less than $500 if the axles weren’t bad, but if they were bad then it would be another $450 per.
My question is this: Can I just get split boots from JC Whitney and pack them with grease or do I really need to have the pros fix it? (Read More…)
The 2015 Subaru Outback made a stop at the 2014 New York Auto Show as the fifth-generation wagon makes its way to the showroom floor this summer.
A new gold dawn for touring cars is upon us if Subaru is to be believed. Come November, the automaker will unveil the future of the Legacy and Outback at the Tokyo Motor Show: The Levorg.