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…)
VW, whose growth in the U.S. market has not gone quite according to their optimistic plans, may take a page from booming Subaru’s playbook and introduce an all-wheel-drive station wagon to compete with the Subaru Outback, Fuji Heavy Industries’ best seller in North America.
In 1995, Subaru rolled out the Outback, which was tremendously successful at fooling New Englanders into believing that they were driving an SUV. Seriously: Subaru took a Legacy wagon, raised it an inch, painted the bottom part gold, and – for the first time in its history – became incredibly popular, even among people who don’t consider “granola” acceptable for a restaurant menu. (Let the record reflect I have now completed an entire paragraph about Subaru without making a lesbian joke.)
In 1998, the Subaru Outback range added a sedan model, called the “SUS” for “Sport Utility Sedan.” Unfortunately, the presence of a trunk meant New Englanders were no longer fooled, though some people from Colorado apparently were. Nonetheless, sales were dismal no matter how many times Subaru tried to remind shoppers that driving on a dirt road doesn’t mean you need to carry a lot of stuff. Eventually, they gave up and cancelled the Outback sedan, then redesigned the wagon to compete with a milk truck. (Seriously, why is it so big?)
Back when Pick-N-Pull and Pick Your Part both operated yards in Northern California, Half Price Day sales used to take place at least every couple of months. Everything was half off on those days, which meant you could get transmissions for something like 30 bucks, complete engines for $75, and so on. Then, back in 2009, El Pulpo packed up and left NorCal, which meant that the competition didn’t have as much motivation to put on such sales. Now that I’m in Colorado, it appears that U-Pull-&-Pay also does the occasional Half Price Day… and this time they chose the coldest weekend of this winter. (Read More…)
Yes, dear readers, I am happy to announce the Ed Niedermeyer has returned to automotive journalism. Sort of. And not for TTAC. Ed’s essay on the Subaru Outback and the Mini Countryman is perfectly timed for reading over your Friday lunch. Check it out over at Curbside Classic and curse our fearless Editor Emeritus for installing a snot-nosed neophyte like myself into such a hallowed vocation.
Subaru’s failed relationship with China hasn’t burdened Subaru with too much baggage; the automaker is already moving on, planning to expand its Indiana plant to build more Legacy and Outback models.
Subaru will revise their 2013 Legacy with an all-new 2.5L FB boxer engine. The 2.5GT model, with its turbocharged 2.5L engine, will die a quiet death as Subaru axes their antiquated SOHC flat-four range.