By on October 5, 2017

2018 Subaru Outback - Image: SubaruIn September 2017, Subaru reported the company’s 70th consecutive year-over-year U.S. sales increase. That’s nearly six complete years of steadily improving U.S. sales volume.

Think of it this way: 2013 was a huge year for Subaru of America as sales had risen 59 percent over the span of just two years. But in 2013, Subaru sold 424,683 over the course of the entire calendar year. In 2017, that’s a total Subaru blasted past in the first week of September.

But have you ever stopped to notice that Subaru is accomplishing much of its success with three remarkably similar variations of the same theme? Crosstrek, Forester, Outback. A bit of extra length there, a touch of extra height here, a smidgen of savings there, a dose of extra equipment here. This is hardly the historically obvious 3 Series to 5 Series to 7 Series lineup. The Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback are conceptually similar vehicles with overlapping price spectrums. And recently, with a huge leap in Crosstrek popularity, they’re all similarly popular, too.

You almost get the sense Subaru could squeeze an Outback “four-door coupe” in there and sell 12,000 of those each month, too. (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2017

2018 Subaru Crosstrek - Image: SubaruSubaru’s eight-month-old U.S. monthly sales record of 63,177 units, reported in December 2016, fell by the wayside as Subaru of America posted its 69th consecutive year-over-year sales increase in August 2017.

Subaru sales last month jumped 5 percent over August 2016 to 63,215 units, breaking the brand’s all-time record by a scant 38 units.

Why is Subaru’s August growth and record achievement so important? There are four key reasons. (Read More…)

By on September 5, 2017

2003 Chevrolet Tahoe

Those of you who follow TTAC regularly and with some interest (so, 100 percent of you) are no doubt aware of a high-level used car search I’ve been conducting as of late. A rather unexpected purchase occurred this past Saturday while everyong was enjoying their long Labor Day weekend.

Come and have a look.

(Read More…)

By on August 15, 2017

2017 Subaru Outback - Image: Subaru According to Cars.com, there are roughly 17,000 copies of the 2017 Subaru Outback on dealer lots across the United States.

That’s slightly more than one month’s supply for the Outback, a high-riding crossover of a wagon that has lately attracted an average of 15,600 U.S. sales per month.

But with a modest facelift and underskin refresh due for the 2018 model year — there are already 6,000 Outbacks in stock at Subaru dealers — Subaru needs these 2017 Outbacks to disappear before full availability of MY2018 Outbacks kills demand for the outgoing model.

So Subaru is doing what Subaru doesn’t do. You can get a deal on a 2017 Subaru Outback. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack - Image: Volkswagen

You didn’t seriously think there was a tall, be-cladded wagon that could sell like a Subaru Outback, did you?

And you didn’t think — if such a tall, be-cladded wagon did have the potential to sell as well as a Subaru Outback — that it would be a Volkswagen Golf Alltrack?

Of course you didn’t, not in this post-diesel scandal world. But as the all-conquering Subaru Outback continues to enjoy increased U.S. demand, the latest Outback alternative is already suffering a mild case of DTWS.

Not Dancing With The Stars. Don’t read so fast.

Decreased Tall Wagon Sales.

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack’s May 2017 performance of only 1,312 sales represented a six-month low. (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2017

Image: Capture from YouTube

In a classic case of fight-or-flight response, a Milwaukee woman named Melissa Smith has just filled up her Subaru Outback and realizes there’s a man on the driver’s side about to steal her off-roading vehicle. Rather than let the thief drive off with her ride, she takes action. Immediately jumping up onto the hood, Melissa stares the criminal right in the eyes. According to an interview the victim provided to various news outlets, the thief laughed in her face and turned the wipers on, in an attempt to brush her off like mere precipitation. That didn’t work. She grabs onto the wipers for dear life. Then in two successive attempts, the would-be thief accelerates quickly and brakes, trying to shake Ms. Smith from the hood.

(Read More…)

By on April 6, 2017

2018 Subaru Outback, Image: Subaru

It’s just slightly easier to notice the changes made to Subaru’s 2018 Outback compared to, say, next year’s radically refreshed Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

Though subtle, the Outback’s 2018 styling tweaks brings the all-wheel-drive wagon’s design more in line with its corporate siblings, each of which tries to emulate the brand’s endless parade of Viziv concepts. If you were hoping for a power boost from the vehicle’s stalwart 2.5-liter flat-four, well, dream on. (Read More…)

By on November 11, 2016

2016 Subaru Outback 25i LimitedIs it still a cult following if only six, undeniably mainstream utility vehicles are more popular?

Honda, Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford…

Subaru? While the U.S. auto industry dropped 6 percent in October 2016, losing nearly 90,000 sales compared with October 2015, the Subaru Outback soared to new heights.

If the Subaru Outback is the leader of a cult, as Dan Neil wrote in the Wall Street Journal earlier this fall, the cult is now big enough that we ought to call it a mainstream religion. (Read More…)

By on November 4, 2016

2017 Audi A4 Allroad white

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…)

By on September 2, 2016

2017 Subaru Forester

Sales of new vehicles declined by nearly 4 percent in the United States in August 2016, a year-over-year drop which followed flatlining sales over the previous three months. Bucking the trend to no small degree in August was capacity-constrained Subaru, which earned 4 percent of the market by selling more than 60,000 new vehicles for the first time in the company’s history.

Making Subaru’s achievements even more impressive: according to TrueCar, discounts in Subaru showrooms in August were 78-percent below the industry average. (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2016

2007 Honda Element EX, Image: American Honda

“About twice a week, I’ll come out to the parking lot and see that somebody’s left a note asking to buy it,” Peter said, chuckling. “But the only reason I’d sell it would be to get a newer one. And the prices on those are even crazier. So I’ll keep it. Forever. It’s my car for life, no matter what else I buy or own or whatever.”

A devoted ultra-marathoner and trail-runner who thought nothing of running 30 kilometers on Saturday and then doing it again on Sunday, Peter was the photographer assigned to me on a recent project for another media outlet. He was (obviously) hugely fit, extremely disciplined, and very much in love with his car.

But what kind of car could inspire that kind of affection from a guy like Peter, to say nothing of all the parking-lot stalkers who keep trying to buy his car? Is it a Boss 302? A 458 Speciale? A pristine MkIV Toyota Supra Turbo? I’m afraid not. The belle of Peter’s ball is a homely little box of a car that, when it was new, rarely left a showroom without the assistance of a massive trade allowance, a flatbed tow truck, or possibly both.

(Read More…)

By on June 28, 2016

Golf Alltrack Subaru Outback combo

We don’t yet know the exact price of Volkswagen USA’s 2017 Golf Alltrack.

We are certain, however, that Volkswagen, a company with a brand image severely tarnished in the United States, will be able to do no better than slightly undercut the basic price of the Subaru Outback.

And that might be a problem. (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2016

lincoln town car cartier

Adam writes:

Hey Bark,

I’m currently driving a car that’s outlasted jobs, girlfriends, friendships, an Obama presidency and a Harper administration. I am rolling in a 1998 Lincoln Town Car Cartier — and boy do I love my ride!

From my pic, you can see “Mitzi” is a well taken care of lady. 446,000 kms later, I still love her as much as I did when I bought her. However, after 18 years, the undercarriage (despite yearly rust proofing, thanks southern Ontario winters) is becoming brittle and I feel like I’m getting repairs on a bi-weekly basis. If not for this being my first car, I would have moved on a long time ago. Aside from heated seats, a gold dash analog clock, a six-CD changer in the trunk and an unmistakable ride, it offers little else (aside from being insanely dependable for most its life).

My question: What should I get next?

(Read More…)

By on May 10, 2015

2015 Subaru Outback

Subaru reported the brand’s 41st consecutive month of year-over-year U.S. sales improvement last month and in so doing produced the brand’s highest-volume April in the history of Subaru of America.

47,241 Subarus were sold in the United States last month, an 18% increase compared with April 2014. The 7,158-unit increase was powered by gains from the Forester, Outback, Legacy, XV Crosstrek, and the WRX/STi.

High-riders – the Forester, Outback, and XV – accounted for 71% of Subaru’s volume last month. (Read More…)

By on September 2, 2014

2015 Subaru OutbackOf 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…)

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