The Truth About Cars » Subaru http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:30:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Subaru http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Subaru: No WRX Hatch For U.S. Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/subaru-no-wrx-hatch-for-u-s-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/subaru-no-wrx-hatch-for-u-s-market/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=808482 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Hatchback

For those who want a Subaru WRX or WRX STi, but prefer the utility of the previous hatchback over the current sedan offerings, they should start breathing again, as Subaru will not be bringing such a beast to the United States after all.

Motor Trend reports that last month, WRX project manager Masuo Takatsu informed Motoring.com.au that Subaru “received strong interest from the US” for a hatchback variant, citing the 50 percent uptake by the U.S. market for the previous hatch. The statement came as a surprise to Subaru of America, who weren’t expecting anything more than the sedans:

We do not know about, nor do we have, any plans for a WRX hatch. Takatsu San is the product general manager of the WRX, but this is not something he has discussed with us.

One exchange between Subaru of America and Subaru of Japan later gave the final word: No WRX hatch will be forthcoming to the U.S. market, citing cost issues against producing both sedan and hatchback models.

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New York 2014: 2015 Subaru Outback Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-subaru-outback-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-subaru-outback-revealed/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:21:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=803114 2015-Subaru-Outback-06

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.

Under the bonnet, a choice of either a 2.5-liter flat-4 or 3.6-liter flat-6 will send 175 to 256 horsepower through a standard CVT to all four corners. The Legacy-esque Outback should average 28 mpg from the flat-4, 22 with the flat-6.

As for safety, rearview camera, pre-collision braking and adaptive cruise control make up part of the overall driver-protection package on-offer from Subaru.

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Subaru May Revive The WRX Hatchback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/subaru-may-revive-the-wrx-hatchback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/subaru-may-revive-the-wrx-hatchback/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 11:10:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=787009 2015-Subaru-WRX-blue-tree_rdax_646x396

Strong sales of the WRX hatchback in America have led Subaru to re-consider their “sedan only” policy for the current generation WRX.

An Australian enthusiast site spoke to WRX Project General Manager Masuo Takatsu, who said that strong demand for the hatch in America (where it accounted for half of WRX sales) has led them to re-consider their plans

“We have received strong interest from the US, where the hatchback was 50 per cent (of previous-generation WRX sales), so we’re now considering. The main target for WRX is the US…Japan is number two, Australia number three. Basically, we target these three markets.”

Takatsu said that limited resources were behind the lack of a hatch at launch, and interestingly, a two-pedal variant of the STi. Subaru’s Australian arm eventually expects the CVT powered WRX to account for as much as 50 percent of WRX sales, though the hatch has always been a much weaker play.

Oddly, the 90+ percent take rate for the sedan in Australia runs counter to its competitors like the VW Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST and Renaultsport Megane, which are all hatches. On the other hand, Americans are notoriously fond of sedans, but are the biggers buyers of WRX hatchbacks.

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Crapwagon Outtake: The Subaru RX Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/crapwagon-outtake-the-subaru-rx-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/crapwagon-outtake-the-subaru-rx-coupe/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 19:48:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=755265 20755620002_large

I once read a book abut Subaru’s history in the American market, which I assume makes me an expert on all things Fuji Heavy. That and I came home from the hospital in a GL10 Turbo station wagon, which suffered an ignominious death from rust just months later. But somehow, there was a gap in my Subaru knowledge, specifically with their two-door models.

As far as I knew, Subaru’s two door models included the XT, the SVX and the Impreza Coupe. Oh, and the BRAT. But I had no idea that the RX Coupe existed – not that many other people did either. Based on the Leone/GL, only 2600 RX Coupes were imported over a two year period from 1987 to 1989, with an automatic transmission only available in 1989.

Power came from a 1.8L turbocharged boxer-four, making 115 horsepower and 134 lb-ft of torque. Although the RX looked like a sporty coupe, it came with a low-range transmission and a locking center differential, as well as an unusually high ride height. On-road performance may not have been as sharp as some of its competitors, but the grip and handling on loose surfaces made up the difference. In a way, it was the Outback sedan, long before it was a glimmer in the eye of a New England Subaru dealer.

The RX’s limited numbers translate into a scarce supply. The only RX for sale in the country is this beautifully preserved sedan, which has the 5-speed manual/low-range combo and a very period correct color scheme. If I had one, it would look more like this.

 

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QOTD: Choose Your Own Parts-Bin Sporting Coo-Pay http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/qotd-choose-your-own-parts-bin-sporting-coo-pay/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/qotd-choose-your-own-parts-bin-sporting-coo-pay/#comments Fri, 21 Feb 2014 21:21:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=751529 orochi

Oh my, this Toyobaru GT86 situation is a shame, isn’t it? QC issues, dealer gouging, controversial tire choices, sundial acceleration, the catastrophically depressing drone of the engine as it asthmatically stumbles to its powerless redline before the injector seals fail and it vomits out its component parts in a single “FehhhrrrrrrrrggggggghhhhPOP.”

If only the people at Subaru and Toyota had asked you instead of letting their own accountants engineers make the decisions. As Andre 3000 once sang, you know what to do-oooooh-ooooh.

All the parts for a great affordable sports Coop are out there, man! You just have to, like, know how to assemble them! How about an RX-8 with the engine from the Mazdaspeed3? Better yet, a Miata Coupe with the engine from the MS3! Or an M228i with roll-up windows! Or, um, a roadster body on the Ford Ranger with an Ecoboost six!

Clearly, my robotic creativity could never come close to what you humans could imagine. So hit me with your best shot. Put the parts together from various bins, come up with an idea for styling and specification. And if we need rules… let’s say an MSRP of $34,999 or less, shall we? Just do me a favor: make sure the Forester’s base motor doesn’t make the scene in your dreams.

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Slow Sales Of Scion FR-S Disappoint Toyota, Jeopardize Engine Upgrades http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/slow-sales-of-scion-fr-s-disappoint-toyota-jeopardize-engine-upgrades/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/slow-sales-of-scion-fr-s-disappoint-toyota-jeopardize-engine-upgrades/#comments Wed, 19 Feb 2014 22:40:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=749001 2013_Scion_FR-S_--_2012_NYIAS

The Scion FR-S – lightweight, affordable sports car that the world was supposedly waiting for – is reportedly lagging behing its sales targets across the globe, making it difficult for Toyota to justify upgrading the engine or bringing a convertible to market.

Speaking to Auto Express, Toyota Europe R&D head Gerald Killman said

“A faster version of that car would be at the top of most people’s wish lists, but like the cabriolet, it is hard to justify a business case to push either model into production based on the current sales.”

Killman also reportedly expressed befuddlement over the car’s cool reception in the market, depsite enthusiastic reviews, not realizing that this is exactly the problem. Enthusiasts, like automotive journalists, don’t buy new cars. Even though they clamored for a new rear-drive sports car that was relatively affordable, gearheads still found fault with all sorts of things, from the lack of power to the less than impressive numbers it put up and even the sub-$25k pricetag (according to some, it should have been around $20k). If this car suffers an unnaturally short lifespin, there will be plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth from the same people who criticized it and never bought it in the first place.

This is also a particularly tough time for a youth-oriented sports car to exist in the marketplace. Car ownership for the FR-S’ target market has become a faraway dream in Europe, a relic of an idea in Japan and a luxury in North America. Personally, I think the car was a victim of too much hype. The Toyobaru could never measure up to the effusive praise heaped on it by the media, though I have grown to like the car more and more as time goes on.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chicago 2014: Subaru Legacy Goes CVT Only http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-subaru-legacy-goes-cvt-only/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-subaru-legacy-goes-cvt-only/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 16:57:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=735153 2015-Subaru-Legacy-01

 

Since you’ve already seen the 2015 Subaru Legacy, here’s the Cliff’s Notes: the 2.5L 4-cylinder and 3.6L 6-cylinder boxer engines are back, and a CVT is the sole transmission available. A torque-vectoring system, borrowed from the WRX, is also standard. We hear that the next Outback will bow in April at the New York Auto Show.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Subaru BRAT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1982-subaru-brat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1982-subaru-brat/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 14:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=733825 15 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith so many old Subarus in Denver wrecking yards, I do run across the occasional BRAT. We’ve seen this ’79 and this very rare Sawzall Edition ’86 so far in this series, and today we’ll be looking at a well-used ’82 that still has the very rare lawsuit-inducing jumpseats in the back.
14 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, those Chicken Tax-skirting jumpseats that made the BRAT, legally speaking, a car instead of a truck were loose in the bed of this Subaru when I found it a couple weeks back.
13 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI thought about buying the seats for my Dodge A100 van, but they’re missing the headrests and one of the grab handles, plus the floor-mounting brackets were beat to hell.
12 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars rusted very quickly, though Colorado’s arid climate spared this one from full-on Michigan-grade cancer.
10 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNice BRATs are worth quite a bit these days. Thrashed ones are worth scrap value.
05 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStrangely, I saw three vehicles with variations on this sticker during this trip to the junkyard. There’s meaning there somewhere.

01 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
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2015 Subaru Legacy Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2015-subaru-legacy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2015-subaru-legacy/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 07:48:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=732954 2015 Subaru Legacy 01

The 2015 Subaru Legacy leaked late last night. Not bad, Subie.

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Production-Ready Subaru Legacy To Make 2014 Chicago Auto Show Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/production-ready-subaru-legacy-to-make-2014-chicago-auto-show-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/production-ready-subaru-legacy-to-make-2014-chicago-auto-show-debut/#comments Sat, 01 Feb 2014 08:34:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=729042 2015 Subaru Legacy Tease

After its worldwide debut as a concept at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show last November, the Subaru Legacy is ready to show-off its production-ready ensemble at next week’s 2014 Chicago Auto Show.

Though the teaser doesn’t offer much — as teasers are wont to do — it does offer glimpses of the sedan’s thin A-pillar, raked windscreen, and the matching LED lights up front and down back, all part of Subaru’s new design language. Judging by the lightly flared fenders, however, no 21-inch wheels — like those on the concept in LA — will be offered when the Legacy arrives in showrooms this year.

The production Legacy will debut February 6 at the Chicago Auto Show.

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2015 Subaru WRX STI Photos Leaked http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/2015-subaru-wrx-sti-photos-leaked/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/2015-subaru-wrx-sti-photos-leaked/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 15:55:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=695177 2015-Subaru-WRX-Sti-01

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Subaru is paying the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo plenty of compliments. No specs have been announced, but it’s clear where the Scooby’s styling cues are from.

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Vellum Venom Vignette: Ovoid Fixation Edition? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/vellum-venom-vignette-ovoid-fixation-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/vellum-venom-vignette-ovoid-fixation-edition/#comments Tue, 24 Dec 2013 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=686786

Ryan writes:

OK, so the granddaddy of oval car logos must be the Ford blue oval, but they sure do have a lot of imitators. So, how about a Vellum Venom on Comparative Oval Logos in the Automotive Industry? Or if you don’t like this pitch, maybe put Sanjeev on it. I bet he’d do this article.

Here’s the logos I can think of right now, all horizontal ovals:

  • Ford
  • Subaru
  • Kia
  • Hyundai
  • Toyota (the modern tri-oval T logo)
  • Daewoo
  • Infiniti
  • Scion
  • (Don’t forget Lexus and Land Rover – SM)

An oval (technically these logos are all ellipse-shaped, but nobody calls it the “blue ellipse”) is a pretty basic shape, but when I think of other corporate logos, I don’t see a lot of horizontal ovals (round logos? Yes, both in and out of the car industry). Even the proportions of these logos all seem pretty close (though Ford looks like the widest of the bunch).

Sajeev answers:

That Sanjeev jerk didn’t spend a year at The College of Creative Studies honing his immense drawing skills into an…ummm…dammit, he gets no airtime in this series!

Now, you have a very valid point: corporations be rippin’ off the Ford logo like whoa.

But it’s wiser to go Ford Oval instead of something potentially displeasing to the buying public, even though I can’t stand the copycat-ism either. Yet I found myself “under the influence” in CCS’ design studios.  The worst was a front fascia I made similar to a GEN I Prius, with a more exaggerated snout.  It was the first rendering of my second semester at CCS. And the result? Scorn? Shame and ostracization?

Nope.  People were kinda quiet, instead of openly critical.  Others, those I considered friends, said, “Whatever you did over Christmas break, it’s working! You are really getting the hang of it now!” Even my normally harsh teacher mentioned my progress.

It was bittersweet, as this wasn’t my best work. Even if it was…

So what’s the problem?  Design studios are all about concept inbreeding: if GM (Harley Earl, Bill Mitchell) does it, why not do the same as their cross-town rival? Fame and fortune await!  Or maybe we’ll hire their design honcho for ourselves (KIA), reaping even more fortune! As Grandmaster Flash said in the link above:

“Cause it’s all about the Money, ain’t a damn thing Funny.

You got to have a con in this land of Milk and Honey.”

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Hammer Time: An Old Pair Of Boots http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/hammer-time-an-old-pair-of-boots/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/hammer-time-an-old-pair-of-boots/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=669002

Imagine you’re going on a 27 mile hike over the course of three days.

It’s a long journey ahead. Hills nearly as big as mountains. Wet and slippery ground everywhere.

And the sun? It can beat you down to the point where you feel as ragged as a wore out mop. There will be no hiding from the obstacles ahead. None.

Now imagine if your partner for this journey came up to you, and the first words he blurted out were, “Those are some nice boots you have! But I got a killer deal on mine.”"

Would you think they were, well, a schmuck? To put it lightly?

Now consider this…

Every car buying decision can be summed up in four simple words.

Buy

What

You

Like

Deals don’t matter. Really. Take it from a guy who does this for a living. Buying a car, and keeping it, just because you got a good deal for it, is almost always the mother of all future regrets.

As a personal example, I once bought a 1993 Subaru Impreza for $25 that surprisingly ran like a top after I replaced the battery and the shiftlock mechanism. It had been in the inop lane of a nearby public auction with nary a glance of interest from anyone else.

I was inspecting over 10,000 vehicles a year for a finance company, and had the fortune of having the right car in front of me at the right moment. Except the Roo’ had one small issue. I hated driving it.

I hated the thin sheetmetal. The sound of the engine. The cheaper than tupperware interior. It just rang all the wrong notes for me whenever I turned the key.

But that wasn’t true for the man who wound up buying it . The guy who bought it from me on Ebay was a long-time Subaru enthusiast, and knew these cars better than I ever will.

He flew all the way from California to Atlanta, and drove it nearly 2500 miles back to Orange County.

Then he drove it for another 50,000 miles. After which, he likely used it as a parts car since he was a Rally Coordinator for Subaru.

He bought a 9 year old Subaru with 168k miles for all of $1576 (plus the auction fee) on Ebay.

Did he get ripped off? Did he get a killer deal? Does it really matter?

No, nein, and nyet! He bought what he liked, and let the laws of commerce take their course. That’s it. Game over, and everyone involved left with a nice smile on their face.

That’s how car buying decisions should work in the real world… and this story also serves a greater purpose as it relates to the tired old  buy new vs. buy old arguments.

Value, is usually not something you can mathematically calculate when it comes to your passions. If you find yourself bragging about the dollar bills you saved by buying x vechicle over y vehicle, that’s fine.

But you’re not acting like an enthusiast. You’re a frugalist, and very likely a delusional one. Nothing wrong with that. But let’s call things a spade instead of bullshitting about how frugal it is to buy a new or old sports car.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have enjoyed my share of victories serving those who are tried and true enthusiasts. As for my losses, one I can’t forget was a stomach-churning $1500 loss on a SAAB 9000 CSE  that also, thankfully, wound up with the right owner.

No matter what I did to that SOB of a car, it just wouldn’t run right. I began to think that SAABs came out of the factories with blinking check engine lights.

Then it finally found the right caretaker and nearly 12 years later, it’s still running like a top.

God I hate those things!

A lot of folks want advice on buying a car. Heck, I’ve republished a series about it for six years now.

So instead of posting yet another testament to personal victories (and notable incompetence), let me spare you all the false bravado and simply offer ten classic sayings for this holiday season, finely wrapped in a long forgotten Hammer Time of yore.

Hopefully that will help you or your friends buy that next best car.

1. Buy what you like. Life is too short for cheap boots.

2. Be honest with yourself. Are you a trader? Or a keeper?

3. Traders either specialize, like I did starting out. Or they try to ride the wave of new car fashions.

4. As for the keepers? They usually pay less in the long run.

5. Depreciation kills,  monthly payments stink, and everyone from the tax man to the insurance companies favor the economics of a well kept used car.

6. Want cheap? Buy a Corolla.  A car that is made cheap won’t stay cheap.

7. Before you consider any car, new or used, get feedback from actual owners of that vehicle. The media will only tell you so much.

8. Enthusiast forums in particular can better help you navigate the path of ownership.

9. As for lowering long-term cost? The best recipe is investing in quality parts. Because there is nothing wrong with a quality product

10. That can’t be made right with quality product. 

Now having said that, I now need to get rid of a thrice repoed, 12 year old Dodge Intrepid. Any takers?

 

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Piston Slap: Bennie Bucks on the Winter Beater? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-bennie-bucks-on-the-winter-beater/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-bennie-bucks-on-the-winter-beater/#comments Wed, 27 Nov 2013 13:16:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=662242

TTAC Commentator 28-Cars-Later writes:

Sajeev,

I’ve got a small conundrum for Piston Slap.  Winter is fast approaching and for those of us in the mid-Atlantic states this is a serious affair. My winter beater has been my trusty (but not rusty) ’98 Saturn SL/auto/164K, which in the spring started showing its age and developed transmission issues after seven years (and roughly 80K) of ownership. I’ve let her sit most of the summer save starting her up and driving her around the parking lot every 7-12 days but I’ve been trying to put off the inevitable investment of Bennie bucks. This evening I was offered an ’00 Subaru Outback/auto/186K to replace it for $2500 inc four new cheap tires and inspection.

The prospects of an actual [built in Japan] Japanese wagon are intriguing, the Subaru is 7/10 in terms of condition with some dings and several rust spots, it had no issue starting up and is throwing no codes. The catch is I have zero documentation on the car (was a recent trade) and personally I am leery of all AWD systems regardless of make and model, especially without documentation/receipts. Panning over the engine bay I noticed a newer alternator and a battery stickered 3/12 (with old acid all over the cradle) so somebody (sort of) attempted to take care of the car. Oil was a down 1/4 a quart, coolant was dirty but not caked on or anything, but the kicker was the trans fluid is getting to be brown. I figure whomever recently owned this attempted to take care of it to some degree, but neglected all of the fluid changes, which leads to me to suspect none of the Subie specific maint (diff fluid, sensors, etc) has been done either by this owner (and who knows about the head gaskets). I have two days to make up my mind on the Subie before he sends it to auction.

(NOTE: because of my time delay in publishing, this car is already bought or auctioned off – SM)

So I figure my choices are as such:

  1. Spend $1200-1400 to install a used transmission in my Saturn and risk more expensive stuff breaking down the line.
  2. Spend $2500 and buy the Subaru, which for my purposes will probably get me through at least this winter without fireworks, but risk later expensive Subie specific repairs, or total loss if something big breaks.
  3. Not spend any money, junk my Saturn, and just drive one of my other two cars in the winter that I currently baby to some degree.

Sajeev answers:

Well…I guess it kinda depends on your other two vehicles.

#2 is not a sure thing: with zero service history and tired fluids, expecting this Subaru to work all winter is a rather huge leap of faith.  Perhaps if it was something more robust (truck) with less unique parts that are painfully hard to reach, perhaps if it wasn’t a vehicle known for its fragility (bad head gaskets) especially when neglected/abused…

Install a junkyard transmission in the Saturn, coming from a yard that offers a warranty.  Or research to see if a local shop rebuilds these units with quality parts and labor (not always easy to find) for a fair price.  Why?  Because it’s almost always easier to keep the problems you know, not the gigantic rolling question mark that could be even more of a horrid money pit.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Subaru Leone 4WD Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1978-subaru-leone-4wd-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1978-subaru-leone-4wd-wagon/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2013 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=661010 01 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne thing that makes Colorado wrecking yards different from those in the rest of the country is the large numbers of Subarus in every yard. We’re talking the history of Subaru North America in every yard here. In fact, you’ll see more 1980s and 1990s Leones aka GLs, DLs, and Loyales in a typical Denver-area self-serve yard than you’ll see Corollas or Civics. You’ll also find lots of more recent Legacies and Imprezas, not to mention XTs, BRATs, SVXs, and even the occasional Justy 4WD. 1970s Subarus, however, are getting pretty rare here; in this series, we’ve seen just this ’79 Leone wagon and this ’79 GL sedan so far. Today, we add this very-much-of-its-time ’78 wagon.
22 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack in 1978, your choices in four-wheel-drive vehicles were very limited; you could get a truck, you could get an AMC Eagle that drove like a truck… or you could get a Subaru.
12 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese things were ludicrously underpowered, rusted quickly, and didn’t come close to the reliability standards set by Honda and Toyota, but they got decent fuel economy and were competent in mud and snow.

Subarus were quite rare in the United States back in the Malaise Era, but the marque made it into popular culture with songs like this one.

Or this one.
07 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJudging by the quantity of pine cones and animal nests in this car, it hasn’t run for many, many years.
13 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot many places in Colorado damp enough for moss to grow on cars.
29 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSold in Colorado, will be crushed in Colorado.

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Los Angeles 2013: 2015 Subaru WRX, A Rex With A CVT? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/los-angeles-2013-2015-subaru-wrx-a-rex-with-a-cvt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/los-angeles-2013-2015-subaru-wrx-a-rex-with-a-cvt/#comments Thu, 21 Nov 2013 14:49:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=658674 2015-Subaru-WRX-1

Though most of the information on the new 2015 Subaru WRX was leaked in advance of the Los Angeles Auto Show, they still had to give the new car a public introduction. Now that the car’s been introduced, we have more than just a couple of teaser photos and a few more details on the car.

With a half liter less displacement than the outgoing WRX, the new car’s 2.0 liter turbo four puts out 268 hp, 3 fewer ponies than the outgoing Rex’s 271, with torque up by 14 lb-ft to 258. The biggest news is probably behind that engine, with the gearbox options. The WRX now has a six-speed manual instead of a having only five rations from which to choose and the new gearbox has carbon fiber syncros on the first two gears  to allow quicker shifts and better durability. For those who can’t drive a stick shift, Subaru is moving from a conventional automatic transmission to a continuously variable transmission, which is already being perceived as an odd choice for a sporting automobile. The CVT has three different modes, and paddle shifters which allow the driver to switch between 6 or 8 pre-set gear ratios. Though that actually decreases the CVT’s fabled fuel efficiency, it does give those belt drives something of a sporty feeling. it will be interesting to see if Subaru offers the CVT in the more hardcore STi that will follow the WRX.

2015-Subaru-WRX-Nose 2015-Subaru-WRX-Rear-End 2015-Subaru-WRX-Tail 2015-Subaru-WRX-1 2015-Subaru-WRX-Front-2 2015-Subaru-WRX-Front (1) 2015-Subaru-WRX-Grille 2015-subaru-wrx-interior-4 2015-subaru-wrx-interior-5 ]]>
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Los Angeles 2013: Subaru Debuts Legacy Concept in LA http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/los-angeles-2013-subaru-debuts-legacy-concept-in-la/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/los-angeles-2013-subaru-debuts-legacy-concept-in-la/#comments Thu, 21 Nov 2013 02:24:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=658042 Subaru Legacy Concept 01

Forget CVTs in WRXs; Subaru has dropped their Legacy Concept at the 2013 LA Auto Show, illustrating the design direction the Japanese automaker aims to take in the near future.

The Legacy Concept has a muscular, masculine appearance, particularly with the wide Taurus-esque grill and sinister LED eyes. Wide flares hug the 21-inch wheels, and the tail lights hammer the point home in aggressiveness.

Subaru Legacy Concept 01 Subaru Legacy Concept 02 Subaru Legacy Concept 03 ]]>
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Subaru Cross Sport Shows Off Shooting Brake BRZ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/subaru-cross-sport-shows-off-shooting-brake-brz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/subaru-cross-sport-shows-off-shooting-brake-brz/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 18:15:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=657674 Subaru-Cross-Sport-Design-Concept-Live-Shot-02

Subaru is calling this the next trend in urban SUVs. That’s fine by us. Little is known about the technical specs of the Subaru Cross Sport, but it’s apparent that if the BRZ and the BMW M Coupe had a baby, this would be the offspring.

Subaru-Cross-Sport-Design-Concept-Live-Shot-01 Subaru-Cross-Sport-Design-Concept-Live-Shot-02 Subaru-Cross-Sport-Design-Concept-Live-Shot-07 Subaru-Cross-Sport-Design-Concept-Live-Shot-08 (1) Subaru-Cross-Sport-Design-Concept-Live-Shot-08 Subaru-Cross-Sport-Design-Concept-Live-Shot-10 ]]>
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2013 Tokyo Motor Show: BRZ Based Subaru Cross Sport Design Concept http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/2013-tokyo-motor-show-brz-based-subaru-cross-sport-design-concept/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/2013-tokyo-motor-show-brz-based-subaru-cross-sport-design-concept/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 05:18:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=657098 subaru_cross_sport_design_concept_01-1120-m-610x450

Not many details have been released so far about the Subaru Cross Sport Design concept, which the company says is a combination of “sport” and “utility” and features “easy seat access, a comfortable interior, and abundant luggage space” and it’s supposed to show the direction forward for urban SUVs. They also could have said that it’s a stretched, jacked up BRZ station wagon, since with a horizontally opposed engine up front driving the back wheels, the Cross Sport Design is based on the sports car platform shared by Toyota/Scion and Subaru. It weighs 2,750 lbs and is 169.3 inches long, 2.6″ longer than the BRZ. It has a two part rear decklid that reveals a wood paneled floor when opened. No word yet on whether or not it will be produced, but with all the companies rushing to sell compact crossovers, it conceivably could be Subaru’s cheaper alternative to the new Porsche Macan.

subaru_cross_sport_design_concept_02-1120-m-610x450

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2013 Tokyo Motor Show: Subaru Levorg Concept, A JDM Sport Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/2013-tokyo-motor-show-subaru-levorg-concept-a-jdm-sport-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/2013-tokyo-motor-show-subaru-levorg-concept-a-jdm-sport-wagon/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 04:04:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=656754 subaru-levorg-concept-1

At the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show today, Subaru unveiled its Levorg concept, a sporty wagon that’s set to arrive in Japan next year but, unfortunately, isn’t likely to cross the Pacific.

Given that the current Legacy is only sold in the form of the Outback on our shores, we probably won’t get the Legacy wagon over here. The Levorg, which previews the next Legacy wagon,  will come with two engine choices: a 1.6-liter Boxer turbocharged four cylinder or a 2.0-liter Boxer four cylinder, also turbocharged.

The 1.6L engine will produce 168 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, while the 2.0L puts out 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Both engines will be mated to a CVT.

subaru-levorg-concept-2

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Subaru WRX Plays In The Dirt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/subaru-wrx-plays-in-the-dirt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/subaru-wrx-plays-in-the-dirt/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 21:06:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=656418 wrxdirtJalopnik managed to snag a promo image of the Subaru WRX driving in the dirt, thanks to a now disappeared Edmunds video. Looks like the “Impreza with a Guy Fawkes mask” styling is here to stay. Expect an official reveal at tomorrow’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

 

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Shifting Becomes Variable For 2015 Subaru WRX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/shifting-becomes-variable-for-2015-subaru-wrx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/shifting-becomes-variable-for-2015-subaru-wrx/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=651970 2015 Subaru WRX

While those who opt for the upcoming 2015 Subaru WRX STi can still row their own, those who prefer to let the transmission do the work may (or may not) be disappointed to find a CVT in their new WRX.

In a leaked dealer document, customers who opt for either the WRX Premium standard model or the Limited with or without the sat nav/Harmon Kardon audio/keyless access triad can either row their own through a six-speed manual or Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT.

Sending the power through the CVT will be a turbocharged 2-liter flat-four, while the STi will utilize a 2.5-liter turbo flat-four and, for those who choose it, launch control.

More details to come when the WRX makes its debut at the LA Auto Show next week.

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Subaru to End Camry Production for Toyota at Indiana Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/subaru-to-end-camry-production-for-toyota-at-indiana-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/subaru-to-end-camry-production-for-toyota-at-indiana-plant/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=651834 2007 Photo, Toyota Camry being assembled at Lafayette, Indiana Subaru factory.

2007 Photo, Toyota Camry being assembled at Lafayette, Indiana Subaru factory.

Media reports citing Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. executive vice president, Tom Easterday say that Toyota will stop having Subaru build Camrys for sale in North America at SIA’s Lafayette, Indiana assembly plant when the current five year contract expires in 2017. ”Based on changes in Toyota’s production plans, they have decided that the award-winning Camry production contract will not be renewed,” the  Louisville Journal & Courier quoted Easterday as saying. Toyota declined comment. Subaru’s parent company Fuji said no decisions have been made and that it had nothing official to announce. Subaru has been building Camrys for Toyota in Indiana since 2005.

Subaru had previously said that it would increase the factory’s capacity from 170,000 to 300,000 units annually by the end of 2016. The plant has the capacity to build 100,000 Camrys a year in addition to Subaru models. Subaru had already said that it would be adding Impreza production to the Lafayette facility, it’s only assembly plant in North America. Easterday said that because of the addition of Impreza production, the loss of the Camry contract won’t affect employment levels at SIA. Other models may be added to the flexible facility.

“We also know there are future projects that Subaru has in mind for our plant that should add several hundred jobs in the future, possibly by 2018.”

The loss of the Camry contract may be a blessing in disguise since Subaru needs more capacity if it will meet its goal of half a million U.S. sales by 2016, up from about 420,000 this year.

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Cain’s Segments: The Toyobaru Twins http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/cains-segments-the-toyobaru-twins/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/cains-segments-the-toyobaru-twins/#comments Thu, 07 Nov 2013 13:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=644522 TTAC-FRS-Essential

It’s been a year-and-a-half, and the Toyobaru twins have not lost their luster. Proximity has not made the heart grow less fond. American sports car consumers still want to buy the Scion FR-S and the Subaru BRZ.

In the case of the lower-volume Subaru, the desire is growing at an especially fast rate.

Shortly after sports cars and coupes and roadsters debut, we expect to see demand tail off. Deep-seated anticipation leads many customers to buy early. Perhaps their orders were already in, maybe they only need a five-minute test drive. And we did see this with both the FR-S and BRZ. FR-S volume has never risen as high as it did in the car’s first full month, June 2012, when 2684 were sold. BRZ sales have twice stepped ahead of the early level, but only after many months went by. BRZ volume fell 39% from June 2012’s 818 units in July 2012. Again, this outcome was anticipated and thus it was tolerated.

Fortunately, the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ levelled off afterwards, at the very least. Scion averaged 1441 FR-S sales per month over the second half of 2012, 1547 FR-S sales in Q1 of 2013, 1794 in Q2, and 1582 U.S. sales in Q3.

The BRZ averaged 509 sales per month in the second half of 2012, never falling below 402 units; never rising above 623. Subaru dealers then averaged 596 sales per month in the first quarter of 2013, 760 sales in Q2, and 759 in Q3.

Your pressure is fine, Toyobaru. Both diastolic and systolic are within statistical norms.

This kind of sure and steady improvement has been known to occur with other new coupes. On a longer-term scale, Dodge has consistently sold more Challengers each and every year since the muscle car debuted in 2008.

On the other hand, Mazda watched as sales of the MX-5 tumbled year after year from 2006 until 2011 – a 66% drop over that span – before rising only slightly in 2012 and then falling again in 2013. We’re judging a fairly brief period with the BRZ and FR-S, and their rawness could limit appeal over the long haul. In the here and now, however, it’s safe to say that for each of these two cars to have succeeded there must have been more than hype on their side.

Yet the method by which we measure success depends a great deal on how we view a car’s competitive set. We know the FR-S isn’t supposed to sell as often as a Camry, but establishing the kinds of cars with which the FR-S and BRZ are most likely to be cross-shopped is a task for owners of crystal balls. Will you consider an FR-S and a Genesis Coupe, a BRZ and a WRX, an FR-S and a Camaro, a BRZ and an MX-5, an FR-S and a 1-Series?

We’ve displayed a plethora of possible opponents in the accompanying table for you to peruse. There’s no doubt that American car buyers turn to (sometimes Canadian-built) American muscle cars in very high numbers. Many more buyers want two doors but prefer a softer, gentler, front-wheel-drive warm hatch.

We should also take the time to consider a wider-ranging field. In the grand scheme of things, in terms of different types of cars which left showroom floors in 2013, how do the overall numbers for the FR-S and BRZ measure up? Combined sales of the BRZ and FR-S reached 23,126 units between January and October.

Lincoln sold 26,684 MKZs during that ten-month period. Cadillac sold 26,472 XTS sedans. Acura sold 21,057 TLs. Toyota Yaris sales fell 24% to 20,029. Volvo sold 20,008 S60s. The Chevrolet Volt, America’s 71st-best-selling car this year, found 18,782 buyers. The Nissan Leaf is just 704 sales back of the Volt.

On an individual basis, for every Porsche 911 sold, Scion sells nearly two copies of the FR-S. Mazda 6 volume is more than twice as high as FR-S volume. The BRZ sells about twice as often as the Scion iQ and more than three times as often as the BMW Z4.

The Lincoln MKZ, of course, isn’t a Scion FR-S rival, even though TTAC’s managing editor doesn’t become weak-in-the-knees over either car. Nevertheless, if we’re trying to gauge popularity, if we’re trying to acquire a clearer understanding of the frequency of a BRZ sale, paying attention to other successes and failures is of some benefit.

The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ have both been hits. Don’t let hit status lull you into thinking that your uncle’s next car will be an FR-S. He will trade in his RAV4 for another RAV4. And remember, your neighbour doesn’t drive a BRZ. She just leased a Mercedes-Benz CLA250. Obviously.

Auto
October
2013
October
2012
%
Change
10
mos.
2013
10
mos.
2012
%
Change
Audi A5
1487 1308 + 13.7% 15,975 14,313 + 11.6%
BMW 1-Series
588 778 - 24.4% 5482 6313 - 13.2%
Chevrolet Camaro
5669 5122 + 10.7% 70,484 74,090 - 4.9%
Dodge Challenger
3256 2686 + 21.2% 45,833 36,309 + 26.2%
Ford Mustang
6918 5328 + 29.8% 66,083 72,149 - 8.4%
Honda CR-Z
325 244 + 33.2% 3871 3705 + 4.5%
Hyundai Veloster
2175 2464 - 11.7% 25,448 30,802 - 17.4%
Infiniti G37
Coupe/Convertible & Q60
657 718 - 8.5% 8816 11,004 - 19.9%
Mazda MX-5 Miata
377 461 - 18.2% 5167 5542 - 6.8%
Mini Cooper
(Hardtop, Convertible,
Clubman, Coupe, Roadster)
3145 4053 - 22.4% 35,519 37,239 - 4.6%
Nissan 370Z
537 383 + 40.2% 5648 6482 - 12.9%
Scion FR-S
1233 1107 + 11.4% 16,000 8572 + 86.7%
Scion tC
1499 1654 - 9.4% 16,505 19,790 - 16.6%
Subaru BRZ
780 402 + 94.0% 7126 3120 + 128%
Subaru Impreza WRX/STi
1356 1100 + 23.3% 14,782 10,629 + 39.1%
Volkswagen Golf GTI
1032 966 + 6.8% 11,287 14,226 - 20.7%
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Subaru to Unveil Levorg Concept at Tokyo Motor Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/subaru-to-unveil-levorg-concept-at-tokyo-motor-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/subaru-to-unveil-levorg-concept-at-tokyo-motor-show/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2013 14:14:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=639041 Subaru-Levorg-Concept-Teaser-1

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.

The sport tourer concept — whose name is derived from legacy, revolution and touring — comes equipped with Subaru’s next-gen EyeSight pre-crash braking system, wraparound LED headlamps, a turbocharged 1.6-liter direct-injection boxer, and other wonderful, ephemeral goodies concept cars usually receive.

The tourer (don’t call it a wagon around the hipsters lest their stretched earlobes snap) has a bit of muscle in its appearance, as well, with sculpted fender flares, a slanted backside, and a round nose with an air scoop ready to direct cold air through the engine for more power.

Subaru will also unveil the Cross Sport Design Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show, a concept with a small body for better seat access and maneuvering through the tight streets of Tokyo and, perhaps in the future, a street near you.

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