By on December 22, 2014

2015 Subaru Outback

Say farewell to the Subaru 3.6-liter six-cylinder boxer, as the automaker is considering smaller engines with turbos, among other options.

According to CarAdvice, deputy general manager of engineering Yoichi Hori says research by Subaru found that six-cylinder models in its and other automakers’ lineups are seeing declines in uptake, pointing towards a future where “many companies take the smaller displacement with a turbocharger, or diesel, or hybrid.”

For Subaru, that could mean an engine as small as the 2-liter turbo-four boxer found in the 2015 Impreza, WRX, Forester and XV Crosstrek, with the possibility of a 2.5-liter unit, as well.

Diesel is also on the table: Hori says his employer is looking to take its 2-liter diesel and tune it toward two different states, providing more performance or fuel economy depending on interest. A PHEV diesel may also appear on the options list, though Hori didn’t say much on the subject.

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145 Comments on “Subaru Considering Smaller Engines, Phasing Out Six-Cylinder Units...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Dear Subaru,

    Your engines were already too small. And your cars (unless WRX/STI) are generally under-powered. Stop it.

    ‘Mericans

    • 0 avatar

      You mean “American forum dwellers”, surely. The BRZ already has 200 h.p. off a normally aspirated engine. Why would anyone want that much in a car that small? I have 201 h.p. in a car that weighs 4000 lbs. and that’s plenty for everything except taking it to a track day.

      • 0 avatar
        akatsuki

        Well Pete, I’d say buyers rather than “American forum dwellers”. The BRZ is not selling well and one reason why? It is bloody well underpowered.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          Or because you can get a faster WRX that seats 4 comfortably with AWD for a few thousand dollars more across the showroom. You give up handling and good looks, but most people will trade that for versatility.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Your logic is sound but the WRX is not a large car by any means, it simply gives you easy access to the backseat via rear doors. I have never ridden in the FR-S, but I can’t imagine a WRX is much more spacious for rear passengers.

          • 0 avatar
            thegamper

            @28 cars later. BRZ, FR-S rear seat might as well not even exist. It is that cramped and the buckets are so extreme, I cannot imagine those who fit would enjoy it too much. The WRX offers comfortable real world seating for adults. I can see the appeal of both cars, but the WRX is bound to have broader appeal just for being practical.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            I’ve driven both and sat in the back of both. There is a considerable difference in space. The WRX will comfortably fit 4 while that would be torture in a BRZ.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @thegamper

            I heartily agree with your last point, its appeal is simply broader and it has an existing following. The FR-S/BRZ may also suffer from demographic issues here in North America as it was designed for Japan and its demographics not the other way around.

      • 0 avatar
        John R

        “Why would anyone want that much in a car that small?”

        Can I interest you in short jaunt on the New Jersey Turnpike?

        j/k

        The FT86 twins may be small and have 200hp, but they are not Elises. That car on a good day with a good driver in good health will only do 0-60 in 6.5 at best. A V6 Camry will do 5.9.

        So what? I can’t speak for everyone, but if I owned a “sports car” being at the mercy of Camrys (or any vehicle that my car should, ostensibly, be faster than) would irritate me. I’d rather have the ability to outrun a Camry if wanted to and never do it than not having the ability to do it at all.

        The FT86 needs a trim level with an extra 50hp.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          So you are suggesting there should be a higher powered FT86 called the FT86 Celica Edition?

          ;)

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          A Camry V6 MSRP is $32k today and is pretty much designed to do nothing but go fast in a straight line. You pay for different things in the BRZ: standard LSD, chassis that is 700lbs lighter, 6MT, great seats, RWD. The Camry, and all the other turbo 4 or V6 family sedans, have the advantage of 300k to 400k sales of small engine, efficiency versions to spread the development cost around.

          Your same [silly] analogy could be used for practically every sports car sold today thanks to the Charger Hellcat, btw. That’s the new benchmark for any sports car at any price range, right??

          BTW, I can’t stand this stupid slippery slope that this car market has gotten into. The $40k and lower price range is becoming more and more homogenous while the $80k and up market is exploding with whatever you could dream up. RWD is basically dead under $40k unless you want a 3600lb pony car. MR is is completely dead in that price range. You can buy an SE trim Camry hybrid, but a RWD sedan under $40k without a luxury badge doesn’t exist. Fun and cheap without being based on some FWD platform is being pushed out because there isn’t a business case for it. There isn’t a business case for it because people are too concerned if they can beat some imaginary foe on the street.

          • 0 avatar
            PenguinBoy

            “but a RWD sedan under $40k without a luxury badge doesn’t exist”

            I found a couple for you:
            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-comparison-2015-dodge-charger-srt-392-vs-2014-chevrolet-ss-2/

            I don’t know what the SS costs, but you can definitely get a nicely equipped Charger for well under $40k.

          • 0 avatar

            “but a RWD sedan under $40k without a luxury badge doesn’t exist”

            Except for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, both of which can easily be had in the low to mid 30s (or better).

            “There isn’t a business case for it because people are too concerned if they can beat some imaginary foe on the street.”

            I don’t understand this statement. The only purpose of RWD is performance. The people who are concerned with ‘beating some imaginary foe’ are the same people that are concerned enough about performance to buy a RWD car. The ‘problem’ is that most people don’t care about this and DO care about fuel efficiency and driveability.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            You’ll have to forgive me for not including the 3900lb Charger sedan when I’m lamenting the cheap and cheerful FR and MR cars that are quickly dying off. You are right that the Charger and 300 are RWD sedans that you can get for under $40k, though.

            You can definitely enjoy RWD without lots of power or straight line performance. The Miata has been doing it for 25 years.

          • 0 avatar
            John R

            Quentin, I have to ask, who’s paying MSRP on any Camcord? There are more individuals paying MSRP on an FT86 (which can get up $30k, BTW) than those paying MSRP on a Camry.

            You’re right. I guess it is “silly” that the common thread of anything put to paper about the FT86 is that it is underpowered

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            John R, no one pays MSRP for a BRZ, either. A dealer in Colorado sold them at practically invoice from the beginning.

            I guess I simply don’t see the point of the comparison or the concern. They drive so differently that the fact the 0-60 are within 0.5sec just feels like mere coincidence rather than anything else. The Camry ended up with a monster engine in it because that was the V6 that was handy. The FT86 twins ended up with the 2.0 because it works with world markets and fit the business plan while still being lively and reasonably entertaining.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Better watch out, John R, it is now more than the humorously overpowered family sedans that will give entry-level sportsy cars a run for their money. Car & Driver just clocked a new F150 w/ 3.5 Ecoboost at 5.6 seconds to 60. That will worry a 3.7 & 2.3 turbo Mustang, WRX, GTI, Infiniti G37, 328i, etc.

          I know its taboo to some to suggest that maybe this fast is fast enough, but there are a lot of days where I can’t even unleash all of my 170hp due to the blithering herd of humanity around me. For me, 6.5 is probably quick enough :)

          And the thought of a second-hand 5.6-second-to-60 F150 falling into teenager hands in 5 years just terrifies me.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          You know, a lot of the sports car boom can be traced back to WWII vets shipping MGs over to the US, post-war, right? There’s a long heritage of sports cars that would be hard-pressed to outrun the average family sedan, but people still picked the weedy sports car for how it drove once the road wasn’t designed with a ruler.

          I won’t deny that the FRS/BRZ twins are flawed, but if your complaint is that it won’t outrun a Camry in a straight line, you probably want a muscle car.

          And for what it’s worth, I commute in something with half the BRZ’s power. There are cars that pull away from me on occasion, but I am almost never thoroughly trounced and left in the dust. I wish I was, but so few people ever use all the power they have.

        • 0 avatar

          I love the FRS, and I just don’t effing care if someone’s Camry can go faster to 60 MPH. The FRS is a hoot to drive on twisties (my sister has one, and lives in a distant suburb of DC that is full of twisties). A Camry just isn’t much fun to drive, and I wouldn’ t care how fast it can make it to 60.

          If the fun you have in a car depends on who you can beat to 60, maybe you have smallcox. Unfortunately, a faster car won’t cure it.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        When is 200 HP not 200 HP?

        When its juiced from a 2.0L engine with no turbocharger or valve lift tech. FA20 has a big hole where its midrange should be.

        And BRZ is a sports car, so performance is more important than in your 4,000lb whatever. It’s underpowered.

        It doesn’t need a turbo though. Just 500cc more displacement, and a focus more on average torque than on HP/L.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          The FT86 doesn’t need more power, it needs an engine that is more fun. The one it has makes numbers that are mission appropriate, but it just does not go about it in an entertaining fashion. Slot something like the Abarth’s manic 1.4L turbo into it and it might be slower, but you would be grinning a lot more.

      • 0 avatar
        ect

        Good horsepower, but only 151 lb-ft of torque, so no “get up and go”. That seems to be the problem.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Integra GS-R, RSX, Civic Si with the K20 made about the same power and were quick enough. Difference was, they made meager torque, but they made it from idle to redline. Sounded better too.

          Again though, Subaru should follow Honda’s lead and give the thing more displacement. Thats all it needs. 500ccs more lung capacity.

    • 0 avatar
      danwat1234

      Hybrid drivetrains -> electric motors can more than make up for the lack of power from a smaller engine and allows for an Atkinson cycle engine for more thermal efficiency without loss of performance

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    When Subaru quits making boxers, I’ll consider a Subaru. I just don’t like that sound, and all of the so-called advantages are just hokum.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They are very thrashy sounding. I was always hoping I didn’t have to downshift my Impreza cause it got so damn loud (2.2L).

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      What isn’t there to like about paying for TWO failed head gaskets on an economy four cylinder engine?

    • 0 avatar
      Counterpoint

      Why would anyone be concerned about the engine sound? It seems like such a bizarre concern. Just turn up the stereo.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        … Said the man who’s never experienced the burble of a big honkin’ V8

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        When 3/4 of your driving life was before hybrids existed, you *want* to hear the engine because there was no good spin to put on not hearing it. My first drive in a Prius freaked me out.

        Personally, I’d like to see Subaru offer a Lake Wobegon trim that masked the boxer noise with the synthed sound of loons and crickets. Maybe some wind chimes, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Spartan

      I thought it was just me, but boxer engines sound awful. Same for Porsche. Yes, I went there. The worst offenders are the 4 cylinder boxers with free flowing exhaust. Those things remind me of old VW Bug boxer engines.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    The smaller engines will post better FE numbers and core customers will eagerly receive them.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Who is the Subaru core customer these days?

      Women?
      Parents?
      White people?
      People who want a Toyota but want AWD more?

      Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a minority in a Subaru.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Anybody who’s not a car guy? I’d be one if I wanted AWD.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          No you wouldn’t, as they are not comfortable enough.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I honestly think Pete would love a naturally aspirated version of my Forester (he’d complain my turbocharged example is too fast). It’s tall and has fantastic visibility. Comfortable enough, although the seat cushions are too short.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “Who is the Subaru core customer these days?”

        Western states Eco-friendly hipsters. This 4 cylinder plan fits perfectly with Subaru’s customer demographic. Good going Subaru for understanding and catering to your customer base

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Do hipsters buy new cars? Portlandia makes me think not – they’re always in old Subaru models!

          And an old blocky Maxima one time.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Subaru has incredibly strong resale in certain areas, so a chunk of their customers are the value for the (resale) money Toyota types.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “Do hipsters buy new cars?”

            I would think the ones with jobs and credit do, yes

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Hipsters” and “jobs and credit” in the same post? I’ve seen it all.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            28-Cars, right on one post, wrong on the other…

            I bought a new Subaru because the late-model used ones were expensive enough in my area to make buying a used Subaru a poor financial decision.

            Most of the hipsters in Seattle not only have jobs, but get paid more than everyone else. They all work for tech companies. The ones who like outdoor sports drive Subarus (like everyone else in Seattle with the same interest).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @dal20402

            Bingo, resale is a tough thing to argue with for the average individual.

            I can’t speak for the region as I have never visited. But I think its possible the underachiever PNW hipsters have migrated east though. Mind doing us a solid and taking them back bc we don’t really want them?

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          “Good going Subaru for understanding and catering to your customer base”

          Zackly… they’re golden with their demo and aim to stay that way. Totally admirable.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Don’t forget New England. Vermont in particular.

        • 0 avatar
          Wscott97

          They’re not Hipsters. They’re Yupsters. They’re the Crossover of a Yuppy Hipster.

        • 0 avatar
          fendertweed

          interesting stereotyping….

          I live on a hill in the East with my ’09 Outback (after getting sick of the number and cost of repairs on my ’01 Audi A6 Avant) and my other car’s a ’73 911 (yes, by coincidence we now have 3 boxer engines w/ wife’s recently acquired ’14 Impreza Sport) …

          you know what happens when you assume (?) …

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        The LGBT is a protected class in most states, isn’t that pretty much the same thing as a minority?

      • 0 avatar
        sproc

        I don’t their core customers have changed much for a long time. It’s folks who have a specific set of requirements that aren’t met by many other makers (at least at the same price range), and are not particularly image conscious.

        My dad’s a great example: Skiing away his retirement in the Wasatch range, he hates SUVs and hates automatics even more, and is never in a hurry to be anywhere. With good tires, his Legacy wagon gets through nearly anything, is reliable as hell and costs next to nothing to own. He seems perfectly happy with the old 2.5, but I’m certain he’d appreciate a smaller motor with more punch and better FE, assuming I could break his 40 year allergy to turbos…

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Outbacks are everywhere in the Wasatch. Great ski vehicles. I think I read somewhere that the Outback was the best selling vehicle in the Salt Lake metro area a few years ago.

          • 0 avatar

            I don’t know how representative she is, but my cousin and her husband in Manhattan just bought a new Forester. Among other things, they liked the large windows, and they also wanted a high profile so that putting the toddler in his seat would be easy.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        You need to go look around either New England or the Pacific Northwest.

        Subaru’s core customer is people who want an AWD system that’s not a joke (like the ones Honda and Toyota offer in their mainstream CUVs) in a reasonably sized and priced car. The people who want that are the people who regularly encounter snow and hills at the same time.

      • 0 avatar
        PGM-FI

        Corey, I think you get a lot of it right. As resident of the exurbs in Minnesnowta with kids in the not so distant future I can say that the combo of AWD, lots of space, ok fuel economy and it NOT being a Minivan, my wife can’t wait to hit 300K on her Integra so she can justify a Forrester. We disagree on the need for the turbo though.

      • 0 avatar
        Slow_Joe_Crow

        Oregonians :)

      • 0 avatar

        Subaru’s customer base is a lot of people. That’s why they are selling more cars than ever for such a small company.

        As for ‘anybody who’s not a car guy’ comment, I disagree. Interesting engine type? Check. AWD with RWD bias? Check. Manual transmissions still available in a wide variety of their models and trims? Check (moreso in Canada). Seems like there is plenty there for the car guy to like.

      • 0 avatar
        Eyeflyistheeye

        White people? LOL

        As a part Asian part White guy, I swore off Subaru after the problems cavalcaded on my ’05 Legacy GT.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The biggest minority buyers of Subarus – lesbians, of course. Plenty of gals in comfortable shoes around here, and they all drive Subies.

        But the core customers are the folks who used to buy Saabs and Volvos for the most part.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “The biggest minority buyers of Subarus – lesbians, of course. Plenty of gals in comfortable shoes around here, and they all drive Subies.”

          How can you tell the difference, you live in Maine?

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I live in Greater Portland, there is no difference! Two steel gray haired women of a certain age in a Subaru with an HRC and/or rainbow sticker = “sometimes you don’t have to ask”.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I guess women there just aren’t big on make-up and heels

      • 0 avatar
        elimgarak

        You are kidding right? Lots of Asian-Americans and Indian-Americans have Subarus.

        Oh I forgot, in most cases america somehow thinks we aren’t minorities.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          “america somehow thinks we aren’t minorities”

          Well, there are 12 effing billion of you falling over each other back in india, asia, whatever so that does rather cloud our view.

          Plus you disingenuously ignore the clear and profoundly American context of that word which, to us, has for 60 years meant po’ people I owe something to just ’cause.

          I doubt you’re poor.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    This isn’t too bad of a strategy. By focusing only on four cylinders, they can optimize the future Outback chassis for that size.

    After that, Subaru can concentrate their engineering resources on eliminating the spotty and costly Subaru failures that so many have experienced—me included. That way, actual reliability lives up to the hype.

    Not that I’d pay extra for that power; 9 seconds to 60mph is just fine for me.

    • 0 avatar
      frozenman

      While I would be sad to see the six go, the turbo 2.0 would be a great replacement. If it would allow them to reduce the front overhang on future redesigns styling would improve, IMHO.

  • avatar
    missmySE-R

    I get it, but this certainly doesn’t help make Subaru’s product line more attractive to me personally. The Outback is on my short-list as the next family car, but the CVT and non-competitive 6 make it difficult for me to sign-up for one. Just imagine how attractive an Outback would be with a 6-speed automatic and one of the mainstream six cylinder engines from GM/FCA/Ford/Toyota/Honda.
    Or to get really crazy, how about getting Yamaha to design a small displacement v8?
    Bottom line – I’m OK if Subaru doesn’t design their own 6 cylinder engine, but would love it if they could find a way to offer someone else’s in their larger vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      They did away with the Tribeca, so they don’t have “larger vehicles” Every other car in this segment has dropped their 6 cylinder, the take was low, so why offer it?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree with you it makes sense but I think every mainstream brand should offer something above the prole edition motor. Subaru is not perhaps not mainstream but I don’t think they will be without something better above the one motor (quick and dirty turbo is not going to cut it).

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Yes, this. Some people WILL pay for the bigger engine and the badge on the back which goes with it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Precisely. Simply licensing the tech from another OEM makes it more cost competitive.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “(quick and dirty turbo is not going to cut it).”

            Are you kidding? WRX STI 2.5-liter 305-hp. Stick that in your Outback

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Lie2me

            But they won’t, they will pop a turbo on the conventional engine for a slight bump. They won’t add custom headers, exhausts, and whatnot the STI WRX comes with in addition to its motor in order for it to achieve its performance.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Ok, maybe they won’t do that, but with the dropping of the 6, I bet they do this 2.0-liter 268-hp. Still respectable and competitive to everything else in the segment

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            MY15 carries over the FB boxer engine family and the EZ36D 3.6 H6.

            The 2.5 I4 is rated at: 170 hp, 174 lb·ft @ 4,100 rpm

            I don’t see a turbo adding 98bhp, maybe 50, which puts it in similar performance with the 3.6 (252bhp) – which makes sense for Subaru to offer from a product and cost standpoint. However I can probably get 30hp from a $300 computer mod alone, so would I rather have the $300 chip or a less fuel efficient more complicated system which requires premium gas for a +/- 50hp bump in lieu of six cylinders? This is where it stops making as much sense from the consumer standpoint.

            EDIT: The other factor is Subbie’s AWD system in generally is not the most fuel efficient mobility system. I recall looking at unsold MY13s with my brother late last year, I believe the rating at the time was something like 20/25 on what was I suppose the conventional automatic with the carryover 2.5. Adding a turbo will most likely not improve this figure.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Subaru_engines#Subaru_FB_engine

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The 2.0 FA turbo is already making 268 hp in the WRX, and 250 hp in the Forester XT. In a Legacy XT it would probably be between those two ratings.

            The fuel economy has gotten somewhat better with the CVT. The 2013s you were looking at had the old four-speed auto, which is genuinely terrible for fuel economy (my 2013 FXT struggles to make its 17/24 ratings). The CVT turbo Forester is now getting a much-improved 23/28, and a turbo Legacy would be something like 22/29 (heavier, but with better aero than the Fozzy).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @dal

            I’m not up on those models but I wouldn’t be surprised if they had other special components other than simply a turbo which help them achieve those power ratings. if Subaru wants to drop WRX motors in its former “Limited H6” trim they can have at it but I doubt they will do this for exclusivity and cost reasons. They will look for the cheapest way to achieve the amount of power the H6 offered in their existing 2.5 motor (or a motor which is up and coming). Maybe adding a turbo alone will give you a +/- 75bhp boost, but I’m skeptical.

            I didn’t know what the economy was like after the CVT, so that’s a plus based on what you posted.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The FA is heavily revised from the FB but it’s not some sort of unobtainium motor. The Forester XT is a high-volume, reasonably-priced product. If they can use an FA in the Forester XT they could also use one in a future Outback XT without a second thought.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Today the “big motor” is a turbo. Get used to it. The prole edition will lack the turbo.

            Subaru has been making turbos forever and a day, how is this news in any way?

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Small displacement v8s suck. Too small to generate power as the bore is too small for right sized valves and way too much friction and weight for the limited air fuel mix to fight against. I’d rather see twin scroll turbo 4 cylinder that don’t blow out head gaskets, built right, they can be extremely reliable and efficient.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Yamaha isn’t great at making V8s anyway. Look what happened to them in the XC90.

        And really their V6 wasn’t too good in those SHO’s either in the 90s. Yamaha needs to stick to making bike engines.

        • 0 avatar
          izzy

          What about Lexus LFA engine? It’s Yamaha-made. Yes, it’s a V10. But companies go to Yamaha to make engine/cylinder head for them for a reason.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The LFA engine was co-developed with Yamaha. I don’t see where it was produced by them. I’m not sure that’s true – seems like for such a car Toyota would want the engine manufacturing in-house, so they could use it in the marketing.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Yamaha’s V6 wasn’t good? When it came out (1989) it was probably the best passenger-car V6 in production. 220 hp from 3.0 liters is respectable even today and was outstanding at the time. And it was extremely tough and durable.

          The engine was the one thing in my ’89 SHO that didn’t break.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I thought it had major reliability issues!

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            That’s the V8. The V6 was damn near bulletproof.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “When it came out (1989) it was probably the best passenger-car V6 in production.”

            My son, though has begotten the LN3 3800.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ah! I always thought the 90s SHO had the same engine, didn’t realize there were both V6 and V8 versions.

            And the V8 one is in no way related to the one later used in Volvo?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “My son, though has begotten the LN3 3800.”

            Pope 28 The-Cars-Later Keeper-of-all-Things-3800, has spoken

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Q: Why didn’t the Aurora get the 3.8, sticking buyers with a 3.5 (from what else?) or the 4.0 V8 shortstar in the gen2 version?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @CoreyDL

            GM decided to port its spectacularly terrible Northstar system to Oldsmobile as an exclusive drivetrain along with the new model launch as opposed to simply using a superior but shared motor. Because GM.

            I imagine had any of it worked, Olds cars would have become the junior Cadillac in terms of drivetrain and features while the truck/van etc would have continued to be C-P-C quasi-rebadge models. The LX5 3.5 “shortstar” was a reconfiguation of the L47 4.0.

            “It is based on the L47 Aurora V8, which is itself based on the Northstar engine, so engineers called it the Short North, though Oldsmobile fans have taken to calling it the Shortstar”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northstar_engine_series#L47

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ah ha! Thanks.

            Those engines plus wonky electrics is why we no see more Auroras today. IMO the gen2 one still looks pretty modern and current. Especially in pearl or this purple-red.

            http://globalcarslist.com/data_images/models/oldsmobile-aurora/oldsmobile-aurora-04.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The SHO V8 and Volvo V8 are actually close relatives, but for the Volvo engine they fixed the cam sprocket and cooling issues that were the downfall of the SHO version.

            The V8 replaced the V6 for the third-gen SHO in 1996. Not coincidentally, SHO sales took a nose dive.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Do you think the sales cliff had more to do with the switch from 6 to 8, or increased price (if there was one?), OR because it went from being dignified and sporty to bubbled and hideous?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Gen 2 was intended to be an “Eighty Eight” type vehicle and would have replaced W-body Intrigue if I am not mistaken had things progressed. The true “Aurora” as envisioned only lasted one generation.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Corey, it’s a bit of all of the above. The bubble styling (and silly skateboard wing on the SHO) turned off some buyers. Others didn’t like the fact that the V8 car added 200+ lbs. but only 15 hp from the previous V6 car. Still others didn’t like that the manual disappeared. And a few in the know were aware that the V8 car had a somewhat tortured development process and couldn’t ever cool the V8 properly, leading to both the low power rating (it was originally supposed to be good for 260+ hp) and a loss of even advertised power after sustained hard driving.

          • 0 avatar
            SaulTigh

            On a sunny but cool October morning in 2002 I test drove a used 1999 SHO with about 20,000 miles. As I recall they were asking $18k for it. Drove out beautifully and I was really stoked, but decided that $18k was more than I could afford. Returned a couple weeks later and bought a 1996 Grand Marquis which I then drove daily for nearly 11 years. Paid $7k for it. Rarely does one get to dodge a bullet in automotive life like I did.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            “Gen 2 was intended to be an “Eighty Eight” type vehicle and would have replaced W-body Intrigue if I am not mistaken had things progressed. The true “Aurora” as envisioned only lasted one generation.”

            Not really. The Aurora was to move further upmarket and the Eighty Eight was to be replaced by the Antares. But because Olds was failing, they made the Antares into the new G body Aurora.

            Olds wasn’t helped by GM announcing that they were shutting down the brand, but “Hey! We have an all new car you can buy!”

    • 0 avatar
      Counterpoint

      Subaru’s latest CVT is better than a 6-speed automatic in every possible way due to the continuous power delivery with no shift interruptions.
      A mainstream 6-cylinder engine simply wouldn’t fit into an Outback due to the arrangement of the transmission and AWD system.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Subaru should reach out to Toyota and license use of Toyo’s GR V6 in some kind of special edition Legacy in lieu of it’s 3.6. I realize this is too cool to actually happen, but it should happen.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_GR_engine

  • avatar

    This may help their weight distribution problem. Remember that in Subaru’s traditional architecture there is no front driveshaft. Therefore, the engine must be located entirely ahead of the front axle.

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    Jim Klein’s review on curbside classics says the 4 cyl was too underpowered. Just sayin.

  • avatar
    7402

    ” . . . that could mean an engine as small as the 2-liter turbo-four boxer sold only in China . . . ”

    The current generation Forester XT has been available in the USA since MY2014 with the FA20F 2.0 liter turbo-charged four-cylinder boxer.

    • 0 avatar

      Honestly, I’m a bit confused as to why that engine isn’t the top-trim choice in the new Outback. Especially since the 6-cylinder doesn’t perform especially well considering its power output/fuel efficiency.

  • avatar
    Brian P

    The existing base Impreza has neither power nor real-world fuel economy.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    This idea is very popular right now thanks to regulatory trends, but it puts Subaru USA in an awkward spot. Everyone is supposed to blindly accept that turbo don’t still stink on ice, but Subaru buyers have reality fresh in their memories. Outback XTs were sold until 2009 here. Buyers learned the hard way that they were better off with 6 naturally aspirated cylinders.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Are you talking about the same Outback XTs that today command a huge premium on the used market? They’re going for absolutely ridiculous prices.

      At least some people want a turbo four in their Outback. Turbos and Subaru’s mountain-loving buyers go pretty well together.

      • 0 avatar
        rustyra24

        My 2005 Subaru Outback XT is a money pit. Anybody buying one should research the car. They have more engine issues and engineering problems than any car I have ever owned. I have owned Mitsubishi’s that were less problematic.

        • 0 avatar
          fendertweed

          this, unfortunately, is a consistent refrain I’ve heard that kept me away from XTs.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            If you are buying used, you need to watch out. On the other hand we got socked pretty good with timing belt, turbo, bushings, axles etc. shortly after buying our used 05 Outback XT. But since correcting those things, it just keeps going right along. Every used car is like this few people do maintenance right before they trade/sell a car they defer it. Though my 01 Lexus needed less stuff than the Outback did.

            There are is a known problem with the turbo oil feed system which will kill the turbo in these motors, if the previous owners did not change the oil consistently every 3750. But if well taken care of it is fine. I put a used turbo with MORE miles on it in our Outback, it was in great shape and still going strong. 120k on the car, 130k on the turbo lol.

            None of that means that the entirely different FA20DIT motor would have the same issues as the old EJ255.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      No problem with my ’08 LGT, which is a turbo. Wheel bearings and suspension bushes are what it likes for breakfast after 6 years.

      On the other hand, if you want to see what a supposedly premium brand is really like, check this page out :

      http://acurazine.com/forums/problems-fixes-297/

      Yes, the famous Acura TL 2009 to 2014. Utter disaster and good fun to read if you’re someone who likes to laugh at people slipping on banana peels. Oil drinking, torque-converter eating, propeller shaft consuming nightmares. They make Audis look good. Plus, the AWD system is so primitive, owners get to drive around FWD with their prop shafts removed, while waiting for replacements.

      It really is a fun read compared to any Subaru forum bar the Scion FT 86 pages.

      • 0 avatar
        EAF

        All things being equal, I would rather have the aforementioned issues in an Acura. Acura will be more likely to honor their warranty. On the other hand, Subaru will stop at nothing to void it.

        Subaru has widespread transmission issues as well, specifically with their CVT. Excessive oil consumption on the 2.5 is well documented. Alignment issues, which is probably why people report tires have a short life expectancy. Wheel bearings as you have mentioned. Hard start issues.

        There is no reason why a car with 2k miles on the clock would need a new short block.

        Junk x 10^5 > Subaru + VW.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I looked at your link and didn’t find any smoking gun that the TLs are more problematic than any other cars, let alone Subarus. Take a look at True Delta. I ran a comparison between the TLs and Outbacks. Most years of TLs are in the fewest dealer trips range for their model years while the Outbacks from the XT years range from bad to worst. You seem to like to delude yourself by finding outliers that made smarter car buying decisions than you did but ran into trouble anyway. Very sad.

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    Posters here tend to have unrealistic perspectives on the amount of power normal people expect out of a car. For the average person anything that can get from 0-60 in less than 10 seconds is sufficient.

    Now more power is fun for people who love driving but we are in the minority.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    When the H6 is a $5000 option of course sales will be lower. Make it a $1000 option and the H6 will be the majority engine.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree with you there would be more of them, but I don’t think they would be the majority. There are plenty of boring people who either won’t spend the grand or won’t want the larger motor.

      The other factor is OEMs seldom allow engine upgrades without forcing you into upper trims you don’t want or need. Grinds my gears.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      H6 Subarus are rather thirsty, and I wonder if that wouldn’t be an equal deterrent to the high MSRP. Subaru fans put up with the lousy mileage and slow acceleration of the older 2.5 Outbacks because there wasn’t a better alternative. The current 2.5 CVT is quicker and rated well over 30mpg highway. I’m someone who would much rather have the V6 version of any CUV or midsize sedan, but with a 7-second 0-60 time and poor mpg, the H6 wouldn’t tempt me in the least.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    “Ooooh – don’t want to go with a turbo! Too risky!

    Ridiculous talk. Subaru has been turbocharging engines for a dog’s age. If this were some mfg. that has no experience with turbos, and need to reduce their engine size to meet fuel economy requirements and weight targets, that would be one thing, but this kind of nailbiting is just silly.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    Subaru really does not care about the engine smoothness.It may interfere with their rugged truck like image.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Is the 3.6 rough as well? I’ve never even been around one of those. I also wonder how much it’s been changed and updated since it came out for the SVX all those years ago.

      • 0 avatar

        No, it’s not at all. The 3.0 litre present in the 2005-2009 was probably a smooth as it got. There was a slight downgrade in the quality of noise it made when they massaged it to get more power out of it. Otherwise, it’s actually Subaru’s best engine in terms of refinement and reliability, in my experience it is quite a bit more refined than Nissan’s VQ engine for example.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          It’s funny you mention that, I think there are big differences between the VQ’s, to where you can’t label them with one term.

          The VQ30 I used to have was very refined and very quiet.

          The VQ35 is different than the VQ35-HR used in Infiniti products. I have heard it’s more refined, but have not driven a recent Maxima to compare. Overall, this engine is quite a bit louder than my old VQ30. Though that might be down more to exhaust. The I30 wasn’t intended to be sporty.

          The VQ37 they’re using now in the Infiniti models is definitely more refined.

      • 0 avatar
        superchan7

        Should sound similar to Porsche engines, but with a ton of silencing in the muffler.

        Flat-6s sound more mechanical than the buttery-smooth V6s from Toyota or Honda, but it’s a pleasing sound. Better than the H-4s on the WRXs that I still can’t quite appreciate.

  • avatar
    Grahambo

    My wife has a 2013 Outback 3.6R and I was a long time SVX owner (nearly 20 years). The Subie Boxer 6 is smooth and refined — as well as exceedingly reliable/durable. From a spec standpoint, it’s HP/torque/fuel economy are perhaps not at the top of the class, but it’s a great engine. (In a weird way, I regard it similarly to the Toyota/Lexus 6 in the IS350 — sure, the BMW twin turbo six and other engines are more “modern” and powerful, but as someone who typically holds on to cars for a decade or two, I know which I’d rather own long term). By contrast, the 2.5 turbo 4 in my ’05 LGT is quicker and much more fun, but smooth and refined it is not. Also, the turbo fours (and the boxer fours in general) obviously don’t have the bulletproof reliability of the sixes — altho I’ve been lucky thus far, knock on wood.

    • 0 avatar
      rustyra24

      The six cylinders are way more reliable than the turbo 4’s. I just replaced by turbo (banjo filter issue).I also had the heads and valves redone because of burn valves. I am just happy I do not have a failed ring land which is another common issue.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, when my aunt wanted an Outback it was the only model I’d advise her to go with. It’s had other issues (specifically, the sunroof), but their H6s seem to be far better efforts overall. They have timing chains too, which is nice.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I was impressed with the quality of the 02 Outback H6 I looked at once. The interior felt very well done and it had nicer leather than I was expecting.

          Now, the owner had used old photos in the ad, and lied about the condition, and had a too-high value in his head, but that’s another matter.

          It was a very nice black cherry metallic over silver cladding.

  • avatar
    EAF

    “When Subaru quits making boxers, I’ll consider a Subaru.”

    I agree with this statement. From the Subaru XT “Wedge” my family owned, to my many friends with WRXs and Impreza JDM STI swaps, I’ve witnessed and experienced nothing but tears and headaches.

    The most recent nightmare I had was pulling the engine on an ’05 STI do to what I initially thought was a headgasket failure. Luckily, upon closer inspection, I noticed the head casting around an exhaust valve was fractured. Machine shop confirmed, it turns out it is a common problem, new head ordered (tight budget). That wasn’t even the headache. Subaru uses allen key bolts on their cam gears with a similar metalurgy to play-doh. Despite renting the proper cam holding tools, the bolts EASILY strip. COMPLETE NIGHTMARE that required air tools and a welder to crawl out of. Subaru, much like Volkswagen, uses inferior parts and builds junk.

    Subaru, ditch the boxer that you absolutely suck at building. Insert Toyotas’s inline turbo 4 cylinder (8AR); problem solved!

  • avatar
    wmba

    Subaru is going to 1.6 l turbos for regular cars, with the 2.0t reserved for bigger or more powerful models. If the portly Fusion can stagger around with a 1.5 l turbo as its main engine, the Subies will be all right. The 2.0t in the Forester with 250 hp makes that car move pretty decently, so an Outback with the heavy 3.6 removed and replaced with that modern engine might not gulp in horror when confronted with a curve in the road.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Strategy makes sense. EZ series volume pales in comparison to the four-cylinder architectures. Plus, many Subaru customers enjoy active lifestyles or they live in mountainous regions, which suits turbocharged engines. Switch everything over to the FB series and turbocharge.

  • avatar
    davew833

    The Subaru H6 is a cut above the 2.5 in quality– and of course the EZ30 H6 NEVER blows head gaskets like the EJ25… except when it does, like it did on my 2001 LL Bean Outback H6. It’s very uncommon for that to happen though– and I do prefer the “lifetime” water pump and the timing chain rather than a belt.

    My first Japanese car in 1986 was a 1980 Subaru, and I’ve never lost my love for their odd quirkiness. The day they drop the boxer engine (they’ve already mainstreamed and genericized their designs more than I care for) is the day I switch to Toyota or Mazda.

  • avatar

    “Say farewell to the Subaru 3.6-liter six-cylinder boxer, as the automaker is considering smaller engines with turbos”

    It’s almost as if, I don’t know… they were doing that before? And they quit for no good reason, and tried to sell us limp-wristed H6’s, and we wanted Turbo motors all along

    Hmmm…

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    Yet another death sentence to a fine boxer 6 engine. I don’t want a 2.0 liter turbo in a car that’s go by to cost 30K and up! Everyone’s going small- way too small…

  • avatar
    danwat1234

    I’d like to see a real Subaru hybrid, with strong electric motors and an Atkinson cycle boxer engine, not OTTO cycle, for more MPG on the city and highway. Rear wheel power coming from just an electric motor, no driveshaft, similar to the Honda NSX and 2016 Prius, if the rumors are true.

  • avatar
    generoust

    I’m THRILLED! My pristine 2010 Legacy 3.6R will be even more desirable = more $ resale. Subaru would sell lots more of these if they allowed dealers to stock them and reduced the price differential. But, if that doesn’t happen, all the better for me. Ya’ know, cubes still count!

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