By on May 10, 2015

2015 Subaru Outback

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

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

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

The XV has proven so far this year to be significantly more popular than the Impreza sedan and hatch combined (excluding the WRX/STi that Subaru sees as a unique model). XV sales are up 20% to 27,017 through the first four months of 2015; Impreza sales are up 2% to 20,597. The XV led the Impreza by only 2,390 units at this stage a year ago.

Subaru USA sales chart

The Outback fell 2238 units shy of matching last December’s best Outback month ever but exceeded the nameplate’s previous best April by 1,871 units, an 18% improvement.

Forester sales, say Subaru, have risen beyond 10,000 units in each of the last 21 months. In comparison with the category’s top-selling CR-V, Equinox, Escape, and RAV4, Forester sales aren’t terribly high. Those four nameplates averaged nearly 27,000 April sales. But the Forester’s steady march forward is unmistakable. Between 2007 and 2012, Subaru averaged fewer than 6000 Forester sales per month.

Subaru XV Crosstrek

By the standards of top-tier midsize contenders, Legacy sales are a pittance. Yet by Legacy standards, Subaru’s midsize sedan is booming. April sales shot up 69% to 5,276; year-to-date volume is up 68% to 19,647.

The numbers are small, but the Legacy is proving tremendously helpful for Subaru in the United States, where the majority of midsize cars – and the midsize segment as a whole – are failing to match last year’s sales pace. The Legacy has added nearly 8,000 sales to the Subaru tally over the span of just four months, nearly on par with the volume added by the Outback.

2015 Subaru Forester

With growth across much of the lineup, where does this position Subaru? We’ve stated previously that the brand is clearly now among the mainstream players, as declared by what is now a 14-month-long streak of 40K+ sales months. Subaru’s U.S. market share increased to 3.2% in April 2015, up from 2.9% at this time a year ago, 2.6% in April 2013, and 2.2% in April 2012.

The likelihood that a successor to the discontinued Tribeca will be far more successful than the Tribeca will provide further expansion.

Subaru
April 2015
April 2014
% Change
2015 YTD
2014 YTD
% Change
Forester 13,977 11,547 21.0% 51,613 46,937 9.9%
Outback 12,534 10,663 17.6% 48,021 39,589 21.3%
XV Crosstrek 6,936 5,678 22.2% 27,017 22,553 19.8%
Legacy 5,276 3,126 68.8% 19,647 11,670 68.4%
Impreza 5,311 5,444 -2.4% 20,597 20,163 2.2%
WRX/STi 2,713 2,698 0.6% 9,974 8,213 21.4%
BRZ 494 820 -39.8% 1,653 2,886 -42.7%
Total
47,241 40,083 17.9% 178,522 152,471 17.1%

Subaru was the ninth-best-selling auto brand in America over the first four months of 2015, 10,000 sales ahead of Dodge; 16,000 sales back of Kia.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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81 Comments on “Old Hat? April 2015 Reveals Another Subaru U.S. Sales Record...”


  • avatar
    EvilEdHarris

    I want to say that I am happy for Subaru, but just can’t do it. They used to be the go to make for a manual transmission on a car that is not totally stripped down. Now that they have established themselves amongst the mainstream players, there is not need to cater to the quirky customer that sustained them through the years.

    Mind you, I recognize that they are not the only car manufacturer out there who recently abandoned their core customer in favor of greener pastures (I’m looking at you BMW).

    Anyway I’ll never buy another Subaru again, but glad to see some competition for Honda and Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The odd thing is they aren’t competing with Honda and Toyota on quality or engineering terms. They’re still the Japanese company that keeps blown headgaskets in the lexicon. They still need Audi levels of long term maintenance. It just seems like buyers become more ignorant over time. I blame the sell-out magazines and their ‘no more bad cars’ propaganda.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        “They still need Audi levels of long-term maintenance.”

        Oh my. So you mean regular scheduled maintenance using original parts and high quality fluids? The kind that every conscientious adult should know about?

        I guess that’s a deal-breaker for some. Not for everybody: I see as many first-gen A4s on the street as contemporary Accords and Camrys. The stats may be different if you live in a no-rust zone.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I wish we could post photos here. I could show you the ones I took of the mountain of replacement engine crates when we returned our leased A6 a couple weeks ago.

          Hondas and Toyotas need long term maintenance. You just don’t need to pull the engine to change spark plugs and a timing belt, just as you don’t have to remove the front clip and core support. If you see as many first-gen A4s on the street as you do Accords and Camrys, it is because you are looking for first generation A4s. Where I live, you might see as many current and immediate previous generation A4s as you see new Accords, but you see a dozen times as many old Accords as old Audis. Then again, our cars have to run well enough to pass smog.

          • 0 avatar
            Synchromesh

            Is that so? I’ve owned a WRX for 3 years. Audi levels of maintenance – puuuhleeease! Other than requiring synthetic and premium (which is expected on a turbo engine) so far the maintenance included clutch, diff, tranny fluid changes and a few other minor things. I’m still on original brakes and shocks at 52K miles. Non-turbo cars should be even cheaper to maintain.

            Of course my car is mostly stock (a rare occurrence) so if someone mods theirs it might require plenty more maintenance but this is nowhere near Audi levels.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            If you consider 3 years and 52K miles to be long term, then you have the right car.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Pulling the front clip on an Audi is a two minute job. There’s a tool to hold it in place, which any Audi mechanic will have. It’s not a big deal, and you get lots of space to change the timing belt after you do it, which you don’t on transverse engine cars.

            I don’t know who told you that you need to pull the engine to change plugs. There was either a miscommunication, or the shop did not want your business.

            Overall, Audis offer decent accessibility. V6 Toyotas are worse. As is the case with most cars, the people who work on them steadily learn a lot of shortcuts.

            We also have smog checks where I live. As I stated, if you use original parts and fix things when they break (don’t drive around for 3 months with a “check engine” light, for instance), they do just fine.

          • 0 avatar
            HerrKaLeun

            If you consider clutch replacement regular maintenance you indeed drive the right car. Like VW boys that claim ignition coils are regular wear items.

            Once you neeed new headgaskets I’m sure those are normal wear items too.

          • 0 avatar
            See 7 up

            Synchromesh –

            52K and a clutch? Not to be rude, but you aren’t driving correctly. My WRX has over 180K, original clutch – LA traffic for 90% of its life.

            I’ve never owned a car that needed a clutch and all have gone over 200K.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            I think he’s just talking fluids there. I doubt he’d be so accepting of having to replace his differential already.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Do manual transmission Subarus have wet clutches, or are you talking about hydraulic actuation? I’ve put thrice that mileage on a hydraulic clutch car over many years without thinking about it.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Dry clutch, so it would be the hydraulic actuation fluid.

            It’s usually DOT3, so I just do it when I change brake fluid. It can get pretty nasty looking after awhile. My Mazda’s clutch even shares its reservoir with the brakes.

          • 0 avatar
            56BelAire

            My wife drives a 2008 Forester Sports, stick. We bought it new, now has 95k miles. Except for some clutch work at 75k miles which was likely caused by her clutch skills….the car has been trouble free. Just routine maintenance and we have gotten very good tire and brake life as well. I would definitely buy another.

            Her previous car, 2000 Accord, 4cyl, is still being driven by our son, 235k miles, runs fine.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            56BelAire, you do understand that you just pointed out that your wife’s Honda was immortal while her Subaru requires expensive maintenance, right?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Re: “pulling the front clip on an Audi is a 2 minute job”

            No, no it’s not.

            For those that are curious as to what this process entails:

            linkhttp://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Audi_Tech/44-BODY-Front_Bumper_Removal_and_Service_Position/44-BODY-Front_Bumper_Removal_and_Service_Position.htm

          • 0 avatar
            56BelAire

            @CJinSD…..No CJ, the Honda wasn’t immortal, we replaced the trans(automatic) at 47K miles. Since then it has been fine. That was the era of the bad Honda automatics. Honda receives kudos though, they paid the full freight even though we were 12,000 miles out of warranty.

            All in all, they’re both very good cars and maintenance costs were very close/similar over the life of the cars. Will the Subaru last till 235k miles……Who knows?

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            And here I thought “service position” for an Audi involved touching your toes and weeping.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        Only one post before the “Subaru head gaskets leak” comment. I truly expected this to be in the first comment. Vehicles from the Volkswagen Group seem to have more, and, more expensive problems in current times than Subaru.

        • 0 avatar
          vwgolf420

          Yes. I always count the responses on Subaru posts until I see head gasket. Also rust on Mazda and unreliable on Volkswagen…. Never takes long.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “They still need Audi levels of long term maintenance.”

        It looks like VW/Audi and Subaru drivers have a high degree of defensiveness in common as well.

      • 0 avatar
        JayhawkInMA

        I think you are way off base on the maintenance required. I had a 2004 WRX. After breaking it in for 1000 miles, I performed a few mods that took it to 290HP.

        I abused it daily. I had absolutely no issues whatsoever during the 80K miles that I owned it. And regular engine oil analysis showed it to be a very healthy engine when I sold it. I am sure the next owner is quite happy with it.

      • 0 avatar
        colin42

        Michael Karesh had an interesting graph on his blog about Outback reliability http://www.truedelta.com/blog/

  • avatar
    carguy

    As much enthusiasts lament the loss of the old Subaru that was focused on making a quirky and unusual cars, the new business model is working out much better for them.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      They didn’t focus on making quirky and unusual cars. They still make the same cars, sans 1 or 2 models (brat, baja) just refined over the years.

      People act like people would stop buying automatic foresters if they offered a stickshift turbo forester, or wouldn’t buy an automatic outback if it also came in manual.

      Subaru is free to do what it wants, but its sales success is based on refining its products and marketing. It is not due to getting rid of manuals transmissions. Its profit margins may be up due to reducing choice, but that is separate from sales success.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The Justy, XT coupe, and SVX are gone too, as is everything else with two doors. Other than that, they really do make modern versions of the stuff that came before. They often used truckish styling tweaks like white painted wagon wheels, raised ride height, and big mudflaps to market their little 4×4 wagons. The CUV-nication of their current stuff is precedented, just not the blandness.

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        @See 7 up: In this age offering a CUV or wagon with a manual transmission would probably qualify as quirky and unusual.

    • 0 avatar
      AdventureSteve

      I previously owned a Legacy sedan with a manual transmission and a Jeep Wrangler with a manual transmission. When I wanted to step up to a wagon, I naturally expected to get an Outback or even Forester, and get rid of the Jeep. The lack of a manual transmission, though, was a deal breaker. So I bought a Wrangler Unlimited instead, which thankfully is still available with a manual. Jeeps are so car-like these days, it wasn’t a bad move.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    XV Crosstreks are big, big, big in my area, popping up all over the place within the last year. I think they are homely, awkward, overpriced, and–judging from the frizzy-haired crazy lady in my neighborhood that has decided to war with me on stoplight races several times–dead slow both on the move and from a stop with that 2.0 and CVT. I just don’t see the appeal in these, I’d rather spring another grand for a Forester and get a better engine and bigger cargo hold.

    • 0 avatar
      Zekele Ibo

      I’m picking up a 2015 XV Crosstrek tomorrow. It was a compelling proposition for me at least, where I live (in Canada) we have snow on the ground for more than 6 months a year, and the extra ground-clearance compared to the Impreza is worth the slight price premium. Performance is adequate (although I’m coming out of a Mazda2 so maybe I’m not too picky).

      I chose the CVT over the manual because the AWD is better than in the manual version, as is the fuel-economy, the sound-proofing and the noise / revs on the highway. The paddle-shifters even work quite well with six pre-programmed ratios, and on anything more than mild acceleration the CVT on the 2015 models mimics a traditional automatic by inserting shift-points, so the rubber-band effect is mostly eliminated. It was for me a much nicer choice than the slightly-awkward 5-speed.

      You can get more refinement and better performance elsewhere, but if you need ground-clearance and real AWD but you want to drive a regular car and not a truck, the XV Crosstrek is just about the only vehicle that fits the bill.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        The CVT AWD is not better. The MT AWD is 50/50 torque split, via a mech center limited slip diff (which can vary torque since its limited slip viscous coupling). The CVT is 60/40, f/r normally and can, via an electronically operated clutch pack, vary torque (reports say up to 50% rear but up to 90% front).

        They are both good. People think the CVT is better because its electronic, but in reality they operated very similarly, with the MT more of a rear bias than the CVT. The CVT can vary torque due to accel/decel, but in reality its not much of a difference. I do think people that don’t like RWD are better with the CVT, since Sub’s MT AWD systems can be more tail happy than people may like (although the modern ones with stability control eliminate a lot of this if one doesn’t want it).

        Long story, I wouldn’t choose the CVT just for the AWD system. But if you like the CVT is has GREAT AWD.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        The fuel economy with the CVT is better on the EPA test only because it has favorable test conditions. The manuals are hampered by absurd mandatory shift points, designed for 4-speed manuals on domestic vehicles in the early 70’s and never updated since. The more speeds and the closer the ratios, the more it hurts the numbers. An RX-8, for example, is required to hit 3500 rpm to shift on the test, where any normal person would shift be shifting before 2000 rpm under such light acceleration. I’m in sixth at speeds where they’re still required to be in third. Yet automatics are free to shift however they want.

        I also disagree that the electronic AWD on the auto is better than the fully mechanical one of the manual. The Subaru electronic system seems to be a good one for what it is, and maybe you prefer it for some reason, but I want AWD to deliver consistent power to all four wheels all the time without any electronic interference, delay, or decision-making. That is the ideal scenario for anyone who wants full control of the car’s behavior. The only way it could get better is if it had a front LSD and manual lockers on all three differentials. It also has the side benefit of mechanical simplicity.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          I wouldnt be swayed from the 5 speed by the electronic awd as well. But it is easily a superior system. On acceleration for example, in lower gears it will lock up in anticipation. This is very nice, proactive action on slippery surfaces. While the mechanical system has a diff that starts you out at 50/50 that is an open diff unitl the vlsd is activated. any loss of traction makes this immediately go to 100/0, then the viscous reacts, and transfers some torque, equalize the speeds, viscous releases, rinse repeat etc. viscous is used becuse it is cheap and doesnt cause binding issues if you use a weak viscous unit.

          Reactive speed based LSD a la viscous is hardly superior to a multplate clutch. Mitsu evo uses exaclty this setup no center diff with a multiplate clutch it works great given it is programmed for the job at hand. Lets not confuse with the off roading ideal where as mentioned you just want locking diffs.

          The real story here is idiots on the internet that dont understand torque split and how useless that idea is when we are talking about a normally open diff which is what a vlsd is. There is so much misunderstanding on the Internets about AWD and how it works. Its not a simple topic in the least.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            More simply, a VLSD tries to apply equal power, and the more one end slips, the tighter the differential locks. It’s very progressive. Seems to work great in practice to me. I’ve driven a few. I haven’t driven an automatic version though, so maybe I’m letting my disgust of other electronic systems that are heavily front-biased or allow significant rear wheel spin before clunking the front wheels into action influence my opinion of all electronic systems. I grew up and learned to drive in a Northern climate with a real 4WD, so that’s my model for how an AWD should behave, and everything electronic I’ve experienced has been inferior. Really, as long as it actually applies power to all four wheels and will instantly spin all four wheels relatively equally on soft or slippery surfaces when I command it to, I’d be good with it.

            Having a locked center differential seems ideal on those deep snow days. But my buddies’ manual Subarus seem to work fine as-is. There’s no noticeable lag in the wheelspin on either end when you want to give it, and slip angles are easily adjusted with the throttle. Having lockers on the other diffs would mainly benefit those living on acreages or farms, but it would rarely be necessary. I was only suggesting it as a way that the system could be even better. It wouldn’t be worth putting on a car like that, but it would probably make things a little more fun on a few days a year.

            Basically, I should just say that the mechanical system on the Subarus works as well as I’d ever need, allowing driving on a set of studded winters to be as fun as it should be. Any additional complexity seems unnecessary and is unwelcome to me.

            So how do you feel the electronic system on the automatics performs better? Do any club level ice racers and rally drivers prefer that setup? I can see how the most advanced AWD systems that are rear-biased and use side-to-side biasing to promote rotation on corner exit could make a vehicle a bit faster, but that seems to be the opposite of what the system on the lower level automatics is doing. If your preference for the electronic system has any relation to a conservative driving style, it doesn’t apply to me.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            So, Power6, is that the limit of your knowledge on the subject? The electronic system on the automatics is better because it can decide to lock the front and rear output speeds under certain low speed conditions of which you’re unsure about the details, while everything else involves a front-biased system with a computer simply reacting to the driver inputs? As I’ve said, the amount of slip allowed between axles in the mechanical unit hasn’t proven to adversely affect performance in practice, in my experience. Why don’t you bless the internet with your wisdom on how the electronic system actually provides better performance or reliability?

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      Excellent point about Crosstreks’ popularity. I have three female acquaintances with the lame CVT versions.
      I think you’re numbers are off on the Crosstrek / Forester comparison. Subie incentives made Crosstrek’s more competitive.

    • 0 avatar
      tylermattikow

      Funny I rented one last month… Thought it was pretty decent, definitely not fancy.. I drive a BMW so I definitely though the interior was a little playschool plastic.. It was also too loud on the highway, much of that may have been the tires though… The price seems really cheap, 21,500 MSRP seems like a better deal than anything on the market.. I take a cheap interior in a cheap car, and I average 30mpg while doing it.. I honestly think much of Suburu’s success is due to them being priced well…

  • avatar

    no surprise here. good cars blended with good marketing.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    I seriously considered buying an Outback. Sadly, the seat bottoms are too short, made for little folks instead of overfed folks like me, and I’m not that big at 6ft/220.

    • 0 avatar
      Speedygreg7

      I’ve said this many times before, but Subaru’s mainstream seats are too short for me at 5’8″. Simply the worst seats in the industry in Forester and Legacy/Outback. Subaru, please buy some freakin’ Volvos.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        The 2015 Outback’s seat bottoms are allegedly 1″ longer so you may want to check that out. But yes, EVERYONE can benefit from Volvo seats – I’ve always been surprised others haven’t reverse engineered them.

        The seats in my SAAB are pretty remarkable as well; it must be a Swedish thing.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I’ve also always found Subarus to be non-starters just due to the lack of thigh support, and I’m not so sure on the supposed 1 inch lengthening of the cushion for 2015, I saw some measurements on a forum that made it seem like they were almost identical.

          • 0 avatar
            tylermattikow

            When I had the XV on vacation, I don’t remember the seats being bad.. I had a Hyundai Sonata rental the week before and those I remember as uncomfortable. That car was terrible as well. My E46 has very good seats, but I must say having owned several Saabs and a Volvo in the past, nothing matches Swedish seats…

    • 0 avatar
      ckb

      I’ve heard this gripe a few places but never understood it. I have a 36″ inseam and think the seats are just fine. Its not like my legs would touch them if they were longer anyway. My feet rest on the floor and my thighs rest on my shins. If the seat were any longer and higher I think I’d feel like my legs were trapped. My other car has a thigh support that extends out 3″ but I find it most comfortable retracted all the way in. Guess we’re all special snowflakes.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Subaru’s new sales target for this fiscal year is 600K, five years ahead of the original schedule. What was VW USA’s 2018 target, 800K?

    http://www.autonews.com/article/20150508/OEM/150509875/subaru-maker-reports-21-profit-increase-plans-more-u-s-capacity

  • avatar
    Fred

    Twice I had the Imprezza wagon in some form as my car of choice. But I have no need for AWD, the rough engine and poor interior allowed me to pause and keep looking. Chose an A3 and TSX Sportwagon, both more expensive options, but a lot nicer. My brother loves his Forester, but they don’t put many miles on it. In fact there longest drive is into Reno for free oil changes, which they think is fantastic.

    • 0 avatar
      Synchromesh

      I haven’t driven a TSX wagon but I got to sit in a friends’. Hated it with a passion. The interior felt tiny and very compressed from the top. Subaru’s interiors might be cheaper but they’re definitely far more pleasant to be in – and I’m not even claustrophobic!

      I also don’t like Acura’s drivetrain. No manual transmission means I wouldn’t even consider it.

  • avatar

    the forester has lost its personality as the automotive equivalent of the plaid flannel shirt, but it still has good visibility in all directions, and drives nicely.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’m happy with a lot of things about my Forester. The packaging and space utilization are among the best on the market. The drive is reasonably pleasant, with competent suspension and steering and a good if thirsty (turbo) engine. Flawless reliability so far but the car is only two years and 22,000 city miles old. The only real complaints are the indifferent interior quality and noise isolation.

    What I don’t get is the XV. I can’t see why an XV would be a better choice than a Forester for anyone. The same platform, but with much poorer packaging and a weak-sauce engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Synchromesh

      It’s smaller, lighter and a lot easier to park in the city. Forester is a relatively big car in comparison. I don’t see many Foresters or XVs in SF because awd isn’t really needed here but all the northern cities on both coasts I’ve been to recently (Seattle, Boston) are full of both.

      • 0 avatar
        jimble

        I bought an XV Crosstrek hybrid a few weeks ago and am very happy with it so far. A Forester would be a more logical choice for most people, but I appreciate the Crosstrek being a few inches shorter both in length (parking in the city) and height (putting my bike on the roof). And the Forester is just too much of a frumpy mom-mobile for me.

        I knew going in that I wasn’t going to get Prius-class MPGs on it but I’m happy with the mileage I get in mixed driving, way better than my old Jetta 1.8T could ever hope to get. As for it being slow… maybe it is, but it hasn’t been an issue for me. Not as entertaining to drive as the Jetta was but the Jetta was at the point where after 10 years and only 74K miles I was scared to drive it because it was so fragile.

      • 0 avatar
        rdclark

        Crosstrek is six inches shorter, one inch narrower, 200lb lighter, pretty much the same fuel economy. Yet the Foz is much bigger inside, much easier to see out of, and has better performance even in the NA/CVT version. Pricing is very close to the same, although there are more luxury optons on the XV.

        But there’s no orange Forester., so I guess Crosstrek wins.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    They still make the WRX/STI with a clutch. My car ended up a one year unicorn, and while I’m sure glad they made it I understand not continuing when so few of us bought the midsize sporty turbo manual wagon. If I win the lottery (first step would be to actually buy a ticket) I may import the EU turbo-deisel and paint it brown; vanity plate of MEME.

  • avatar

    Weird that they’re selling this much volume without having a $60-80k ultra-premium luxury sedan with twelve cylinders arranged in the shape of an X or something.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Somedody needs to patent a modular electric motor assist for the rear axle. It would lift in & out of the rear cargo area like a large cooler or lunch pale. Cargo space in the summer, traction assistance in winter. No need for awd.

    A manufacturer who doesn’t have a large CUV/SUV lineup to erode.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Nothing would make me happier, although I suspect this invention would not fully kill off the truck based SUV as some people would still prefer 4×4.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Forester and Crosstrek bodies greatly appeal to me but the boxer engine, poor FE and mandatory AWD don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Visibility is an easy fix and Subaru would be wise to implement and then advertise about how their models have it standard. The rest well I don’t see them abandoning their platform/drivetrain any time soon.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “Visibility is an easy fix”

        Oh, to live in an automotive world where that was true. CAFE will only continue to obliterate sightlines and prevent their ever returning. For every class of vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      The whole point of the Subaru is the awd. With out the AWD it would be a generic brand honda, toyota, mitsubishi..

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I dunno. I drove a CVT-equipped Crosstrek recently and didn’t think it was so bad. Granted, there weren’t four people in the car while trying to pass other vehicles on a highway on our way up a mountain. But I can see the Crosstrek as a viable all-season commuter. The Forester does have some advantages, like the 2.5-liter engine. But you have to buy the pricer, upscale trim level in order to get paddle-shifting. In the Crosstrek, the paddles come with the mainstream Premium trim.

    I can’t speak for earlier model years, but the CVT responds very quickly to manual inputs with the paddles on 2015 cars. And even when you’re still in auto (as opposed to manual) mode, if you want to pass someone quickly, all you have to do is tap the downshift paddle and you’re instantly in virtual second gear for the pass. As soon as you lift off the accelerator a bit, you go back to drive mode.

    I’m in the market for a new car and my current vehicle is a 2010 Impreza Outback Sport 2.5 with manual transmission. I didn’t think the Crosstrek was all that bad on my extended test drive. Sure, I’d consider a Forester but it seems like every fourth car on the road in my area is a Forester and I’d prefer to not see myself coming and going every other minute. I’d also consider an Outback since it and the Legacy get the best fuel mileage and have the best range out of all the Subarus. But I can’t help but wonder if the Outback isn’t a bit on the large size when I’ll be driving while alone 90 percent of the time.

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    Subaru makes cars that do not compromise basic usability features like ingress/egress for the sake of styling. So the reason for Subaru’s sales success is obvious to me.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      This. I think tiny, niche-dwelling Subaru has done the best job of understanding the core reasons taller vehicles are the new must-have for American buyers. They’ve bet their farm on that product realignment and it was the right thing to do. They’ll appropriately prune back commitment to sedans and goofy boy-racer things like the WRX as they continue to ride this wave.

      I personally think their AWD orientation is an inspired bit of flim-flamming a somewhat gullible public as to its necessity, but, hey, it’s not making their cars any *less* safe.

  • avatar
    alan996

    “quirky”? Manual? I can locate a couple of used Yugos, may have difficulty finding any Trabants to slack your need for “quirky”

    I can do snark though….

  • avatar
    vwgolf420

    I live in Alabama and it’s gotten to the point that there are Outbacks everywhere I look. Foresters and XVs too.
    We’re not Colorado or New England level yet, but there sure are a lot of them around.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I don’t get it, it must be a marketing thing that sells these vehicles. I even lived in Maine for a while where every other car on the road is a Subie. Subaru has done nothing to prove that they still don’t have head gasket issues and unless they have finally gotten rid of the open deck block design where the piston walls “free float” on their NA engines, there is probably nothing that can be done to fix it.

    I’d buy a Jeep GC or a CRV all day every day over a Subaru Outback or Forester.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      Using multi-layer steel gaskets has pretty much solved the head gasket issue for more recent models. One possible contributor to Subaru HG leaks is the boxer design where the oil never drains from the head. This tends to dissolve the goop that coats the outside of single layer gaskets. However boxers offer certain advantages as well. Blowing head gaskets is not a desirable feature but if an otherwise reliable vehicle needs a head gasket after 100k miles it’s not the end of the world. Subaru is not at Toyota level of reliability but it’s not at Toyota level of boring either.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        You’ll have to explain to me how something like a CVT equipped Forester/Outback/Crosstrek is less boring than a 4Runner or Tacoma 4wd. Is the new CVT-only Legacy less boring than a Camry?

  • avatar
    Jgwag1985

    Pretty simple why Subaru’s are selling. Standard AWD (winters getting worse). Least expensive awd cars out there. Safety, top of the IIHS charts for how long now? Safety does sell. Being a Top Safety Pick is a big deal.

    Lack of a manual, big deal. No one’s buying them anymore. If you are concerned about being quickest get the automatic. I know Porsche has suffered (sarcasm) since offering tiptronic/automatic on the 911’s. But it is nice they offer manual on the lower end 911’s for those 30-40% of owners that want a manual………….the problem with today’s automatics is their durability, seem more likely to fail, and way more expensive to replace than a manual.

  • avatar
    STS_Endeavour

    My ex girlfriend adores Subarus – when the car show comes around every year, it’s a mandatory stop while perusing the pavilion. Is it just me, or are Subaru interiors cheap plastic? Folks like to rag on Yankee car interiors for being cheap, but Subaru interiors come across as worse than most Yank interiors I encounter. Does anybody else see this?

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Does anybody else see this?”

      No, I try to see the road. Plastic interiors work for me. But given the trend towards gun slits in rolling bunkers I too may begin to fetishize over the materials they use to cover interior surfaces since I soon won’t be able to see much else.

    • 0 avatar
      fozone

      they look fisher-price cheap but are extremely durable — my oldest subie just turned 13, when I apply a coat of armor all to the dash, it looks new. Nothing has worn out or faded.

      Constrast this with, say, VW, famous for soft touch interiors that fall apart. I guess your preference comes down to how long you plan on keeping the car.

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    Subaru had to remove the manual option on some models because they had to free up production capacity to double their sales since 2008. Not offering a manual on the Legacy and the Outback simplifies production. I’ve worked in machine production and the more standardization, the higher the production.

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      If this is true, why do Canadian buyers still get to choose a Legacy or Outback with manual transmission? I mean, those are made in Indiana too, aren’t they?

  • avatar
    fozone

    They are some of the few cars left that you can actually see out of.

    I’m not surprised they are selling well. (lazy domestic designers of rolling coffins, take note…)

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Subaru. The Volvo of the 21st Century.

  • avatar
    djsyndrome

    I set out to buy a BRZ Premium a few weekends ago. No-one in the immediate Seattle area had the trim and color combination I wanted (which wasn’t especially rare), but I was willing to budge on color and was looking forward to paying below MSRP. Was told by one dealer that I would have to wait 3-4 months for what I wanted, and that they weren’t willing to deal on price. Another dealer had two ’14s that they couldn’t give away, likely because they were both silver and looked like they hadn’t been washed since last Christmas. Getting *any* dealer to discuss the BRZ at length in light of the new WRX and all of the other customers throwing money at them for Outbacks and Foresters is like pulling teeth. Subaru dealers are obviously annoyed that they still have to carry the thing.

    I gave up and went to a Toyota dealer. Walked out with the FR-S in the color I wanted in under an hour at a great rate. Even like the suspension a bit better.

    The BRZ will never reach peak sales again, but the environment they are being sold in isn’t helping matters.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      That attitude comes from Subaru itself– not the store you visited. Subaru will not build more of anything(but forester) and refuses any discounting of product.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Flatly untrue. Subaru will discount to move the metal. I paid over $4000 under sticker for a ’13 Forester XT bought in January ’13, about two months before the new ’14s hit dealers.

        This is just Seattle-area dealers not wanting to think about a BRZ because they sell 50 Foresters for every BRZ they sell.

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