By on March 15, 2018

Yesterday’s teaser of the upcoming 2019 Subaru Forester got me thinking, but not about the Forester. Don’t get me wrong, the Forester’s a good vehicle — a gold first-gen model driven by a buddy tackled moderately challenging terrain with aplomb whenever we’d head to the woods for some gunplay — but for many, it’s not the stuff dreams are made of.

No, I started thinking of the blank space in Subaru’s lineup — the missing models that could fill a niche here and there. If given control of the company’s development team, I know exactly what I’d plunk atop the company’s global platform, and maybe you do, too.

Prepare for a shock: It’s a pickup I want. Yes, we had a second swing at the beloved Brat with the short-lived Baja (2003-2006), essentially an Outback with a pickup bed large enough to hold your backpack, but that model didn’t leave the oven in pristine condition.

By taking the popular Outback, chopping the roof off the rear cargo hold, adding six inches of length, and throwing in a set of “sport bars” for rigidity and grab-handle use, Subaru created something of an ugly duckling. To keep rear seat volume in Outback territory, the roofline remained very upright, ending abruptly when it reached the bed. Hardly the graceful transition seen on the Brat. The bed itself, though capable of being extended, was too short. It was too much car, too little pickup.

Subaru had better things to spend its time on.

With the introduction of the 2019 Ascent, the Subaru Global Platform now host vehicles ranging from compact sedan to midsize, three-row SUV. While I highly doubt Subaru will attempt a third unibody, AWD sport pickup, there’s no model I’d like to see more. If it can built the long-wheelbase Ascent on the SGP architecture, a pickup should be a breeze. Ditch the four conventional doors that just eat up too much real estate and swap them for a clamshell configuration. I don’t care if the rear seat isn’t F-150-sized. As long as it’s accessible for the few times you’ll actually have a passenger back there.

Bring back the Brat’s flying buttress look for the C-pillar and give the rear glass a forward rake. Add enough length out back to avoid stubbiness. Ground clearance needn’t be more than the Subie-standard 8.7 inches. Keep the strong 2.4-liter flat-four turbo from the Ascent. Toss in a mild application of butch cladding and ensure it goes into production in Indiana, thus side-stepping the chicken tax. Bam.

Yes, such a vehicle would make your author mighty pleased, though perhaps you’ve got a better idea in mind. If Subaru hauled you to HQ and said “You’re calling the shots, do whatever makes you happy,” what would be your pick for a new model?

[Image: Subaru]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

105 Comments on “QOTD: What’s Missing From Your Subaru Lineup?...”


  • avatar
    mojeimeje

    A proper Impreza/Crosstrek based wagon to compete with the Golf Sportwagon. It would easily undercut it in price because the Sportwagon/Alltrack is priced almost at Outback levels.

    Basicaly, bring back the old Outback Sport.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Pretty much this. Hell, I have a friend who had an old Legacy Brighton wagon (quite possibly the nicest designation I’ve heard for the cheapskate trim level), and a modern update of that would be fine. If Subaru could make the numbers work to sell a base Legacy wagon at the same price as the base sedan, it’d at least be in the ballpark of the GSW, and they’ve already got the body ready to go.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      The Forester doesn’t do it for you?

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I really liked the Baja but by the time I could afford a manual turbo one, it wasnt possible to find a nice one.

    That said, I want a WRX sedan with the ride height and meaty rubbet of at least the Crosstrek. Calgary is particularly hard on lower plastic valences and the like.

  • avatar
    SaigonDesign

    An upgraded base engine lineup for all vehicles. The base engines for the Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback are sadly underpowered, while the upgraded engines (when you can get them) are expensive.

    That being said, Subaru needs to revamp its Impreza/WRX/STI/BRZ line with a performance arm, a la AMG, M-Sport, RS, F-Sport.

    I’d love a niche AWD luxo-sport coupe/sedan/sportback, but that doesn’t really fit Subaru’s profile, nor do they have the funding for it.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Levorg. It’s the same size as the 4th gen Legacy wagon but with more modern equipment. It’s the poor man’s 3 series wagon basically.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    I think it’s time for Subaru to enter the luxury car market, in the same vane as Lexus and Infiniti. I would call the new luxury brand Alcyone. One trademark feature of the brand would be adjustable height air suspension.

    • 0 avatar

      Having thought about this more than once, I don’t think an additional luxury marque would fit with their current brand message. You can’t be enviro-dog friendly and outdoorsy and also have a luxury brand for poncy people over here in the corner.

      I think they can however, continue extending trims upmarket for quite a ways. The wealthy and non-flashy will buy a high trim Ascent Prestige for too much money.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I’m with you 100% Corey. I think many people like the Subaru pragmatist/utilitarian image and non-snob badge, but these same folks often have some money to spend and secretly wouldn’t mind some luxury features. They could easily bring back the LL Bean trim, except make it a more current “Patagonia” branded trim with higher-spec interior materials, high end sound, etc. Just basically high margin gingerbread. People will gobble it up. Most of the current Outbacks I see are 80%+ Limiteds with the larger alloys wheels, not cloth-seat Premiums, base 2.5is are rare as hens’ teeth.

        I think the turbo-4 is coming to the Outback, H-6 will be retired, so that will address the power issue without to big of a window sticker-MPG hit.

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah needs that turbo, and the H6 can just go on and be forgotten. Too underwhelming.

        • 0 avatar
          thatrabidhobo

          Currently I don’t see more expensive trims fitting in with the Subaru brand. There are plenty of other more expensive brands and their trims but part of the Subaru draw is the practicality in both utility and cost. I’m one of those and sprung for the base Outback because it ticks all the important boxes and I saved the $5-$10k in upmarket trim for more important things even though I could afford it without difficulty.

          Frugality and all that.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Like I said, I barely see any 2.5i Outbacks around at all, and the Limiteds vastly outnumber the Premiums in my locale. Your mileage may vary. Subaru is definitely a strong value brand at their core, you get a lot for your money, espeically at the low-mid trims. But I do suspect that they high-end gingerbread trims would find their audience (see: popularity of LL Bean trim previously), and would be an easy way for Subaru to make more money.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Subaru prices are already too high for a new demographic.

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/05/priceonomics-details-subarus-lesbian-marketing-love-affair/

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      I think Subaru won’t return to adjustable air suspension because their first such venture was so ill-fated (i.e., the system available on the first-generation Legacy wagon – some years ago we inherited a ’90 LS AWD automatic that had just had all its hoses replaced at 7-8 years, and we still had to replace two air shocks, at $400-500 each!)

      As for “popularity of L.L. Bean trim” mentioned by another commenter, I’m not at all sure that continued for the entire period of the licensing agreement (ended in 2009). The 2000-04 Outback Bean (6-cylinder automatic) was surely more popular than either the 2005-09 Outback Bean or the 2003-08 Forester Bean (2.5L auto).

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Luxury brand would hurt Subaru badly. People like Subaru for the agricultural simplicity, value for money, and the ethos of the brand.

      If they want to branch out, they need a sport sub-brand. The WRX/BRZ bros not gravitate to the “Love” message. They are not happy their uneven exhaust headers have been taken away. The offroad dude bros don’t like the bulbous, chunky, upright body styles. The bros need some love. If not special trims to provide more utility and masculinity, at least provide better aftermarket support.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Subcompact CUV would be the obvious answer: something the size of the ’90s Outback Sport.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I don’t think a Subaru Ridgeline would sell all that well but it would be a nice niche vehicle.

  • avatar
    dont.fit.in.cars

    Dare I say….Ridgeline

  • avatar

    Since I get to pick whatever I like, Subaru needs a luxury coupe called the SVX. It’ll be roughly the same size as the LC 500.

    Twin turbo, brand new H6. 480 horsepower or so. It will also be pillarless.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Obvious answer is a return of the Legacy GT with a stick shift, but we don’t get to have nice things in the era of CUVs. So make just make their best CUV better: put competitive powertrains in the Outback for once, and improve the approach angle so you can make better use of the good ground clearance.

    • 0 avatar
      Stanley Steamer

      It’s difficult to improve forward approach angle in a car with the engine in the nose, ahead of the front axle.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        You’ll never make a rock crawler out of a FF layout (FA, whatever) but those 16-18 degree curb feelers are entirely the doing of the wind tunnel and the stylists. The mechanical hardpoints aren’t the limitation until upwards of 30 degrees, by which point you’d long since want real tires, underbody protection, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Wes Siler wrote an article covering his attempts to turn the current Outback into something better off road. New wheels, sturdy tires, custom skidplates, none of it mitigating that proboscis. Silly endeavor in several ways, driven largely by a refusal to shell out for something like a lightly used Grand Cherokee or Xterra.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Both Wes’ attempts and that one other guy featured on Jalopnik with the seriously modified Outback strike me as exercises in futility. By the time you’ve done all that lifting and thrown aggressive tires on, the MPG has been lowered to within spitting distance of something like a 4Runner, but capability and durability is still seriously below that of a BOF+solid rear axle SUV.

            youtu.be/Mq6FPFpDkWE?t=68

            “same ground clearance as a Nissan Xterra…” *CRUNCH*

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I can understand their urge to do so despite the futility; if you want a capacious and frugal camping rig, say for public lands out here in the West, the Outback gets pretty close for only $26K. This past month I’ve gone on two weekend jaunts on roads that didn’t require the ultimate clearance and articulation of my 4R, but would have ranged from worrisome to seriously inadvisable for the Subie’s long front overhang.

            Moot point for most owners, though. I saw a lot of Outbacks doing the outdoorsy thing hunting for at-large camping sites in those scenic areas, but most of their owners won’t and weren’t forcing them down the spur roads they are capable of, so I got the good camping spot on the bluff miles from anyone else.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Keeping it stock I totally get the Outback/Forester appeal in terms of being usefully more capable than most other crossovers offroad without the MPG and handling penalty of a BOF SUV. But once you’re spending a good $3-5k on warranty-voiding aftermarket mods on a brand new car (again, bringing price up to SR5 4Runner levels), they lose the plot IMO.

            Most of the time when we go to our primitive camping spot in the state forest just about anything including a minivan can make it (just a gravel road with a few ruts and small concrete bridge crossings). But weather conditions can change that dramatically:

            youtu.be/JTneGPG2ZrM

            An outback or even lesser SUV would have sustained some damage at the very least, or maybe not have even made it past the second underwater obstacle (washed out gully).

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Briefly looked at the guy adding lifts and a winch to his new Outback (32 pages of blog is tl;dr for figuring out exactly how much he spent on this), but with a $28K starting point it seems ridiculous to not just find a well-taken care of early 5th Gen 4Runner SR5.

            Good on ‘im for going all-out hands-on with a brand new vehicle though. Crazy Subie fan.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “It’s difficult to improve forward approach angle in a car with the engine in the nose, ahead of the front axle.”

        Probably true, but somehow the RAV4, CR-V, and Forester have managed it for some time.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          CRV and Rav have a transverse engine that is indeed located farther back in the bay, but the point about the Forester is an interesting one. Presumably with the same engine and basic layout, what is the constraint in the Outback? Some schematics would be interesting to look at.

          Outback: 19.3 deg
          Forester: 23.0 deg
          Rav4: 29 deg

          Looks like there’s some room for improvement in the outback, but ultimately that flat four down low and in front does indeed limit it vs transverse competitors.

          • 0 avatar
            Stanley Steamer

            It simply has to do with higher engine mounting points on the Impreza/Forester platform compared to the Legacy Outback platform.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    So, what are the sales of Ridgeline nowadays? It cannot be worse than BR-Z.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      The new Ridgeline Pete is insanely expensive and really doesn’t even pretend to be a truck like the first generation. Now, it is a Pilot with a bed, as simple as that. It shares all the buttons and switches with the Pilot and most everything else. The old one while not easy on the eyes, at least it was a bit more different than the Pilot and Odyssey.
      Also, Honda as a company doesn’t have fanatic followers like Subaru does. Yes, I owned about 7-8 Hondas in the past, including the first generation Ridgeline, but as soon as Honda didn’t offer what I liked, I jumped ship. Subaru owners are a bit different, more cult-like than any other owners probably.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    “I thought we agreed you’d buy a Subaru?” “But Dad, I did.” Bring back the XT6. At least double the 145 hp though.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Reliability? Gas Mileage? Not guzzling oil? More power to them but I have no idea why they are doing as well as they are.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      The MPG bit they’ve got sorted since the latest generations of their lineup with CVTs, FB series engines and retuned AWD systems on the automatic that prioritize minimizing parasitic loss. The guzzling oil bit they’ve got sorted(?) after the first few years of FB with low tension oil rings running 0W-20 (chasing MPG).

  • avatar
    Speedygreg7

    How about decent seats in the mainstream models. The WRX and BRZ are great. Legacy/Outback and Forester seats are for people under 5’4″ the bottom cushions are so short. Zero thigh support. The Forester seat is more like a stool than a seat. I think the seat is 19-20″ long. I prefer a 23″ cushion and I’m 5’8″ tall. Simple stuff, really.

    How about a suspension that doesn’t lose all its damping by 20k miles? Is that too much to ask?

    • 0 avatar
      Stanley Steamer

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      The ’15+ Outbacks seem to be a lot better about this, the Forester and Impreza seats still had the painfully short cushions last I sat in them (’15 ish).

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t notice the cushion being short in my Outback (’12) and I have reasonably long legs, 6 feet tall. Is this something affecting a very specific year range?

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Salesmen are going to start looking at me funny but I’m going to bring a tape measure on my next shopping trip and start checking that kind of stuff.

        • 0 avatar
          Speedygreg7

          Corey your model year is a short cushion. Perhaps you are not as sensitive to it as I am, but I’m not alone and there are several threads on Outback and Forester forums about the short seats.

          Funny thing though is that the cheaper and smaller Impreza/Crosstrek has a longer bottom cushion. It has no side bolstering, but a longer bottom. Go figure.

          • 0 avatar

            It could be that I’ve not driven it for several hours on end in order to experience said discomfort. For longer trips I’d normally take my Infiniti, or rent a car.

      • 0 avatar
        Speedygreg7

        It is slightly improved from the ’10 to 14′ version, but still too short. The upcoming Ascent seems to have an adjustable cushion like a BMW sport package car. That would be fantastic on the Outback too. It would sell me the car.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    How about the BRZ they were supposed to build

    The one with the turbo

    You know, one that’s faster than a prius

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I really liked the Baja. Back in 2009, in anticipation to my temporary move to Canada, I wanted an AWD pick up that wasn’t too large and decent on gas, but had to have some carrying capability in the bed. No towing needed, no rock crawling. The list was very short…either a used Baja or a used Ridgeline. I didn’t want turbo headaches so the normally aspirated Baja was fine. After a long search in August of 2009, I found a very clean 3 year old Baja with 37,000 miles. It checked my AWD capabilities but yes, the bed was abysmally small. I still loved it though. The deal fell through because the Ford dealership wanted about 2,000 too much for it and didn’t want to give me anything on a pristine 7 year old CR-V. Another 3 months later I found a 2 year old Ridgeline with 9,000 miles on it for a little more money than the 3 year old Subaru. Of course the Ridgeline proved to be a much more capable vehicle and I could fit more than two carry-on bags in the trunk. The only bad thing about the Ridgeline was the terrible fuel consumption which avearge to be 17-18 mpg never better. I still have a soft spot for the Baja and if one was introduced with a smidge bigger bed, I would get one over all the other mid-size trucks out there .

  • avatar
    mshenzi

    Return of the wagon body WRX, please. Now that sedans are fading away everywhere, maybe this dream will come true.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    The new Ridgeline Pete is insanely expensive and really doesn’t even pretend to be a truck like the first generation. Now, it is a Pilot with a bed, as simple as that. It shares all the buttons and switches with the Pilot and most everything else. The old one while not easy on the eyes, at least it was a bit more different than the Pilot and Odyssey.
    Also, Honda as a company doesn’t have fanatic followers like Subaru does. Yes, I owned about 7-8 Hondas in the past, including the first generation Ridgeline, but as soon as Honda didn’t offer what I liked, I jumped ship. Subaru owners are a bit different, more cult-like than any other owners probably.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    How about something that’s fun to drive and not named WRX?

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    A new Baja or Brat
    WRX wagon
    Legacy GT wagon and sedan-the un Outback
    An entry level three door Mini or GTI sized hatch
    A rear or mid engine flat-4 or flat-6 sports car. Porsche copyright be dammed

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Put the WRX engine in something Fiero-ish.

    Make a modern Corvair range. Go ahead, make pillarless models, but if not pillarless at least return to frameless windows.

    How about a van, front-mid engine, cab-over engine, rear IRS with as low a floor as possible. Sounds goofy enough to be a Subaru but still fill a niche.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    They should make the best AWD minivan on the market based on the Ascent platform.

  • avatar
    Dan

    A pickup is a no-brainer. An open bed makes all of the outdoorsy things that Subaru is associated with easier, as well as their indoorsy things because who wants to smell their stained latex body suit all the way home?

    They shouldn’t go big, because once it’s big enough to be a pain to park in the city it’ll be compared to real half-tons and lose every time just like the Ridgeline does. Forget about three abreast, 4 feet of bed is plenty for snowboards and coolers and such. A cat door into the cabin ala Avalanche for skis and folding canopies is a must too. So start with a Forester and stretch back from there.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      This. Not another Baja, it should look like a pickup, with a real, but not huge, bed. I think 4 feet is too limiting. Colorado’s starts at 5′, I’d say that’s about right.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Well, I’ve never owned a Subaru, but what I see missing is the iconic quirky styling that has always appealed to me.

    Now, they look like all other crossovers.

    Having said that, a neighbor has a new Forester and I do like it. Go figure…

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Impreza or Crosstrek Spec B. The obvious answer is WRX hatch, but the new Impreza platform is so quite and composed, it has potential as a Q-ship trim for the non vape crowd as well. That or just bring he next gen Levorg over here.

  • avatar
    ajla

    BRZ targa with a naturally-aspirated 280hp 3.0L H6.

  • avatar
    Turbo Is Black Magic

    There are really only a few things that will keep me away from the Subaru bandwagon… if they fixed them I would jump on in a heartbeat.
    1. Seats are just horrible, no support, bottom cushions are way too small. Feels way too cheap.
    2. No quick wagons, the lack of power from a non turbo 4 cylinder Subie is laughably bad. Add in the ridiculous throttle calibration that tries its best to mask the obscene lack of power by giving you 60% throttle at 4% pedal travel just makes it even worse…

    The answer to what’s missing.
    WRX wagon or hatchback… I have zero love or want for sedans.
    Crosstrek WRX… how has this not happened yet?! They are sitting on a parts bin goldmine here.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Subaru should try an Outback size wagon WITHOUT 8 in of ground clearance.

    Give me a Legacy wagon 3.6 R for a “discount Audi” vibe.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Believe it or not, had Subaru kept the model in its lineup just one more year, I’d have been driving one of those instead of a Jeep Wrangler (I don’t buy used, as most here already know.) There are some things that just don’t fit into a wagon.

  • avatar
    Big3trucks

    I would make a direct competitor to the Kia Stinger

  • avatar
    srh

    I’ve had too many Subarus. Manual Outback XT (the ex- totaled it), two of the modern bloated Outbacks, Impreza hatch, STI hatch, BRZ. None of them perfect. What I really want is a manual Baja WRX. The old size. Big enough to fit a couple bikes in the bed with the extender.

    I’d also like a fast BRZ, but the Baja would be a great start.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Another Subaru crossover truck would make me happy.
    Taking the global market into consideration a subcompact CUV. Honey I shrunk the Forester.

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      Hell YES. A car the size and shape of the proper (1997-2008) Forester is exactly what the lineup needs, although they’d have to come up with a new name for it:
      Wheelbase 99.4″
      Length 176.6″
      Width 68.3″ (without mirrors)
      Track 58.9/58.5″
      Curb weight 3140 lbs (5-speed)
      Height including crossbars-65″
      Ground clearance 8.1″
      Angle of approach 22.3″
      16″ wheels (17″ for turbo)
      (Data from the 2007 Forester brochure)

      The Crosstrek is the closest thing SoA offers today, but it’s apples versus oranges, really.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    The 360. Live dangerously.
    http://www.mysubaru360.com/manuals_and_documents/Subaru_360_Consumer_Reports_April_69.pdf

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    More power. Was recently in the market for a 7 passenger SUV and thought about the Ascent. Then I saw the very sub 300 hp/tq power figures… No thanks. Went with a 2017 XC90.

    Availability. Recently helped a friend purchase a Forester. She wanted the turbo 4 but there were literally none available in New England that weren’t fully optioned out and just a few of those were in inventory. She didn’t want all the fluff (and associated cost). More and more manufacturers are doing this. If you want one particular feature then chances are you will have to buy a bunch of options that you didn’t want.

  • avatar
    HahnZahn

    I’d love to see the Baja come back. It’s the “truck” with which most people who think they need a truck could maximize its utility. I’m interested in the Ridgeline because I’m not gonna haul a boat and I’m not a general contractor, but don’t actually want one that big. The Baja was such weird vehicle, but made a lot of sense to me. I’m also at an age where I’ve given up and started wearing Merrells as office shoes (they’re brown, leather, comfortable) so I appreciate a vehicle that’s a middle finger to convention.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      What you’re saying is that a true COMPACT pickup would be ideal for your needs and wants. Right?

      • 0 avatar
        HahnZahn

        Not even that. Just a weird car with an open trunk. But also totally in favor of small pickups. I live in San Diego, and I frequently see compact pickups from Mexico. And compact 4x4s for that matter. On the other hand, I’m also in favor of safety and crumple zones.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    In the new era of zero enforcement of fuel economy standards, I think Subaru needs to do a big boxy SUV. Start with the Ascent, but make it bigger in all directions, and taller. Develop a turbo version of the H6 (or, alternately, lean on Toyota to integrate the existing H6 into a hybrid system). Leverage the brand’s AWD, soft-road reputation with lots of pictures of it in mud and snow with fun people and fun dogs. Charge in the $60-$70k range for it. Make it look plain, but big, in the vein of a slightly smaller Tahoe or Land Cruiser. The rich coastal and Colorado crowd that now drives old Outbacks would eat it up.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Subaru needs a van. Preferably with excellent ground clearance.

  • avatar
    hamish42

    My favorite car, let alone Suzuki, was a Sidekick. We had a big lift off panel over the front seats, choice of 3 ways at the back: open, canvas top, fibreglass top. It went places and did things no other car I’ve ever had, an absolute blast on the road or (moderate) off road. It was dark grey with stick-on fender flares. The 4-wd was stout. I put on about 280 kms (180 miles) of sheer fun. It was a reliable blast to drive every day. Took the back seats out for room and occasional sleep overs at race tracks. Terrific car.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Since Subaru us great at selling wagons, why not make a Subaru Minivan with AWD and engine fully behind front axle? This thing could be sportiest minivan ever.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    A true minivan based on the Forrester (old MPV sized), and a current “minivan” based on the Outback. Hybrid both for additional points.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Wow I was sitting and thinking “Our MPV was closer to Outback sized, not the compact CUV forester!” and then I looked it up:

      1989 MPV length: 175.8 inches
      1998 MPV length: 183.5 inches (from larger bumpers)
      2014 Forester length: 180.9 inches
      2015 Outback: 189.6 inches

      It’s incredible how much interior space our old MPVs had with that in mind. Three real rows of seats, albeit without much trunk depth left over (12 cu ft or so).

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    1) Non Outback Legacy wagon, in a variety of trims from stripped (Brighton) to poor man’s Audi (Legacy GT), and all with available 6MT.

    2) WRX “Wagon” (Hatch), with room to throw a bike in the back without removing the front wheel, and available 6MT.

    3) Regular Imprezza hatch, with available 2.5/6MT rather than the torque challenged 2.0.

    I would personally buy one of the above brand new, with my own money, if they were offered today.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Subaru is an AWD brand that sells CUVs by the hundreds of thousands. They should probably have a dedicated offroad vehicle in their lineup. Won’t happen because they are struggling to meet CAFE as it is, but an offroader makes most sense for their brand, imo. Some sort of Grand Cherokee type vehicle since Subaru makes unibody vehicles with independent suspension at all corners.

    Realistically, they need a 1.6L turbo for the US market. I don’t particularly prefer turbos, but AWD vehicles tend to operate at higher altitudes because that’s where their core demo likes to recreate. If the engine is under 3.0L, it needs forced induction to be of use.

  • avatar
    kobo1d

    2nd generation BRZ moving upmarket to be a Japanese 718 Cayman on a budget. Throw out the useless back seats, make it mid-engine, use WRX & STI engines, $45k base to undercut Porsche by $10k.

    Minivan based on Outback or Ascent.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Subaru sells next to no vehicles in Europe. But they used to prior to 2009 or so, which is about the time the new airbubble Legacy and bigger Forester came along, shortly followed by the CVT. In the US in particular however, sales began to take off.

    I own a 2008 Legacy GT, which is a civilized, quiet and reasonably quick machine. I’ve driven every new Subaru from 2011 on and found them wanting from my point of view. Apparently grey bumble-mobiles with bad short seats and no urge are what the market in North America demands of them. In compensation, the WRX and STI have become loud and uncomfortable for that crowd. But a half-decent sports sedan has been MIA.

    Confirmation bias being what it is, no doubt the dour executives at Subaru believe the current crop of underachievers so popular in the US is what Europe needs. So they’ve even appointed a new sales executive to buck up sales there, where their crappy diesel needs updating as well. But hitting the sales nail on the head outside NA and perhaps Oz means that a bit more brio needs to be injected, and for the driver, some decent seats. Right now, Subarus in general are like a double dose of cod liver oil to anyone with a hint of life, made worse by that CVT. Sporty they are not. But management staring at balance sheets can only believe their current strategy is brilliant.

    Therefore, I expect nothing very interesting to occur. What they need is a new Legacy GT/ Outback XT with a suspension harder than jello and the new 2.4t, and a Crosstrek/Impreza with their 1.6t. If they had brains, they’d offer those engines in lower than top trims to attract new customers. Put in good drivers’ seats. Finally, they need to upgrade interiors, they’re still way cheaper than my ’08. Because it makes sense, don’t expect any of it to happen. They’re making too much money with dreary.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      If Subaru wants their current model line to sell in Europe, they’re going to have to find a way to get over-privileged sectors of European populations to feel victimized and embrace identity politics. Otherwise, they’re just unrefined cars that leak and break more than anything else.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Maybe my name here is a giveaway. A modern midsized manual turbo wagon with decent brakes and some handling mods. Bonus points if it’s attractive. Last time they offered this, I bought it.

  • avatar
    Displacement

    As much as I’d like to see a new SVX or something weird like that, all I want is a Crosstour XT. 10 years ago the Forester XT was a dream car- it was basically a hairsbreadth away from being an STI wagon.

    I’d buy a Crosstour today if it came with ~220 turbo horsepower and some tuning upside.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    Turbo wagons/hatchbacks is the obvious answer. Killing off the WRX hatch was incredibly dumb. Why can’t the Crosstrek/Impreza get the 2.0 turbo? I would buy a Crosstrek with a turbo and a manual TODAY.

  • avatar
    902Chris

    Let’s get crazy for a minute – Let’s phone up Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc (formerly Subaru-Isuzu Automotive Inc – see where I’m going with this).

    It’s time to build the spiritual successor for the Izuzu Amigo that they used to build. Only it will be a Subaru design so it’s not a death trap. More like the spiritual successor to the Subaru Brat, only less ute and more convertible SUV.

    We are going to take the Crosstrek and cut the back roof off to add a removable fiberglass top (like the Amigo or Gen 1 Toyota 4Runner).

    Factory-add:
    Method MR502 15″ rims (or styled steel 15″ for the base trim)
    BFG ALL-TERRAIN T/A KO2 215/75R15 tires.

    Call FCA. Tell them to put the Wrangler on notice.
    Call the bank. Tell them they need to make some room.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • Art Vandelay: I come from an environment where, if you see a snake, you kill it. At GM, if you see a snake, the first...
  • teddyc73: Burn all three, become Amish and drive a horse and buggy.
  • teddyc73: There is the now ubiquitous trapezoid around the license plate. That shape is now on the vast majority of...
  • teddyc73: BUICK: Hi Mazda. Buick here, hey guys…question. Can we use your CX-5 tailgate on our new Envision?...
  • ToolGuy: Speaking of necks, my girlfriend is a pain in mine. She crashed her car into mine and said, “Look,...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber