By on August 3, 2021

2019 Subaru AscentTim asked the other day if I might work up an opinion piece on the current state of Subaru. “Sure,” I said, and immediately felt salty. In mind were many criticisms on how the smallish automaker is doing things currently. After that initial salty reaction, I got to thinking about Subaru’s current offerings and recent trajectory more critically. And I realized they’re doing most everything just as they should.

I can hear the criticisms emanating from fingertips right now as replies are prepared for the comments. The company lost the quirky nature it once had, it relies almost completely on CVTs to motivate its vehicles forward, they’re just making crossovers for normies, boring appliances, etc. How am I doing so far?

Those are the sort of criticisms I’d gathered in my initial brain scan about Subaru. But those are precisely the things they’re doing correctly, and have done for the past decade. It’s true that with offerings like the GL sedan/wagon and the XT in the Eighties, Subaru made weird design and engineering decisions. They were the offbeat, go-anywhere brand for people who didn’t want an AMC Eagle or a Jeep, or couldn’t afford a Volvo wagon. Their touring coupe XT was all over the place, complicated and expensive, and they didn’t really know who to market it to. Its successor, the SVX, was a stylish Giugiaro-designed automatic transmission sports coupe with crazy side windows that was slow and heavy, but priced like a twin-turbo 300ZX. So nobody bought it either. Around the 2009 period, Subaru pretty much quit producing weird things altogether. The Baja truck of 2006 was one of the last examples of Subaru off-the-wall stuff.

They added a three-row to the lineup in 2006, getting in on the larger crossover game with the B9 Tribeca. It didn’t really sell, but Subaru was making moves toward a crossover-centric brand. Circa 2009 the company began the switch to CVTs in place of traditional automatic transmissions. They started offering fewer things with manuals, and taking fewer risks. Of course with these “normalization” type changes their sales took right off, as evidenced by the chart below from Good Car Bad Car.

The brand was losing sales every year from 2006 through 2009. 2010 was the year of the redesigned Outback and Legacy (their volume models) with a CVT in tow and more crossover-y styling for the Outback in particular. A year earlier, the Forester adopted a more crossover-like shape and lost its boxy wagon look of the first two generations. It too switched to CVT in 2012. Crossover offerings expanded in 2017 with the addition of the Impreza-based Crosstrek XV, a competitor in the compact crossover segment. Journalists noticed the changes, but so did the average consumer. As the company headed toward the mainstream US sales have increased year over year, save for the mess which was 2020. The first competitive three-row CUV Subaru introduced, the Ascent, is selling like hotcakes.

There are still enthusiast corners at Subaru in the WRX, BRZ, and to a lesser extent, the XT performance trims. Those former two cars don’t really need much marketing effort. The WRX is the answer to a singular question for its faithful buyers; there’s no other option. There’s even a new one coming later this year (well overdue). The Toyota-Subaru jointly developed BRZ sports car is there for customers who prefer a Subaru badge over a Toyota one. That’s a new model too, and it enters production later this year. Subaru is showing commitment to its enthusiast models.

But the enthusiast niche is not their primary target and Subaru knows it. Their marketing is geared toward families: safety, driver assistance, all-wheel-drive security, dogs, camping. All the things crossover buyers envision doing with their cars but seldom do. Having said that, I’d bet good money that Subaru owners use their cars for more crossover activities than buyers at other brands. To that end, Subaru has expanded into a Wilderness trim line, which butches up the Outback (so far) in an attempt to capture the off-road enthusiast. The sort of Jeep or Bronco-Esque buyer who takes it a step past camping at the bottom of the hill. We’ll see how that goes. As an aside, the Wilderness trim is a bit much for yours truly, and reads “try hard.” But like you (probably), these cars are Not For Me. They’re for other people.

Think of it this way: In 2006 VW sold about 223,000 cars in the US, Mazda shifted 268,000, and Subaru sold 259,000. In 2019 (the most recent complete, normal year) VW moved 363,000, Mazda sold 279,000, and Subaru managed 700,000. That’s a 170 percent increase in 14 years, the calculator tells me. Subaru is right where they need to be.

[Images: Corey Lewis, Matthew Guy / TTAC, Good Car Bad Car]

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70 Comments on “Opinion: Subaru is Doing Everything Just About Right...”


  • avatar
    beachy

    Clearly they are doing a lot of things well right now, but I would say their hybrid/electric game needs to be upped pretty fast. For my nature-mobile I would like AWD, hybrid 40’s mileage, and access to that hybrid battery to power a small fridge and similar items. Anything like that even on the horizon? If they just stick to what they have, pretty soon they will become the darlings of the ICE diehards!

    • 0 avatar

      This is true, and I think they’ll rely on Toyota to provide when they go further into hybrid and EV territories.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Corey, saw something on vtec.net that Toyota is killing the Avalon after next MY. Any truth to that? Surprised that wasn’t picked up here if the rumors are true!

        Just like you, I think HSD and Toyota’s EV platforms will underpin Subies.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      @beachy:
      “I would say their hybrid/electric game needs to be upped pretty fast.”

      As a green car enthusiast, that was my reaction to the headline too.

      Sure Subaru is selling cars — but they have nothing for me.

      Tesla, GM, Ford, and Nissan are the only ones making vehicles I personally find interesting.

      By not having an EV/PHEV, they’ve already become irrelevant to me personally.
      As an EV enthusiast, I’m currently a minority in the world of automotive enthusiasm — but for how long? Should Subaru bet the company on that answer?

      If I were Subaru, I’d hedge that bet somehow.

      • 0 avatar
        Varezhka

        There’s also the Crosstrek PHEV that use Toyota HSD, but it’s probably not the best implementation of the said system. Especially once you compare it to RAV4 PHEV and how much more you get for the money.

    • 0 avatar
      David

      beachy – I had a 1996 Legacy wagon, then a 2004 Forester, now a 2020 RAV4 Hybrid. RAV4 Prime with plug was not an option in late 2019 when I purchased. I am/was a Subie fan but I gotta say I’m loving 40+ mpg regularly. Maybe since Toyota owns 20% of Subaru, they could drop their hybrid drivetrain into Subies, or at least license the technology and let Subie build them?

    • 0 avatar
      Tree Trunk

      I bought a ’18 Outback when I needed to replace a Highlander Hybrid lost in an accident. While there are many things to like with the subaru the milage and the ultra thin paint are bugging me. I had every intention of driving the Highlander into the ground, I am strongly considering trading the Outback out.

  • avatar
    ajla

    From a business perspective, I think the sales and earnings speak for themselves.

    From a *consumer* perspective I’ve never driven a Subaru and felt impressed and with a few I’ve felt outright hostility over the product.

    You can say “well ajla you buy RWD sports sedans and ’88 Lesabres so of course you don’t like Subarus”. However, I don’t think I suffer from that much tunnel vision. I’ve spoken highly of vehicles outside my comfort zone before.

    So for people that bought Subaru with a post 2015 model year, what sold it for you? Especially versus a Mazda, Honda, or Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      The missus bought a 2018 Forester XT. It replaced a 2009 Legacy GT. Which she bought after driving my LGT wagon and falling in love with the power which her previous cars lacked.
      I bet you can guess why she made the unfortunate switch to crossover zombieland. She liked the power of the turbo 2.0 and also liked sitting up high.
      As for why she went with Subaru instead of the competition? I think it was the only affordable crossover with a performance kick that she was aware of. She didn’t really look at much else besides the Buick Regal TourX which she would have bought if the dealers weren’t acting like people wanted to buy them.
      Of course, there’s always the fact that she spent a lot of time in Vermont and is an environmentalist (in some senses). So perhaps I have been barking up the wrong tree this whole time.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Unfortunately, Subaru doesn’t make the Forester XT anymore.

        If you’re looking for an affordable CUV with some balls, I’d point you in the direction of the Mazda CX-5 with the 2.5T, and the Ford Escape 2.0T, which may be one of the best sleepers you can buy these days.

        • 0 avatar
          Slocum

          They make the Outback XT, though, with similar power and performance to the Escape and CX-5. They may put the same engine in the Forester, too, if the Forester needs a sales bump. But I’d rather be driving a midsize Outback than a compact CX-5 or Escape (or Forester) anyway. Make my CUV longer and lower (with better legroom) than shorter and taller (with worse legroom and extra headroom I don’t need).

    • 0 avatar
      Slocum

      I’ve had two — a 2014 OB and a 2020 Outback XT. Why? A combination of fuel-economy, AWD (we live in MI and have a cabin in snowbelt country), mild-offroad, passenger capacity (legroom particularly vs compacts), reliability, and towing (Subaru is one of the companies that doesn’t badly underrate base-engine towing capacity — our 2014 was rated for 2700#, which we used). Kid has that one now.

      The 2020 XT adds a more upscale interior, power, and more towing (which, again, we’ll use). What were the alternatives? RAV4 Adventure/TRD (about the same price, much less power, interior seemed a step down). 4Runner (too trucklike for a daily driver), Honda Pilot/Passport (aging platform, 9-speed transmission a problem and just did not appeal in person). Grand Cherokee (I like, but don’t trust long term–it’s great vacation rental), Kia Telluride (not obtainable at a reasonable price).

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “I think it was the only affordable crossover with a performance kick that she was aware of.”

      “What were the alternatives?”

      A rough set of comments for the folks in Hiroshima.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Personally I don’t understand the furor over CVT’s, and I suspect they are far more important to auto journos than the actual car-buying public. (Same thing with auto writers spending and inordinate amount of time fondling all the interior plastic, or commenting how well a grocery-getter can navigate a twisty road at speeds it would be insane for a normal driver to operate.

    I have a CVT in my ’17 CR-V, and it’s not a problem. (It’s certainly an acceptable replacement for my previous chariot, an ’04 VW Passat M/T Wagon) Does it work or sound my old manual, or a conventional automatic? Well no, of course not. But it works just fine.

    It’s certainly possible to build or program CVT’s poorly, but that’s hardly confined to CVT’s; there’s plenty of lousy manuals, conventional automatics, DCT’s, whatever.

    • 0 avatar
      BC

      Look up typical CVT reliability, lifespan, and replacement cost. A CVT is a an 80k mile car until proven otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        To Subie’s credit, I haven’t heard of CVT reliability issues anywhere near the level of, say Nissan.

        • 0 avatar

          Mine CVT was working just fine at 178k and it was a 2012 model.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You had a Subbie north of 175K on the clock?

          • 0 avatar
            bullnuke

            My wife’s 2011 Outback is at 161,000 miles and it’s CVT has had no issues.

          • 0 avatar

            My friend has 2015 Forester with AT and it had AT failure at about 100,000+ miles in 2019. Even though it was out of warranty Subaru took care of problem. He had to wait one month for transmission to be fixed but Subaru dealer provided new Outback as a loaner.

          • 0 avatar

            @28

            Yes I did, that green one pictured above.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Props to you and previous owner as that doesn’t look like an example of such high mileage.

            Sidebar: Why did you buy such an example? I realize you don’t put a lot of miles on these secondary cars but the recon on something like that can easily break you, and Subbies are generally not cheap in any condition.

          • 0 avatar

            When I was looking back in 2018, the 2010-2012 models were all a bit pricy in upper Limited trims. I found that one which had say 30k miles more than most, but had been religiously maintained at the dealer by a singular owner. Because its mileage was a little too high, the price was much more appealing than other examples. And I liked the color combination as well, so I went for it.

            During my ownership the only thing that broke was a little bypass valve for the radiator, which caused the coolant to start leaking out at the top. I had that fixed for a total of $60 I believe.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Good to know, Corey.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        BC that is not true. I buy cars at wholesale or auction and plenty of CVTs show up with over 200,000 miles. Plenty of Honda units that are all original with over 200k. I think people tend to forget that a regular automatic geared transmission can also fail.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        @BC I don’t know what to you; that’s simply not true.

        CVT’s certainly got a bad rap because of some truly awful JATCO units about a decade ago, but it’s not as if there’s no such thing as a badly designed A/T, DCT, whatever…

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    Yup, Subaru knows they’re a small player, what their strengths are, and how to maximize it.
    One thing that that helped Subaru was their focus on the North American market which is large, high margin, and tend to be stable as far as overall car sales goes. It’s now over 70 percent of Subaru sales.

    This also allowed them to limit their models to a single platform and small powertrain variations. Ending their kei and subcompact line at the end of 2000s was one of better choices they have made.

    Of course, this also means they’re kinda stuck with the front mounted longitudinal boxer engine setup. No way to switch to a more efficient inline-4 or a transverse setup unless they do both engine and chassis platform at once. Maybe they can license these from Toyota if needed?

  • avatar
    BlueHawk

    A big issue with Subarus historically is that they’re just obscenely ugly cars. They’ve always been visual pollution, especially noticeable in college/academic towns. For example, in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, North Carolina, my well-being took a measurable hit from having to see so many Subarus day to day. They’re as bad as Priuses in that regard, and sometimes worse.

    Subarus are cars for people who hate cars. Or for people who don’t care about cars, and buy them like they’d buy a washing machine. The owners I knew in North Carolina didn’t know anything about cars. That’s a vice in my book – people should know about cars.

    I will say that the white Subaru SUV featured in the first photo up above isn’t terrible looking. There are certainly worse visuals out there, so maybe they’ve improved their design ability in recent years?

    But with car companies I need to see something distinctive in their products or service to feel much enthusiasm. Subaru doesn’t seem to be exceptional in any aspect of the business. It’s not like they’ve got a markedly different buying experience, or dealers who aren’t sleazy. In Tucson, Arizona, Subarus aren’t especially popular, not the way they might be in Alaska or something, so last I knew there was only a single Subaru dealership in town. So even though the brand itself isn’t popular there, that one dealership was the only game in town if you wanted a new Subaru. I know someone who was a salesman there, and this monopoly created an artificial sellers’ market dynamic, and for those people who were really into Subarus, well, the dealer ate them for lunch. Buyers were very easy to exploit in that context. That tells me that Subaru has no special culture around its dealers or buying experience – they haven’t done anything to prevent sleaziness in their dealers. Most manufacturers haven’t, and that’s disappointing since dealers are so bad in the US that a lot of what they do should be illegal.

    Anyway, I’d seriously consider a Subaru tax as a special implementation of an Eyesore Tax category, for products and actions that create persistent and inescapable eyesores in the visual fields of innocent bystanders/drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      Yawn. Subarus have average looks. Without the badges, few people would be able to identify most cars these days.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      I consider myself an enthusiast, and my Outback is the result of a 2.5 year laborious vehicle search involving over 20 different model test drives. What sold me, and continues to tickle my fancy with my Outback, is the boxer engine, symmetrical AWD, and solidity of the car. 170k miles later, its still a little beast in our torrential downpours. It’s only the 2.5, but it hustles well enough for our Houston 500 highway traffic. It took me 5 minutes to get used to the difference of a CVT (really no big deal…not sure what all the whining is about), and I greatly enjoy the linear steering.

      I’m hoping Subaru hybridizes their vehicles soon (I feel they’re behind the curve on that, especially in light of their “hug the earth” image and deep relationship with Toyota) since I’ll be shopping again in 2 years and would love to supplant my 2013 with a 2023 Outback hybrid.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      @BlueHawk – So I guess you are saying you just don’t like Subaru’s?

  • avatar
    cardave5150

    I’m going to be in the market for a 2-row crossover/SUV/thingy in the not-too-distant future. I would be looking at a Subaru Outback, if it weren’t for 2 things: 1. CVT, and 2. I can’t stand the sound of their boxer engines. There’s no reason for them to continue to only offer horizontally-opposed engines – it’s not like their hoodlines are any lower than anyone else’s, just more dead air above the engine under the hood.

    If they would just take the V6 out of the Camry and put it, along with a decent automatic, into the Outback, they could have at least 1 more sale.

    • 0 avatar
      72MGB

      Boxer engine sits lower in chassis, giving the car both lower center of gravity and class leading ground clearance, like better clearance that most body on frame SUV…

    • 0 avatar
      Stanley Steamer

      You really can’t hear it that much or notice the difference. If it really bothers you find one with a 3 liter flat six. They are electric smooth.

  • avatar
    steve1

    It seems like they’ve supplanted toyota as the go to reliable, generic family car. Sure it’s decent, but completely uninspiring in most forms. Their achilles moving forward will be the powertrain. They dont seem to have much of a plan in the electric space and many of their cars don’t even get great gas mileage as is.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “They dont seem to have much of a plan in the electric space and many of their cars don’t even get great gas mileage as is.”

      Actually, they do have a plan. Their first EV will be a collaboration with Toyota. It’s called the Solterra and it shares a platform with the Toyota bZ4X EV. It should be here next year.

  • avatar
    96redse5sp

    “Except what would be the utility of getting vaccinated when the decision literally serves as an example that you’ll still be subjected to COVID restrictions?” You can’t be serious? Can you? You see no purpose in getting a vaccination unless you’re given a prize? A tangible reward?

    The utility is, that if you’re vaccinated, you receive some protection from contracting the virus, and near total protection from death or chronic injury or damage if you DO happen to contract Covid. And your response is, yeah, but what’s in it for me?!? Really?

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      You are commenting on the wrong article, but yeah, I wrote off the whole article after reading that sentence… Apparently somebody still misses getting a lollipop and Transformers band-aid from the doctor after getting a shot as a kid.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “The brand was losing market share every year from 2006 through 2009.”

    Not exactly. (Check the table – ‘Marketshare’ is last two columns, green = increase)

    [Someday long covid might dim my intelligence. That day is not today.]

    https://metro.co.uk/2021/08/03/people-recovering-from-covid-may-have-substantial-drop-in-intelligence-15030236/

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      And their sales INCREASE was 170%, not 270%.

      #mathishard

    • 0 avatar

      You’re correct, because I typed market share when I was looking at the red on the sales column.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        @Corey, it’s no big deal (journalistic equivalent of installing the headliner upside-down). A competent editor would catch this sort of thing [something I keep trying to get for you, but you keep resisting].

        @deanst, Subaru’s 170% increase over 14 years is impressive, until you look at a dominating company like Ford, which is expecting 50% revenue growth *every year*.

        See page 10 of Ford’s latest earnings release here:
        https://tesla-cdn.thron.com/delivery/public/document/tesla/915a0dab-11c4-4d81-9526-52995afb67ee/S1dbei4/WEB/q2_2021

        “Over a multi-year horizon, we expect to achieve 50% average annual growth in vehicle deliveries.”

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    I’m surprised to read that the Ascent is selling so well. No problem with the car or it’s spec, it’s just that I haven’t been noticing many around town.

    Or maybe they’re everywhere and just not very noticeable.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Another error – goodcarbadcar puts the vehicle at #9 of 11 in the segment – and the only one with declining y/y sales.

      • 0 avatar
        Slocum

        Ascent had reliability problems in its first couple of model years, and Consumer Reports dropped it from its recommended list. The latest year seems OK (and CU has put it back on their recommended list), but it may take a while for sales to recover.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Ascents aren’t hard to find. Just look in the left hand lane of your local freeway. It’ll be the one doing five under.

    • 0 avatar

      The Ascent sells well in certain areas I see a lot here in CT. But overall it’s not a hit for that segment. But much better then Subaru’s previous offering in that segment. The early ones had a whole bunch of quality issues which probably isn’t helping things. (transmission fuel pumps and others I know a ton went thru as lemon law returns at the local wholesale auction).
      It remains to be seen if their reliability picks up going forward, that will be the key to making the sales grow.

  • avatar

    The problem is that their symmetrical AWD does not translate to EV. Then all EVs have low center of gravity. Subaru may go way of SAAB and Volvo after ICE is outlawed.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      There is a way to be at the top of AWD for EVs. There is a lot of potential for 4 motor independent driven wheel AWD technology. Bugatti-Rimac (Bugatti went to Rimac which now owns 55%) is a pioneer in the technology. There is room for a lower-end model, although 4 motors won’t be cheap. Any company that wants to stay at the top of the AWD game has to go with independent wheel drive.

  • avatar
    make_light

    Here’s the thing about Subaru’s- they never drive BAD. In that late 00’s-early 10’s, most mainstream Japanese and Korean vehicles just weren’t great to drive. The steering felt entirely disconnecting from the wheels, like a video game. Yes Subaru’s were stuck with a CVT and rather pokey, but at least they go where you point them. And their refinement has not increased exponentially in the past few years, to the point that they’re smoother and quieter than most comparable Toyotas. I feel like the brand never got enough credit for this.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    They have simply exploited what’s trendy and now their vehicles are trendy. Being trendy sells a lot of products because the average consumer is a sheep. Look at the popularity of Hyundai and Kia. These brands aren’t building cars that are any better or different they are simply riding a trend. “Oh look, Subaru has a dog driving their car and they are going camping….I want one.” Boom, car sold. But hey, I don’t mean to be “salty”. Whatever that means.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You know, pickups and large SUVs are also trendy. Be sure to call their buyers “sheep” too.

      • 0 avatar
        Hydromatic

        Teddy’s got a point. Subaru spent decades cultivating the “outdoorsy suburbanite” image it’s got now. Anyone remember the tie-in Subaru had with L.L. Bean? Those L.L. Bean Edition Subies of the mid-to-late aughts were a sign of things to come.

        And now you have safe, unassuming and perhaps even relatively bland crossovers with a veneer of outdoorsiness for buyers with better-than-average incomes who like the car, but aren’t really into cars, for the most part. Subaru figured out who to sell to and how to rework their products to sell to those folks.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I’m still very leery of Subarus in general. I pay attention to actual owners and pay CR very little attention as they have been so very wrong on many things over the years that I have purchased. Many friends and coworkers drive around in various models and years and I rarely ever hear them say they have been trouble free or particularly reliable. Certain things seem to be common. Faulty factory brakes and exterior trim pieces failing. Certain models seem prone to excessive oil consumption. Wheel bearing failure is all over the map mileage wise. Cracked windshields has happened to 3 coworkers while sitting in the parking lot on a hot day. Also they seem to have troubles with their steering racks and shocks.
    Everytime one of these cars start up they sound like an agricultural rattle trap. Despite Subaru’s claims head gasket leaks are still alive and well at least on examples up to as new as 2015.

    They may have got there CVT’s sorted out for the most part but they need to brush up on overall quality control and ditch that ancient flawed Boxer engine before I would ever consider one.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      panchoman49 – I believe that Toyota has had more cracked block/high oil usage/failed headgaskets recently (2019 to 2020) than Subaru has since 2010: caranddriver dot com/news/a30997060/2020-toyota-recall-camry-avalon-rav4-engine-cracks/; as well as fuel pump issues: boston.cbslocal dot com/2020/10/28/toyota-recall-lexus-engine-stall-fuel-pumps/. Please note that these Toyotas do not utilize agricultural boxer engines (a type used in most civil aircraft as well as the renowned failed automaker Porsche) but hyper refined proper in-line 4-cylinder engines. I’ll need someone to post proof of post-2010 Subaru head gasket failures being a significant issue – I’ll give you a hint: it is not. If you want to dig into the past as is being done regarding Subaru EJ headgaskets of 10+ years ago, read up on Toyota’s 2.4 liter 2AZ-FE engine oil problems (1qt in 1200 km – Subaru’s issue was 12 to 14oz of oil used in 1200 miles, a lot less and Subaru replaced the short block at no cost. Again, the hyper refined proper in-line 4-cylinder Toyota engine under performed that dastardly agricultural boxer engine. YMMV but I doubt it.

  • avatar
    72MGB

    As a past owner of an 04 Forester with 110k miles, and current owner of an 09 Forester with 151k miles and a 17 WRX auto with 55k miles, I can say the main reasons we buy them (all new) is the reliability and safety. First Forester had a bent sunroof rail at 85k covered under warranty. Current Forester had seized ac compressor at 120k. WRX has had nothing go wrong. They are nice driving vehicles, WRX even more so. Great room for all our pups and garden supplies. As for the WRX, it would be better with manual, but I’m not the only driver, and I don’t feel slighted in the least. Anyone asking me car advice, Subbie is my go to. We have lots of friends and family in them and all are happy. My parents are on their 5th and had never bought the same car more than twice. After being in accidents in their 2nd and 3rd Outback’s, they will not buy anything else. And for those wanting a Subbie EV, they are coming out with one for 2023, the Solterra, shared with Toyota. And if we want to circle back to dealership service, all have exceptional, namely Sewell in Dallas TX, Austin Subaru in Austin TX and while traveling to a cousin’s wedding in Gulf Shore AL, Anderson Subaru in Pensacola FL. I don’t foresee us ever not having at least one Subaru.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I look at Subaru the same way I look at “Grey’s Anatomy.”

    Successful show? Yes. Well written and acted? No doubt. I’m still not going to watch. It’s not my cup of tea.

    Said it before and I’ll say it again, though – I wish I owned the Subaru dealership in Boulder. I’d be printing money for a living.

  • avatar

    I’ve never felt Subie love. Most of them are adorned with envio stickers and keep 10 under the limit. Poorly driven cars in my area are the Rogue, any non WRX subie, and work trucks, because the workers are either on the phone looking for the next job or taking as much time as possible to get there…..

    Add to this the number of phone calls I’ve gotten from burned out subie owners with cylinder gasket issues and dealer mal/nonfeasance. I know that might be in the past now.

    I’m told Subie owners will spend a lot to keep them running….

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Yep, yep, yep, but can Subaru not share the same exact steering wheel in every model and maybe even redesign it every 5-ish years? It’s not very good.

  • avatar
    NigelShiftright

    “I’d bet good money that Subaru owners use their cars for more crossover activities than buyers at other brands.”

    I have a 2015 Outback with a lift kit, and I would bet a month’s pay that my car gets off-roaded more than 90 percent of the Wranglers I see around town, most of which are waxed and detailed like a V16 Caddy at Pebble Beach.

  • avatar
    toronado

    I owned two, a 2017 Legacy 3.6 followed by a 2019 Outback 3.6 and enjoyed them both. It was a combination of factors that made the choice to buy them. After years in the car business and knowing my tendancy to trade, I studied auction data on 2 to 3 year old cars I was considering and narrowed my choices to Tacoma, 4Runner, WRX, and Legacy. I knew all would be reliable and liked them all about equally. The 4Runner I love but is dated and offers no blind spot monitoring, and was the most expensive which knocked it out. The WRX is great but a bit small for my needs, and I just dont love the drive of the Tacoma. The environmental record of Subaru and the safety ratings made the difference for me. And I feel like they have designed the ugly out of them now that had made me avoid them in the past. I had zero problems with either one and would not hesitate to own another.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m no Subaru fan, but they have the best advertising in the business, or at least the most effective.

    Fans claim that head gasket issues are resolved, but I keep hearing of newer 2.5s that blow. Oddly, a relative’s 2.0 timing chain jumped and trashed the engine at 100k miles – and I thought that engine was pretty good.

    My DIL’s 14 2.0 developed exhaust pinholes at 45k miles which return every year. Their mechanic touches them up with weld at every safety inspection.

    But when the electric Solterra appears, I might take a look.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    My cousin and business partner has totally fallen in love with Subs. He and his wife have both have silver (Because he has never picked a decent color vehicle in his life, when he was about 23, he bought a TAN Camaro, with the mighty 250 I6 in it) Outbacks. I’ve ridden in them a few times and driven one of them twice, and I just don’t get the appeal. He’s had Grand Cherokees (White and silver), a Tahoe (Silver), and an really bad looking brown and tan Explorer that was a bad as it was bad looking. That Explorer was the last vehicle he had before he got the Sub fever. Within a month of him buying his Outback, the wife got one too, identical, as far as I can tell. Both have one of those dog divider things behind the front seat. They can afford just about anything at this point, they make good money, and the Subs feel like “punishment cars” like friends were stuck with after they came out of a divorce.

  • avatar

    I would love to purchase a Subaru; however, their design is less like an SUV and nothing more than Station wagons that my father owned when I was a child, over 55 years ago. Hopefully, one day, they will design something more truck/car like, something more muscular. If they would take a clue from the BMW X6 or even the 2017 Mercedes GLA, which I had leased, that would push others who feel as I do, into their showrooms.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    I left TTAC because of irresponsible articles like this.

    I came back to take a peak and this was what I found.

    What’s the point? You have here some amateur on a car site that doesn’t rank on any Google hits trying to pontificate about national public health policy. You can just go to r/cars and actually talk about cars with better educated people without the angsty male boomer vibe.

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