Buy/Drive/Burn: CUVs That Circumvented Success in 2007

Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn trio of unfortunate crossovers was concocted by commenter JohnTaurus. From a time early in the development of the midsize three-row crossover, none of today’s competitors really worked from a sales perspective.

Three unfortunate entries from three different marques. Which one goes home with you?

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Subaru Crosstrek Prices Rise Just a Tad for 2019 (As Sales Leave Earth's Atmosphere)

In a repeat of last year, Subaru of America plans to inflate the price of its 2019 Crosstrek models by a dollar figure that’s small and manageable. Wouldn’t want those buyers to feel used, and with good reason. As the automaker rolls out MSRPs for next year’s physically unchanged models, it’s enjoying record sales for the lifted all-wheel-drive [s]hatchback[/s] crossover.

By placing its Impreza five-door hatch in the time machine and pressing the “AMC Eagle” button, Subaru turned what many first saw as just an interesting alternative and turned it into a juggernaut. Colourful pie charts await.

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Subaru WRX STI Gains More Horsepower for 2019

Subaru announced pricing for the 2019 WRX and its big-winged STI variant this week, making special mention that the spicier option will receive a boost in horsepower and performance. It’s something enthusiasts have been clamoring for, but those seeking massive gains will probably be a bit disappointed. The aftermarket is likely to play a part in the lives of many a WRX STI, despite the factory upgrade.

Meanwhile, the more-humble WRX will go mostly unchanged for the 2019 model year. Subaru has said it will persist with the 268-horsepower 2.0-liter boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring. However, it does get a new 6.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen with smartphone integration and a rear-view camera.

Those optioning for the “Sport Lineartronic” CVT also get the benefit of Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist suite. But we can’t recommend it over the six-speed manual without feeling a little dirty.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Subaru Ascent

Given my review of this machine earlier this week, today’s selection shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Not only is it fresh in my increasingly cluttered brain, but I truly do believe the base Ascent represents a good value for money.

So long as you don’t want to tow anything, that is.

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Subaru Says Sedans Are Still Working, Doubles As Contingency Plan

Ford’s announcement that it will eventually eliminate every sedan from its domestic lineup has forced the automotive media to consider which automaker will be next to cart theirs off to the guillotine. Due to the growing popularity of crossovers and their inherent profitability, it’s probably just a matter of time until another manufacturer tosses all of its sedans in a burlap sack and drowns them in the proverbial river.

General Motors seems ready to abandon the Chevrolet Impala and Sonic, and Cadillac’s ATS, CTS, and XTS will soon be replaced by two unnamed sedans. Buick’s Lacrosse also looks to be a likely candidate for execution, and rumors exist that Caddy’s CT6 may also be destined for death. However, while rumors swell that American automakers are just years away from from killing the four-door car, Subaru says sedans remain totally relevant.

As a smaller but rapidly growing manufacturer (domestic sales have tripled since 2010), it’s dangerous for the brand to become too reliant on a single segment. If the market suddenly shifts, Subaru knows it’s better not to get caught with its pants down. In fact, it’s almost as if the company’s national manager of product communications, Dominick Infante, is counting on that.

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2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in: Heartbreak in Colorado, Rejoicing in Vermont

Specialty green models don’t normally end up in lots across the country, at least not initially, and the upcoming Subaru Crosstrek plug-in hybrid is no different.

The resurrected green variant of the wildly popular Crosstrek, which bit the dust following slow sales in 2016, appears late this year as a 2019 model, only this time with real all-electric range and a corresponding plug. It’s a model born of the automaker’s partnership with Toyota, and the Crosstrek PHEV borrows powertrain components from the plug-in Prius Prime. (Whether it’s a direct carryover remains to be seen.)

As your author noted on Twitter the other day, this model seems tailor made to become the darling of hip, achingly progressive enclaves everywhere. While that could one day be the case, four-fifths of U.S. states won’t see the model upon its roll-out.

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2019 Subaru Ascent First Drive - Can You Hear Me Now?

The three-row crossover field is a crowded arena. Gearheads like us can rhyme off verbatim the critical differences between models. But the Average Joe or Josephine who’s simply trying to buy a machine that’ll ferry the brood? For many of them, it’s like trying to pick their favorite trumpeter out of a college brass band with 50 players.

Subaru’s killer app is, natch, the standard inclusion of all-wheel drive. Will mountain goat levels of traction, a quirky ad campaign, and 19 cupholders be enough to let it play the loudest in a noisy segment?

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The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Crawls Out of Its Grave Next Year

While a lot of average folks like Subaru, the brand has long been popular with the hippie-dippy demographic. Frankly, it seemed like the company missed a golden opportunity to further solidify its standing with the granola crowd by being a little late on the hybrid front.

However, maybe we’ve categorized the automaker’s consumer base incorrectly — or at least their taste in powertrains. After all, the Crosstrek Hybrid wasn’t an overwhelming success. The model only lasted three years until Subaru decided to kill it off in 2016. But it’s coming back from the dead for 2019, this time as a plug-in — making it Subaru’s very first PHEV.

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Subaru Admits Employees Manipulated Fuel Economy Data

In December of last year, Subaru and Japanese law firm Ohno & Tsunematsu opened an internal investigation to determine if employees tampered with fuel economy ratings for some of its Japanese-market vehicles. The issue arose in the wake of Nissan and Subaru being faulted for decades of improper final inspection procedures at specific plants. While the issue initially seemed relatively benign, subsequent interviews with Subaru employees resulted in confessions that “certain data with respect to fuel economy and emissions may have been altered” during the course of final vehicle inspections.

What originally appeared to be automotive employees taking bureaucratic shortcuts evolved into something a bit more serious. Subaru recently released the results of the investigation and has admitted to falsifying the fuel consumption data of 903 cars assembled at its Gunma Manufacturing Division and Yajima factory. However, the internal probe only encompasses December 2012 until November 2017. All data from before this period is mysteriously absent.

Interesting, considering the suspect employees claim the figure flubbing probably started around 2002.

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More Power Coming to the Subaru WRX STI for 2019?

The popularity of the Subaru WRX and its larger-displacement STI sibling rival that of free vape coils and Monster energy drinks at a Millennial blogging event. Despite its growing age, owners and would-be buyers seem content with Subaru’s driver-focused all-wheel-drive sedan. There’s plenty of goodwill with this crowd.

As the previous-generation Impreza-based model awaits a new platform and body, it looks like buyers of the 2019 WRX STI stand to gain something that was available only in very limited numbers for 2018. More power.

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Subaru's WRX Is Safe for Now, but It's a Two-pedal Future for the Rest

For some reason, today is all about manual transmissions. Some going, some staying… but most just going.

That’s the world we live in, where consideration must be given to high-tech safety aids, while multi-cog automatics and infinitely cogged CVTs have stripped the stick shift of its secondary attribute: fuel economy.

For Subaru, the Lineartronic continuously variable automatic will soon become the brand’s only choice of gearbox, with one notable — and likely temporary — exception.

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Toyota and Subaru Might Actually Be Working on a New 86/BRZ Sports Coupe

It was only a few weeks ago that we told everyone a turbocharged Toyobaru would never happen. Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada said Toyota had built the car it wanted and any manner of forced induction would spoil the recipe, necessitating an entirely new platform. Meanwhile, fans of the 86 have been clamoring for more power like they all suddenly transformed into Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. Well, they’re all about to utter a resounding uuuuaaagh?!, as the two companies may be starting work on new generation — this one with the brawny might they crave.

Rumored for production at Subaru’s assembly plant in Japan’s Gunma Prefecture, the next 86/BRZ is expected to get an uptick in displacement. So what will supposedly replace the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter?

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2019 Subaru Forester Keeps Styling Safe, Dumps Manual Transmission and XT Trim

The next-generation 2019 Subaru Forester, which debuted Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show, looks mighty familiar. That’s because, despite the updated lines, the compact crossover retains the blocky, tall-greenhouse shape of its predecessors.

Subaru flirts with conformity, but never fully succumbs.

Now riding atop the Subaru Global Platform (shares with the Impreza and Crosstrek), the 2019 Forester offers a new trim level, a power boost for the stalwart 2.5-liter flat-four, and greater standard content — especially when it comes to driver assist technology. Unfortunately for brand purists, these standard driver’s aids have eliminated the manual transmission from the Forester lineup.

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QOTD: What's Missing From Your Subaru Lineup?

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.

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2019 Subaru Forester Bound for New York, Needs to Keep the Sales Magic Alive

If there’s a great way to piss off Subaru buyers, the quirky Japanese brand hasn’t thought of it yet. Few automakers can boast of Subaru-like annual sales increases, and even fewer can say their customers are more likely to stick with the brand at trade-in time. Actually, only one brand can say that.

Subaru holds the distinction of actually seeing its U.S. sales rise during the recession, and from 2008 to 2017, volume rose by more than 245 percent. One of the models contributing to its success is the unassuming but remarkably capable Forester — a boxy, upright compact crossover with a tall greenhouse and an interior larger than its outside appearance would suggest.

Screwing up the next-generation Forester, which debuts later this month as a 2019 model, could hurt Subaru badly. No surprise, it looks like the automaker is choosing to play it safe.

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Subaru Exec Spins Frightening Vision of a Stickless Future

Is Subaru, a scrappy-but-approaching-the-mainstream automaker, about to ditch the manual transmission? That’s what some are gleaning from comments made by Subaru UK managing director Chris Graham on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show this week.

Speaking to Auto Express, Graham mused about the brand’s EyeSight driver-assist technology and Subaru’s desire to include the suite of safety aids on all of its cars. The trouble is, EyeSight isn’t available on Subarus equipped with manual transmissions. If you’re looking for goodies like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warnings, a Lineartronic CVT had best be on your wish list, too.

Graham’s comments point to a Subaru that’s prepared to weaken the bond between driver and car in the name of increased computerized control.

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Subaru Viziv Tourer Concept Previews the WRX Wagon We've Been Missing

Subaru has been showcasing the Viziv Performance Concept in an effort to build hype for the next-generation WRX since last fall. The automaker even produced a hardcore STI variant to double down on the concept’s current role. However, a large subset of Subaru enthusiasts only care about one thing: finding out when the WRX wagon will return.

Officially, the WRX wagon died when Subaru made the switch to a stubbier hatchback in 2007. To the chagrin of the platform’s fans, the company eventually stopped offering the performance model as a hatchback, too. North America has been in a tizzy ever since, and enthusiasts seeking an AWD performance hatch have been forced to seek comfort elsewhere. Those days might be coming to a close.

Subaru just unveiled the Viziv Tourer Concept at the Geneva Motor Show, giving us a taste of what might be in 2020.

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Subaru's American Boss to Guide the Brand Worldwide, U.S. Prez Will Keep the Pedal Down

After serving as head honcho of a brand that’s enjoyed 10 consecutive years of sales increases in the United States, Subaru of America CEO Tomomi Nakamura is headed to Japan to work the same kind of magic on the automaker’s global business.

On Friday, Nakauma was tapped as the next president of Subaru Corporation, the multi-armed conglomerate once known as Fuji Heavy Industries. He’s served in that role since 2014. In his place, Subaru of America president Tom Doll takes the biggest office at Subaru of America HQ, making him the first American to hold the position since Subaru took over the U.S. division in the waning days of disco.

It’s now Doll’s responsibility to see that Subaru’s hot streak continues, even in this era of cooling demand and technological disruption.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Three Flaming Hot Compacts; One Will Actually Burn

With his last Ace of Base segment, Matthew Guy got everyone talking about the base Volkswagen GTI S. It went so far as to cause certain members of the TTAC staff to build GTIs over at the Volkswagen website. I didn’t do that, because I was busy ruminating on the difficult choices a Buy/Drive/Burn entry on hot hatches might offer. It’s difficult to write said entry the way I want, because the STI isn’t available as a hatchback anymore. So we’ve got hot compacts today.

Three hot [s]hatches[/s] grr, compacts, from different manufacturers. One gets purchased, one you borrow, and one burns to the ground. Last time, it became apparent that some of you don’t know the rules, so here are the rules and you should read them before you scroll further. Let’s get speedy.

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Subaru Ascent Pricing: When You're Confident, You Don't Need to Undercut the Competition

Subaru’s new range-topping crossover just dropped its pricing list, adding a new entry in the remarkably tight base MSRP battle waged among three-row Japanese midsizers.

The 2019 Ascent, a seven- or eight-passenger crossover with familiar styling and unsuspectingly large dimensions, doesn’t seem worried by the healthy sales enjoyed by its competitors, and certainly doesn’t feel the need to arrive at dealers this summer with a discount tag hanging from its sleeve.

In fact, its base price tops that of three well-established rivals.

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Subaru Turns to Its Friends for Electrification Help

If you’re a modern-day automaker without an electrification strategy, you’re in trouble. Not only will you face the global stigma of being truly evil, you might also miss out on the possibility of future sales. Sure, electric vehicles only account for about 1 percent of total domestic deliveries right now, but it’s a growth market, spurred on by political pressure and regulatory action. Some regions, like California, have plug-ins taking up as much as 5 percent of annual car sales.

Subaru needs help, as it doesn’t sell a single electrified vehicle. The brand discontinued the Crosstrek Hybrid, and its only battery-driven plug-in, the long-defunct Stella EV, was sold only in Japan and proved about as popular as VD. While Subaru can certainly build a good car, it hasn’t had the best luck with electric vehicles.

It’s now calling on its “friends” for backup.

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2016 Subaru WRX Long-term Test - Passing the 50,000 Mile Mark

The WRX has racked up some miles since our last update over a year ago. While the car is still as enjoyable as ever, that doesn’t mean a few new annoyances haven’t popped up. The odometer reads just over 55,000 miles as I type this, so we’re well past the mileage limits for the standard warranty, along with just a few thousand miles remaining for the powertrain warranty.

I’ve only made a few changes to the car, though there’ll be more coming as I try to sort out minor annoyances and feed my habit of making modifications. Overall, the car has proven very reliable, but a few issues crept up along the way that required a warranty repair.

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Rare Rides: A 1984 Dodge Rampage, the Efficient Forgotten Trucklet

The small car-based truck market was an interesting place in the early 1980s. Chevrolet had a hit on its hands with the El Camino, and it caught other manufacturers empty handed. By then, Ford had lost its LTD-based Ranchero pickup, and in its grief turned to a short-lived experiment called the Durango, based on the Fairmont Futura.

Dodge tried this one. The Rampage.

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Still Hot After All These Years: Not Every Passenger Car Model Has One Foot In the Grave

I often joke that not only are we all destined to buy a crossover in the near future, we’ll one day become crossovers. Oh, how the TTAC guys laugh…

Still, it’s hard to avoid the crossovers-are-replacing-cars narrative, as it isn’t some far-out theory — it’s a cold, hard reality. Crossover and SUV market share grows each year as buyers abandon traditional passenger cars in favor of a vehicle that does everything at least marginally.

That said, not every model faces the same rate of abandonment. Certain cars — through a hazy combination of performance, value, nameplate recognition, and other, more nebulous factors — haven’t yet been dropped off on the front steps of the orphanage by their once-loving guardians.

Let’s take a look at some surprisingly healthy performers in the non-premium, non-sports car class. Cars that aren’t declining in popularity, as this analysis isn’t about overall volume. Guess what? None of these vehicles are the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, two models currently locked in a battle for midsize sedan supremacy (and worthy of their own singular coverage).

Hard to believe, we know, but there’s loyalty and desire to be found elsewhere.

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Subaru Announces $140 Million Investment to Ensure Ascent Production

Subaru says it will invest $140 million into its production facility in Lafayette, Indiana, to ensure assembly of the 2019 Ascent goes off without a hitch. The cash will go toward helping the automaker meet the growing demand for SUVs in North America and provide 200 additional jobs for the region.

Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) currently produces the Impreza, Legacy, and Outback. But it’s scheduled to add the Ascent early next year. The investment covers a factory expansion, new equipment, and tooling to support higher production volume.

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2019 Subaru Ascent: Subie Takes Another Shot at the Big Time

Subaru went heavy on the family values motif as it rolled out the 2019 Subaru Ascent three-row crossover at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The company used models portraying a happy family to show off the Ascent, only with a twist – this fictional family, called the Barkleys, is of the canine variety. Sure, there were actors portraying a happy human family, too, but Subaru was using only dog puns in its presentation.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Subaru Forester 2.5i

At this year’s L.A. Auto Show, Subaru will introduce the Ascent, a seven-passenger crossover that the brand is calling the “biggest yet” and “family-sized.” In a market awash with three-row machines, Subaru is one of the few brands not peddling a vehicle that will seat a shift of hockey players plus their driver.

Until then, let’s toss one of Subaru’s current nameplates, the Forester, under our Ace of Base microscope.

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New Subaru WRX STI to Deploy Hybrid Technology?

In an effort to reduce emissions, Subaru is putting everything on the table in terms of its performance-focused WRX STI.

Keeping in mind your humble author is directly translating an interview given to a Dutch website (an activity which requires all of his brainpower), it seems there’s more than a passing chance that the next WRX STI will deploy some sort of hybrid technology in a bid to maintain its performance creds.

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Three-row Subie: 2019 Ascent to Debut at L.A. Auto Show

Subaru has talked about re-adding a large-ish machine to its lineup for the better part of a year, starting with a concept at this year’s NYIAS and culminating in a Twitter tweet announcing the model’s debut in L.A. on November 28th.

The name “Ascent” is apropos, accurately describing Subaru’s sales fortunes here in America. Having recorded a half-percent increase in year-over-year sales in October, Subaru can lay claim to 71 consecutive months of yearly month-over-month growth.

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Fire 'em Up: Subaru Subwoofers Belt Out Hot Tunes

Look, I’ll take this opportunity and cop to the fact I spent entirely too much money on aftermarket stereo systems when I was a kid. There is a very good chance, actually, that most of my systems were worth many multiples of the car in which they were installed.

This is why I applaud manufacturers who offer oontz-oontz-oontz levels of tunes as factory options. Subaru did just this on their 2015 WRX and WRX STI. However, it would seem that teenage Matthew was not the only one to haphazardly install speaker wiring, as the Exploding Galaxy has recalled 9,178 Rexys for a fire risk in the factory subwoofer.

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Nissan and Subaru Faulted for Decades of Improper Inspection Procedures

Japan appears to be having a problem with its quality control. Nissan Group is conducting updated inspection procedures after details emerged that it allowed uncertified employees to conduct final vehicle checks. However, the Japanese government continues to find issues with the automaker’s practices, forcing it to temporarily suspend new vehicle registrations.

Early reports from an external investigation commissioned by Nissan suggest the certification problem may have begun in 1979.

Subaru faces a similar plight. With Nissan’s inspection issue looming larger than anticipated, Subaru has admitted to following improper procedures for its domestic products. On Friday, the carmaker said final inspections at its main plant have occasionally been handled by employees not listed as certified technicians. The problem has persisted for more than 30 years, according to the manufacturer.

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Subaru Showcases Muscular Viziv Concept and Likely the Next-gen WRX

After some light teasing, Subaru unveiled the Viziv Performance Concept in its entirety at the Tokyo Motor Show — showing what is very likely to the next incarnation of the WRX. While that’s not a guarantee, the Viziv’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive, boxer engine, squared taillights, hood scoop, and overall shape appears to be an obvious evolution of the brand’s beloved performance model.

Enthusiasts are likely to be pleased, too. While it was never gorgeous, the WRX has enjoyed ho-hum styling since 2008. Things took a turn for the better after a mid-cycle facelift in late 2009, but even the current generation lacks some of the character of those earlier examples. On the upside, Subaru continued to refine what was essentially a budget automobile with highly desirable driving dynamics.

But if the next WRX can maintain the Viziv’s more extravagant styling cues while also holding onto improved interior quality and performance, well, then this is all very exciting.

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Subaru's Brace of New Test Tracks Hints at Options to Come

The company formerly known as Fuji Heavy Industries is again investing in its safety-related R&D, creating additions to its Bifuka Proving Grounds in Japan. Bifuka is fun to say.

Dubbed the “Advanced Driver Assist Technologies Tracks,” the newest testing sites are said to have been built with the express purpose of developing advanced driver aids. If all of this sounds like future planning for testing autonomous driving solutions, you’re probably not too far off.

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2017 Subaru BRZ Review - The Track School Starter Kit

If I were opening a performance driving school tomorrow and needed to strike a deal with an OEM for a supply of cars, the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ would be on that list.

To be sure, plenty of other production cars are well-suited to the purpose of instructing students. Last time I went through a track school, the company used BMWs (3 Series, if memory serves, but the 2 Series is also good). The Mazda Miata and its related cousin, the Fiat 124 Spider, would also serve as good choices. I could probably, without much effort, pick a whole bunch of cars from the current market, utilizing all types of drivetrains and transmissions, that would be great for novice track drivers to get their feet wet with.

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Rare Rides: A 1970 Subaru 360, America's First Subaru Experience

Subaru is presently in the midst of a sales boom. As Tim Cain pointed out last week in his Subaru Question of the Day, the company has found fairly recent success selling what are essentially three different variations of the exact same all-wheel drive crossover formula. Customers just go into the dealer and say whether they’d like the extra small, small, or medium-sized version. But long before today’s crossovers, and even the quirky Leone and XT which preceded them, there was Subaru’s genesis.

And the little white Kei car you see before you is the very genesis of which we speak.

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QOTD: Can Subaru Just Go Ahead And Sell Whatever It Wants, Wherever It Wants, Whenever It Wants?

In September 2017, Subaru reported the company’s 70th consecutive year-over-year U.S. sales increase. That’s nearly six complete years of steadily improving U.S. sales volume.

Think of it this way: 2013 was a huge year for Subaru of America as sales had risen 59 percent over the span of just two years. But in 2013, Subaru sold 424,683 over the course of the entire calendar year. In 2017, that’s a total Subaru blasted past in the first week of September.

But have you ever stopped to notice that Subaru is accomplishing much of its success with three remarkably similar variations of the same theme? Crosstrek, Forester, Outback. A bit of extra length there, a touch of extra height here, a smidgen of savings there, a dose of extra equipment here. This is hardly the historically obvious 3 Series to 5 Series to 7 Series lineup. The Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback are conceptually similar vehicles with overlapping price spectrums. And recently, with a huge leap in Crosstrek popularity, they’re all similarly popular, too.

You almost get the sense Subaru could squeeze an Outback “four-door coupe” in there and sell 12,000 of those each month, too.

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Subaru Ascent Production Begins in Spring 2018: Work Underway To Squeeze SUV Into Indiana Facility

Subaru reported in September 2017 the brand’s 70th consecutive month of year-over-year growth. The growth rate is not modest. Five years ago, Subaru had never reported more than 336,000 U.S. sales in a calendar year. Yet with one-fourth of 2017 remaining, Subaru has already reported 478,848 U.S. sales in 2017 and is on track to sell more than 650,000 vehicles by the end of the year.

Subaru is not, however, without challenges. The rate of sales improvement has not been matched by a commensurate improvement in the dealer network’s ability to service vehicles, for example.

Another issue? Subaru needs to create space for production of its next new vehicle, the three-row Ascent SUV, in Lafayette, Indiana. Subaru already builds its best seller, the Outback, in Indiana, and with the latest generation of the Impreza, the brand’s compact car joined the midsize Legacy as an Indiana-built model, as well.

For the Ascent, which Subaru confirmed is set to begin rolling out of the Indiana plant in the second-quarter of 2018, Subaru has received the necessary permits to increase production by 66 percent compared with the original joint Toyota/Subaru facility.

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The Subaru Legacy Sport Utility Sedan Returns, in a Sense

What does an automaker do after the company’s three-year-old midsize sedan — the only midsize sedan with standard all-wheel drive — is slightly upgraded for 2018?

It initiates a new marketing campaign. And what must that marketing campaign entail when the car is chronically unpopular and suffering from sharp sales declines in a shrinking category? It must utilize a catchy, attention-grabbing slogan.

Thus, for 2018, Subaru gives us the rebirth of a tagline: sport utility sedan.

Only this time, unlike 1998, the Legacy SUS isn’t lifted, it doesn’t wear two-tone cladding, its tires’ lettering won’t be emboldened by white font. The 2018 Subaru Legacy Sport Utility Sedan is just a Legacy.

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Subaru Teases What is Probably the Concept for the Next-gen WRX

Hoping to make a big splash at next month’s 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Subaru will showcase two limited editions of its most-sporting models and one that will probably end up being the next-generation WRX or Legacy. Called the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept, the vehicle appears to be an abstract vision of what is arguably the company’s most famous automobile — or its more-dignified brother.

As a modern day concept car, Subaru has dubbed the machine a “semiautonomous performance concept sedan” — which could indicate a bevy of new driving aids. But, since the automaker isn’t too specific as to what those might be, we’re focusing on its shape for now.

First impressions? It’s incredibly wide-looking. So wide that you can actually see the outline of the tires, which appear to have some pretty aggressive negative camber. However, this could be an optical illusion, as a secondary photo highlights some extremely unique wheel arches. Rearward slats seem to be an aesthetic choice while little fins on the top could be indicative of something more functional. Perhaps a sensor to monitor blind spots or something in aid of aerodynamics? Your guess is as good as ours.

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These 16 Cars Are Bucking America's Anti-Car Trend in 2017

Through the first eight months of 2017, consumers across America have acquired 12 percent fewer new passenger cars than during the first eight months of 2016.

That’s a drop of 565,000 sales, a rate of decline that stands in stark contrast to the U.S. auto industry’s 4-percent year-over-year light truck improvement. Cars now account for just 37 percent of all auto sales, down from more than 50 percent as recently as 2012. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Some auto brands are selling more cars this year than last, and a wide variety of cars are accelerating their sales pace. Subaru, for example, has already sold 17,981 more Imprezas in 2017 than in the same period of 2016.

So we’ve compiled a list of every passenger car that’s making meaningful headway in America’s anti-car market — the cars that are selling more and more often even as many of their competitors suffer under the weight of a pro-F150, pro-RAV4, pro-Escalade ESV wave.

The list is not very long.

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As U.S. Auto Industry Declines Again, Subaru Reports All-time Record Sales in August 2017

Subaru’s eight-month-old U.S. monthly sales record of 63,177 units, reported in December 2016, fell by the wayside as Subaru of America posted its 69th consecutive year-over-year sales increase in August 2017.

Subaru sales last month jumped 5 percent over August 2016 to 63,215 units, breaking the brand’s all-time record by a scant 38 units.

Why is Subaru’s August growth and record achievement so important? There are four key reasons.

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Where One of Your Authors Selects a New (Used) Crossover

Those of you who follow TTAC regularly and with some interest (so, 100 percent of you) are no doubt aware of a high-level used car search I’ve been conducting as of late. A rather unexpected purchase occurred this past Saturday while everyong was enjoying their long Labor Day weekend.

Come and have a look.

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Believe It: There's a Deal to Be Had on the 2017 Subaru Outback

According to Cars.com, there are roughly 17,000 copies of the 2017 Subaru Outback on dealer lots across the United States.

That’s slightly more than one month’s supply for the Outback, a high-riding crossover of a wagon that has lately attracted an average of 15,600 U.S. sales per month.

But with a modest facelift and underskin refresh due for the 2018 model year — there are already 6,000 Outbacks in stock at Subaru dealers — Subaru needs these 2017 Outbacks to disappear before full availability of MY2018 Outbacks kills demand for the outgoing model.

So Subaru is doing what Subaru doesn’t do. You can get a deal on a 2017 Subaru Outback.

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Subaru Quarterly Profits Rise Because Of America, But It Could've Been Even Better

Global Subaru operating income rose 19 percent to $1.06 billion in the quarter ending June 30. Net income was up 4 percent to $733 million on an 11-percent revenue increase to $8.9 billion.

Why?

Subaru’s long since gone to look for America. And while U.S. auto sales keep on slowing — falling for a seventh consecutive month in July 2017, for example — Subaru’s U.S. sales keep on rising. July, in which Subaru begins the current fiscal year’s second quarter, was Subaru’s 68th consecutive year-over-year monthly increase.

The U.S. market generated six out of every ten global Subaru sales between April and June.

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The Subaru Crosstrek Is More Than Just Big Volume for Subaru, It's Good Volume

After the Impreza-based Subaru Outback Sport failed to catch fire with all the ignition of the Legacy-based Subaru Outback, Subaru’s approach differed only slightly when the XV Crosstrek debuted as an upsized rival for vehicles such as the Nissan Juke. Beating the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, and Jeep Renegade to the punch, the XV Crosstrek produced consistent and significant year-over-year U.S. sales growth.

From the 53,741 sold in 2013, Subaru reported a 32-percent improvement in 2014, a 25-percent gain in 2015, and a further 8-percent uptick to 95,677 in 2016.

Now that Subaru is preparing to launch the second-generation Crosstrek — the XV tag disappeared after MY2015 — it’s becoming increasingly apparent that Subaru isn’t just making hay off the Crosstrek by selling a whole bunch of Impreza-based tall hatchbacks.

Subaru also sells Crosstreks to the right people.

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2017 Subaru Legacy Limited Rental Review - Loaded With Everything but Power

The blower motor in my WRX seemed to be getting louder by the day and, while adding an insulation panel seemed to help, I still wasn’t satisfied. The noise was intermittent, making it hard to reproduce, though a tech working at my local dealer discovered a technical service bulletin and offered to replace it while the warranty was still in effect.

So, I scheduled an appointment to drop the car off to replace the blower motor and perform a technical service bulletin to resolve my squeaky clutch pedal issues. Because they needed time to get some extra parts in, I was told I’d be given a loaner for a few days. I dropped the WRX off and expected to walk out to a base Impreza, but was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a plush Legacy 2.5i Limited.

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Subaru Incentives Are Skyrocketing In America, But Remain Absurdly Low By 2017 Standards

Maybe, we told you in early May, you’ll soon be able to get a deal on a Subaru Outback.

As new vehicle demand gradually shrinks in America, every automaker wants to grow their market share in order to maintain steady sales output. “Sure, there are fewer buyers,” the automaker says, “but we’ll grab more of them.”

Decreased demand has a tendency to increase competitiveness. Not surprisingly, Subaru anticipated the need to more dramatically increase incentives on the least-incentivized cars in America as 2017 progressed. Even an in-demand automaker such as Subaru is going to struggle when rival automakers are routinely dropping prices by more than 10 percent.

Thus, according to ALG, Subaru’s average discount per vehicle shot up 63 percent, year-over-year, in June 2017.

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Don't Worry, the Next-generation WRX Will Keep Its Manual Transmission

When Subaru launched the fifth-generation Impreza with a CVT, a collective sigh of relief was heard after enthusiasts learned it would still provide a standard five-speed manual transmission. However, it didn’t guarantee that the next incarnation of the WRX wouldn’t abandon the clutch pedal to maximize sales and minimize zero to 60 times.

After all, most people don’t purchase manual transmission vehicles anymore and the WRX already comes with a CVT. It would be easy for the automaker adopt a dual-clutch as a pricier option on sporting Subarus and leave the variable tranny in the base trim. Nobody was so worried about it that they lost sleep on the matter, but there was just enough doubt to have us all occasionally wringing our hands.

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New Subaru WRX and STI Not Due for Another Three Years

Even thought Subaru’s new Impreza is already here and riding on the company’s new global platform, an updated WRX appears to be a long way off. In fact, it might be another three years until we see an updated performance sedan from the (mostly) all-wheel-drive automaker.

While the current incarnations of the WRX and its hotter STI variant still provide balanced dynamics and remain well liked by driving enthusiasts, seven years without a significant upgrade is a long time to wait.

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Redesigned 2018 Subaru Crosstrek Will Cost You a C-note

An extra one, that is. As Subaru prepares its second-generation Crosstrek for a trip to dealers this summer, just-released pricing shows buyers won’t have to dig much deeper into their wallet.

To get into a new Crosstrek, which adopts the stiffer Subaru Global Platform and massaged 2.0-liter Boxer four of its Impreza sibling, customers will need to pull out just one extra bill: a Benjamin. With an MSRP of $21,795 for a 2.0i base model, the 2018 Crosstrek costs just $100 more than the 2017 model. A destination and delivery charge of $915 brings the price to $22,710.

However, if you’re simply not up to the task of rowing through the new six-speed manual transmission, Subaru has a deal for you.

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With Mostly American Support, Subaru Claims Global All-Wheel-Drive Sales Supremacy, Stomps On Quattro

No auto brand in the world sells more all-wheel-drive vehicles than Subaru, says Subaru.

Autocar is reporting figures from Subaru UK that say 15 percent of the global market for all-wheel-drive vehicles is scooped up by the Subaru brand.

In Subaru’s fiscal year from April 2015 to April 2016, the automaker finished with nearly 1 million sales of all-wheel drive vehicles — 245,382 more than the next-highest-volume all-wheel-drive provider: Audi.

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Winging It: Subaru Reveals Limited Edition 2018 WRX STI Type RA and BRZ TS

It’s a lot of letters, but not a lot of extra horsepower. That’s the synopsis of two limited edition performance models revealed by Subaru today.

We already knew both were on the way, and indeed the models seem well equipped to trounce the handling dynamics of their regular-production stablemates. The appearance, too. Festooned with every measure available to enhance downforce, braking, body stability, and traction, the 2018 WRX STI Type RA (“Record Attempt”) and BRZ tS are instant collector’s items for Subaru superfans.

Is there more power to be had? Are both the revamped WRX and BRZ faster than their corporate siblings? Short answer: yes, and…maybe?

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Subaru Is Inoculated Against a U.S. Auto Industry Slowdown - Expect 2017 to Be Another Record Year

Subaru of America set an all-time annual sales record in 2009.

You remember 2009, though you’d likely prefer to forget it.

The auto industry all but collapsed as the global economy went into meltdown. After total U.S. new vehicle sales volume fell to a 25-year low in 2008, sales tumbled a further 21 percent in 2009, the worst year for auto sales since 1982.

And yet Subaru of America set a sales record in 2009.

2017 is no 2009. But after surging to record levels in 2016, the U.S. auto industry’s sales volume is once again shrinking, albeit modestly. But Subaru of America president Tom Doll told Automotive News, “We certainly think we’re going to have our ninth consecutive year of record sales.”

No doubt.

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Now Is the Time to Get Yourself a Midsize Sedan on a Dirt Cheap Lease Deal

“Stepping up to a midsize is basically a no-brainer for buyers at this point,” CarsDirect’s senior price analyst Alex Bernstein tells TTAC.

With demand for midsize sedans drying up, deals on aging models are warming up.

Now in its sixth model year, the 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S — the entry-level Passat — is available in June for a 36-month lease at $189 per month and $1,999 due at signing.

The 2017 Honda Accord, a new version of which is due later this year, is also available in June in basic LX trim on the same terms.

Meanwhile, the mid-grade 2017 Toyota Camry SE 2.5, set to be replaced in the coming months by an all-new model, is likewise available in June for $189 per month with $1,999 down over 36 months.

“This is about as cheap as lease deals have ever been on these midsize sedans,” Bernstein says. But it actually gets even cheaper, marginally cheaper, according to CarsDirect’s examination of 500 lease deals.

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Nobody Backs Out The Outback: Volkswagen Golf Alltrack Sales Momentum Is Slowing Already, But Golf Wagon Totals Are Soaring

You didn’t seriously think there was a tall, be-cladded wagon that could sell like a Subaru Outback, did you?

And you didn’t think — if such a tall, be-cladded wagon did have the potential to sell as well as a Subaru Outback — that it would be a Volkswagen Golf Alltrack?

Of course you didn’t, not in this post-diesel scandal world. But as the all-conquering Subaru Outback continues to enjoy increased U.S. demand, the latest Outback alternative is already suffering a mild case of DTWS.

Not Dancing With The Stars. Don’t read so fast.

Decreased Tall Wagon Sales.

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack’s May 2017 performance of only 1,312 sales represented a six-month low.

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Subaru WRX STI Type RA to Debut Prior to BRZ STI

As Subaru continues work on a performance-spec BRZ, there has been a cautious level of optimism surrounding its development. So when Subaru USA tweeted out a massive rear spoiler and urged us to “stay tuned” for June 8th, everyone naturally assumed this was the vehicle to be on the lookout for.

Another image was released today — this time of a carbon fiber roof — referencing the same date and stirring up some controversy. That’s because, just out of focus, you can make out the blurry front end of what is assuredly a WRX. Instead of treating the world to a tweaked version of its rear-wheel-drive coupe next week, Subaru is reviving the hardcore WRX Type RA for the company’s 50th anniversary. The only way this could be any better is if it came with a hatchback option.

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2017 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium 5-Door Review - Not Just Competitive Because There Are Four Driven Wheels

There have been times when Subarus were good enough.

On top of being good enough, these Subarus were equipped with all-wheel drive as standard equipment. As a result, an increasing number of people purchased these Subarus, cars which didn’t excel in very many areas but which featured the all-wheel-drive system deemed so desirable by consumers in certain regions.

To be fair, not all Subarus were sold purely on the merits of being all-wheel-drive cars that were merely good enough in other ways. Forester XTs and WRXs, for example, weren’t simply decent AWD vehicles. Setting aside its desirable AWD system, the Subaru Outback has long been a high-riding wagon in a world largely devoid of high-riding wagons. Subarus have often been blessed with impressive crash test results, as well.

But was the Subaru Impreza — not only way back in first-generation form but even in its fourth iteration from 2011-2016 — an attractive proposition if not for its AWD appeal? Sure, it was good enough, but not by much.

Yet as of the 2017 Subaru Impreza’s launch, as of the arrival of this fifth-generation Impreza, the Subaru Impreza is finally strong enough to stand on its own two feet. Albeit still with four driven wheels.

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QOTD: Would You Fight a Carjacker for Your Car?

In a classic case of fight-or-flight response, a Milwaukee woman named Melissa Smith has just filled up her Subaru Outback and realizes there’s a man on the driver’s side about to steal her off-roading vehicle. Rather than let the thief drive off with her ride, she takes action. Immediately jumping up onto the hood, Melissa stares the criminal right in the eyes. According to an interview the victim provided to various news outlets, the thief laughed in her face and turned the wipers on, in an attempt to brush her off like mere precipitation. That didn’t work. She grabs onto the wipers for dear life. Then in two successive attempts, the would-be thief accelerates quickly and brakes, trying to shake Ms. Smith from the hood.

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QOTD: Is Subaru Now A Mainstream Automaker? And If So, Is That A Good Thing?

A band is only cool until everybody knows it’s cool.

Subaru, long a niche automaker with unique product offerings and limited geographic appeal, has tripled its U.S. market share over the last decade. Subaru will likely sell more than 650,000 new vehicles in the U.S. this year. The Subaru Outback and Forester are among America’s 12 most popular utility vehicles. And in a shrinking car market, U.S. sales of the Subaru Impreza — a newly launched compact for 2017 — are up 41 percent so far this year.

Subaru just dropped a new, fifth-gen Impreza 5-door in my driveway for a week-long test. It’s quite clearly the best Impreza ever: quiet, refined, solid, sufficiently powerful. The driver’s door armrest is plush. The car itself is — and we’re talking about an Impreza here — quite attractive.

The 2017 Subaru Impreza is, to be frank, normal. It doesn’t sound like a thrummy flat-four is present under the hood. The seating position doesn’t put your hips and feet on the same level. The windows have frames. There are other people driving the same car.

Has Subaru become a mainstream automaker? And if so, has some of Subaru’s appeal been lost?

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With Nothing Electric in Its Lineup, Subaru Considers an Easier Solution

With the exception of Mazda and — until its Outlander PHEV finally lands on U.S. shores — Mitsubishi, Subaru remains one of very few automakers to completely eschew electrified powertrains.

Despite lacking any fully electric, plug-in hybrid or hybrid model (the unloved Crosstrek Hybrid met a quiet death last year), Subaru’s U.S. customer base continues to expand at a rapid clip, but a gas-only strategy can’t survive forever. Environmental regulations the world over insist Subaru should follow the lead of its rivals and build something without pistons.

Well, Subaru plans to. However, unlike many of its rivals, the automaker has indicated it might take a different path towards this goal.

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  • FifaCup Loving both Interior and exterior designs.
  • FifaCup This is not good for the auto industry
  • Jeff S This would be a good commuter vehicle especially for those working in a large metropolitan area. The only thing is that by the time you put airbags, backup cameras, and a few of the other required safety features this car would no longer be simple and the price would be not much cheaper than a subcompact. I like the idea but I doubt a car like this would get marketed in anyplace besides Europe and the 3rd World.
  • ScarecrowRepair That's what I came to say!
  • Inside Looking Out " the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union. "Wrong. The car you are talking about was the product German engineering, East German. It's name was Trabant.