Category Archives: Subaru

2018 Subaru Impreza 2.0 i Limited

2018 Subaru Impreza 2.0 i Limited

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Subaru Impreza 2.0 i Limited. In 2016 I reviewed the Impreza Premium and now I’m checking out the Small Wagon.

At the end of the day, I think it is my duty to present the good auto options and ignore others that don’t measure up to what we all demand in something so indispensable in today’s fast-moving population. Subaru is one of those good car manufacturers that seem to spend more on engineering than they do advertising. I don’t think they blow their own horn as much as most, but if you deliver a good product, as they say the world will beat a path to your door.

Advertising is self-serving, of course, so for me I’m more interested in the actual performance ‘at the wheel’ to get the experience, unrehearsed and unchoreographed, which is what advertising does.

For more than a quarter century I have been testing most all cars on and off road because the manufacturers believe in the process of independent reviews to give unbiased and unvarnished opinions of their cars. Never has a car company even hinted at the idea of saying only nice things about their cars. To me that is a testimony they have confidence in their products. Let’s face it, buying a car is a major purchase decision for us all, and one we won’t have to make any time soon.

General Information:

Parts- US/Canadian 40%, Japan 45%; Engine and transmission- Japan; Assembled in- Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Class- Small Wagon; Cars from Subaru- BRZ, Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, WRX.

Handling & Performance:

I’m always impressed with the innovation that is taking place in the auto industry as they apply technology that is so subtle you don’t even know it’s working in the background.

Safety Pedal System, or Brake override protects, via computer, against the occurrence of both the accelerator and the brake being pressed at the same time. The system senses that and then applies the brake and closes the throttle. Yes, it may be a rare occurrence, but it can and does happen with bad results.

Another subtle feature is VDC (vehicle dynamic control), to increase stability on slippery surfaces and to improve cornering performance by preventing skids. It does that by reducing engine power and / or apply the brakes to slow down individual wheel spin to keep the intended path rather than allowing you to go off the road. Neat feature.

Styling:

Clean and conservative body design.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

Subaru, to me, is always a good investment.

Conveniences and comfort:

A good features list for the money, but if you can afford the options noted for about 4-grand I think it is worth the cost.

Consumer Recommendations:

Subaru is ‘first class’ and should be looked at closely as an option for that next economy small wagon / sedan.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Subaru Impreza 20,000 32 5 4 Japan USA 4WD
Chevrolet Cruze 20,000 33 5 4 USA USA FWD
Mazda 3 20,000 32 5 4 Japan Japan FWD
Hyundai Elantra 21,000 32 5 4 Korea Korea FWD

Good News:

Priced well, good quality, economical, comfortable ride for seating of 5.

Bad News:

N/A.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder Horizontally opposed engine, Symmetrical all-wheel drive, Continuously Variable (CVT) automatic transmission, 17” alloy wheels, Vehicle Dynamic Control, front, side and side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, safety pedal system, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes, rear vision camera, tire pressure monitor, anti-theft system with engine immobilizer system, power folding exterior mirrors with turn signals, climate control, multimedia audio system, smartphone connectivity, HD radio, Sirius XM, Bluetooth hands free phone, USB port with iPod and iPhone connectivity, cruise control, auto on/off headlights, power windows, Locks and mirrors, keyless access with push-button start, 6-way power driver’s seat, leather, illuminated vanity mirrors, trip computer, leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter, 60/40 split fold down rear seatback, all-weather package with heated front seats.

Options: On this vehicle included Eyesight feature including pre-collision braking, lane departure, adaptive cruise (smart cruise) control, power moonroof, blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, reverse auto braking, high beam assist, upgraded audio system, Sirius XM traffic. Cost: $3,845.

Gas Stats:

$3.45 / Gal avg. August 5, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

28 City and 37 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $24,595.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited. When you head out to the OUTBACK you have options. I like Jeep a lot but if I were buying an off-road vehicle Subaru and Jeep come to mind. Jeep is more rugged in appearance and for me I feel more protective in the Outback that is more of a passenger vehicle more suited to Beverly Hills than off-road hills if you get my meaning.

More importantly and unfortunately only manual transmission vehicles may be towed behind motorhomes, so not possible with AWD Subaru’s. So, for me, that narrows my choices to Jeep. And although it could be trailered it is not an option for me. Obviously, it doesn’t affect all that many people.

General Information:

Class- SUV; Cars from Subaru- Accent, BRZ,Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, Legacy,Outback, WRX& WRX STI.

Handling & Performance:

A very nice ride that is comfortable and with adequate power with the advantage of AWD on all Subaru products is a big plus. All good.

Since 2015, select Subaru models feature a new yaw-control system called Active Torque Vectoring (ATV). Not to get too technical this relatively new technology makes handling more precise and enhances the vehicle’s agility while cornering by using the braking system to help turn the vehicle. With ATV, you can push driving to new levels of performance while also feeling a sense of command while driving.

Styling:

Traditional Subaru.

Fit and Finish:

Subaru quality is second to none.

Cost:

Very well priced.

Conveniences and comfort:

As equipped at $32,000 it has all the hot items I like to see. When I’m on the road a lot, especially for those long-distance trek’s I like to add Smart Cruise Control.

Consumer Recommendations:

If you are safety conscious and are an outdoor kind-a family this is a must for comparison with what else is out there. The outback is my choice out of the competition noted except for the VW Atlas that is new and I will be testing it next month.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Subaru Outback 34,000 28 5 4 Japan USA AWD
Ford Flex 34,000 19 7 4 USA Canada FWD
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 34,000 22 5 4 Korea USA FWD
Kia Sorento 34,000 23 5 4 Korea USA FWD
Chevrolet Traverse 33,000 21 8 4 USA USA FWD
VW Atlas 33,000 20 7 4 USA Germany FWD

Good News:

Smooth, comfortable, AWD safety, good fuel economy SUV.

Bad News:

It only seats 5 if more is important.

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter horizontally opposed (Boxer) 175 horsepower 4 cylinder engine, CVT – continuously variable transmission with 6-speed manual mode, AWD – all wheel drive, Hill descent control, active torque vectoring, 60/40 split fold down rear seat, hill holder, cruise control, electronic parking brake, auto power door lock, power windows and exterior mirrors, remote keyless entry system / ignition key, security system with engine immobilizer, roof rails, tire pressure monitor, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth and cruise control switches. Blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert, keyless access with push button start, power moonroof, fog lights, 18” alloy wheels, foldable side mirrors with turn signals, All weather package with 3-mode heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer, dual mode heated rear seats, 10-way power driver seat and 4-way power passenger seat, perforated leather trimmed seats, woodgrain pattern with matte finish accent trim, power rear gate with memory height, illuminated inner door handles and overhead console, Harman/kardon premium audio system with 576 watt amplifier and speakers, auto up/down driver and front passenger windows with pinch protection, dual zone climate control, rear seat air vent outlets.

Gas Stats:

$3.49/ Gal avg. June 18, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

25 City and 32 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $32,695.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport

2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport. There is a broad field of competition in this class as you would expect for a sedan that is affordable and decent size just perfect for most families. For the more adventuresome or out of doors active folks, I’m guessing most would opt for an SUV instead. But if the Sedan suits your need this segment of the market makes a lot of sense as it is more economical. For the money this is a heck of a bargain sporting AWD standard on all Subaru models, and that is unique in the industry.

I’ve heard some say that “Subaru spends more money on quality and features and less on advertising”. Come to think of it you do see less ads for Subaru than most other models… well except for Ferrari or Lamborghini who need zero promotion via advertisement. More advertising has a reverse effect that seems to cheapen the product. After all, if you must blow your horn too much it generally means others are not singing your praises. That applies to a lot more than car sales, don’t you think.

General Information:

Class- Midsize Sedan; Cars from Subaru- Accent, BRZ, Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, WRX & WRX STI.

Handling & Performance:

No complaints here and in the pack of contenders this is the only midsize sedan with standard AWD feature. And it comes from the master of All Wheel Drive vehicles since all of Subaru’s are AWD.

Subaru has developed a new yaw-control system called Active Torque Vectoring (ATV). This new technology makes handling more precise and enhances your vehicle’s agility while cornering by using the braking system to help turn the vehicle. With ATV, you can push your driving experience to new levels of performance.

Styling:

Generic – and that is a good thing.

Fit and Finish:

Subaru fine.

Cost:

Very good as it includes AWD safety.

Conveniences and comfort:

Very good overall and the only feature I miss from car to car is the ‘smart’ cruise control that is such a great addition to today’s automotive technology. Otherwise Subaru is a comfy and convenient mode of transportation.

Consumer Recommendations:

Look closely at Subaru because they don’t blow their own horn so I will. Test drive it and you may agree it is a better ‘toyota’. . . just say’n.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Subaru Legacy 27,000 29 5 4 Japan USA AWD
Ford Fusion 27,000 42 5 4 USA Mexico FWD
Kia Optima 27,000 28 5 4 Korea USA FWD
Hyundai Sonata 28,000 28 5 4 Korea USA FWD
Toyota Camry 26,000 32 5 4 Japan USA FWD
Chevrolet Malibu 26,000 30 5 4 USA USA FWD
Buick Regal 26,000 26 5 4 USA Germany FWD
Acura TLX 34,000 27 5 4 Japan USA FWD

Good News:

Great value for the money, good fuel economy, roomy sedan, great engineering AWD handling and safety.

Good News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter 175 horsepower 4-cylinder horizontally opposed (boxer) engine, symmetrical all-wheel drive, continuous variable 6-speed automatic transmission, active torque vectoring, air conditioning, cruise control, electronic parking brake, power automatic door lock and unlock, power windows and mirrors, remote keyless entry with push button start, security system with engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitor with individual wheel display, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth and cruise control switches, power moonroof, fog lights, 18” alloy wheels, sport trunk spoiler, foldable side mirrors with integrated turn signals, heated front seats, exterior mirrors and windshield wiper de-icer, auto dimming rear view mirror with compass, 10 way power driver seat, illuminated inner door handles and overhead console, dual zone climate control.

Gas Stats:

$3.89 / Gal avg. May 18, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

25 City and 34 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $26,345.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

2018 Subaru Crosstrek

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek which is a small SUV with a manual transmission. It is interesting to note, last time I looked, only 3% of cars are equipped with manual transmissions. Pretty rare and thus you have to wonder why manufacturers still equip their cars that way.

A company I worked with for many years confirmed my understanding of the fact that most people simply don’t know how to drive a “Stick Shift”. In the state of today’s cars and trucks there is very limited advantage to manual transmissions. The reason I came to understand it is that equipment with manual transmissions were being broken all too often. Clutches were going out and it pointed to poor driver training.

I get a similar feeling in the Subaru I get driving a Jeep Wrangler, but the Subaru is pretty in dress up clothes. And although it is not as comfortable off road as the Jeep, Subaru is surely capable off the highway if needed and still doubles as a family sedan.

General Information:

Class – Small SUV – Cars from Subaru – BRZ, Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, WRX.

Handling & Performance:

Subaru’s all-wheel drive, standard on all their cars, gives great handling characteristics. Nice. It is also more than adequate with a 152 horsepower

Styling:

Subaru is an image of all around utility because of the all-wheel drive and higher profile for off road ability. Meanwhile it has a pretty face.

Fit and Finish:

Very Good.

Cost:

Excellent value. Remember this is an all-wheel drive company. All models are the same but since Subaru does it all the time it does it better than most that charge much more for that capable feature.

Conveniences and comfort:

Good features and great if you consider the pricing.

Consumer Recommendations:

If you are an outdoors guy or gal this is a great option for the physically active lifestyle.
It’s a good company making good cars.

Recognized Competition:

Brand $$$ MPG Seating Doors Country of Origin Assembled Drive Train
Subaru Crosstrek 23,000 25 5 4 Japan Japan AWD
Subaru Forester 24,000 24 5 4 Japan Japan AWD
Chevrolet Equinox 25,000 28 5 4 USA Canada FWD
GMC Terrain 26,000 28 5 4 USA Canada FWD

Good News:

Great pricing, AWD for those off-road times, doubles as a family sedan.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 152 HP 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual transmission, Symmetrical all-wheel-drive, dynamic control, 17” alloy wheels, 4-wheel ABS, power assist disc brakes, Hill-start assist, standard roof rails, rear vision camera, Multimedia system with 6.5” touch high resolution display, smartphone integration with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, Aha and Pandora, Bluetooth hands free phone connectivity and audio streaming, Steering wheel Audio and Bluetooth control switches, electric power steering, display provides fuel economy, speed monitoring, digital clock and temperature, power windows and door locks and mirrors, tire pressure monitoring system. Crosstrek specific features includes All-weather package, 6-speaker’s audio, cloth upholstery, leather wrapped steering wheel, fog lights, auto headlights.

Gas Stats:

$2.99 / Gal avg. January 16, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

23 City and 29 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $22,595

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2018 – An Automotive Love Affair

2017 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport /HAE(1181)

2017 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport /HAE Review

Overview:

This is the 2017 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport. The last time I looked at the Legacy was the 2015 model year. Very little change in design. Pricing very similar and more competition in this Midsize market segment.

Subaru remains on the top of my list of quality cars over the few decades I’ve been involved in evaluating cars. But let’s face it, in America, we have been at the forefront of the auto industry from our very early years. Cars have been, for the guys, the second loves of our lives right after girls. For some that order would be reversed.

General Information:

Parts – US/Canadian 45%, Japan 40%; Engine and transmission – Japan

It is Assembled in – Lafayette, Indiana, USA. Class – Midsize – Cars from Subaru – BRZ, Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, WRX, WRX STI.

Handling & Performance:

A continuously variable transmission (CVT), (also known as single-speed or gearless transmission, a one-speed automatic, variable pulley transmission,) is a transmission that can change seamlessly through an infinite number of effective gear ratios between maximum and minimum values. This contrasts with other mechanical transmissions that offer a fixed number of gear ratios. The flexibility of a CVT allows the input shaft to maintain a constant angular velocity.

Active Torque Vectoring (ATV) applies light brake pressure to the inside front wheel as your Subaru car carves a corner, which pushes more power to the outside front wheel, reducing wheel spin and sharpening handling.

Quick ratio steering boxes will require as low as 2-3 full turns in contrast to the early 1960s power steering gearboxes were originally manufactured with a wide turn ratio. Depending on the manufacturer, most were in the area of 16:1 to as high as 24:1, requiring a full four to five turns of the steering wheel to complete their range from lock to lock (wheels locked from the extreme right to the extreme left).

Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) systems use various sensors to monitor driver inputs and vehicle motion. Under certain driving conditions, it controls brake pressure and engine output to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle.

Styling:

They must have figured they had reached perfection and thus it looks and feels much like the 2015 I reviewed back then, and for me that is a good thing. You may remember in the early days mid-way through the 20th Century it was common to change styling and design every two year models. That was especially true with American made cars. I think they figured that was the best way to appeal to the customer. Well, it may have worked.

Fit and Finish:

Subaru is known for quality among my colleagues. This Legacy is a good example.

Cost:

Those listed are competitively priced, of course, since money is the most important motivating factor for most of us.

Conveniences and comfort:

All good standard equipment, but for my money the options make the car special even at the price.

Consumer Recommendations:

They are all nice cars but my favorites in this lineup are Hyundai Sonata and this Subaru Legacy.

Recognized Competition:

Subaru Legacy $27,000, Ford Fusion $27,000, Honda Accord $27,000, Toyota Camry $27,000, Volkswagen Passat $25,000, Nissan Altima $22,000, Hyundai Sonata $23,000, Mazda 6 $24,000, Chevrolet Malibu $24,000.

Good News:

Nice ride, comfy, roomy, – with options package you get great safety features, for me a must.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter 4-cylinder boxer engine, CVT 6-speed automatic with manual mode transmission, Active Torque Vectoring with quick ratio steering, symetrical all wheel drive, dynamic control, rear vision camera, front, side seat curtain airbags, LATCH system for Child safety seats, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, anti theft alarm and immobilizer system, infotainment system with CD, HD radio, Sirius XM radio, Sports, Weather with 4-months free, Bluetooth hands free phone connectivity, Smartphone connectivity with Apps, heated front seats, cirrors, wiper de-icer, dual zone climate control with filtration, 10-way power adjustable driver seat, power windows and door locks, leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter, 60/40 split fold down rear seatback.

Options: $4,000 add ons buys you moonroof, keyless entry with push button start, 18” sport alloy wheels, fog lights, Multimedia nav system, EyeSight driver assist system, pre-collision braking system, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, high beam assist.

Gas Stats:

$2.85 / Gal avg. February 26, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

*An interesting note is that two years ago gas price average was a $buck a gallon more.

25 City and 34 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $23,995 – $28,000 with options noted.

2016 Subaru Forester 2.5 i Premium GFF (1107)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5 i Premium GFF. I hate Apple but own an iPhone. In fact I just bought the new 6S. Many times a product is so good you just can’t ignore it. Subaru is so good AND I love the company. Many models are built in the US.

The 2016 Forester is available in six different trim levels, with the Limited and Touring being the most-equipped choices. Stronger performance is available if you choose the 2.0XT. Its standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivers 250 hp.

General Information: It is assembled in Ota, Gunma, Japan; Parts – US/Canadian 0%, Japan 85%; Engine and transmission – Japan; Classification is Small SUV’s. Cars from Subaru: BRZ, Impreza, WRX, Legacy, Forester, XV Crosstrek, XV Crosstrek Hybrid and theOutback.

Handling & Performance:

All Subaru’s are all wheel drive so they handle extremely well. Most models are stingy on gas and that’s a plus. Perhaps that’s why folks, in areas where there is a lot of weather extremes, sing this cars praises.

Styling:

CAD (computer aided design) is great for maximizing wind tunnel perfection but it has a way of being like a Clone machine. That’s okay I guess, but I do miss the diversity in styles. Go back to the first half of the 20 th Century car design and you know what I mean.

Fit and Finish:

Always very good with Subaru cars.

Cost:

You’ll notice below that all are similarly priced and I suppose the evolution of the industry makes that a fact. CAD designed cars is very precise and it is easier to nail down the cost to build and the Marketplace fixes the price.

Conveniences and comfort:

Subaru adds its latest technology interface (Starlink) to the Forester. Even the base 2.5i comes with a touchscreen with smartphone app integration (including Aha, Pandora, iHeartradio and Sticher). A larger 7-inch screen gets upgraded graphics and allows you to use intuitive pinch-and-expand finger movements to zoom in or out.

Elevated stadium-type rear seating enhances thigh support and legroom and affords a better view.

Consumer Recommendations:

The Forester is pretty well equipped but I would add the optional features I tested on this model that only add $1,895. It is listed as Optional Package 15 and most important to me is the Crash Avoidance feature. Be sure to check that out in your search for a new car.

Recognized Competition:

Subaru Forester $26,000, Honda CR-V $28,000, Ford Edge $28,000, Jeep Patriot $26,000, Kia Sportage $26,000, Mazda CX-5 $26,000, Nissan Rogue $25,000, Hyundai Tucson $23-31,000, Volkswagen Tiguan $26,000.

Good News:

Solid company, competitive in the market, among the best in fuel economy and safety and performance in class is excellent.

Bad News:

?

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter horizontally opposed 170 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, symetrical all wheel drive, dynamic control, 4- wheel ABS power disc brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake override system, front side and side curtain airbags with driver side knee airbags, anti theft alarm and immobilizer system, 17” aluminum alloy wheels, privacy glass , power moonroof, air conditioning, 7.0 infotainment system with CD player, smartphone connectivity, HD radio with Sirius XM, Blueooth hands free phone connectivity, power windows  locks and mirrors, reclining seatbacks, 10-way power driver seat, 60/40 split fold down rear seat, color multi-function display with rear vision camera, 12V outlet in dash, in console and in cargo area.

Gas Stats:

$3.19/ Gal avg. September 27, 2015

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

24 City and 32 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $25,795.

2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek 2.0 (1102)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek 2.0 that is a small crossover that available in five trim levels: 2.0i, 2.0i Premium, 2.0i Limited, Hybrid and Hybrid Touring

This Crosstrek is really a car — a Subaru Impreza wagon, to be precise, but it has beefed-up suspension components, a higher ride height and tougher-looking styling.

Inside it is similar to the Impreza with logically arranged controls, a standard 6.2-inch touchscreen and generally has one of the better-equipped interiors in this segment from a technological standpoint. The audio quality just okay and there’s no premium brand-name upgrade like you’ll find in some rivals.

Crosstrek has plenty of room — even with 6-footers with the rear seatbacks in place, the Crosstrek offers 22.3 cubic feet of storage space, expanding to 51.9 cubes with those seatbacks lowered. That’s considerably more than the Juke, but it trails crossovers like the Escape and Forester.

General Information: It is assembled in Ota Gunma, Japan; Parts – US/Canadian 0%, Japan 90%; Engine and transmission – Japan; Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Subaru:

Handling & Performance:

Driving: Although there’s an available five-speed manual on the non-hybrid base and Premium models, most XV Crosstreks will come with the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). And whether you’re driving around town or on the highway, there’s no hiding the fact that the CVT’s top priority is to minimize fuel consumption, so acceleration is adequate at best, and you’ll need to plan ahead for passing and merging.

One thing you’ll likely notice is the hair-trigger responses to gas pedal which can increase engine speed unnecessarily and increase engine noise.

I noted from Edmunds testing, a regular XV Crosstrek with the CVT accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9.9 seconds. Nearly every compact crossover on the market is quicker.

Generally Crosstrek is traditional Subaru in that it feels confident and composed on slippery roads, where its standard all-wheel drive and stability control systems make its reactions very predictable. The Crosstrek’s extra ground clearance will naturally add confidence in snow and dirt trails. The cabin remains surprisingly well isolated from wind and tire noise on the highway.

Styling:

Similar to others in this segment and although it’s not my thing it is not unattractive and fits the out of doors active folks that actually DO get off road.

Fit and Finish:

Quite good actually and far better than most “Active Lifestyles” vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler for example.

Cost:

Very affordable and highly competitive in this segment of the market.

Conveniences and comfort:

Most all significant features that add to a comfortable driving experience.

Consumer Recommendations:

Suspension upgrades help the all-wheel-drive XV be remarkably capable when the pavement ends and it still serves you well for daily travel and commuting. I personally want more power than provided with the standard 2.0-liter 148 horsepower four-cylinder horizontally opposed engine. Some characterize it as underwhelming. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) makes matters worse by having hair-trigger responses and a propensity to keep the engine droning loudly during acceleration. Edmunds testing says the Crosstrek is one of the slowest vehicles in its class.

One must consider for example Subaru’s Forester is a little more expensive, but it offers more power and the same solid off-road ability and added interior space without sacrificing much fuel economy. Other small crossovers like the 2015 Ford Escape aren’t as capable in the dirt, but they compensate with superior on-road handling and roomy, well-equipped cabins. If you prefer a more compact body like the Crosstrek’s, the 2015 Nissan Juke and 2015 Mini Countryman are worth a look. But if you mainly want a versatile and inexpensive runabout that can get you off the beaten path, the Subaru XV Crosstrek will likely satisfy.

Recognized Competition:

Subaru XV Crossover $22,000, Honda HR-V $26,000, Nissan JUKE $21,000, Nissan Rogue Select $22,000, Subaru Forester $22,000, Kia Sportage $24,000, Hyundai Tucson $24,000, Chevy Trax $25,000.

Good News:

Standard all-wheel drive; relatively strong off-road capabilities; spacious seating; good fuel economy; generous standard features.

Bad News:

Lackluster acceleration; CVT produces tiresome engine noise; so-so sound system.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 148 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, CVT Continuous Variable Transmission, symmetrical all-wheel drive, Dynamic Vehicle control,  front, side and side curtain and driver knee airbags, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes, tire pressure monitor, anti-theft alarm & immobilizer system, daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, air-conditioning, cruise control, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, rearview camera, four-speaker audio system with a 6.2-inch touchscreen display, smartphone integration, CD player, USB port and auxiliary input jack, remote keyless entry, push button start, power windows and locks and mirrors.

Gas Stats:

$3.59/ Gal avg. August 20, 2015

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

26 City and 34 Highway MPG

 

Pricing:

MSRP $23,250.

2015 Subaru BRZ Series.Blue / FZS (1082)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2015 Subaru BRZ Series.Blue / FZS. Unlike other Subaru models this has rear wheel drive power with the typical feeling in the turns of less control than the AWD models. I never thought I’d stop loving handling characteristics of rear wheel drive cars because that’s all there was while I was growing up and falling in love with the automobile. BUT – my mind is changed and for all around secure handling I prefer AWD.

General Information: Parts – US/Canadian 0%, Japan 95%; Engine and transmission – Japan

It is Assembled in – Ota, Gunma, Japan.  Class – MiniCompact – Cars from Subaru – BRZ, Impreza, WRX, Legacy, Forester, XV Crosstrek, XV Crosstrek Hybrid and the Outback.

Handling & Performance:

It is fun to drive and manual transmission driving experiences of days when automatics were new. Amazing that people still like them while most young people haven’t ever experienced a car with manual shifting. Automatic transmissions in today’s world are just too good to be denied. They make driving more relax-full.

Overall this BRZ handles well, none-the-less, in spite of rear wheel drive. Good fun.

Styling:

Sports car styling reminded me of friend David Murray (professional race driver) taking me for a “wild toad” ride in a Lotus on the track at Willow Springs, north of Lancaster, CA. BRZ has a very similar low profile design that keeps you very close to the ground.

Fit and Finish:

Nice aluminum touches on the pedals and foot rest and special stitching on the seating is very classy. All very well done and well assembled.

Cost:

The price tag is about what you’d expect for a sport car and one that is competitive in class.

Conveniences and comfort:

Everything is necessarily smaller in a Mini Compact and although adequate it diminishes comfort for me and it took time for to get familiar with the controls. I also am constantly reminded that cars like this are a chore to remember you must always take driveways slowly and never, never get close to the tire stops in most parking spaces.

This class car can be expected to have stiff suspension and more road noise than I care for but that’s the nature of the beast.

Consumer Recommendations:

This is a good list of similar cars to help choose in this price point.

Recognized Competition:

Subaru BRZ $30,000, Chevrolet Camaro $30,000, Ford Mustang $30,000, Scion FR-S $25,000, Hyundai Genesis Coupe $30,000, Dodge Challenger $32,000, BMW 2 Series $32,000.

Good News:

Fun sports car ride, good fuel economy and as important, it is Subaru quality.

Bad News:

Small, low entry and exit discomfort can’t be ignored.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter horizontally opposed 4 cylinder 200 horsepower engine, manual transmission, rear wheel drive, sport tuned suspension, stability control, front, side and side curtain airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with brake force distribution, tire pressure monitor, anti theft alarm and immobilizer system, daytime running lights, torsen Limited slip rear differential, 17” aluminum alloy wheels, audio /’ Navigation system with AM/FM/CD/ XM radio & USB port w/ iPod connectivity, bluetooth hands free phone connectivity, climate control, fog lights and rear decklid spoiler, cruise control, tilt / telescopic steering wheel, power door locks and dual power mirrors, keyless access and start, power windows, leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter, Alcantara trimmed upholstery, height adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats and mirrors.

Gas Stats:

$2.97/ Gal avg. April 4, 2015

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

22 City and 30 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $30,490

2015 Subaru WRX 2.0 Premium 4-door sedan (1081)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2015 Subaru WRX 2.0 Premium 4-door sedan. The more I test this evolving Subaru model the more I warm up to it each time. To me it has always been a car that appeals most to younger drivers. Today I continue to appreciate it being fun to drive and in addition the sedan is roomy enough to make this a good option for the young family where performance is an added bonus for the money.

Many appreciate the low rumbling roar of the Boxer (horizontal 4-cylinder) engine (found also in the Porsche) and which Subaru makes available in all models they sell. Yet another reason why I believe the WRX would appeal more to the younger driver. I rather like it myself.

General Information: Parts – US/Canadian 0%, Japan 95%; Engine and transmission – Japan

It is Assembled in – Ota, Gunma, Japan.  Class – Compact sedan – Cars from Subaru – BRZ, Impreza, WRX, Legacy, Forester, XV Crosstrek, XV Crosstrek Hybrid and the Outback.

Handling & Performance:

This car is equipped with the twin-scroll turbocharger. Here’s how it works and why carmakers employ it in their cars:

The growing use of turbochargers in cars today is because it is a response to high oil prices and strict fuel-economy standards. Thus it is replacing large gasoline engines with the smaller, more-efficient engines. And frequently, they are using turbochargers to make the switch without sacrificing power. The problems with turbochargers have typically been high cost, mechanical complexity, and a delay in power delivery called “turbo lag.” Using two turbochargers reduces turbo lag but further increases complexity and cost. Twin-scroll turbochargers solve all of these problems. Long found only in pricey sports cars, twin-scroll turbos, which mimic the effect of a pair of turbochargers, are now appearing in less-exotic cars. The new TwinPower four-cylinder produces just as much power as a six-cylinder while using 15 percent less fuel.

Styling:

Subaru claims their target market is 40 plus who they say will buy new where under that age consumers are more likely to buy used cars. I don’t know where marketers get their facts but I haven’t a clue if it is true. I’m at the age where larger and higher profile cars are better for me. Getting in and out of this WRX is more difficult like all high performance sports cars. More nimble under 50’s drivers won’t find it a problem worth mentioning. On the other hand rich old men will likely tough it out as they struggle to get in and especially out of their $300,000 F12berlinetta Ferrari. Looking good comes at a price and although the WRX won’t do 200 mph or impress as many people, it ‘will’ do all the law allows and more importantly at a tenth the price.

Fit and Finish:

Good.

Cost:

A plus in class.

Conveniences and comfort:

Good. All that is needed for general use in today’s technology world.

Consumer Recommendations:

All competition is worth including in your list to test drive if you are ready to make a change. These are exciting times in the auto industry especially for those who have a love affair with the automobile.

Recognized Competition:

Subaru WRX Premium 2.0 $28,000, Acura ILX $30,000, Audi A3 $34,000, Buick Verano $30,000, Cadillac ATS $46,000, Mazda 3 $30,000, Mitsubishi Lancer $30,000, Volvo S60 $37,000.

Good News:

Price is better than the average in class and has more horsepower.

Bad News:

Less legroom than average competitor.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter twin scroll turbocharged BOXER 4 cylinder 268 horsepower engine, all wheel drive, sport Lineartronic automatic transmission, electric power assist steering,tilt & telescoping steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, paddle shifters, sport design instrument panel and gauges suplemented by a 3.5” LCD central screen and 4.3” multi-information display on top of dashboard, 6-airbags with driver knee airbag, AM/FM stereo with HD Radio, single disc in-dash CD player, 6-speakers, MP3/WMA capability, Radio Data Broadcast system, Bluetooth hands free calling and audio streaming, iPod control capability, iTunes Tagging, USB port, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, 3.5 mm auxiliary audio input jack, fog lights, illuminated visor vanity mirrors, power tilt and slide glass moonroof and trunk spoiler.

Gas Stats:

$3.07/ Gal avg. March 27, 2015

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

17 City and 23 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $30,490

2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid (1065)

Overview:
This week we’re reviewing the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Small SUV. But it is not all that small but rather a comfortable 5 passenger utility vehicle. This is subaru’s first gasoline/electric hybrid model. And although I am always pleased with Subaru products and know from past experiences that this will be a good vehicle, I am not a real fan of Hybrid cars generally.

My feeling about Hybrid’s is that technology changes will make the hybrid a forgotten innovation in time. And although, there is no evidence that Hybrid’s are not economical to maintain, the jury is still out in my opinion. Especially important is that there are many non-hybrid cars on the market today that do just as well on fuel consumption without all the added equipment requirements of the Hybrid. More devices and parts just has to be a consideration when thinking of buying a hybrid. Simple is better.

As you likely know, all Subaru’s are all wheel drive on all models and that gives added assurance of good road handling characteristics from a company that should, and I believe is, the best when it comes to AWD. It is totally transparent and it is safe to say if that’s standard on all models they are bullet proof. Of all the rebuttals bitches and complaints of consumers I could find regarding Subaru cars, none complained about the running gear.

General Information: It is assembled in Japan. Classification is: Small SUV. Cars from Subaru: BRZ, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, Tribeca, WRX, XV Crosstrek.

Handling & Performance:
This SUV handles well and has enough power (160 hp engine with electric motor) for 99% of driving situations. Only one complaint, if I can call it a complaint, is that when you come to a stop or are in stop and go traffic the engine starts and stops and restarts as you let your foot off the brake pedal. It is annoying, but as you adapt to this hybrid anomaly you’ll get over it. . . I think. It is however comforting to see the engine turned off while waiting at a railroad crossing or long traffic light. It’s kind of like when you tell the kids to turn off the lights. There’s just something about wasting anything that is against our nature……. generally.

Styling:
Nice looking. Nice appointments. Nice sized 5 seater small SUV.

Fit and Finish:
Very good.

Cost:
In the range of most in class with added benefit it is AWD standard.

Conveniences and comfort:
A comfortable ride and the usual standard features that I consider customary and ordinary in today’s world, like Bluetooth hands free use that is a must on all cars.

Consumer Recommendation:
There are those who complain about rattles and engine noise, wind noise etcl, but ‘me thinks they protest too much’. I drive a different car every week and the complaints I read are real opinions but over the past 22 plus years of driving lots of them I take the bitching with a grain of salt.

Recognized Competition:
Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid $26,000, Honda CR-V $25,000, Hyundai Tucson $24,000, Jeep Compass $26,000 Mazda CX-5 $25,000, Chevrolet Equinox $29,000, Hyundai Santa Fe $31,000, Kia Sportage $28,000, Nissan Rogue $29,000, Mitsubishi Outlander $25,000, Jeep Patriot $26,000.

Good News:
AWD standard on all Subaru’s, good pricing, good fuel economy, smooth ride.

Bad News:
Start / Stop engine is annoying.

Standard Equipment:
2.0 liter 160 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, electric drive motor integrated into standard CVT automatic transmission, auto engine start/ stop, alloy wheels, climate control, 4.3 inch multi-function display, leather wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry with push button start, front side and side curtain and driver knee airbags, standard raised roof rails, AM/FM stereo with single disc in-dash CD player, bluetooth streaming audio, 6 speakers and USB / Aux ports, heated front seats mirrors and front wiper de-icers,.

Gas Stats:
$2.87 / Gal avg. November 15, 2014
www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

29 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:
MSRP $25,995.