Category Archives: Subaru

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 © 2017 – 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.

2015 Subaru Outback 2.5 i (1052)

Overview:

This week my ride is the 2015 Subaru Outback midsize crossover that they say rides on an all new platform with extensive quietening revisions including an acoustic windshield and liquid filled engine mounts. The interior space has been increased even though the footprint is essentially the same.

I felt good in this car for many reasons. It looks good, if performs well, it is comfortable and it doesn’t cost much money to operate.

Opinion:

When it comes to American industry and particularly the auto industry we can surely say Yes We Can. It is, of course, not in reference to Obama’s charge to the presidency. This is the REAL world where Yes we Can means something tangible. And Yes “WE DID THAT” applies to founding, settling and spreading out to tame the wilds of North America. It was done as a result of American Ingenuity at work to build things without the interference of a government who has the audacity to imply Government Did That. American Entrepreneurs built the economies of the free world and don’t you forget it. If the government did have anything to do with successful people it was that they stayed the hell out of the way. Apparently those in government today have indeed forgotten WHO made this country great. Yes we can was not just a slogan back then, it was a way of living.

General Information: It is assembled in // n/a. Classification is Midsize. Cars from Subaru: BRZ, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, Tribeca, WRX, XV Crosstrek.

Handling & Performance:

All Subaru’s are always AWD on all models and that gives Subaru cars that comfort and confidence you want in a car. It allows you to get the best performance in all road conditions that are not available on most cars that don’t come standard with AWD. I took this Outback for a ride through the San Gabriel Mountains of California which is a favorite test area for me. I call it the Crest Test since it is the route over Angeles Crest Highway between La Canada past the turn off to Mount Wilson and down into the high desert just to the west of Palmdale. It really did perform wonderfully and the more I drive these Subaru’s the more I like them. AWD hugs the road in all of the hundreds of turns on that road and it is simply a more comfortable ride when the vehicle is sure footed like a cat.

Styling:

Rather typical for SUV’s and Crossover’s, which is a good thing. I’m conservative by nature and don’t like radical departures from the norm. I prefer a nice looking automobile, not one that is hurting for attention and get it with outrageous designs. You know, kind of like those kids that walk around with their pants down below their but cracks.

Inside it is well appointed with a luxurious and attractive soft fabric interior – nice job Subaru.

Fit and Finish:
Consistently good assembly can be counted on.

Cost:
It is competitive in class but does so with standard AWD on all models which gives added value to the package price.

Conveniences and comfort:
“Loaded” as they say and I particularly appreciate the “Lane Departure” feature to go along with the “Adaptive Cruise Control” and blind spot warning signal. I know these will soon be on all cars and should be standard equipment on all cars.

Good News:
A long time performer company with a stellar reputation, great fuel economy, nicely stylish, comfortable, outstanding handling and roadability.

Bad News:
Nothing noted.

Standard Equipment:
2.5 liter 174 horsepower (Boxer) H-4 cylinder engine, symetrical all wheel drive CVT auto tranmission, 8 airbags including new front seat-cushion airbags for safety in frontal collisions, 17” alloy wheels, 10-way power driver seat, split dual zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, windshield wiper deicer, leather wrapped steering wheel, air filtration, fog lights, 7” touch screen display with multi-touch control swipe, scrolling gesture control, voice activated controls, serius XM, SMS text messaging, iTunes tagging and dual USB ports, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, vehicle lane departure warning, new color stereo cameras and steering responsive fog lights, power rear gat e with memory height function, new infotainment includes standard screen display and high resolution backup camera standard on all trims.

Options: you can add moonroof, navigation, blindspot detection and rear cross traffic alert for $3,390.

Gas Stats:
$3.67/ Gal avg. September 30, 2014
www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

25 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:
MSRP $26,995

2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium (1045)

Overview:

This week my ride is the 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium. The first thing that strikes me in this car is that “yes we can” have a car that is spacious, has power enough and yet gets an average of 30 mpg. Yep, the top end highway mpg is 36. Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Opinion:

The Yes We Can is not in reference to Obama’s charge to election, this is the REAL world where “WE DID THAT” as a result of American Ingenuity at work to build things without the interference of a government who has the audacity to imply Government Did That. American Entrepreneurs built the economies of the free world and don’t you forget it. Apparently those in government did forget it.

General Information:

It is assembled in // n/a. Classification is Midsize. Cars from Subaru: BRZ, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, Tribeca, WRX, XV Crosstrek.

Handling & Performance:

No complaints on this Legacy as to performance. You won’t do 0-60 in 5 seconds but you will have all you need for normal driving. You will be tempted to have a heavier foot on the throttle because you won’t be draining the tank as quickly as in other competitors.

Styling:

Someone was commenting to me that all cars look the same these days. I recall my grandmother’s visit from the Old Italian area of Massachusetts to California where we had moved in search of a different life. She took the train as most did in those days, and she was overwhelmed by the hustle bustle of our new home. Then she saw a Studebaker of the day and was convinced that Californian’s were strange people. Look at the cars they drove that were designed so you couldn’t tell whether they were coming or going. I guess Studebaker hadn’t reached Massachusetts yet.

The point of my little story is that cars were designed by people back then in contrast to designs today that are put through the ‘clone’ machine of CAD (computer aided design) software that uses efficiency designing so they are aerodynamic to improve fuel economy for example. Ever see an airplane design that wasn’t aerodynamic? Some cars however are box-like, but they are the exception and more a departure for ‘shock effect’. But the overwhelming designs DO in fact make them all look alike because the majority of folks want those designs and more importantly they are demanding better fuel economy. When gas prices go to $10 a gallon there won’t be a boxy car on the road.
Fit and Finish:
Very good.

Cost:

Not bad considering what you are getting for the money. The features include a lot of futuristic assists that are leading to cars that drive you rather than the other way around.

Conveniences and comfort:

Subaru boasts ‘extensive quietening revisions to include acoustic windshield and liquid filled engine mounts.

Acoustic windshield seeks to cut interior noise while reducing weight. The liquid filled engine mounts are used to absorb vibration primarily while the engine is at idle when the engine doesn’t run as smoothly. Things like this are employed to make your ride more comfortable, quieter and more efficient to operate.

Features that ring my bell include adaptive cruise control with pre-collision braking and I also look for “blind spot” sensing (available as an option on this Subaru) which is extremely useful. I also find lane departure warning interesting and is another crutch to keep you attentive to ‘driving’ and not all the other distractions we’re inclined to. With adaptive cruise you can literally take your foot off the accelerator and watch the car come to a complete stop in traffic and start up when cars in front begin to move. All such technology makes your drive more comfortable and less stressful. There is a comfort and calmness to the driving experience that is provided by a smart car that has your back, so to speak. If you get distracted and the traffic stops suddenly pre-collision braking will save your butt.

Consumer Recommendation:

I have tested all the competition (except Ford and Toyota) and Subaru has over the years been a consistent performer. I like the AWD standard on all Subaru’s and the silence is deafening when it comes to the horror stories of maintenance typical of some cars. My experience of owning an automotive repair facility for many years gives me a good feeling about Subaru products due mostly to the fact they were absent from our shop. Look around and they are on the road and not in the shop. We did see a lot of BMW’s, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar and the like but I can’t remember Subaru. To me that is a very good thing. Today there are new kids on the block so consider Hyundai and Kia in your search. But the entire list below deserves your consideration as well.

Recognized Competition:

Subaru Legacy $23,000, Audi A3 $30,000, Buick LaCrosse $33,000, Chevrolet Cruze $24,000, Chrusler 300 $31,000, Dodge Charger $27,000, Honda Accord Sedan $28,000, Hyundai Sonata $21,000, Kia Optima $22,000, Mazda 6 $25,000, Mitsubishi Lancer $20,000, Nissan Altima $28,000, Volkswagen Jetta $26,000.

Good News:

Nice ride, powerful, spacious, nice features and great fuel economy.

Bad News:

If I think of something I will tell you.

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter 175 horsepower (Boxer) H-4 cylinder engine, symetrical all wheel drive CVT 6-speed automatic tranmission, 8 airbags, 17” alloy wheels, 10-way power driver seat, dual zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, windshield wiper deicer, leather wrapped steering wheel, fog lights, 7” touch screen display with multi-touch control swipe, scrolling gesture control, voice activated controls, serius XM, SMS text messaging, iTunes tagging and dual USB ports, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, vehicle lane departure warning, new infotainment includes standard touch screen display with high resolution backup camera.

Options: you can add moonroof, navigation, blindspot detection and rear cross traffic alert for $2,890.

Gas Stats:
$3.77/ Gal avg. August 12, 2014
www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

26 City and 36 Highway MPG

Pricing:
MSRP $23,495

2013 Subaru Impreza 2.0 Sport Limited (983)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Subaru Impreza 2.0 Sport Limited. It is a general feeling of all the reviews of owners I have researched that all wheel drive is a major reason for their love of the brand and model. Comments ranged all the way from “great car for the Midwest” and “Impresses as perfect City Car” and simply “Yahoo”.

It is true that when someone buys a particular car they are in love during the honeymoon phase. But there were some negative comments like “Confusing and quirky Bluetooth and more road noise than others compared”.

Well I find some truth in all the comments but overall Subaru has never failed to please. I do appreciate the AWD as a feature common to all Subaru’s. Further I could take no exception with all the glowing emotions they showed. It is simply a very nice automobile carefully crafted from its long history and my many reviews over the past 20 years.

General Information: 

It is assembled in Ota Gunma, Japan. Classification is Small Wagon. Cars from Subaru: BRZ, Forester,Impreza, Impreza WRX, Legacy, Outback, Tribeca and XV Crosstrek.

Handling & Performance:

148 horsepower is only adequate but acceptable for such good fuel economy as prices float around $4 a gallon and up.

Performance responsiveness is wanting when you need to pass. But once you know what power is available you simply adjust to all situations. In fact it has been the “Jack Rabbit” performance cars that always get me into trouble with the law. So if you want to be positive about the 148 horsepower chalk it up to saving money on speeding tickets.

But more importantly, it shines when it comes to enhanced control features such as dynamic control, traction control, brake assist with brake force distribution technology and of course All Wheel Drive. What Subaru has long included others are beginning to follow. And of course all-wheel drive is super in any weather condition.

Styling:

Clean simple lines.

Fit and Finish:

Always very good workmanship in Japanese cars generally.

Cost:

Outstanding value.

Conveniences and comfort:

Generally the press cars I drive include most all the bells and whistles but I sort thru those features and ignore the fluff. For example I find I never use the sun roof or moon roof so I wouldn’t ever spend the money to have one. I also find my iPhone Navigation application is a far better value than having one built into the car. But even more cost effective portable systems include Garmin, Magellan, Tom Tom, and others.

There are some features I wouldn’t do without like Bluetooth hands free phone and cruise control which will someday be standard on all cars or even mandated by law. More likely they will be included in a more comprehensive system of cars that drive themselves. If for example you have not driven a car equipped with a “Self-Parking Feature” for parallel parking you will be amazed and what computers can do. So it won’t be long until you will sit and watch the scenery while the car does the driving on GPS.

Consumer Recommendation:

You’re on your own because the prices are all very close and I know you have your favorites. I tend to lean to the Korean Hyundai and Kia cars as the best value these days but Subaru is a seasoned competitor long known for quality.

Recognized Competition:

Subaru Impreza $23,000, Chevrolet Cruse $22,000, Dodge Dart $20,000, Ford Focus $24,000, Honda Civic $24,000, Honda Fit $18,000, Hyundai Elantra $21,000, Kia Forte $19,000, Mazda 3 $23,000, Nissan Sentra $19,000, Scion tC $19,000, Toyota Matrix $19,000, VW Golf $20,000, Volvo C30 $26,000.

Good News:

Priced right, standard safety features and very good fuel economy.

Bad News:

148 horsepower is a little weak, but I wouldn’t trade up for less MPG.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 148 horsepower horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engine, continuously variable transmission, symmetrical all-wheel drive, dynamic control, front, side and side curtain and driver knee airbags, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes with brake force distribution, tire pressure monitor, anti-theft alarm and immobilizer, roof rails, fog lights, 17” aluminum alloy wheels, climate control, audio with HD/CD/ aux input, Bluetooth hands free, leather trim and wrapped steering wheel with controls and shifter, USB with iPod connectivity, cruise control, tilt and telescopic steering column, power windows, locks and mirrors, remote keyless entry, all weather package with heated seats.

Note: for $2,200 you can opt for power moon roof, GPS Nav with LCD touch screen with rear vision camera, HD Radio and XM Satellite and Nav traffic.

Gas Stats:

$3.95/ Gal avg. June 24, 2013

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

27 City and 36 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $22,995

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com