Displaying items by tag: Subaru

Saturday, 25 February 2023 19:15

2024 Subaru Impreza - First review

Subaru is rolling out the sixth-generation Impreza for the 2024 model year, and with it comes new looks, new technology, and a new powertrain option. The new Subie made its debut at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show just as it did when it showed face for the first time in 1992. Like the '90s original, the 2024 Impreza will be once again offered in sporty RS guise, powered by a 182-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder borrowed from the Crosstrek SUV. Lower-priced and lower-powered base and Sport models get a 152-hp 2.0-liter instead. Subaru says the 2024 Impreza's chassis is stiffer than before and the compact hatchback's all-wheel-drive system now features active torque vectoring. We won't know if any of that adds more spark to the Impreza's personality until we get our hands on one, but for now, we'll say things look promising.

What's New for 2024?

So far, we know about several key changes to the Impreza model line. For starters, Subaru has made the continuously variable automatic (CVT) standard on all 2024 Imprezas. Unfortunately for three-pedal advocates, the automaker hasn't mentioned the availability of a manual transmission. Additionally, the Impreza is slated to be offered exclusively in a five-door hatchback body configuration–something WRX fanatics will surely envy, as they've been hoping for a WRX hatchback since it was discontinued after the 2014 model year. Speaking of the WRX, updates to the Impreza's exterior are similar to the design language seen on the latest generation of both the WRX and Crosstrek. Unlike those two models, though, the next-gen Impreza rolls without any plastic cladding clinging desperately to its body. Changes to the interior design make it almost identical to that of its newer stablemates, particularly the Crosstrek. The 11.6-inch Starlink touch display is available in the Impreza for the first time and is standard on Sport and RS trim levels.

Given our natural disposition towards sports-oriented vehicles, plus the power of nostalgia, we're most interested in the reborn Impreza RS, which comes with a more powerful 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, unique 18-inch wheels, artificial carbon fiber interior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum-finished pedals, heated front seats, a 10-way power driver's seat with lumbar support, and USB charge ports for rear passengers.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Impreza retains its meager naturally aspirated 2.0-liter flat-four engine, which musters the same 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque as before. A larger 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine will be exclusively available for the new RS model, providing a power bump of 30 horsepower and 33 pound-feet of torque for a total output of 182 horses and 178 pound-feet. A CVT is standard on all 2024 Imprezas as is Active Torque Vectoring, which improves upon the capable Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. For an extra sprinkling of its rally racing sportiness, Subaru has equipped the new Impreza with a version of the dual-pinion electronic power steering rack found in the WRX. The automaker says that it has increased the chassis stiffness of the next-gen Impreza by 10 percent, too, which in theory should help both handling and ride. We'll update this section with performance figures once we've driven and tested the all-new Impreza.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

Since the base Impreza and Impreza Sport models will both make use of the same 2.0-liter engine in the outgoing model, we think it's safe to assume that EPA ratings will be similar to those of the current five-door hatchback equipped with the CVT: 28 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway. We'll update this section once the EPA has published its ratings and after we've run the Impreza through our 75-mph highway fuel economy route which is part of our extensive testing regimen.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

Subaru interiors are known for being pragmatic rather than posh, and that trend continues with the 2024 Impreza. Dual-zone climate controls are standard for the entire model line as are 60/40 folding rear seats. The automaker says it focused its efforts on an ergonomic front seat design and also hushing the cabin–we'll verify whether it's more comfortable and quieter than the fifth-gen model once we've had the chance to get behind the wheel. From what we can tell so far, the updates appear to be similar to the changes found inside the 2022 WRX, including a larger center stack display. The revisions in the WRX sports sedan felt and looked like a natural progression from the interior design of the preceding generation, and we expect the same from the new hatchback since their interior designs are nearly identical.

Infotainment and Connectivity

The 2024 Subaru Impreza offers the automaker's Starlink multimedia system standard on Sport and RS models. It is compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and features an 11.6-inch touchscreen display with controls for the sound system, HVAC, and certain vehicle functions. For models equipped with Starlink, Subaru also offers its Safety and Security Connect Services, such as SOS Emergency Assistance and Stolen Vehicle Recovery Service, as well as conveniences like Remote Vehicle Locator. On top of that, the new Impreza provides its passengers with an auxiliary input jack, a USB-C port, and a USB-A port, so you're set regardless of which smartphone you happen to have. There's also an available Harmon Kardon 10-speaker sound system, though it's only offered on the range-topping RS model.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

In addition to the aforementioned Safety and Security Connected Services available for models equipped with Starlink, Subaru has made its EyeSight Driver Assist Technology standard for all three Impreza trim levels. Automatic emergency steering is included on models fitted with the optional blind-spot detection system, which is already packaged with lane-keep assist and rear cross-traffic alert—all of which are standard on the new RS model. Subaru is also introducing a few new services to the 2024 Impreza, including Valet Mode, Trip Log and Driving Journal, and Remote Vehicle Configuration. Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites have crash-test results for the next-generation Impreza yet. Key safety features include:

Standard adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist
Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
Available automatic emergency steering

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

The Impreza's warranty is average for the class and not as generous as that of the Hyundai Elantra or the Kia Forte, both of which offer powertrain coverage for up to 10 years or 100,000 miles.

Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
No complimentary scheduled maintenance


Published in Subaru
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Versus the competition: Fortified with more than just stickers and plastic fenders, the Forester Wilderness is more suited to its purpose than most off-road-themed compact SUVs.

The Subaru Forester is a perennial Cars.com favorite: It’s finished on the podium in our past two compact SUV tests, placing second in 2019 and third in 2021. For 2022, the standout change for the Forester is a new Wilderness trim level, which takes a small SUV with impressive ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive and turns it up a notch, making what Subaru says is the most trail-capable Forester yet.

Three main components are changed on the Wilderness to create its extra capability: tires, suspension and gearing. The Forester Wilderness ends up with double the towing capacity of other trims: 3,000 pounds versus 1,500 pounds. A thorough off-road test will come later — I drove our test Wilderness mostly on-road, with just some light gravel and dirt-road driving for this review — but the Wilderness treatment (including Subaru’s Outback Wilderness) doesn’t make way for hardcore off-roading. It does, however, do more to make these Subarus off-road-ready than many off-road-themed crossovers.

The Wilderness is the most significantly changed version of the Forester for 2022; other trims have minor changes that wouldn’t alter — for better or worse — where the 2022 Subaru Forester placed in our 2021 Compact SUV Challenge.


The Wilderness’ standard tires are meaty 17-inch Yokohama Geolandar A/T (all-terrain) tires, sized the same as the Forester Premium’s street-oriented 17-inch tires (225/60R17). The Geolandar A/Ts are more off-road-oriented tires, with knobbier tread blocks, that wouldn’t look out of place on a Jeep Wrangler.

For how aggressive they look, though, they don’t increase road noise much. The Geolandar A/T G015 is designed to be a daily-driven all-terrain tire; it’s not a max-effort off-road tire. You can feel the tires’ squirminess on-road versus an ordinary passenger-car street tire, but that’s a typical trade-off for the additional capability they offer. Two more attributes that may be associated with the tires are slightly harsher impacts versus the Forester’s standard tires and, on the plus side, confident roadholding on loose gravel and dirt roads.


A surprise-and-delight feature of the Wilderness is that there’s a matching full-size spare tire and wheel, which you’d appreciate if you got a puncture off the beaten path and needed this tire’s capability to get back to a main road.



The Wilderness’ wheels and tires are attached to a lifted suspension that gets its height via longer springs and shock absorbers. Ground clearance is up half an inch — to 9.2 inches from 8.7 inches — which improves approach, departure and breakover angles. The suspension has been tuned to the new ride height, and it’s buttery smooth on-road — though with some slightly harsher impacts than you’d feel in a regular Forester.

On loose dirt and gravel-covered roads, the tires and suspension absorb imperfections at high speeds without upsetting the cabin. That’s in stark contrast to the Ford Bronco Sport Badlands’ suspension, which is also off-road-oriented but feels like it’s made of bricks compared with the pillowy nature of the Forester’s ride. The Bronco Sport has its own advantages, though, like a rip-roaring 250-horsepower engine and torque-vectoring rear axle.



For now, we’ve spent more time in the Wilderness on-road, where the effect of its shorter final drive ratio (4.11:1 versus 3.70:1 in other Foresters) is most notable in improving the Forester’s snappiness and accelerator response. The Wilderness gets up and goes with more vigor than an ordinary Forester, making passing more confidence-inspiring thanks to quicker reactions while at speed. According to Subaru spokesman Charles Ballard, the gearing change was made in the continuously variable automatic transmission through an updated pulley ratio, and the rear axle ratio was optimized to work with it.

The new gearing makes the most of the Forester’s only engine, a 182-hp, 2.5-liter flat-four-cylinder, which in our testing scooted the Wilderness from 0-60 mph faster than the standard Forester: The Wilderness accelerated to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds, versus the 9.57 seconds a Forester Touring took.

On the downside, the Forester’s highway mpg rating took a hard hit from the gearing change, dropping an EPA-estimated 5 mpg, from 33 mpg to 28. The combined rating drops 3 mpg, from 29 mpg to 26, while the city rating is least affected, dropping only 1 mpg (26 mpg to 25). The Wilderness’ 26 mpg combined rating does, however, still compare favorably with other top compact SUV off-road trims: The Ford Bronco Sport Badlands is rated 23 mpg combined, and the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk has a 21 mpg rating. The Wilderness does come in slightly lower than the Toyota RAV4 TRD Offroad’s 28 mpg rating.

Higher Towing Capacity

The Forester Wilderness’ towing capacity has doubled to 3,000 pounds versus the standard Forester’s rating, and the Wilderness’ goods are to thank. An external transmission oil cooler helps keep the transmission’s fluid temperatures cool while working, and its higher numeric gear ratios deliver more wheel torque to make the car easier to move under load. (Trucks often include numerically higher gear ratios and transmission coolers in optional towing packages to increase towing capacity.) Ballard said a reinforced transfer case and more powerful radiator fan (up from 120 to 160 watts) also help increase the tow rating. The Forester Wilderness’ towing capacity is notable but not class-leading; other compact SUVs are rated to tow more than 3,000 pounds.

Compact SUVs With High Towing Capacity

  • Jeep Cherokee: 4,000 pounds with 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and Trailer Tow Package, 4,500 pounds with 3.2-liter V-6 and Trailer Tow Package
  • Ford Escape: 3,500 pounds with towing package and optional engine in Titanium and SEL trims
  • Toyota RAV4: 3,500 pounds with Adventure and TRD Offroad trims

Is the Wilderness Worth It?

While I didn’t experience the Forester Wilderness’ peak off-road capabilities, I liked it even on pavement compared with other Forester trim levels. The new gearing does a lot for accelerator response, while the suspension and new tires make quick work of bad roads. On the downside, fuel economy is hit pretty hard, and there are quirks in all Foresters that can’t be addressed without a redesign — like poor cabin storage, an awkward information display atop the dashboard and excessive wind noise. As a whole, though, even with those quirks you can’t go wrong with a Forester, and this off-road package is more than a few stickers. It’s certainly a big enough change to consider its $34,000 asking price if you’re in need of more off-road or towing capability from your Forester.



Published in Subaru

Subaru hopes to make “Wilderness” the “STI” of off-roading.

The "STI" name holds a special place in the hearts of Subaru performance enthusiasts. Usually affixed to the rump of a WRX in this country (but also found on Foresters, Legacys, BRZs and more in Subaru's home market), STIs are the ultimate road-going Subarus. With the launch of the new 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness, the second off-road focused Wilderness model in the brand's portfolio, Subaru hopes to make the Wilderness sub-brand just as meaningful for fans and buyers. After beating on the new Forester Wilderness for a day on Central Oregon's forest roads, we think the company may be on to something.

What Is The 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness?

The Forester Wilderness is a new addition to the revised-for-2022 Forester line. The most obvious change across the lineup are new ovoid-shaped headlights on the modified front fascia, some subtle nips and tucks to the Forester's rear end, and the newest iteration of Subaru's Eyesight advanced driver assist system. But the automaker spent some time under the skin, too. Though the 182-hp and 176-lb-ft 2.5-liter flat-4—the sole engine option the Forester offers—remains the same, new engine mount brackets were added in an effort to improve NVH levels, while elsewhere Subaru revised the Forester's suspension tuning to reduce the body roll and porpoising we complained about in our last Big Test.

The Forester Wilderness amps things up a bit further in an effort to improve off-road capability. Longer coil springs and shock absorbers increase ground clearance by a half inch to 9.2-inches, while Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires coupled with revised X-Mode off-road settings ensure that the all-wheel drive system (standard on all Subarus, save the BRZ) has even better traction in low-friction surfaces. The Wilderness model also gets a bespoke version of the Forester's standard CVT. It features a lowered final drive, increased gear ratio spread, and a stronger variator pulley, all of which work together to improve low-end torque off-road. As an added bonus, Forester Wilderness models are rated to tow up to 3,000 pounds, versus just 1,500 for other models in the lineup.

2022 Subaru ForesterWilderness Bend 41
 Rounding the package out inside is a "Startex" cloth interior (designed to be easily cleaned), additional hooks in the cargo area, and a liftgate-mounted LED light that shines down on the ground when the hatch is opened. Outside, the Forester Wilderness gets a heavier-duty roof rack with a 220-pound dynamic load capability (or 800-pounds static; enough for a three-person rooftop tent), some extra black cladding, subtly reworked bumpers to improve the model's clearance off-road, and an aluminum skidplate under the engine (though Subaru offers additional skidplates, including a thicker engine skidplate, plus fuel tank, transmission, and rear-differential skidplates). Approach/breakover/departure angles improve from 20.0/19.6/24.6-degrees on the standard Forester, to 23.5/21.0/25.4-degrees on the Wilderness. Though that gives the Forester Wilderness the best all-around off-road angles of any Subaru, those are relatively middling numbers compared to a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk—trust us when we say that you'll want to budget a few hundred extra for those optional skidplates.

Is The Subaru Forester Wilderness Good Off-Road?

While Subaru's own research shows that only 16-percent of Forester owners go off-road ("off-road" is defined as however the survey takers perceive the term), it is nevertheless the reason why the Forester Wilderness exists. To Subaru's credit, it didn't hold back with a challenging test route, unleashing us on the surprisingly diverse forest roads surrounding Bend, Oregon.

The trails largely consisted of rutted dirt roads, high-speed washboard gravel, and low-speed skull-sized rocks, with some mud, snow, moguls, and water crossings thrown in for good measure. The 2022 Forester Wilderness acquitted itself well. Unlike the Outback Wilderness, where you're always fighting body roll and purpoising at higher speeds off-road, the Forester's suspension does a fantastic job of ironing out impacts and washboards, making sure they're one and done affairs. The revised CVT—which does its best to convince you it's an eight-speed auto—coupled with Subaru's already stellar all-wheel drive system, also lends to the overall capability of the Forester Wilderness. It keeps the engine in the meat of the powerband, turning easier washboard gravel sections of the road into impromptu rally stages, like the kind the STI brand cut its teeth on.

The Forester's improved approach angle versus other Subarus lends to that level of confidence as you worry less about bashing its nose into the ground…until you inevitably do. Multiple times. Offset pits were usually approachable at low speeds, but larger ditches were more of a gamble, introducing our Forester's optional engine skidplate to unassuming small rocks on multiple occasions. Though battered, the upgraded skidplate ultimately did its job.

The Forester Wilderness other weak point is one it shares with other Subarus. Much as we found with the Outback Wilderness in our budget overlander comparison, low speed, low-traction, uphill climbs—especially when a wheel is unloaded—can be tricky to traverse as the relatively modest output of the flat-4 and CVT conspire with a lack of off-the-line torque. One sandy uphill obstacle in particular, at an off-road park that Subaru says is about the absolute limit of what a Forester Wilderness is engineered to handle, bogged our vehicle down as X-Mode struggled to send power to the tires with the most available traction. While the Forester eventually built up enough torque and traction to get over the obstacle, for owners, momentum will often be your friend in climbing steep, slippery grades. Just mind that nose.

It's worth pointing out that we're not convinced our day of off-road driving was anything a stock Forester couldn't handle. That said, the Wilderness adds some extra peace of mind in the form of off-road upgrades to the Forester's already relatively high baseline capability.

How Is The Forester Wilderness On Road?

While off-road capability may have been the primary focus for the Forester's mid-cycle update, the 2022 model is unquestionably nicer to drive on road than pre-refresh versions. The biggest change is in how the Forester Wilderness rides and handles. The 2022 Forester no longer wallows down the road, instead it feels planted, poised, and confidence inspiring. Steering is quick, well-weighted, and natural-feeling, if a touch dead on center which we suspect is likely due to the all-terrain tires.

Powertrain tuning is better, too. Subaru attempted to make the pre-refresh version of the Forester feel quicker than it actually was with hair-trigger throttle response that snapped occupants' heads back when accelerating. That trait is thankfully long gone. No one will mistake the Forester Wilderness for being quick, but it accelerates off the line linearly, and feels quick enough for city duty. Highway passing will likely require a bit of planning, but that's the case with pretty much every non-turbocharged Subaru.

2022 Subaru ForesterWilderness Bend 73

Not having driven lesser versions of the 2022 Forester yet, it's tough to say how much the Wilderness hardware is responsible for the better on-road manners, but we're cautiously optimistic for the rest of the lineup.

The Forester's cabin remains a comfortable place to soak up hours on the road. Visibility is excellent, and the seats are comfortable and roomy. The cabin can be a bit noisy at highway speeds—the all-terrain tires certainly don't help matters much—but the off-road capability tradeoff makes it worth it.

Is The Subaru Forester Wilderness Worth It?

Based on the Forester Sport (which starts at $30,890), prices for the Forester Wilderness start at $33,945—or $34,394 if you factor in the skidplate upgrades. Although not as big of a value slam dunk as the Outback Wilderness versus lesser Outbacks, the Forester Wilderness still makes a compelling case for itself; a Forester Sport upgraded with all-terrain tires, 17-inch wheels (downsized from the stock 18-inch to match the Wilderness and allow for a more aggressive tire), and with the Wilderness' upgraded skidplates would set you back about $34,117. A couple hundred less, and that's still without the suspension lift, improved off-road angles, upgraded CVT, and features like that heavy duty roof rack.

The Verdict?

Ultimately, the 2022 Forester Wilderness is not just the best Forester we've driven in the past few years, but the most convincing Wilderness product yet. While there's likely a ways to go before "Subaru Wilderness" has the same cachet as "Subaru STI," the Forester Wilderness is a solid step in the right direction, bringing a sense of capability and durability to the line that Subaru owners will most certainly use.


Published in Subaru

With its tidier dimensions and lower price, the hiked-up Forester Wilderness proves that less is more—until you stab the throttle.

As applied to the Forester, the Wilderness formula is very familiar. Compared to its siblings, it sits a half-inch higher atop its four-wheel independent suspension thanks to longer dampers and taller springs, and that amounts to a healthy 9.2 inches of minimum ground clearance and an improved breakover angle of 21 degrees. Since the Forester isn't nearly as long as an Outback, the jacked-up stance conspires with stubbier front and rear overhangs to produce more favorable approach and departure angles of 23.5 and 25.4 degrees, respectively. It's also some 2.4 inches narrower, so it's more compatible with brush-lined trails even before Subaru slathers on the Wilderness-spec layer of protective body cladding. Conversely, the Forester Wilderness is 2.0 inches taller than its Outback counterpart, but we'll take that because it comes with a more upright driving position that makes it easier to see over the hood and pick your way along a trail. Blind crests are no problem because there's a front camera, but the button to activate it is nowhere near the display itself.

2022 subaru forester wilderness

A drive along forest roads near Bend, Oregon, proved that the Forester execution works equally well on both smooth gravel roads suitable for stage rallies and lonely meandering two-track forest trails that haven't seen the blade of a road grader in years. Subaru's Wilderness-specific shock and spring tuning readily soaked up washboard surfaces on high-speed tracks, but they also went about the quiet business of damping out head toss through rocky sections, snaking around fallen limbs, or easing down eroded ledges. None of this was black-diamond rock crawling, but vehicles built for that use case would have punished us with the heavy unsprung mass of solid axle overkill thumping up from below. Independent-suspended crossovers have their place out here if they can muster sufficient clearance and traction, and the Forester Wilderness proved to have enough of each.

A good deal of the necessary extra traction comes from a set of Yokohama Geolandar A/T tires, with outline white-letter sidewalls adding spice to an otherwise black background of alloy wheels and cladding. There's even a matching, full-use spare with its own TPMS sensor in the underfloor well.

2022 subaru forester wilderness
Whereas other Foresters have seven simulated gears in their continuously variable automatics (CVT), the Wilderness version has eight, like the Outback. But it differs from even the Outback Wilderness in that it has a wider overall ratio spread across its working range, with an ultra-low 4.07:1 "first gear" that gives the Forester Wilderness a better low-speed crawl ratio when the exclusive Dual-mode X-Mode detects conditions that call for hill-descent control. The 2022 Forester also debuts an improved X-Mode logic that no longer shuts completely off if the driver momentarily exceeds its maximum operational speed of 25 mph. It now goes into a standby mode and will automatically reengage when the car slows to 22 mph. That prevents constant dithering if your speed lingers near 25 mph. The hill-descent control features a related improvement that more quickly resumes the original crawl speed if the driver temporarily adds throttle and then backs out.
2022 subaru forester wilderness
The Wilderness will, of course, spend the bulk of its time on pavement, so it's good there's nothing overtly off-roady or off-putting about its on-road demeanor (probably not something that could be said if you bolted on random off-road mods you read about in forums). Subaru's engineering team has delivered a smooth and composed ride that is never harsh. The body doesn't pitch or bound, and there's a smidge more reassuring control and less squishiness than with the Outback Wilderness. Frost heaves don't upset it, and the all-terrain tires were remarkably quiet until we came to a particularly coarse stretch of asphalt that had been chewed by studded tires in previous winters. When pushed, the Wilderness does not feel like it's standing on tiptoes. It turns into corners smartly, with a modest amount of body lean that builds up gradually and takes a reassuring set. The thing that flummoxes the steering is cruising straight at highway speeds, where the feel is dull and indistinct.

That's small beer compared to the lackluster engine performance, but this won't surprise any current-generation Forester owners because the Wilderness has the same 2.5-liter flat-four with a middling 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. Why not the 2.4-liter turbo as in the Outback Wilderness? Outback product planners had two homologated engines to pick from, but the fifth-generation Forester has only one, since the turbo 2.0-liter was dropped with the previous model in 2018. For what it's worth, we didn't notice a serious lack of beans driving in the forest, and the car felt reasonable enough around town.

2022 subaru forester wilderness
That might be because its final drive ratio is a short 4.11:1 instead of the regular Forester's 3.70:1 gearing. Combined with the CVT's lower initial gearing, this might shave a couple of tenths off the 8.4-second zero-to-60-mph time we previously measured with a standard Forester, but the more significant benefit of this change is the new 3000-pound tow rating.

Our experience also makes us think the aerodynamic penalty of a rooftop tent will be easier to bear, which is relevant because the Forester Wilderness is specifically courting those buyers. It has beefier wide-set roof rails that can accommodate 220 pounds of mass while in motion and 800 pounds when parked—enough for a three-person tent with occupants. The penalty for the shorter gearing is lower fuel economy, particularly on the highway. A regular Forester is EPA rated at 29 mpg combined (26 city/33 highway), but the Wilderness manages just 26 mpg combined (25 city/28 highway). Nevertheless, this still bests the Outback Wilderness and its estimates of 24 mpg combined, 22 city, and 26 highway.

2022 subaru forester wilderness
All 2022 Forester models debut the fourth iteration of Subaru's EyeSight, which features dual cameras with nearly twice the field of view. On our back-road tour, it proved to be surprisingly good at detecting faint centerlines that have been so thoroughly bleached we weren't immediately conscious of them. You'd think that kind of sensitivity would lead to a raft of unwanted warnings elsewhere, but we didn't find ourselves hunting for an "off" button when clipping apexes. The system behaved as if it were able to project a forward path to distinguish a true inattentive lane departure from spirited driving, which isn't that far-fetched when you consider the kind of added logic that would've been necessary to support the new lane-centering feature that supplements the adaptive cruise control.

The 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness will arrive in December at a price of $33,945. That amounts to $4625 more than the Forester Premium we generally recommend, but it's also a full $4175 less than the larger and more powerful Outback Wilderness. From where we just sat, the Forester Wilderness is a more right-sized interpretation of the Wilderness concept that does a proper job off the pavement but still comes across as a pleasant daily driver if you're merely going for the off-road look. Either way, you can now gratuitously toss around the word "overlanding" in conversation. Come to think of it, please don't.


Published in Subaru

Subaru builds an Outback that off-roaders will say “yes” to.

Subaru is nothing if not shrewd. When SUV sales took off in the mid 1990s and threatened to leave the company's automotive offerings behind, it added cladding to the Legacy wagon and created the Subaru Outback. In the 2000s, Subaru plugged the affordable performance gap with the Impreza WRX. Today, with scores of Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback buyers rolling out of Subaru dealers and immediately into their local 4 Wheel Parts stores for upgraded wheels, all-terrain tires, and suspension lifts, the automaker is cashing in with the new 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness, the first of the new Wilderness sub-brand. Can Subaru beat the aftermarket at its own game? Yes, it can.

What's New?
With the new 2022 Outback Wilderness, Subaru honed in on the most popular off-road mods its owners like to execute to offer them from dealerships along with a factory-backed warranty. Based on the Outback XT and sporting a 2.4-liter turbo flat-four engine with 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, the new range-topping Outback Wilderness downsizes from 18- to 17-inch wheels, wraps them with Yokohama Geolandar all-terrain tires, and gives the already-lifted all-wheel-drive station wagon an additional 0.8-inch of ground clearance, to 9.5 inches.

Functionally, Subaru rounds out the Outback Wilderness package with a new skidplate, slightly revised tuning of the car's continuously variable transmission to improve low-speed handling off-road, some X-Mode revisions, and a beefier roof rack. Aside from increasing ground clearance to 9.5 inches, the revisions also improve the Outback's relatively weak off-road clearance angles; approach/breakover/departure angles all improve from 18.6/19.4/21.7 degrees for a stock Outback to 20.0/21.2/23.6 degrees for the Outback Wilderness.

Subaru also made a host of stylistic changes to the Outback Wilderness, which you can read about in our First Drive.

Outback Wilderness Vs. Outback XT
There's no such thing as a free lunch, and we expected the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness' off-road-focused changes to hurt its on-road performance. As the test numbers bear out, Subaru did an impressive job mitigating negative effects on the hot-selling SUV.

The Outback Wilderness accelerated from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds, and through the quarter mile in 14.7 seconds at 96.1 mph. That's only 0.2 second behind our long-term 2020 Outback Onyx XT (previously the most off-road-capable Outback) in the 0-60-mph test, and just 0.1 second behind (but 0.2 mph faster than) the Outback Onyx in the quarter-mile. We suspect the Outback Wilderness' revised CVT "gears" and 17-inch wheels help the off-roader make up some speed in the quarter.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Outback Wilderness' off-road tires seemed to help its braking and handling performance compared to our long-term Outback Onyx. The Outback Wilderness needed a longish 127 feet in our 60-0-mph panic stop test, besting the Onyx by two feet, and it lapped our figure-eight course in 27.2 seconds while averaging 0.63 g. The Outback Onyx XT? Well, it needed 27.5 seconds to lap the figure eight, averaging 0.62 g during its best run.

Less surprising are the Outback Wilderness' EPA fuel-economy ratings. It nets 22/26/24 mpg city/highway/combined, well below the Outback XT's 23/30/26 mpg.

Out on the road on the way to MT's go-to off-road testing grounds, the Outback Wilderness doesn't feel all that different from a standard Outback. Its ride quality remains superb, with the suspension quickly and capably dispatching potholes and expansion joints.

Thanks to the turbocharged flat-four, the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness is among the rare modern-day Subarus that don't feel underpowered. The CVT is quick to virtually "kick down" and puts the engine in the meat of its powerband, and it's smart enough to hold an appropriate amount of revs when driving aggressively. Although its power delivery is slightly smoother than lesser turbocharged Outbacks, the Wilderness' turbo-four and CVT can still feel surge-y in city traffic.

Unsurprisingly, the most noticeable changes to the way the Outback Wilderness goes down the road are due to the all-terrain tires. For starters, there's more road noise. While the Subaru's Yokohamas don't drone in a way that a more aggressive off-road tire like a BFGoodrich K02 does on an aftermarket-modified Subaru, the Outback Wilderness' cabin is certainly a few decibels louder than other versions. Steering feel suffers slightly, too. The Outback Wilderness loses a bit of sharpness from the usual carlike responses to steering inputs, and its on-center feel is slightly more vague.

How Is The Outback Wilderness Off-Road?
Thankfully, the Outback Wilderness makes up for the noise and steering trade-off when the pavement ends. As is the case when trying to improve a sports car's handling, tires are the most underrated and overlooked modification you can make to improve your SUV's off-road capability. The added traction and sidewall protection of the Outback Wilderness' Yokohamas, combined with the Subaru's standard torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, help keep the wagon moving through soft sand, gravel, and mud.

The biggest advantages of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness' new suspension are the improved approach and breakover angles. Off-roading a normal Outback is an exercise in watching your nose and making sure you don't dachshund your belly on moguls. You still need to exercise some caution in the Outback Wilderness, but its lifted setup helps to mitigate some of the concern, making you far more likely to arrive home from the trail without damage.

Like the standard Outback (or any crossover, really), the Wilderness' suspension neither has a lot of articulation nor does it handle fast whoops well. It's quite easy to put a tire high up in the air when navigating tight, technical terrain, though the Subaru's electronics are quick to grab the brake of the airborne tire to ensure the Outback keeps moving. Similarly, the Outback Wilderness' suspension runs out of travel pretty quickly over those aforementioned fast whoops. It's never punishing on rebound, but you get the hint to slow down.

How Much Is It, And Should I Buy One?
Prices for the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness start at $38,120, some $500 less than the more expensive non-turbo Outback Touring and $1,850 more than the Outback Onyx XT, the "base" model of the turbo lineup. When taking into account the fact you're likely to spend more than $2,000 on wheels and off-road tires alone via the aftermarket, the Outback Wilderness begins to look like a great deal for enthusiastic off-roaders. Throw in the suspension lift, added ground clearance, and the other Wilderness goodies, and it's a downright steal.

The 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness may never tackle the Rubicon or the Mojave Road, but thanks to Subaru's changes, it will comfortably and capably tackle muddy two-tracks and desert trails. Locking differentials and true four-wheel-drive systems are fun, but we suspect the new Outback Wilderness delivers all the capability most buyers will ever need.


Published in Subaru
Wednesday, 10 February 2021 06:04

Subaru is preparing a new hot hatch

Some media write that Subaru, in cooperation with Toyota, is preparing a hot hach model with 4x4 drive, with the possibility that the car could also serve as a base for a rally vehicle.

This project is reportedly run under the Super AWD label, while the premiere of the car should be in the fall of 2022.

Apparently, this will not only be a hatchback version of the new generation sports Subaru WRX (which is expected at the same time), but will be below it in the range of the Japanese brand (although these two models will be similar in size).

Both the new hot hatch and the future WRX should have a 2.4-liter turbo gasoline engine, noting that the hot hatch will have less power than the new WRX.

Published in Blog/News
Monday, 08 February 2021 05:55

Top 5: road cars signed by Cosworth

Often in the world of cars, a story is repeated that begins something like this: "When you and those characters started this or that year, they didn't even know that…".
Well, this story won't start like that, because the brilliant minds in front of Cosworth foresaw the future very well and knew even better what they were doing. And this thesis is shown by these road cars with their signatures.
So here is a brief cross-section of the best that this ingenious duo has offered for road use…

There is no doubt that Mike Costlin and Keith Duckworth have become immortal since 1958. There is also no doubt that the engines and other components of this ingenious duo have been revered by millions of Ford fans and beyond over the years. Because what Cosworth has achieved in the world of engine optimization, refinement, performance increase and construction of legendary race cars, practically no one has ever managed to achieve.

Having Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and even a Cosworth-signed Subaru in my possession has always been something special. And the owners of various Sierra, Escort and other other cars were rightly proud of their cars.
Because Cosworth, despite all its flaws (and there were some), has always fascinated with its ingenious solutions, crazy ideas and revolutionary machines that power some of the most respected cars of all time.
Both on the street and on the track.

True car enthusiasts, whose coexistence with cars does not come down to blind worship of one brand or worse, one model of one brand, know very well what this legendary company has signed from 1958 until today.
But some of you esteemed readers might be surprised with our selection as part of Cosworth’s list of the best road races.

So there is no choice but to start with this short and sweet list of really special road races with Cosworth's signature…

Number 5: Ford Escort RS Cosworth

"Cossie"… "Cossack"… "Escort on steroids"… Indeed, this car has certainly been called by car enthusiasts over the years.
But all these names, adjectives, suffixes and slang names have one common denominator. And that comes down to one of the most special angry compacts of all time.

For many, this car marked an entire era of racing on the dirty and dusty tracks of the World Rally Championship.
For many, the RS Cosworth was the "car" that made them indulge in the world of cars in their entirety.
Many also swear by the absolute superiority of this Escort compared to the competition from that wonderful time.

And maybe all those many are right, but Ford with this car in its road edition did not intend to break any records, nor was it expected that this icon from the nineties and a few decades later would be adored by a huge amount of people.

The idea was to accomplish the series needed to comply with the homologation rules and that’s usually it.
But despite this, the Escort RS Cosworth still stands on the pedestal of the most special cars of all time - although through some figures, the wickedly high price and often questionable durability may not deserve it.

The Cossie, with its body just like an ordinary Escort, looked like a neighborhood hooligan.
His character was like the once famous movie diva whose alcohol drank his brain and reflexes, while due to frequent breakdowns, this Ford fell out of the car, which caused its owners to go bald unplanned.
But the two-liter engine with its 227 horsepower and all-wheel drive was absolutely fascinating even with a Turbo-hole the size of a Marianas furrow.
And then there’s that ingenious and equally oversized spoiler on which laundry could be dried.

Basically, if there is an icon on four wheels in the world that can be recognized from any angle, then it is precisely the Escort RS Cosworth.

Number 4: Subaru Impreza WRX STi CS400

Yes… Cosworth had his fingers in this legendary Japanese car as well. And you may not have known it, but it still doesn’t negate that fact, because this car really did carry Cosworth’s signature.

The idea was simple: to produce something really special and thus at least partially try to annul all the negative reactions that Impreza GR was collecting even in its strongest version.
Because the Impreza has always been a sedan, while the third generation of this model is presented in the form of a compact with five doors.

And yes… This Impreza was as disgusting to watch as it was shocking to comprehend. Therefore, Subaru struggled in all possible and impossible ways with various variations on the special editions of this body version for the Impreza, before the definitive capitulation and the release of the sedan (GV) version on the market.
But before that happened, for many the ultimate Impreza of the time

the woman was created in collaboration with Cosworth.

Basically, the ugly compact still wore vulgar spoilers and a design signed by the correctional team from the subject "design and engineering". I guess that’s why the focus this time was definitely shifted under the hood under which Subaru’s heart was pounding with Cosworth’s pacemaker.

The four-cylinder, 2.5-liter engine at Cosworth is disassembled into "simple factors" and then rearranged from start to finish. And the resulting condition was shaped into an EJ257 engine with almost 400 horsepower.

With those 400 horsepower combined with a billion minor and minor minor revisions to the chassis, suspension, and powertrain and braking system, the Impreza WRX STi CS400 accelerated to 100 km / h in 3.7 seconds. That is, in translation more convincing than some five times more expensive super-cars of that time.
But despite this, this very interesting project was very quickly doomed. Because the price of £ 50,000 in the UK was simply exorbitant.

Either way, Cosworth has turned this Impreza from an ugly duckling into a dark object of desire for many.
And that’s actually quite enough to say as a conclusion about this car.

Number 3: Audi RS4 (B5)

Admit that you had no idea that Cosworth was also fiddling with this mobile box from Ingolstadt.
But admit it or not, history confirms that Audi without Cosworth would never have presented the successor to the legendary RS2 - at least not in the form in which we know it and with which we are fascinated.

Now… You must be wondering how this somewhat obscure collaboration actually came about.
So here is the answer to that question…

Namely, as Cosworth as a company was on the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1990s, at one point the idea was born to split the company into two parts. The newly formed divisions were oriented separately towards road cars and those with which the team raced along the track.
In those years, Audi persistently tried to create a successor to the legendary RS2, so instead of cooperating with Cosworth, it simply decided to buy the road division of that company and throw the employees into the fire. And look at the miracles - it turned out great.
Because on the one hand Cosworth did not put the key in the lock forever, while on the other hand Audi produced one of the most special models of all time. And a model with a coat of arms.

Many swear that the first RS4 is also the last real Audi with the correct pedigree and without unnecessary marketing nonsense. Because this caravan already looked serious with its appearance, while driving it was able to embarrass many times more expensive, nominally faster and much more famous super-sports cars on the planet - by driving kids to school and Labradors to the toilet.
The 2.7-liter V6 engine was already a respectable force on the road. And after Cosworth's interventions on the engine in question (especially on the pistons and the exhaust system) with its 380 horses, this really became one of those cars that made the "haters" of the caravan want to have one in the yard.

acceleration to 100 km / h took less than 4 seconds, while top speed was limited to the agreed 250 kilometers per hour in Germany.
So even though I guess megalomaniacs and number addicts will say the proverbial "meh" and wave their hands, the Audi RS4 still remains one of the most brutal family cars the world has ever seen.
And without Cosworth, all this would not be possible.

Number 2: Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16

That by any chance AMG was an official part of Mercedes' three-spoke empire, and that in 1983 the company's employees had the time, will and desire, who knows what the story of this car would look like.
But as AMG was not part of Mercedes' three-legged empire at the time, and as the company's employees were on a cigarette-two break just then, Mercedes-Benz dared to start a partnership with Cosworth.

And the result state was shaped into one title title as part of the DTM competition from the early 1990s, and countless victories during the seasons that preceded that success.
But before that, this seemingly ridiculous fruit of collaboration between crazy Englishmen and anal-precise Germans also set several world records, including the one of 50,000 kilometers traveled in one piece and at a (combined) speed of almost 250 kilometers per hour. And without any malfunctions, without a general breakdown of the system and without any service interventions.

So, here is an example that confirms that Cosworth can really put his signature on something permanent and high quality, so the critics of this Mercedes derivative of the 190 and the collaboration with Cosworth were soon (and forever) gagged.

Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 nowadays has a cult status. And deservedly so. Because from those times until today, it is not a common case for a company to present a car that is so close to the "ordinary" version, and at the same time stands fourteen light years away from it.
Because despite the fact that the 190 with its 185 horses and Cosworth's signature is not even the fastest limousine of its time, at the same time it clearly showed that it is one of the most special limousines of all time.

And by all accounts, it will remain so.
And rightly so.

Number 1: Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth

"As it was in the beginning, so it is now."

Because Sierra in this version with Cosworth’s signature literally kicked her ass wherever she appeared.

Europe has submitted to this Sierra several times and in several different domains of motorsport.
Australia too, and in the US and Japan this Sierra has earned an extremely high rating.
In a world of dust and dirt, Sierra has raised some of the best drivers of all time, of whom perhaps best to highlight is the legendary aggressor named Colin McRae.

The pedigree itself was present from some already past times in which Cosworth together with Ford played with several generations of Escort RS, so Sierra "only" continued that story. But the most special part of the "story" about the Sierra RS500 Cosworth was recorded on the street, ie among the "ordinary" people. Because it is in this segment that this car, despite a kind of handicap compared to competitors such as the BMW M3 (E30) and Audi UrQuattro, turned out to be a moral winner.

Namely, while Audi sold its UrQuattro in micron series and at the prices of preserved kidneys on the black market, and BMW moved the produced copies from garage to garage due to the lack of produced M-three models, Ford provided a larger production series for the Sierra RS Cosworth.
And with that, the Sierra took over the roads because of its accessibility, so it soon gained the status of a national hero in England. And that status holds to this day, when some of the preserved specimens at auctions record six-digit figures. And the version marked RS500 with its 500 produced copies only added that obligatory factor of exclusivity for this already loved and desired car.

The body extensions and the oversized rear spoiler from this uncompromising car certainly made a different beast than the ones moms, dads and taxi drivers rode on a daily basis. Although some still resent that the two-liter engine never got more than 227 horsepower, this is still the Sierra, which to this day is the alpha and omega for all those for whom the "fast Ford" is the ideal in the world of cars.

Ford produced a legend with this car, while Cosworth gave that legend a truly special beast with the character of an absolute savage. Ie. one of those cars that only the most capable behind the wheel could deal with in the right way.

And that’s why it’s the best road car Cosworth has ever put its signature on.

Do you agree?

Published in Blog/News

Even if it ain't broke, there are a few things you can still fix.

Since its debut in 2012, the Subaru BRZ has focused on delivering great handling. We've heaped piles of praise upon it—and rightly so. Small, light, agile, great suspension, great balance, low price, the ability to carry four tires with the rear seats folded flat—those are the ingredients that make up a great sports car. Remember, we put it one place ahead of a McLaren (and way ahead of a Lamborghini) at the 2012 Best Driver's Car.

That out of the way, the Subaru BRZ has long had two flaws. One, the design was a missed opportunity. Front-engine, rear-drive coupes lend themselves naturally to sleek, sexy shapes (Jaguar E-Type, Shelby Cobra, Datsun Zs, almost every Aston Martin ever built). Sadly, the first-generation BRZ had weird headlights, fake vents, and a softness to the rear end that allowed onlookers to wrongly assume it was front-wheel drive.

The other issue was of course power—or lack thereof. Case in point: Two years ago, Subaru released the 2018 BRZ tS, a car the brand claimed was "pure handling delight." I just reread the review I wrote of that one, and the salient point is: "I've never met anyone who has driven a BRZ … and asked for more handling. All anyone has ever said is 'More power.' As in, can we please have more power?" As you may have guessed, the answer was no. Well, guess what?

Meet the 2022 Subaru BRZ. Not only is the car all new, but so is the sheetmetal. Better yet, it has more power! Let's start with all 28 extra horsepower. The engine remains naturally aspirated but grows from 2.0 to 2.4 liters. The first-gen BRZ had the Subaru WRX's engine with the turbocharger removed, whereas the new car has the Ascent's 2.4-liter flat-four sans turbo. The result is 228 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 184 lb-ft of torque at 3,700 rpm, up from 206 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque in manual transmission cars and 200 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque in automatics. Why no turbo? Subaru says to keep the BRZ's price down. That's probably most of it, though you have to assume that to some degree Subaru is protecting the WRX. The same theory applies to Toyota's safeguarding Supra turbo-four sales with its 86 assembly-line cousin.

In the Age of Hellcat, the BRZ no doubt sounds underpowered. Keep in mind, however, that Subaru says the new BRZ weighs less than 2,900 pounds, which would be about 100 pounds more than the last one we weighed, a 2016 Series.Hyperblue that checked in at 2,763 pounds. Do the math, and the weight-to-power ratio still improves by over a half pound per horsepower on the new car. You can have your 2022 BRZ with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. Why still a six-speed auto? Remember that Subaru relies on Toyota's huge profits and massive supply chain to get the BRZ and Toyota 86 built. Toyota supplied the project with a six-speed Aisin slushbox. As ever, get the manual.

As for the chassis, it's all new, though Subaru built it with lessons learned from the brand's Global Platform. The top of the boxer engine block sits lower than the top of the tires, and as such, the center of gravity remains quite low. The front suspension is made up of long-travel MacPherson struts and coil springs, whereas the rear brings dual control arms and coil springs. A classic, sporty recipe for sure, and identical in setup to the previous car. The BRZ has grown fractionally in terms of wheelbase (101.2 inches to 101.4 inches) and length (166.7 inches to 167.9 inches) but is unchanged in width (69.9 inches), and the new one is actually shorter in height than the car it replaces (52.0 inches versus 51.6 inches). There are five driving modes, and if you place the stability control in Track mode, the digital tachometer reconfigures itself into a line graph just like a Mustang or a McLaren 570S.

As for the looks, I think the 2022 Subaru BRZ is a big improvement over the old car. From the front there's a bit of a mini-Corvette vibe happening, in a good way. Those black, penguin-shaped things below the headlights are functional vents that provide cool air, while heat generated up front exits via functional side vents just in front of the doors. The new BRZ almost looks like its smiling, a Mona Lisa sort of vibe. The headlights are a massive improvement from the last version. A little bit of Mazda? Sure, but Mazdas are by and large great looking. For you design nerds out there, the new BRZ loses a degree or two of tumblehome, the idea being that doing so would make the fenders look more square and therefore tougher. I think it works. I actually see a bit of Infiniti Q60 in the side profile, minus that car's terrible C-pillar. From the rear, I'm seeing a nice mashup up of a Honda Civic and Aston Martin Vantage, largely because of that kicked-up, mini-ducktail spoiler. You know what? It all works.

How's the 2022 Subaru BRZ drive? Dunno. Despite (a bit of) begging, I wasn't allowed to drive the car. Why not? Dunno, again. However, Subaru was nice enough to trek former F1/NASCAR and current Subaru rally driver Scott Speed out to the Thermal Club near Palm Springs to give yours truly some hot laps. "It's my mission in life," Speed said, "to get a one-make race series going with this car." His reasoning is sound. Although it's not a drag racer, 0-60 mph should happen in the low 6-second range. More important, not only is peak torque up, but from the seat of my pants, the torque curve is also up throughout the rev range. Unlike in the previous car, it felt as if the 2022 BRZ was blasting out of corners. In the first-generation BRZ, well, you never felt that. Is that notorious flat spot in the middle of the rev range gone? Again, didn't drive it, but it feels like it's mostly gone, not totally gone. The new BRZ felt as balanced and as neutral as ever, with a hint of oversteer on turn in. Understeer basically doesn't happen, due mostly to the suspension tuning, though I'd guess the sticky Michelin PS4S tires help some, too.

Speed's reasoning for the racing series is that modestly powered sports cars like the BRZ will result in more of a pack or group on the track, and that will allow for more passing opportunities, and passing is more fun than not. The new BRZ is the perfect tool for the job because it behaves so well on the track. Who am I to argue with Mr. Speed?

Subaru hasn't announced pricing yet, but expect it to be in line with current BRZ prices when the new sports car goes on sale this fall, so just a hair under $30,000.

Source: motortrend.com

Published in Subaru
Thursday, 19 November 2020 05:53

2013 Subaru BRZ First Drive

From the Archive: Subaru has the goods, presenting us with an exceptional, clairvoyant, delectable new rear-wheel-drive sports car.

Some things just don't make sense. Why is the food at Outback Steakhouse mostly Cajun style? Why can't Jennifer Aniston find true love? And why would Subaru and Toyota, two companies whose fortunes are built on mainstream sedan sales, collaborate on a rear-drive sports car?

The latter question is a bit easier to answer from the Subaru BRZ perspective. For one, Subaru has a currently breathing reputation for building sporty cars: They may sell in limited volumes, but the WRX and STI are nevertheless Subarus. And Subaru says that the engine in its BRZ, a 2.0-liter flat-four making its first public appearance in this car, will form the basis of its next turbo motor. For its part, Toyota says that its version of the car—to be sold as the Toyota 86 in Japan, as the GT 86 in at least the U.K., and as the Scion FR-S here—makes sense as a first thrust in its plan to again build sporty, fun-to-drive vehicles. Still, this isn't a car that most people saw coming from either manufacturer.

Cheese Fries, Please!

Then again, regardless of the boomerangs mounted on the walls and the "Chaze Frois, Plaze!" coasters, Outback Steakhouse's Alice Springs chicken is delicious—and devastatingly unhealthy, but that's beside the point. The BRZ is likewise delectable; our only gripe about the way it drives is a chassis that leads to understeer at the limit. That, however, is much less likely to give you a heart attack than a jumbo honey-mustard-marinated chicken bosom hidden under a pile of bacon and smothered in melted cheese. Indeed, right up until the nose starts to chatter off line, Subaru's new coupe is gifted with exceptional balance and clairvoyant reflexes.

The understeer isn’t a deal breaker; with perfectly timed and moderated inputs (or with huge, pimp-slap jerks on the wheel and heavy stomps on the go pedal), it is possible to avoid it all together and turn it into delicious oversteer. When the rear end goes, even in the wet, the BRZ slides slowly and progressively. It's so easy to catch that you might find yourself fishing in your pocket for spare change with one hand while the other meters yaw around an off-ramp. (Subaru says that Toyota's suspension tune will vary slightly, a tad softer in the front and stiffer out back.) The brake pedal feels a little less wired than the rest of the car, but the binders wind the speedo back toward 0 in a hurry.

Conducting the chassis is steering that is more immediate than anything this side of the Lotus factory. Its heft is perfect for resisting unintentional inputs at the limit. Feedback falls short of perfection, but only slightly; blame the electric steering if you must. The electric motor assisting the BRZ's rack is mounted high up on the firewall, contributing to a slightly higher center of gravity but simultaneously shifting the front/rear weight balance a touch rearward.

In developing the BRZ, Subaru took an almost maniacal approach to weight and its management, keeping it low and evenly distributed between the car's axles. The company claims that 54 percent of this car's mass rides on the front wheels and 46 over the rear, and says that its center of gravity is right around 18 inches high. That latter figure rivals or beats the measurements for the Porsche Cayman and Mazda RX-8, among others.

Helping keep the mass snug against Mother Earth is the FA flat-four. Compared to the FB four found in other Subies, the FA's intake is 2.6 inches lower and the oil pan clings closer to the crankcase, allowing it to be mounted with its crankshaft centerline 2.4 inches lower. Amazingly, the engine is mounted 9.4 inches farther back in the chassis than an Impreza's four. A Subaru spokesman says the two engines share "maybe a few screws," but are otherwise completely separate pieces. We're told the weight difference between the two is negligibly in favor of the A. Placing the engine so far rearward of course helps balance the car, but it also precludes Subaru from fitting an all-wheel-drive system. The company says that it has no room for a turbocharger either, but after peering under the hood, we disagree. Besides, Subaru desperately needs something to tie this car to the rest of its lineup, and a turbocharged STI model would be the perfect solution. Although the BRZ doesn't need more power, it certainly could handle more. We're guessing that a turbo will be part of whatever mid-cycle updates this car sees in two or three years.

Despite a displacement difference of just 3 cc, the naturally aspirated FA and FB fours have dramatically different outputs. The B's 148 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque (as installed in the Impreza) lag 52 and 6 behind the A's 200 and 151—Subaru's stated output—while the A's 7400-rpm redline is 800 higher. Thank Toyota's fuel-injection setup, which squirts both via intake ports and directly into the cylinder—the system is Big T's lone contribution to the engine—and allows a crushing compression ratio of 12.5:1. "Crushing" is not a descriptor we'd employ for the acceleration, although we estimate a zero-to-60-mph time of around six seconds flat with the six-speed manual; add a couple of tenths with the six-speed auto. Top speed is said to be 143 mph. A resonator pipes sound into the cabin, and above 5000 rpm, there's enough noise inside the car that you'll need to scream to talk. Not that you'll be having much conversation. That said, we wouldn't call the quality of the sound unmistakable; it could be taken for a number of undesirable things. Having heard what aftermarket exhaust companies do for other Subaru flat-fours, though, we’re confident that they can coax a better voice out of this 7400-rpm screamer.

In spite of its higher output, the FA should still manage 30 mpg on the highway, according to Subaru. Underbody paneling helps keep a clean aerodynamic profile, although the company still hasn't decided if the treatment will be standard on all U.S. cars or only on higher trim levels.

Even the Weenies are Treated Well

As mentioned, two six-speeds are available, a manual and an automatic. Following our drive of the BRZ in Japan, the manual had us seeking a temple at which we might make an offering of thanks. The clutch pedal is a touch light—and a touch light on feel—but snaps to attention right off the floor and engages smoothly, and the stubby shifter snicks between gates with ease. Heretics who buy their sports cars with automatics will at least get a good unit. There are two modes in the Subaru: Drive and Sport. Wheel-mounted paddles are standard; in D, the transmission allows them to make gearchange suggestions but still upshifts at redline and downshifts when the driver floors the accelerator. In Sport mode, however, paddle commands are gospel—the way God's lazy, automatic-driving half-brother intended.

While most of the engineering and chassis work is Subaru's doing, the styling fell to Toyota. It apparently drew a basic coupe shape and—well, it must have seen it created something less than sultry but stuck with it anyway. It's good enough. The view from abaft is actually fairly exciting, with the slope of the greenhouse hesitating just slightly to form a decklid before tumbling into the rear fascia. Only the front fascia, badges, and maybe wheels separate the BRZ from its Toyota—and Scion—sibling. The suggestion of flares on the front fenders merely alludes to the muscular (some might say exaggerated) styling of the various concept cars, but the U-shaped view from the driver's seat over the scooped-out hood is at least unique. Visibility in all directions is much better than most sports cars.

Interior space, on the other hand, is just about par. It's fine up front, and average/shortish adults might even be happy in the back for shorter trips. Subie touts this as the shortest rear-drive 2+2 on the market. So it is. It also says that the car can accommodate a forward-facing child seat in the back. A rear-facing seat, on the other hand, would probably only fit if the parent riding shotgun rides shotgun in a car following behind. The trunk will hold just seven cubic feet of stuff, although both halves of the rear seatback fold for larger loads. According to Subaru, the space was designed from the beginning to hold a set of racing tires and a toolbox in this configuration, although that claim coincided with a PowerPoint slide entitled "Unexpected Utility"; we suspect that's probably the real story behind the tire-hauling ability. Or maybe that's why the tires are just 215 millimeters wide, as fitting a set in the car requires a two-tire stack.

The BRZ goes on sale in spring of 2012 as an early '13 model, at a base price we're now told will be around $25,000. Asked to make sense of the BRZ, a Subaru representative says, "It makes sense if you sell enough of them." In the U.S., Subaru thinks that 5000­ to 7000 per year would be enough. Ultimately, though, a car this good doesn’t need to make sense: Its brilliance is all the explanation we need.

Source: caranddriver.com

Published in Subaru

Has a class leader gotten even stronger?

Being a segment leader is hard work, especially in a segment as hot as subcompact SUVs, which continues to grow rapidly. Subaru already has a solid foundation to stay on top, and now, the Forester's 2.5-liter flat-four engine is finding its way under the Crosstrek's hood in Sport and Limited trims. Will a more powerful engine be enough to keep this crossover relevant and fend off new rivals? We got a 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport in to find out.

Does The Subaru Crosstrek Drive Better With More Power?

We've been begging Subaru for a more powerful Crosstrek since it made its debut as a 2013 model. Seven years later, the automaker finally obliged. So does the 2.5-liter's 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque make a noticeable difference over the base 2.0-liter's 152 hp and 145 lb-ft? Oh yeah. Passing, merging, and climbing steep inclines are a cinch; the Crosstrek moves promptly thanks to the bigger engine. In comparison, models with the 2.0-liter feel excruciatingly sluggish, especially on the freeway. Put your foot down at highway speeds, and the CVT immediately puts the engine in the sweet spot. However, from a standstill or at parking lot speeds, the transmission gets jumpy when you ease into the throttle, causing some head toss.

At the track, the Crosstrek Sport hit 60 mph in 7.8 seconds and the quarter mile in 16.0 seconds at 87.7 mph. Our departed long-term Crosstrek 2.0i Premium took 1.2 seconds longer to reach 60 mph before finishing the quarter mile 0.9 second slower at 83.4 mph. Road test editor Chris Walton noted linear power delivery in Sport mode when launched with pedal overlap. If you just mash the accelerator, the CVT simulates shifts, resulting in slower acceleration. The Mazda CX-30 offers similar straight-line performance to the Crosstrek Sport. Turbocharged versions of the Kia Seltos are quicker, hitting 60 mph in 7.3 to 7.4 seconds and the quarter mile in 15.7 to 15.9 seconds.

As with most subcompact SUVs, the Crosstrek prioritizes daily usability over outright performance. When driven sanely, this lifted hatchback possesses good high-speed stability and stable handling. Ride comfort remains a highlight thanks to the suspension's ability to absorb road imperfections and harsh impacts without getting floaty. Accurate steering, which testing director Kim Reynolds appreciated, makes the Crosstrek easy to maneuver through corners and tight spaces. Body roll, while well-controlled, is noticeable because of the car's comfort-minded tuning.

On the skidpad, the Crosstrek Sport generated 0.79 g of lateral acceleration and finished the figure-eight course in 27.9 seconds with a 0.60 g average, which is in the same ballpark as the Mazda CX-30 and Kia Seltos. Surprisingly, our old long-term Crosstrek 2.0i Premium was quicker through the figure eight (27.3 seconds) but provided similar road-holding capabilities as our Sport trim test car. Even more surprising: The plug-in Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid lapped the figure eight in 27.3 seconds at 0.62 g average. Reynolds noted excessive understeer at the limit along with a noticeable lack of grip. Blame the latter on the standard all-season tires, which give up before the chassis does. Stopping from 60 mph took 124 feet, which is on par with most subcompact SUVs. Walton observed good initial bite but found that the Crosstrek dives a lot and the rear gets light during hard braking.

What's The Subaru Crosstrek Like To Live With?

Despite its small exterior footprint, the Crosstrek is supremely practical. Four adults fit comfortably, and the cargo area easily swallows bulky items, especially with the rear seats folded. Big windows provide an airy atmosphere and excellent visibility. The Crosstrek's solid materials will easily handle daily commuting and hauling your outdoorsy gear. It could use more sound insulation, though, because there's an excessive amount of engine and tire noise entering the cabin. Mazda's CX-30 has a quieter, more premium-feeling interior, but you sacrifice practicality and space as a trade-off.

The Crosstrek uses a version of Subaru's infotainment system that doesn't include the 11.6-inch display found in the Legacy and Outback. Our test car had the optional 8.0-inch touchscreen (a 6.5-inch unit is standard) complemented by physical shortcut buttons and knobs. This means you'll figure out how to use the interface in seconds, not hours like the new setup in other Subarus. You won't be digging through submenus in this iteration because most of the frequently used apps and features are one or two inputs away.

EyeSight, Subaru's active safety suite, remains one of the more accurate systems. Lane keep assist does a great job maintaining the center of the lane, gently nudging you over when you get close to the dividers. Adaptive cruise control accelerates and brakes naturally, and the distancing isn't so conservative that another vehicle can cut you off. If only the system would stop making so much noise. EyeSight beeps to let you know when the lane keeping system's steering assistance component turns off and when the two stereo cameras don't see the lane lines. Yeah, it gets irritating quickly.

Is The Subaru Crosstrek Still One Of The Best?

The Subaru Crosstrek's multitalented nature has helped it become a best-seller in the subcompact SUV class. With more power available on the Sport and Limited trims, you get to have your cake and eat it too. No, this doesn't turn the Crosstrek into a lifted hot hatch. Instead, think of this as a drivability enhancement that makes the car even more compelling despite the arrival of new competition. Comfortable, practical, easy to drive, and efficient (EPA-rated at 26/34 mpg city/highway with the 2.5-liter), this little rig is a well-rounded package. We hope that the next-generation Crosstrek builds on this formula, and maybe—just maybe—a subcompact SUV will finally nab the Golden Calipers.

Source: motortrend.com

Published in Subaru

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