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It’s a new week and that means it’s time for another installment of Ask AutoGuide. As the Motor-Vehicle Problem Solvers we never stop working for you, our loyal audience… as long as we’re punched in and Samantha down in HR has approved the overtime. In any event, small cars are becoming the automotive industry’s next big thing as people trade in their first-generation Toyota Sequoias for more efficient transportation, and that’s precisely the theme of this week’s episode.
10. Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen 2.5
In the market for a cheap, affordable vehicle that won’t cause you headaches after a few years of ownership? AutoGuide has compiled a Top 10 list of the most reliable vehicles on today’s market under $25,000 based on data from Consumer Reports‘ 2013 Annual Auto Survey.
The week is drawing to a close and while that can mean several things, most importantly (of course), it’s time for another installment of Ask AutoGuide, the information superhighway’s most exciting semi-regular feature. Beating the competition to market with mildly informative and generally accurate content is the name of the game. Our skilled geniuses are ready to spread their expertise like frosting on a sheet cake; just scoop it out of the tub and smear it all around.
It’s hard to believe but this is the fourth installment of “Ask AutoGuide.” For an entire month now our certified experts have provided the finest motor-vehicle shopping advice available for the price. Our crack team of automotive oracles has been at our readers’ beck and call for 30 straight days, though admittedly it’s been mostly “beck” since they don’t have phones. We’re still trying to sort out the billing situation to get their Jitterbugs connected again.
10. Acura TSX - 34.3%
How do you get Generation Y interested in cars? To answer that question perhaps the best move is to take a look at what cars they do already like.
Thanks to new stats provided by J.D. Power and Associates we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 cars with the highest percentage of buyers aged of 16 to 35 in 2012. And if there is one common theme, it’s that Generation Y isn’t big on domestics, with just one vehicle from the Big 3 making the list.
Kicking off the top 10 list is the Acura TSX, where 34.3 percent of its buyers were between the ages of 16 to 35. The entry-level sedan offers luxury amenities at a budget price, while providing owners with the reliability and comfort that Acura is known for. The Acura TSX had an average MSRP (the average price across all trim levels) of $32,251 last year.
Back Seat Space
A couple weeks ago our Top 10 target was the large-sedan segment. We looked at a diverse lineup of full-figured four doors, comparing them based on their theoretical maximum range. We multiplied the number of gallons in their respective fuel tanks by each of their highway economy ratings.
Against all expectations the Volkswagen Passat TDI drove away with top honors, and it did so by a wide margin. It wasn’t just the comparison’s valedictorian; it skipped two grades took all AP classes and still wound up with a GPA of 4.2. This diesel-powered “People’s Car” can devour nearly 800 miles on a single tank!
On the other hand, today’s big idea is small. We’re examining cars at the opposite end of the spectrum, specifically C-Segment sedans. We’re comparing a crowd of popular compacts based on, wait for it… rear-seat legroom! Which popularly priced car offers the most-spacious back bench? Which one will give an agoraphobic night terrors? Click ahead for all the details you can stomach.
Top 10 Track Specials Under $60,000
Driving is a mundane task for some people, but for others it’s a sport, and there’s no better proving ground than a track.
Automakers see that opportunity as well, and love to offer up cars that are designed specifically with track use in mind. Take a look at the latest offering from Subaru and Scion, the BRZ/FR-S twins. Both cars were designed with a priority on light-weight, and achieves an impressive weight balance. In true sporting fashion, it’s rear-wheel drive and can be had with a slick-shifting six-speed manual, or quick automatic with race-inspired paddle-shifters.
The FR-S isn’t the only car out there with racing in its veins. Here’s a list of factory-customized machines designed for time at the track.
Back when Ken Block still worked with Subaru, he built an outrageous WRX STi for the 2009 SEMA Show with a TRAX system. Clearly it inspired some enthusiasts to do the same, albeit three years later.
The 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX you’re feasting your eyes on isn’t the same body style that Block used, but the effect is all the same. American Track Truck, Inc. equipped the WRX with a Dominator Track System so it could perform on the snow, slush, ice, mud, swamp, marsh… you get the point. While Subaru has been synonymous with rally racing over the years, this might just be a tad over the top. Continue Reading…
Not only did the Japanese automaker known best for its efficient all-wheel drives take the top spot, but did so while the previous champion fell by several points over last year’s ratings.
The victory, then, is due not only to an improved Subaru line, but also to declining quality on Honda’s part. According to Consumer Reports, Subaru’s overall standing improved after all their vehicles met or exceeded average reliability ratings, something that saw a boost with improvements to the Impreza WRX models. At the same time, the Honda Odyssey and Civic both fell short of their predecessors, costing the company points in their standings.
In fact, Honda didn’t even take second place this year — Mazda managed to win that spot with similarly improved models.
Honda loyalists may bemoan the latest results, but at least Toyota stoics can take solace in the fact their perennial list-finalist still won five of the top 10 picks.
Finally it’s also worth mentioning that despite coming in last place, Chrysler improved eight points this year, compared to Subaru’s two-point climb to victory.
In celebration of the smaller company emerging victorious, click through our gallery of the pugnacious Impreza WRX below.
GALLERY: 2012 Subaru Impreza WRX
Subaru announced today that they’re stopping sales and issuing out a recall on 2012 models of the Impreza, Legacy and Outback due to complaints about increased brake pedal travel. Around 3,000 cars will be recalled with notices being sent to vehicle owners within the next couple of days. A stop-sale was also put into affect on November 25th with Subaru making it a priority to fix the 3,000 recalled vehicles and those still in inventory.
Those that own the vehicles have no serious reason to be concerned, as the brakes do work but the pedal travels farther than it should due to a faulty master cylinder. There has been no failure issues or accidents as a result, and the fix will take about an hour at a local dealership.
Subaru also believes that the production line in both Indiana and Japan’s plants have already been fitted with the new brake cylinders. Subaru expects the sales freeze to be lifted by early next week, once they’re assured all vehicles affected on the lot are fixed.
Subaru of America will be showing off several of their record setting race cars alongside custom Subaru Performance Tuning models at this year’s SEMA Show. Also at the Subaru booth this year will be the Isle of Man record setting WRX STI making its US debut alongside David Higgins’ 2011 Rally America Champion WRX STI.
Subaru also plans on debuting several custom performance cars including their Subaru Performance Tuning 2012 WRX STI 4-door, Kicker Audio 2012 WRX STI 5-door, Subaru 2012 Impreza Sport 5-door accessory vehicle, Subaru 2012 Impreza 4-door accessory vehicle and Subaru 1986 XT Drive Magazine restoration project car.
Both SRT USA drivers David Higgins and Dave Mirra will also be at the Subaru booth to sign autographs on November 1st from 11 AM-1 PM and November 2nd from 11 AM-1 PM.
There was really only one problem with the V10-powered E60 BMW M5. The issue? A heavy sedan powered by a low torque, high-revving engine that required full throttle and 8-10ths driving to be any real fun.
Pair that engine with a light weight race car (a Subaru Impreza for instance), however, and you’ve got quite a package. That’s exactly what one original thinker did, with plenty of custom fabrication work that can be seen in a full build gallery here.
Video of the car’s first shakedown runs have just hit the net and while the car is reportedly not making full power, it certainly sounds incredible!
Watch the video after the jump:
Whether intentional or not, Subaru seems to be labeled as a “progressive” brand, and while their website contains the usual corporate gibberish about supporting and embracing “…the communities in which we live and work,” the company tends to put its money where its mouth is, openly supporting the LGBT community as well as motorsports and outdoors enthusiasts.
Now a group of women’s rights activists is challenging Subaru to stay consistent, by petitioning them to withdrawn from the Saudi Arabian market. The Middle Eastern nation is currently facing protests regarding their ban on female drivers, and the activists are admonishing Subaru for selling cars in the Saudi market, especially when a significant portion of Subaru drivers are female and their vehicles tend to be marketed towards women.
To its credit, Subaru has a history of making morally courageous but unpopular choices. One long forgotten instance was in the 1960s, when Arab nations threatened Japanese companies with a boycott if they chose to do business with Israel. Subaru ignored the ban, and the company has built up immense goodwill among Israeli motorists, with vehicles like the Impreza and Legacy have been wildly popular in Israel for decades. We wouldn’t hold our breath for Subaru to pull out of Saudia Arabia, but given the company’s history, we could be wrong.
Subaru of America has announced the lauch of its new iPad applications based on its 2011 model digital brochures. The free apps allows users to explore the 2011 Outback, Forester and WRX/STI through the iPad utilyzing videos, interactive demonstrations and 360-degree views.
Apple has had tremendous success with its iPad, selling 4.69 million units alone in the second quarter of 2011. This success prompted Subaru to decid they coulde attract potential buyers by allowing them to learn about Subaru products through interactive means.
Alan Bethke, Director, Marketing Communications, Subaru of America, Inc. explained “Car shoppers are researching everything from financing to auto insurance on their mobile devices. Making these apps available gives car shoppers a convenient and interactive way to explore Subaru vehicles and technology, and it also aligns with our environmental efforts.”
The Subaru app encourages consumers to learn about the company’s zero-landfill manufacturing plants- by minimizing paper usage, energy consumption, inks and production wast. As well as Subaru’s green outlook, the app will enhance the auto research experience by offering trim simulators along with engineering and Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive feature demonstrations. App users can compare vehicle models and generally get a better understanding of what Subaru is and what the company is striving for with its new generation of vehicles.
Subaru is pushing ahead to differentiate the WRX and STI performance models from their lesser, Great-Dane-schlepping brethern.
Unlike their rivals at Mitsubishi, there’s no controversy to whether their rally monsters will see next year. With the new Impreza unveiled at the New York Auto Show, there’s set to be a gap between the models. The Impreza’s new 2.0-liter boxer engine will not be turbocharged, according to Subaru, which means that the WRX and STI will soldier on with the 2.5-liter EJ25 that’s been serving them well for the past 20 years.
The separation gives Subaru the chance to push the WRX and STI even further. Akihide Takeuchi, Subaru’s Product Manager, said that a replacement turbo engine is currently in development, and is not merely a turbocharged form of the 2.0. He also dropped the hint that, like the Evo, a hybrid version may be in the works.
When the WRX and STI throw off the shackles of its Impreza overlords, there’s no telling how far it can go. A two-door STI? A hybrid 22B convertible with a turbo? An all-new ground-up architecture? Subaru fans should be very excited right now.
[Source: Car Advice]
The Impreza, which has gotten less quirky over the years, looks downright generic in its newest incarnation, but underneath the skin, the same boxer engine and all-wheel drive system remain, in keeping with Subaru tradition. The company claims that their new Impreza is the most fuel-efficient AWD car on sale, returning 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.
Sure, these numbers don’t quite match the benchmarks of 30/40 mpg, but the added weight and complexity of powering all four wheels necessitates a trade-off in fuel economy – whether Subaru will be able to get this message across to mechanically disinterested consumers is another matter.
The Impreza rides on a one inch longer wheelbase, which gives the car more interior room, while shorter overhangs help balance out the overall size of the car. Under the hood is a 2.0L 4-cylinder making 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft, with a 5-speed manual or CVT as transmission options. Standard features include Bluetooth, ABS and stability control, while leather seats, voice activated controls and an in-dash LCD screen with navigation are all optional.
GALLERY: 2012 Subaru Impreza
See AutoGuide’s ‘First Look’ Video of the new Impreza from New York after the jump:
Approximately 50,000 Sorrentos from 2011 could lose power because of a transmission intermediate driveshaft that could fail, according to four complaints received by the feds. Five more complaints allege that a closely-related driveshaft failure could cause the transmission to break.
Approximately 84,000 2011 Subaru Imprezas are being examined for a control arm that could fail due to excessive corrosion. Seven complaints have noted that this has happened at speeds of 50mph or greater, and two complaints resulted in a loss of vehicle control. No recalls have been issued yet.
[Source: Detroit News]