AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Bland Like Unsalted Popcorn
Are you self-conscious? Don’t like to stand out in a crowd? Would you rather blend into the background than be the center of attention? Well, when it comes to the automotive world, you are in luck. Some vehicles seem to have skipped class when it came time for their styling lesson. This is not to say they are ugly, but more that they lack any style whatsoever.
We’ve all heard the clichés to describe these anonymously styled cars; plain vanilla, beige, white bread, etc. We like to think of them as stylistically-challenged. Regardless, if you don’t want to draw any undue attention towards yourself, here are ten vehicles that are guaranteed to blend into the landscape.
After several announcements of various models that were awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s “Top Safety Pick Plus” rating, the IIHS has released its full list of its safest cars for 2013.
10. Toyota Avalon
Sometimes it’s pretty difficult to determine what makes a vehicle reliable. But one sound way is to look back and see how much the average repair cost was for a vehicle over three to five years, and seeing which ones suffered the least breakdowns.
Data was studied using 100,000 auto warranty policies linked to family cars by Direct Buy Warranty in order to determine this top 10 list of most reliable family cars, listed in no particular order. It’s worth noting that not a single American vehicle made it onto the list.
The first on the list is the Toyota Avalon, the Japanese automaker’s flagship sedan in the United States. According to the data, the Avalon was one of the cheapest vehicles to maintain over the past five years with typical Toyota dependability and safety ratings. Larger than the Camry, the Avalon is a perfect fit for those looking for size and dependability.
That update will occur in Japan, we might add, but these days with increasing pressure on automakers to reduce fuel consumption and emissions output, plus an increasing need to standardize powertrains and features around the globe, there’s probably a chance we’ll see similar changes to our Legacy and Outback down the road.
Both cars will be offered with two engine choices, either a new double-overhead-cam FB series 2.5-liter Boxer engine that makes 173 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque in the 2.5i models, or a larger 256-horsepower 3.6-liter 6-cylinder Boxer engine in the 3.6R models. The small engine will be offered with either Subaru’s second generation lineartronic CVT transmission or a six-speed manual. The larger engine will be offered with only a 5-speed automatic.
The 2.5 liter engine paired with the CVT will get the Legacy 24 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway which combine for an average 27 mpg. The Outback with the same package will get 24 mpg in the city, 30 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined.
Subaru’s new EyeSight driver-assist system will be offered on both models, which incorporates adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and vehicle lane departure warning.
The exterior on both vehicles gets a newly tweaked front grill, new headlights and a new front bumper, making the front end of the car easily the most distinct new change to the look. The chassis has also been stiffened for 2013 to improve the handling and responsiveness of both vehicles.
The update for 2013 discontinues the driving focused turbo models, which is a bit disappointing but probably stems from lack of demand.
Watch AutoGuide for live coverage from the 2012 New York Auto Show.
GALLERY: Subaru Outback, Legacy
NHTSA issued out a recall for 2012 Subaru Legacy and Outback vehicles due to an issue with the side curtain airbags. According to the report, an incorrect propellant mixture for the initiator component was used that can result in an insufficient output of compressed gas.
As a result, the side curtain airbags may not deploy. The vehicles impacted by this recall are those that were manufactured in between December 1, 2011 and December 23, 2011. Subaru will be contacting owners of the affected vehicles, 381 in total, and will replace one or both side curtain air bag modules for free. The safety recall will begin during or before early April 2012. Concerned owners can reach Subaru at (800) 782-2783.
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 has recalled 69, 590 2011 Outback and Legacy models over defective sunroofs. Vehicles manufactured between August 3, 2010 and July 1, 2011 can have the sunroof’s glass panel detach from the sunroof entirely.
This could understandably cause a serious safety hazard to owners and occupants, as well as other vehicles on the road. Owners can contact Subaru at 800-782-2783, and owners will be notified in October. Dealers will carry out necessary repairs free of charge.
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.
In this interesting new advertising campaign, Subaru’s American division targets the Chinese-American Market with the 2011 Legacy.
The ad called “Sweet Tomorrow” features a young Chinese-American couple, running errands and preparing for their home for the birth of their first child. It emphasizes safety and reliability of the Subaru brand preparing the couple for the next chapter of their lives.
“Making the right vehicle choice is a big decision for expanding families,” said Alan Bethke, director of marketing communication, Subaru of America, Inc. ”In fact, other than the arrival of the child itself, a car purchase is one of the biggest costs involved for new parents. It’s important that families choose a vehicle that provides safety and versatility and we wanted to show that in a unique and emotional way.”
Subaru seems to be on a roll lately, with this latest ad spot an emotional appeal, much like the teen driver’s “first time out” ad that first aired last August.
The “Sweet Tomorrow” ad is scheduled to run through October 2011.
Check out the video after the jump!
Tommy Kaira may be more popularly known for their Nissan GT-R accessories and their Toyota Prius styling kits, but they are also extremely popular among the Subaru Legacy crowd. While most Subaru enthusiasts are seen rolling around in an Impreza WRX or STi, there are quite a few that opt for the Legacy’s more elegant appearance while retaining the same performance a WRX or STi has to offer.
The new Subaru Legacy may be a tad too tame for some, opting more to be a family sedan than a sporty sedan. But Tommy Kaira is looking to change that entirely, current working on a styling kit and wheel package for the new Legacy. The render reveals a much more aggressive rear bumper and diffuser, fully complemented by an STi-inspired trunk spoiler. The final product looks to retain the Legacy’s true form without going too aggressive or out-of-the-box, which Tommy Kaira is sometimes known to do with their styling kits.
GALLERY: Tommy Kaira Subaru Legacy
[Source: The Real JDM]
We’ve all needed a tow one time or another, and for those who like off-roading, it seems to be inevitable. One unlucky Chevrolet Silverado owner found himself stuck in some not-too-deep mud, and the vehicle that was up for the job was none other than a Subaru Legacy GT, a family sedan with a pretty peppy turbocharged engine.
Conventional wisdom says that this situation should be reversed. But as the video shows, the little Subaru had no trouble hauling the big pickup out of the mud. Hit the jump to see the video below.
Subaru will re-start their large car production plant, nearly a month after an earthquake caused parent company Fuji Heavy Industries to shut the factory down.
The factory builds the Legacy, Impreza and Forester, which comprise the bulk of Subaru’s U.S. lineup. The plant will only be running at 50 percent capacity initially. Subaru claims that they have an adequate supply of parts on hand, but admits that the situation is still not yet concrete and production may stop again if necessary.
Subaru recently cut production at its Indiana plant by 50 percent due to a parts shortage. The factory makes the Legacy and Outback, two popular models in North America.
[Source: Automotive News]
A shortage of parts means that Subaru‘s Indiana plant will have its production cut in half through the end of the week, and the company will assess the situation on a day to day basis to examine whether a continuation is necessary.
Each of the two shifts will have 4 hours cut from their length. The plant builts the Legacy, Outback and Tribeca models, strong sellers for the brand. Toyota also builds the Camry at the same plant but said that its production was not affected. Subaru was attempting to set a sales record in 2011, after a strong year in 2010 which saw it make substantial gains. But Subaru’s status as a smaller automaker and a smaller supplier base to draw on means that it could be more vulnerable to disruptions than larger automakers like Honda and Toyota.
[Source: Automotive News]
We all have that one commercial that makes us tear up. We may not admit it, but every time it comes on, we stop what we’re doing and reach for a tissue. A new Subaru commercial falls into this category, and if you’re a parent, it will tug on your heartstrings more than just a little bit.
The TV ad, called “Baby Driver,” features a father handing over the car keys to his daughter as she sets off to drive alone for the first time. If you’ve ever watched your son or daughter pull out of the driveway for their first solo ride, we bet this ad will make you choke up. (Interesting side note: the two girls who star in the ad are real-life sisters and the “dad” is the real-life father to both girls.)
The ad starts with a six-year-old girl behind the wheel of a Subaru Legacy, while her father gives her the “safety talk” through the passenger side window. When he passes her the keys, we see that it’s really been a 16-year-old about to take her first ride alone, even though her Dad still sees her as his “little girl.”
And in a situation where life imitates art, Andy Lyons, who plays the concerned father, is experiencing this moment in his own life. “As father to both the girls, portraying those complex emotions on-screen was not a stretch for me. Having my first daughter, Lanna reach driving age and knowing that my second, Georgie, will be there all too soon, I understand the anxiety of handing over the keys for the first time.”
This ad is meant to spotlight the inherent safety of Subaru vehicles and the time in a teen’s life when they are responsible enough to take the family vehicle out on the road, as it tries to authentically portray that big moment. “When we found this family we threw out the script,” said Kevin Mayer, director of marketing communications, Subaru of America, Inc. “We simply asked the dad, what would you tell your daughter before she pulled away? The dad took it from there and he was perfect.”
Watch the video after the jump, and feel free to well up (we promise not to tell).
We’ve lost track of how many recalls have been issued for the Subaru Legacy and Outback, so much so that we had to check and make sure that this story was recent and not run within the previous couple weeks.
While this currently recall, affecting 809 vehicles is relatively minor, the consecutive recalls on Subaru’s bread and butter models is a terrible PR display for the company.
The current recall only affects Outbacks with the manual transmission, a very small percentage of sales to be certain. But the recall, which is designed to correct the lack of an oil lubrication hole in the gearbox, could mean that some vehicles need third through sixth gear replaced, a very costly and time consuming procedure.
What’s worse is that the Outback and Legacy are great vehicles, so much so that Autoguide staffers have recommended them to family members looking for a new family car. This recall, as well as previous ones, like the fluid leak in the CVT gearbox, puts a damper on encouraging people to look at a good car at a good price.
[Source: Inside Line]
Osamu Namba, Subaru‘s new design chief wants to help move the company from a cult brand adored by outdoorsy types, Snowbelt buyers and performance enthusiasts into a mainstream brand capable of competing with offerings from major automakers.
“We want to broaden the appeal to make it accessible to more than a small, loyal crowd,” Namba said in an interview with Automotive News. According to Namba, form has traditionally followed function at Subaru, as their design was dictated by the low-mounted boxer engines, tall roofs (designed to help haul large items like bikes and other lifestyle gear) and sometimes outlandish wings and air scoops, necessitated by the rally-inspired performance items like big brakes and turbochargers.
Namba, who previously ran an independent design studio, was hired by Subaru after previous attempts at developing a unifying design language, faced a strong negative reaction from consumers. One review for the Subaru Tribeca famously called the new winged front fascia a “flying vagina”.
Using the current Legacy and Outback as a template, future Subarus will be more accessible, but also bolder, with fewer soft curves and more muscular styling, eschewing the understated and functional designs of the past. “I don’t want it to be just something serious and boring,” Namba says. “A lot of people don’t know that Subaru brand. If we can make styling more accessible, it will bring them in.
[Source: Automotive News]
Subaru‘s hot selling Legacy and Outback will see a minor bump in pricing for 2011, as well as a new Limited trim level which brings a couple upgraded interior components that enhance the car’s cabin.
The 2.5i and 3.6 Limited models get folding exterior mirrors, a harmon/kardon audio system and XM radio, for a mere $300 more, while the 2.5GT Limited gets carbon fiber trim rather than woodgrain, as well as aluminum pedals and contrast stitching on the leather seats. The big news for the Outback is an optional rear-view backup camera, something that will come in handy on such a large vehicle. Hit the jump to read Subaru’s press release.