Posts from ‘Subaru’
by Don Sikora
Note: The following story was excerpted from the April 2019 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
When a limited-production variant of a performance car that’s been around a few years is announced, it’s easy to assume there’s little new beyond special graphics or maybe a fresh exterior color. Our latest Future Collectibles subject, the 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA, is one of the exceptions that have been reworked sufficiently to pique enthusiast interest.
It’s probably not a stretch to say that the Outback is what put Subaru on the map. Introduced for 1995 as an SUV-flavored trim level of the Legacy wagon, it was soon upgraded to its own model, and sales have seen a steady climb since. Today – as for many years – it is Subaru’s best-selling vehicle.
For 2020, Subaru ushers in the sixth generation of the Outback. With it comes greater rear-seat and cargo room, some new features, and the return of a turbocharged engine. Also added is a new Onyx trim level that carries black wheels and trim along with special StarTex water-repellent upholstery.
Since its introduction for 1995, the Outback has been a huge seller for Subaru, often standing as its most popular model. The company hopes to continue that success with the debut of the redesigned, sixth-generation 2020 Outback at the New York International Auto Show.
Subaru’s first plug-in hybrid will be making its public debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Based on the Crosstrek compact crossover that was redesigned last year, the Hybrid (Subaru doesn’t include “Plug-In” in the official name, but it does on the car’s badges) pairs a 2.0-liter flat-four engine with two electric motors. One of the motors is used to start the engine at stops and as a generator to recharge the lithium-ion battery, the other to help power the car and charge the battery under braking. As with the “regular” Crosstrek, the Hybrid comes standard with all-wheel drive, making it one of the few all-wheel-drive hybrids — and one of the least-expensive AWD plug-in hybrids — on the market.
There’s a certain cachet to sedans with all-wheel drive. Though largely shunned by folks in states in which snow is not a real threat to commuting ease, AWD vehicles in general have caught on with the buying public, accounting for as much as 80 percent of the sales of certain crossover-SUV models in cities such as Chicago and New York.
Even considering the phenomenal recent growth in the compact-crossover segment, Subaru’s Forester has been incredibly popular of late. And it’s poised to get even more so.