If you’ve been paying any attention lately, you’ve likely heard the buzz surrounding new versions of the Subaru BRZ and STI that are coming out. Well Subaru has finally released images of the STI Type RA (Record Attempt) and BRZ tS (tuned by STI) and, simply put, they look menacing.
Thanks to new pistons, cold air intake, exhaust and a retuned ECU, the RA will get a slight bump to 310 hp (up from the standard 305). A different 3rd gear ratio and removal of the spare tire make the car feel lighter and nimbler than previous years. 19″ BBS wheels wearing some sticky 245 section Yokohama tires round out the exterior package alongside some carbon fiber aero and subtle visual clues to let onlookers know this is not a standard STI.
The BRZ tS gets a host of suspension work and chassis stiffening. Sachs dampers and coil springs on all 4 corners coupled with V-bracing up front will undoubtedly make this an apex-slayer to the utmost degree. Add some lightweight 18″ wheels and some sticky 215 section tires in place of the old Prius-sized pizza cutters and you have a recipe for a knife-edge vehicle that will probably be quite happy at the road course.
Visual updates will be limited to some carbon fiber aero bits and some well-bolstered seats inside the cabin, but then again, it’s all about the go and not the show here.
We look forward to the release of pricing and detailed specs of these two new track-focused, pavement-hungry animals from the mad scientists inside Subaru’s STI division. They are expected to go on sale in early 2018 and well frankly, that can’t come soon enough!
As much as we New Englanders love our AWD Subaru chariots to get us to/from wherever we need to go no matter what the conditions, the word phrase “refined ride” isn’t exactly part of their brand vocabulary. Utilitarian is just one word that comes to mind when describing an older Forester or bare bones Impreza, and it seems Subaru was listening to consumers as is evident in the newly redesigned Impreza.
For 2017, Subaru has announced to the AWD faithful that their new Impreza (based on an all-new, shareable platform) will be quieter, ride better, and be an all-around more comfortable vehicle. Sure, they’ve been saying that for a little while and with the exception of the Outback or Legacy, their vehicles have remained relatively “tinny”. However, this is now a completely different ball game.
At first glance, not much appears to have changed. The updates to the exterior are there (but subtle) and while the interior does benefit from some choice upgrades like a nice big touch screen and soft-touch materials, it isn’t a completely different vehicle, and for good reason.
The biggest changes become apparent when you get it out on the road. Noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels have been reduced significantly and overall the cabin feels much more solid than past generations. Steering response is great and the vehicle feels much more planted on the road, all adding to the image of a vehicle that really can “do it all” and be reasonably priced. All of a sudden, you realize that Subaru took all of the successful aspects of the old Impreza, and simply refined it to the point where it functions as a much more comfortable vehicle without losing the Subaru character that people love.
As a whole, the new Impreza has certainly upped it’s game. As pricing stays relatively flat, it will likely now appeal to buyers looking for the functionality of an AWD hatchback but want a little bit more refinement than hat was previously available at Subaru. This new platform will be shared with other vehicles in the lineup so we look forward to driving the CrossTrek and Forester, among others. Time will tell if this is what Subaru was going for, but we’re predicting that this can only mean good things for the unofficial car manufacturer of New England.
When driving the newly re-designed 2015 Subaru Outback, the phrase “jack of all trades” comes to mind. One will be hard-pressed to find a serious fault anywhere in the wagon that seems to be the unofficial vehicle of the whole of New England. There’s good reason for this as Subaru reliability is nothing to scoff at and as a result, many citizens of these slightly more snow-prone states have chosen the Outback as the go-to, daily driver/adventure vehicle. Admittedly, in the most basic sense it hasn’t changed drastically in recent years, but all the little improvements here and there have added up to make a big difference for 2015.
On road, the Outback is very well behaved. Predictable pedal feel for both accelerator and brakes accompany a nice steering feel and a firm but compliant ride. Road noise is very minimal and a conversation with those who didn’t think to call “shotgun” is definitely possible without raising your voice. It takes a minute to get used to a CVT transmission sans the traditional shifts, but you quickly realize that the additional MPG’s are completely worth it. New for 2015 is that the CVT is now standard on all Outbacks, with MPG ratings at 25 city and 33 highway putting this big wagon at the top of its class. The overall experience of driving the Outback on the street is that it is what some would phrase “a very nice place to be”.
As far as the looks go, 2015 brings us some subtle but effective changes to the Outback. The overall shape has changed very little, but a keen eye will pick up on new tail lights, head lights, and grill among other things. While it isn’t a complete ground-up redesign, the front and back ends look, in this author’s opinion, worlds better. That’s not to say that the old Outback was bad looking, but rather that the new looks quite a bit sleeker and more upscale. Additionally, nicer alloys complement the overall look of this new, trimmer wagon. This attempted move up-market seems to carry over into the interior which has received some notable improvements as well.
Subaru, in the past, has been known as more of a utilitarian vehicle with interiors that weren’t really anything to write home about. However, in recent years, and in particular for 2015, things have been changing for the better and I have to say that I like the direction Subaru is headed. Inside you will find a redesigned dash with a very responsive but cleanly designed Infotainment system. The model I tested was equipped with navigation and the maps were incredibly detailed and kept up well tracking the car through the test drive. Additionally, the new matte finish wood accents paired up with subtle strips of a brushed aluminum looking metal are reminiscent of some higher end European interiors (hats off to you Subaru). Of particular note is the steering wheel. It is chunky without being too big to get a hold of, sporty looking without trying too hard to please the boy-racer crowd and extremely well laid out with intuitively placed controls for everything you need. The rear seats have quite a bit of legroom, which is something that we 6-plus footers always look for, and the cargo area looks as spacious as ever (the power liftgate does come in handy when loading and unloading too).
While I can’t say that this particular test drive involved any serious, off-the-beaten-path exploration, I can speak to the overall ability of Subarus as a Subaru owner. This wagon will have no problem getting you to the ski mountain, the night of a blizzard in time to make those first tracks the next morning. Some may say that is what Subarus do best, getting you to places that other wagons wouldn’t dare, in conditions that would make your less adventurous peers stay home and sip hot cocoa.
So if you are looking for that one vehicle that can carry everything, get you anywhere, and do so in comfort and style, then look no further than the new 2015 Outback. A big thanks to Planet Subaru for allowing me to check out the new Outback. Be sure to check out their inventory at www.planetsubaru.com and tell them we sent you!