Auto blogFri, 10 Oct 2014 10:00:00 EST
It was just a few weeks ago that Subaru unveiled its refreshed 2015 Impreza with refinements like a tweaked front fascia, upgraded infotainment system, standard rearview camera, slightly better fuel economy and other goodies. The Japanese automaker has finally decided to tell us what all of this new kit costs, and it actually hasn't increased too much over last year.
A base model 2015 Impreza 2.0i sets back buyers $18,195 for the four-door sedan or $18,695 for the five-door hatch (*not including $795 destination and delivery on all models). All of those prices are $300 more than the 2014 model year.
Moving up to the Premium trim requires $20,995 for the sedan or $21,495 for the five-door and adds 16-inch wheels, heated seats, heated mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. The Sport Premium pack, offered exclusively on the hatch, goes further with features like body-color side sills, 17-inch wheels, foglights, and more for $20,995 with the five-speed manual or $21,995 with the CVT.
We love Motor Trend's annual World's Greatest Drag Race video. Now back for its fourth appearance, the idea of lining some of the world's fastest cars up for a ten-wide, straight-line, full-throttle run is, well... it's pretty freaking badass.
The lineup this year boasts some impressively fast cars to be sure. The group of ten includes the following darlings: Alfa Romeo 4C, BMW i8, BMW M4, Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Ford Fiesta ST, Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, Nissan GT-R Nismo, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Subaru WRX STI and, last but not least, the Volkswagen GTI. Give us any one of those for the weekend, and we're happy to take the keys.
It must be said though, that for a publication that draws as much water as Motor Trend does, there are some big cars that we might expect to be here instead. The Lamborghini Huracán or Ferrari 458 Speciale would have added some exotic flare to the list, and the omissions of the Chevy Corvette Stingray (for the second year in a row) and the Dodge Challenger Hellcat are real head-scratchers.
People tend to get very set in their ways when it comes to the pronunciation of words. Just look at the endless debates over whether or not to say the final 'e' in Porsche (which you should in terms of correct German enunciation). Or the argument about whether to follow the British convention and give the 'u' in Jaguar a special delivery or to say the 'ua' diphthong as more of a 'w' sound, as usually happens in the US.
This short video doesn't answer either of those automotive questions, but it does allow a native Japanese speaker to demonstrate the accepted pronunciations for several, major automakers from the country. One benefit is that it clears up the occasional debate over whether Nissan should be said with a long or short 'i' sound. Also, listen closely to how the female host says Mazda as Matsuda, the way it's actually said in the language. Even if this doesn't change the way you enunciate these brands, at least now you know the accurate way in Japanese.
While our love for the Subaru Impreza is mostly reserved for its turbocharged WRX and STI models, there's still a fully competent, well-rounded package in the base model, now in its fourth generation. In order to keep it competitive, Subaru has given the Impreza a light refresh for the 2015 model year, and while the car hasn't changed much mechanically, there are a number of thoughtful updates in store for the revised model.
Most noticeably, the front end has been touched up, with a revised lower fascia that's a bit more aggressive than before, nicely incorporating foglamps on higher-end models. Around back, not much has changed, though there's a new lip spoiler on sedan models to improve aerodynamics. Inside, a new infotainment system is available, with a seven-inch color touchscreen, and Subaru's EyeSight driver assistance package can now be had on the Limited models. There's also an updated instrument cluster with an LCD color display, new door and shifter trim, a standard rearview camera, and a few tuning enhancements that allow for a quieter ride, according to Subaru's release.
Under the hood is the same 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine as before, with 148 horsepower on tap, mated to either a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. Subaru notes that there's a quicker ratio for the electronic power-assisted steering (that's a good thing), and reminds us that the Impreza is still pretty fuel-efficient considering its standard all-wheel drive, able to achieve 28 miles per gallon in the city, 37 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined.
Subaru is going absolutely gangbusters so far in 2014, with growing year-over-year sales every month this year adding to the streak of 33 consecutive months. The prognosis is so positive that the Japanese brand is revising its 2014 forecast to 500,000 vehicles or more, from a previous estimated 460,000. If it reaches the goal, it would be the first time that the automaker hit the half-million mark here.
Subaru has been growing steadily in the US for a while now. Annual sales have increased for the past five consecutive years with 2014 not indicating for that to change. For August alone, the company moved 50,246 vehicles, up 22.37 percent year-over-year, and the business proclaimed it as the best month in its history.
According to Subaru, it believes that the growth for the last two years has been fueled by the latest Forester and XV Crosstrek last year and the new Legacy and Outback this year. "The market is telling us that we are delivering products that consumers want at the right prices," said Thomas J. Doll, president and chief operating officer at Subaru of America. Scroll down to read the company's full announcement.
There's an evergreen debate among auto enthusiasts about whether they would prefer to have the latest and greatest car of today or a certified classic from yesteryear. What if you had to further define that, though, and the choice was between a brand new 2015 Subaru Legacy or a turbocharged Datsun 240Z with a hatch that wouldn't close? Roadkill aimed to find out that and more in one of its best videos to date.
According to the hosts, Subaru came to them, handed over some money and challenged Roadkill's project cars against its latest Legacy. The result is every bit as good (or better) than any automotive-themed show you could find on television.
Things start simple with a figure-eight race in a rodeo arena with the Subaru taking on Roadkill's 1968 Ford Ranchero, originally built for ice racing. From there the Legacy races a 1968 Dodge Charger with no windows around and off-road rally stage. Finally, the Subie goes head-to-head against the Rotsun, the aforementioned turbocharged 240Z, through an abandoned neighborhood. Plus, there's a bonus drag race challenging them all.
Despite on-again, off-again rumors, this latest set of spy shots seems to indicate that yes, a five-door Subaru WRX is indeed in the works. Subtlety is key with this test mule, but there are clear bits of evidence that indicate a hotter hatchback is what's being developed here.
First, notice the WRX-spec front fascia grafted onto this ordinary-looking Impreza hatch. From there, we can clearly see the tiny bit of added width - most obvious on the roof and at the rear, near the fuel door and taillamps. And of course, let's not forget about that bulge in the hood, consisting of a metal panel that covers the hood scoop and can apparently be removed thanks to a series of screws, according to our spies. The WRX's more robust exhaust and larger wheel/tire package have not been added to this mule, though we're told that this is commonplace for Subaru prototypes - those bits should be added on as the car's development progresses.
We fully expect a WRX hatchback to be, well, just that - mechanically, it should be identical to the sedan brethren, though our spies indicate that Subaru could be testing an updated version of the WRX-spec boxer engine. Of course, there's always a chance that this could be something else entirely, given the on-and-off reports of the five-door 'Rex's existence in the first place...
A month after originally teasing it, Subaru is finally unveiling its WRX S4 model for Japan. It's a bit more than just a plush take on the sport sedan, because Subaru is fitting a more powerful version of the 2.0-liter, turbocharged boxer four-cylinder engine than we get on these shores.
The company says that S4 stands for "'Sports performance', 'Safety performance', 'Smart driving' and 'Sophisticated feel," and it certainly looks like this Rex ticks all of those boxes. The most surprising feature is the Japanese model's 2.0-liter turbo engine boasting 296 horsepower (221 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque in this application. That's quite a healthy upgrade over the 268 hp and 258 lb-ft that Americans get in the standard WRX, and it's even nipping at the heels of the 305 hp and 290 lb-ft from the STI with a 2.5-liter mill that we get over here.
While extra power is always welcome, enthusiasts might not be so thrilled that Subaru's Sport Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission is the sedan's only available gearbox. However, it offers a simulated eight-speed shifting mode when drivers notch the car into Sport# driving mode. Of course, the S4 also packs Subie's trademark all-wheel drive with Vehicle Dynamics Control and Active Torque Vectoring as standard.
The Subaru Legacy and Outback are the latest vehicles to be awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's most prestigious safety title, Top Safety Pick+.
As we've explained many times before, this only applies vehicles that can score an "Acceptable" or "Good" rating on the five IIHS crash tests and earn at least a "Basic" rating for crash prevention systems.
In the Legacy's case, it totally aced IIHS's testing, earning "Good" scores on the small overlap, front moderate overlap, side impact, roof crush and rear impact tests, while also bringing home the top "Superior" rating for its optional EyeSight system.
Literally minutes after snapping the photo you see above, I was soaked - hit by the third round of storms that brought absolutely insane rainfall to Detroit this week. Amateur mistake, right there; if it looks like rain's a-comin', it's a-comin'. So if you're going to take pictures of the car, do it before it's too late.
But the thing is, I was having way too much fun driving around the suddenly empty streets of Detroit to worry about handling my photo shoot in a timely manner. Folks had been cautioned to stay off the roads ever since the rain first hit. Floods had shut down several of our major freeways, not to mention many surface streets. The threat of more severe weather had put caution in the air, forcing folks to batten down the hatches and settle in for even more horrendously wet weather.
The long-term 2015 Subaru WRX, however, eats this stuff up with a passion. Inclement weather? The turbocharged, all-wheel-drive, endlessly grippy Subaru just wants to play. And after getting to know our WR Blue WRX since its delivery in June and solidifying my belief that it's a total riot, even around town, I was not about to ignore Rex's desires to go play in the rain and make mischief on the deserted streets. Empty on-ramp antics were great fun, and tossing the car around corners in the wet showed no signs of slip. Ever. Wet hair and a damp t-shirt? Worth it.