Negaunee, Michigan, United States
If you're going to name a car after a specific location or region, you'd better make sure it's taken seriously in the place it's named for. You're not likely to see a Chevrolet Monte Carlo in Monaco, and the Alfa Romeo Montreal was never even officially offered in North America, but the Subaru Outback is another story.
Subaru apparently takes the Australian market, whose wilderness its jacked-up Legacy wagon is named for, very seriously. So it is apparently rolling out a revised version of the current Outback in Australia itself. The updated Outback, which arrives less than a year before the all-new model is expected to bow, answers Aussie customer feedback with a more rugged look. It's got new roof rails, body cladding, wheel arches, mud flaps, underbody protection plates and blacked-out headlight surrounds and grille trim.
The Motor Report reports that the AUD $2,500 worth of extra equipment - around $2,300 USD - comes with just an AUD $500 ($468) price hike. As far as we can tell, though, there are no plans to bring this latest look to our shores - Subaru has already detailed North America's Outback for the 2014 model year, and these changes aren't mentioned. Should this look be offered in our market? Vote in the poll below and then have your say in Comments.
With the 2013 XV Crosstrek, Subaru reaffirmed its interest in niche crossovers, and early signs are that it's selling well, so will parent Fuji Heavy Industries green-light another one? That's the question begged by the new Viziv concept just unveiled here at the Geneva Motor Show.
Of course, this is a pure showcar, and the four-seat crossover coupe's drivetrain is suitably next-generation as well. The plug-in hybrid drivetrain system features a 2.0-liter diesel boxer engine mated to a CVT, and a pair of electric motors drive the rear wheels for a through-the-road all-wheel-drive system. By going with motor-driven rear axles, Subaru says it has been able to provide larger rear-seat footwell and lower load floor. More excitingly, Subaru says its control systems allow for side-to-side torque vectoring for improved handling, and the system actually apportions more power to the rear wheels when the Viziv takes a corner.
In typical concept car fashion, the Viziv features flashy butterfly doors that provide access to both the front and rear seats, along with oversized 20-inch wheels and cutting-edge lighting. We like the Viziv's overall design direction - it looks more organic and all-of-a-piece than we're used to seeing from the Japanese automaker.
Teaser images of a purported Subaru BRZ STI were uncovered last night and sent the internet into a collective state of hysterics. That's not hugely surprising, though, considering the reverence that the BRZ, along with its fraternal twins, the Scion FR-S and Toyota GT86, have garnered from the automotive media. The sole sticking point, really, has been its mere 200 horsepower. People have been chomping at the bit over a higher output version of the sublime rear driver.
Those same people may be in for a disappointment, though. See, the BRZ STI that was teased last night might not be a real STI. Instead, it's looking like it might be a BRZ tS. According to 7Tune.com, the timing of the photos posted on Subaru's website lined up with Subaru's 86 Festival at Fuji Speedway, where the Subaru BRZ tS debuted. Despite wearing STI badges, the tS isn't the full-tilt STI model we've been hoping for. Instead, you can think of the relationship between tS models and STI models as sort of like the difference between a BMW 3 Series M Sport and a BMW M3.
Certainly, the speccing of the tS supports that idea. The engine of the BRZ remains untouched in both tS models, which is one of the primary things we expect a full-bore STI to address. A number of interior and exterior styling items have been added, along with Bilstein suspension pieces and six-pot Brembo brakes. The tS sports two different trim levels, with the higher end using Recaro seats, black alloy wheels, and a carbon-fiber rear spoiler. The base tS features silver wheels, standard seats, and all the same suspension and brake upgrades. Adding fuel to the fire that these are not the true STI models is the limited production run - Subaru will only build 750 tS cars.