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Auto blogTue, 01 Jul 2014 16:01:00 EST
When you think of iconic off-road brands, where does Subaru fall on your radar? Somewhere in the middle? Perhaps near the bottom? Don't worry, you're not alone. Until recently spending some time in Bend, OR, where we drove the all-new 2015 Subaru Outback, we never really pegged the Japanese automaker to be a highly lauded brand among off-road enthusiasts, despite many of the company's products actually being quite capable when the going gets rough.
But the data says we're wrong. According to a 2013 J.D. Power study, Subaru vehicles have some of the highest use off road compared to other brands - of course "off road" here just means anything not on a paved road, so even gravel trails and tame two-tracks count in these statistics. Nearly 29.5 percent of its cars are used on trails and dirt roads, with only the Ram and Jeep brands besting that statistic, at 30.2 and 31.0 percent, respectively. Said another way, Subaru sold 424,683 vehicles in the US in 2013, meaning that some 125,281 saw off-road use. Mainstream brands like GMC, Ford and Chevrolet all trail Subaru, and even Land Rover comes in at less than 20 percent.
Some 34.7 percent of Outbacks are taken off paved roads, according to J.D. Power data.
We often mock Toyota for building boring, soulless cars, but a new study by Consumer Reports suggests that regardless of whether that's true, the company has some of the best used cars on the market. In its report on used cars from 2004-2013, the Japanese automaker had 11 vehicles among its brands on the list - more than any other automaker.
CR breaks the list down by cost and vehicle size, and Toyota has at least one entry at every price point and in nearly every segment. To score a recommendation, a vehicle had to perform well in the magazine's initial tests and score above-average reliability results. It also tried to only suggest cars with electronic stability control. Of the 28 recommended vehicles, Honda/Acura had the second most mentions at six, and Ford, Hyundai and Subaru managed two each.
The Detroit brands also made it to the list, but not in a positive way. Consumer Reports compiled a list of 22 vehicles it wouldn't recommend because "they have multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability." General Motors had the most unrecommended models on the list at six, but Chrysler and Ford weren't far behind, with five cars each from their brands not making the grade. The full list of recommendations is available on CR's website.
Looks rarely tell the whole story. We'll admit to being a bit let down by the Subaru WRX and its rather conservative appearance - where were the gold wheels and the spoilers? Hatchback? World Rally Blue? But after seeing it in this video and hearing that signature, throaty growl while this red example drifts and slides around dirt roads, we're starting to get more excited.
While the growl is the main reason for watching the clip below (you should do that now), Subaru has also thrown in some information about the improved suspension, and increased power. Learn along with us, below.