Auto blogWed, 19 Nov 2014
Peering out of the top of the windshield of a growing number of Subaru models, looking like a pair of cyborg eyes on either side of the car's rearview mirror, are twin cameras that make up the visible portion of Subaru's high-tech EyeSight system. For 2015, the stereoscopic camera-based system is available on the Forester, Legacy, Impreza and Outback.
These cameras allow Subaru to equip its vehicles with such safety and convenience features as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking that can slow the car automatically if an imminent accident is detected, even bringing the vehicle to a complete stop.
Subaru has offered EyeSight technology on its vehicles in the United States since the 2013 model year. Newly upgraded for 2015, EyeSight's smaller cameras now see in color and are capable of scanning further ahead and over a wider swath, which means an EyeSight-equipped car will now be able to respond more quickly. That means a higher chance of accident avoidance for 2015, something everyone on the road will surely appreciate.
Ever wonder what it would look like if Subaru made a big brother to the BRZ, maybe to take on the Nissan GT-R or Japan's Super GT series? (Well, the BRZ already competes in the GT300 class, but we're talking about the GT500 major leagues here.) Wonder no more, car fans, because it'd probably look something like this. Only it's not a road car, and it's not a racecar. It's the latest addition to the growing roster of Vision Gran Turismo concepts for GT6.
Borrowing on the design theme put forth by the Viziv concept that debuted at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and the Viziv 2 concept showcased the following year, the Viziv GT Vision Gran Turismo is envisioned as a racing machine. Its hypothetical hybrid powertrain pairs a 2.0-liter boxer four, turbocharged and direct-injected, to a trio of high-output electric motors to deliver a claimed 591 horsepower and 593 pound-feet of torque.
Carbon fiber construction helps offset the weight of the motors and batteries to keep the hybrid racing shooting brake down to a theoretical 3,000 pounds, with competition-spec aero to keep it glued to the track. Gamers will be able to download it directly in the game as part of the latest update, but you can scope it out right here in the image gallery above and the video and press release below.
The next vehicle in the Vision Gran Turismo series has poked its nose out as part of a new teaser video and it comes from all-wheel-drive specialists Subaru.
Based on the Viziv Concept, the Viziv GT Vision Gran Turismo gets the same sort of racy treatment that we've seen on the other VGT cars, with big wheels and aggressive body work. The hood is vented and there's a whopper of a rear spoiler in place, based on what we can see in the video. We aren't sure what changes there are to the concept's diesel-hybrid powerplant, although we're sure all the details will leak out eventually.
Until then, take a look at the teaser video and let us know what you think by posting down in Comments.
Any time you see this iconic moment in pop culture - Shut up and take my money! - posted in response to a new car reveal, rumor for an upcoming model or even lip-service to a vehicle that should exist, you can bet there's some intrinsic good in the idea. Though depending on the person offering up the cash, that good could take the form of extraordinary form, functionality, weight savings, power, handling, etc. You get the idea.
In fact, when I first proposed this list, I reached out to the Autoblog staff to help me brainstorm. Here are some of the ideas they offered up that I ultimately didn't use: Jaguar XE Coupe, Pagani Huayra Roadster, Mercedes-Benz S-Class "parade car" (cabriolet), Morgan 3-Wheeler with Ducati V-twin, Ford Transit Connectamino (pickup), Mercedes CLA63 AMG, Ford Fusion 5.0, BMW i8 Spyder, Lexus RC-F Shooting Brake, Volvo XC90 Polestar. Oh, and things we collectively wanted to stick Dodge's Hellcat in were almost as numerous as models that Fiat Chrysler Automotive currently makes (though none quite so compelling as the Grand Cherokee you see above.)
Ultimately though, while I used a couple of ideas from my colleagues, the list of cars I'd shell out for unquestionably is very personal. Though it isn't complete, what follows is a selection of cars whose very existence would prompt me - or the trust-fund-baby versions of me - to utter without hesitation: "Shut up and take my money."
The Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year's list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year's list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean.
Acura isn't the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC, which declines 10 positions to 19th.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker's reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports, complaints about "in-car electronics" were the most grumbled about element in new cars. Problem areas included things like unresponsive touchscreens, issues pairing phones and multi-use controllers that refused to work right.
Have you been patiently awaiting an STI version of the Subaru Forester? Your wait may be over soon, good friend, as teaser images of just such a vehicle have surfaced online.
Set to debut on November 25, the 2015 Subaru Forester STI will reportedly feature more aggressive aero and cooling, upgraded rolling stock and brakes, and Subaru Tecnica International's signature bright-blue paint and red accents.
What we don't know is what will provide the motivation. There's a pretty big gap at present between the 250 horsepower offered in the top-of-the-line Forester 2.0XT and the 305-hp WRX STI, and we don't know where along the spectrum the Forester STI might fall. Nor do we know, for that matter, if it'll be offered Stateside. But we're looking forward to finding out.
A couple of months ago, Subaru rolled out a series of minor enhancements for the Impreza, and now it's performed a similar upgrade to its more rugged counterpart, the XV Crosstrek. For 2015, the XV benefits from available EyeSight driver assistance suite, steering-responsive fog lights and a new 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with a seven-inch version on higher-spec models).
Otherwise the 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek and XV Crosstrek Hybrid are essentially the same as the 2014 models they replace. The requisite 2.0-liter boxer four drives to all four wheels as always, with or without hybrid assist, through either a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. Look for the updated model to reach dealers this December, and in the meantime, feel free to peruse the press release below.
Wed, 22 Oct 2014
Unfortunately, the government's list still contains errors.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an updated list of vehicle models that it's urging owners to repair under the mushrooming Takata airbag inflator recall. The latest version adds vehicles from new automakers like Subaru and Ford that are missing from the original announcement, and it also removes erroneous entries from General Motors, leaving only the 2005 Saab 9-2X (a reskinned Subaru WRX), and the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe, a joint project with Toyota.
Realistically, many enthusiasts give horrible, horrible car buying advice. They will recommend something bizarre, inappropriately high performance, compromised or utterly impractical for a given consumer's needs, and they'll almost never recommend something that makes sense. And then they'll come up with 3.7 million reasons why the leading vehicle someone is thinking about is a bad choice.
Or maybe that's just what I do.
Regardless, if you poke, prod, bother or just get us drunk enough, eventually you'll begin getting honest feedback. And more than likely, we'll tell you, in hushed tones, about the many virtues of very, very boring cars. We'll talk about why the Toyota Camry is actually a pretty decent purchase or we'll explain how spacious and feature laden the Nissan Versa is.
Acura's struggles have been well publicized. The Honda-owned luxury brand doesn't seem sure of where it's going or what it's trying to accomplish, with its cars and marketing lacking a coherent theme. Now, a new report from Automotive News claims that the brand could follow the success of Subaru and (to a lesser extent) Audi, and adopt all-wheel-drive as standard across its model range.
"I think that's the way we should go," Acura boss Koichi Fukuo told Automotive News.
Acura already offers some form of all-wheel drive on every vehicle in its line aside from the lamentable ILX sedan. That could change as Acura begins rolling out next-generation versions of its still relatively new stable of sedans and crossovers.