A glimmer of hope for Subaru?

Discussion in 'Other Manufacturers' started by brick, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    I didn't even realize that Subaru has redesigned the Legacy, and I was surprised to find that they have managed to improve fuel economy substantially. Apparently they are using a CVT combined with the 2.5L 4-banger. Fueleconomy.gov puts it at 23/31/26 for 2010 vs.20/26/22 for the outgoing automatic and 20/27/22 for the outgoing manual. It isn't stellar, but that's a big improvement for something of that size and capability. Considering I used to get 30+ out of a 24mpg highway rated Volvo XC70 I think the highway numbers on a new Legacy ought to be quite respectable in the right hands.

    Subaru is one of the few manufacturers that still produces a bona-fide wagon for a reasonable price, which is what keeps them on my radar screen. Fingers crossed for the diesel in the US within the next five years...
  2. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Two great things (from my perspective) about the new Legacy/Outback:
    - Still available with an MT!
    - The base MT is now a 6 speed! No one else except the high end mfrs is doing that right now.

    One thing that really, really sucks (from my perspective):
    - The CVT automatic now gets a full 4mpg better (22/24/29) than the MT (23/26/31). That's a jaw-dropping difference. To me the only point the switch from 5sp to 6sp is to enable a taller top end. Apparently that didn't happen here, since given the same gear ratio there is no physical way a CVT can be more efficient than an MT.

    This is all great for those who really prefer automatics (most Americans) or CVTs, or for Subaru and their dealers. Subaru can charge a grand more even though the CVT probably doesn't cost any more to build, and they can make a big green deal about their improved mpg.

    Given the additional control available with an MT, I'd bet the average cleanmpg'er could still get comparable mileage out of the MT version compared the CVT version. The MT is far short of what it could be, a complete embarrassment IMO. Combine this with the lack of the fantastic 35-40mpg diesel, which was still promised for 2010 as recently as a few months ago, and I'm really disappointed.

    On the other hand, if this ends up being a really good CVT and not like the Honda ones, my disappointment will be eased greatly. Maybe what we have here is a vehicle actually living up to the potential that CVT promises.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  3. laurieaw

    laurieaw Sorceress of the North

    i had a forester, a 98 i bought it 2001. i really liked that car. it was put together well, had nice features, was good to drive and i could carry a lot of horse things in it.

    the only thing i didn't like was the short life....some gasket tended to die at about 120,000 miles, and it was spending a lot of time in the shop.

    i was still commuting 45 miles one way, and i didn't like the mileage. i tended to drive slower, even without knowing about hypermiling, and always recorded my mileage. had i been able to pull more out of it, it would have been great.
  4. bomber991

    bomber991 Well-Known Member

    Subaru should offer a non-awd option, but then that'll take away one of the unique things about subaru.
  5. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Been reading up a bit since my last post. From initial reports this CVT really sounds like a winner. Great mpg, quiet, responsive when needed. Even Car and Driver likes it. It uses a a chain instead of a belt, and Subaru claims zero tranny maintenance "for the life of the car". Only time will tell on the maintenance, of course, but it looks very promising. In any event, although I'm a manual guy at heart I'd take a CVT over a slushbox any day.
  6. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    I agree, a non-AWD option would be nice. No matter how efficient the system may now be in moving power to the wheels, there's a couple hundred extra pounds being hauled around all the time but providing benefits 0 to 10% of the time.
  7. 99LeCouch

    99LeCouch Well-Known Member

    Unless I missed something, the Legacy is only offered in a sedan version for 2010. This is terrible, since the Outbacks are ugly, bloated whales of vehicles now.

    I'd gladly consider an older Subie for a winter beater when I move back to Buffalo. With snow tires it would be extremely capable for living in snow country. Hmm, my mom wants a newer, more FE car...
  8. aca2983

    aca2983 Well-Known Member

    LOTS of manual 6-speeds out there now, at all points:
    -Nissan Versa, Sentra, Cube, Altima
    -Mazda3 "s", Mazda6 "i"
    -Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan
    -That new Kia compact sedan

    There are just the ones I can think of offhand without going out and searching.
  9. raveneon

    raveneon Well-Known Member

    I saw the review for the outback on motorweek. In it they mentioned this was subaru's first cvt since the justy. Anyone know anything about the old cvt?

    As for the non awd subie.... that would be a honda or toyota. There would be no reason whatsoever to choose subaru over the other two. I may not need the awd 90% of the time but I enjoy it's stability on the daily commute. I never have to worry about losing grip if I run into the berm or drive through water. I never have to be worried when pulling out of a parking lot that I'll lose grip and anger the oncoming traffic. The list goes on and on. All of these reasons are why I chose the impreza over the much more FE honda fit.
  10. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    This would be the reason to want a non-awd subie:
  11. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    What PaleMelanesian said.
  12. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    What a coincidence, neither do I! :)
  13. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Agreed. Good tires are more important than AWD. AWD only improves grip for accelerating, not for cornering (except under heavy acceleration) or braking. Decent tires improve grip for all three.

    Having owned both 2WD and AWD versions of the same vehicle I can agree that there is a stability benefit, but most cars aren't tail-happy anyway so it's marginal in most situations, and in any event nowhere near as good as modern stability control systems that work just as well on 2WD as AWD vehicles.
  14. raveneon

    raveneon Well-Known Member

    Point taken....
    I went from a focus zx3 to the Impreza. Perhaps alot of the percieved stability comes from a noticebly larger car. The zx3 was like driving a rollerskate in a windstorm. It was what I would call unsafe in the winter. I couldn't tell you how many times I slid thru intersections or just couldn't get thru an ohio road. I test drove the Honda Fit and it felt very similar on the limited 5m test drive. During a similar test drive with the impreza the difference in stability was night and day. All of this (per the salesman's pitch) I attributed to the awd. I guess it doesn't really matter as I am really happy with the car but I will test drive something 2wd with stability control the next time. Oh and before someone asks.. I bought the focus used with brand new pirelli all seasons's on it and only put 11k on the car before selling it. Maybe it was just those tires all along?
  15. aca2983

    aca2983 Well-Known Member

    Probably your tires. I've not heard good things about pirelli all seasons generally.
    I had an Impreza, and those could get very tail-happy in snow if you don't know what you're doing.

    My Mazda3 with Dunlop Wintersports on it was awesome, same when I had a Protege5 with Nokians.

  16. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    I just keep hearing that girl in the old commercials saying, "The little 'Soob-BARE-ooo... WOW."

  17. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    I'm sure the Focus' problem was its tires. Tires are everything when it comes to driving in snow. After all, they're the only thing on your car that actually touches the ground.

    Not sure we're talking about the same thing when we say "stability." Neither AWD or ESC will keep you from sliding through intersections. Good tires are the only thing that matters when it comes to stopping fast on snow.
  18. saturnsc2

    saturnsc2 Well-Known Member

    I have read some bad reviews of the 2010 outback, but to me at least on paper it seems like a great vehicle! Here is why I think so.
    For awhile now I have been trying to figure out somethign to replace our near 10 year old 4runner. I do need a vehicle with all wheel drive, there are more things to consider besides snow. Alot of people with subarus like them for the added ground clearance for one thing. Every hobby I do is outdoors, mtn biking, dirtbiking, camping etc. It is not often, but sometimes I need to go camping or tow trailers through some light mud and some dirt roads. I can say that on our 4runner over the years, I have used the 4 wheel drive quite a bit more than I thought i would and there are times we would have been stuck without it. The wife would be driving it primarily and hauling our 2 kids, so whatever we get needs to have decent space and not be a tiny crackerbox. To me, for this vehicle of this size to get right at 30mpg is a godsend. I don't see that it's THAT much uglier than the 2009 either although alot of subie purists seem to say so. I'm sure it isn't lightning fast, but that is not a issue and I think they are rated to tow like 2500 pounds which is enough for me. The interior looks fairly nice, and has some nice navigation accessories etc. The price is very reasonable I think, heck the new msrp isn't but a couple thousand over what I see 2008's selling for...which means they must hold a decent resale also. I will be looking hard at this one as a contender. I am puzzled that the manual would get a lower mpg...but I'm sure my wife would want the auto anyhow.
  19. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    With Subaru, the problem with the MTs has always been the final drive ratio. They are just geared way too short for efficiency on the highay. (I'm guessing this was done so that people wouldn't whine about having to down-shift to climb hills.) Naturally, the CVT solves the problem.
  20. doug_h926

    doug_h926 Member

    I think I'll keep my old subaru's going as long as I can. I've been driving my '86 GL wagon lately and it has been getting mileage in the low 30's. This with a nice ej22 engine swapped in replacing the old tired carburated motor. Gets the same mileage and now have 50 more hp if I need it. The dual range transmission with some snow tires will get me through the winter snow no problem. I wish subaru made cars like this today.

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