Subaru: The Safe Company with a Wild Side

January 19, 2018 •

Subaru

Image via Jalopnik

Subaru is known for building sensible, practical cars. Different, and maybe even quirky, but not wild.

The Impreza, Legacy, Crosstrek, Forester and Outback all come with AWD, high safety scores, get good gas mileage and have high resale values. Plus, they’re built in zero landfill factories that are aiming to eliminate waste completely. In other words, they are the opposite of wild. However, just as Clark Kent could become Superman, the Impreza has the WRX. Here’s an overview of Subarus and the wild-child WRX.

Standard Features on Every Subaru

  • AWD. That makes them dependable when traction is poor, such as when driving through snow, ice or mud. It’s a quality much appreciated when taking Labradors to the great outdoors.
  • A “Boxer” Engine Design. This means the pistons are horizontally opposed, which lowers the center of gravity and makes both cars and SUVs more stable than competitors vehicles.
  • Turbocharging. The boosted engines deliver good gas mileage, burnishing the environmental credentials Subaru has worked hard on.
  • Advanced Safety Technologies. The camera-based EyeSight Driver Assist Technology is among the most sophisticated driver assistance systems offered on any vehicle. If you’re going to have an accident and are not in a massive SUV, you should plan on being safely buckled-up in a Subie.

Subaru: Where’s the Wild Side?

Many years ago Subaru got into rallying. This led them to take the mild mannered Impreza Hatchback/Station Wagon and turn it into a wild, fire-breathing beast that took on and defeated all comers. For several years every other manufacturer struggled to compete with the insanely fast Subaru World Rally Championship-winning car.

Naturally, enthusiastic drivers wanted a road-going version, and so the WRX was born. AWD, a turbocharged boxer engine and stiff, rally-bred suspension made it extremely fast and relatively easy to drive, both in a straight line and through the curves.

Over the years the WRX has evolved, getting faster, though maybe also a little more civilized. Today there’s an even more brutal model, the WRX STI. Producing over 300 horsepower, in everyday use, (i.e. not on a racetrack,) it’s one of the fastest cars you can buy.

There are statistics showing Subaru drivers collect a disproportionate number of traffic tickets, and that’s despite the company’s reputation for building safe, sensible vehicles. The reason is likely the wild WRX.