While first brought to the states by Philadelphian Malcolm Bricklin in 1968 and Cherry Hill, N.J.-based these past 25 years, Subaru of America has never been on a roll like it is right now.
Have you caught the new, car-themed April issue of Consumer Reports? It rates Subaru as the number one brand overall, in a report card reflecting on vehicle performance, comfort, utility and reliability. Oh, and the newly redesigned, all-wheel-drive Subaru Impreza and Subaru Forester ranked first in their respective categories - Small Sedans and Small SUVs.
More positive buzz will surely be forthcoming at the New York International Auto Show next month, where Subaru will introduce a high tech electronic safety system for its rides, the likes of which has been only available to date in luxury cars from Mercedes Benz, Jaguar and Volvo.
Subaru's affordable variant is called EyeSight and will add about $2,000 to the cost of a 2013 Legacy sedan or Outback wagon (starting in the $20,000-$24,000 range.) Utilizing two stereo cameras mounted in the upper edge of the windshield, EyeSight offers three main safety features. Pre-collision Braking Control and Collision Mitigation pre-charges or applies the brakes when it senses trouble ahead. Lane Departure and Sway Warning gives a wakeup call when sensing you're straying out of the lane. Adaptive Cruise Control locks onto the car in front of you at speeds up to 87 mph and maintains a safe distance.
Closer to home, and sooner, Subaru's spiffy new (and first ever) rear-drive sports coupe dubbed the BRZ will be previewed this Thursday through Sunday at the 2012 Lehigh Valley Auto Show at the Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, PA. Co-developed with minority shareholder Toyota, the car also will be sold in slightly modified form as the Toyota GT 86, with a mere 6,000 of the Subie version landing Stateside for the 2013 model year, reports Car and Driver.
For sure, Subaru of America is a conservative operation. I've read of a European-sold version of the new Impreza with a more robust and fuel sipping diesel engine and six-speed manual (we get a five-speed or CVT automatic) that SOA won't bring here. "The company doesn't think people will pay extra for those premium features and, as a small operation, can't afford to spread itself too thin," shared a Subaru of Cherry Hill car salesman, after a recent test drive of a loaded, pretty-teched up Subaru Impreza Sport Limited hatchback.
Yeah, I'll admit it. I'm flirting with the idea of buying one. Now more than ever with Consumer Reports' ringing endorsement which, ironically Subaru can't use in any marketing materials due to publication policies. CR likes to keep its test findings "pure" of exploitation. "All we can do is cite the ratings when a customer comes into the showroom," said a SOA source.