that all of the vehicles from Subaru
of Japan carry an all-wheel-drive (AWD)
system that operates quite simply, as
power from the engine moves directly
through an electronically-controlled
transfer case to whichever wheels support
traction, with scant loss of energy
or reduction in fuel efficiency in the
credit Subaru for developing the first crossover sport-utility with the Outback
wagon that functions as a car, station wagon or sedan and sure-footed SUV. The
series has been Subaru's top seller since 1995 and in the 2004 line expands to
eight variations. Then in 1998 Subaru developed Forester, a different kind of
sport-utility that eliminated the harsh ride and ungainly handling of a conventional
truck-based SUV by borrowing the chassis of a passenger car, namely Subaru's agile
Forester was rebuilt in 2003 in a new generational design and for 2004 adds the
Forester 2.5 XT with a turbo-charged engine for high performance. Turbo-charged
power becomes a new theme for Subaru in 2004 with multiple models popping up like
a Baja Turbo edition added to the inventive Baja series -- it has the body of
a car but also the bed of a pickup truck and the utility of a SUV.
also commemorates its trophy-collecting rally cars by producing sedan and wagon
variations of the Impreza WRX, a small package with wide track and independent
suspension plus turbo-charging of a horizontally-opposed engine tied to a close-ratio
manual transmission and AWD traction. Newest issue is the WRX STi ripped to an
incredible 300 hp.
Impreza 2.5 RS sedan and 2.5 TS sport wagon show new front-end styling with the
broad fenders and sport-tuned suspension of WRX, while Impreza Outback Sport in
wagon format also wears bold new front-end bodywork plus a disc brake at every
mid-size Legacy series in Subaru's 2004 line consists of three models with new
L 35th Anniversary Edition in sedan and wagon styles toting more standard equipment.
And Legacy 2.5 GT offers an optional automatic transmission with Sportshift mode
for clutch-less manual shifting.
promotes Outback as the first crossover sport-utility wagon to combine the convenience
and comforts of a car with the raised suspension and beefy bumpers of a SUV. Subaru
later worked up an Outback treatment for a Legacy sedan to spawn the Outback sedan
Outback wagons have been through two generational designs and today the series
encompasses eight different versions with boxer-format engines of four and six
cylinders. Subaru's horizontally-opposed six-cylinder plant displaces 3.0 liters
and features an aluminum crankcase, dual overhead camshafts and four valves for
It produces a robust 212 hp and slips into five models: Outback H6-3.0 VDC sedan
and wagon, Outback H6-3.0 sedan, Outback H6-3.0 L. L. Bean Edition wagon and a
new Outback H6-3.0 35th Anniversary Edition wagon. The VDC sedan and wagon combine
variable torque distribution (VTD) with Subaru's AWD system and a sophisticated
stability controller that Subaru labels as Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC).
The Outback H6-3.0 L. L. Bean Edition
wagon applies plush interior features,
an air filtration system and vehicle
security system, plus two-tone leather
seating embossed with the insignia of
outdoor outfitter L. L. Bean. Three
other editions - Outback wagon, Outback
Limited wagon and Outback Limited sedan
- hold the single-cam 2.5-liter Subaru
four-cylinder boxer engine for 165 hp.
Outbacks employ a symmetrical AWD system
teamed with a viscous limited-slip rear
differential and hiked suspension for
all-weather and all-road capability.
All also stock as standard an all-weather
package with heated front seats, heated
mirrors and a de-icer on the windshield
Subaru's SUV, revamped last year with
new package styling, divides into three
editions for 2004 with Forester 2.5
X, 2.5 XS with more comfort gear and
new 2.5 XT packing a high-performance
turbo-charged engine. Forester's base
engine - a four-cylinder boxer plant
with aluminum block and cylinder heads
plus a cam on top - displaces 2.5 liters
and produces 165 hp. It drops into the
2.5 X and 2.5 XS. Forester 2.5 X is
the entry model and price leader but
brings extensive equipment.
2.5 XS is an upscale model, identified by aluminum alloy wheels with body cladding
and mirrors trimmed in metallic gray paint. Forester 2.5 XT has the 2.5-liter
boxer four-pack but applies a turbo-charger and inter-cooler to push it out to
210 hp. It has a functional scoop on the hood with body-color cladding on side
panels and rails on the roof with aluminum finish.
premium package for XT brings a power moonroof, new direct electronically-controlled
automatic transmission and bolstered seats trimmed in leather. Different versions
of Forester's full-time AWD system are used for manual and automatic transmissions.
the manual, a viscous-coupling device locks the center differential, while an
electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch works with the automatic
electronically-operated four-speed automatic is optional for any Forester, while
the five-speed manual is the standard and includes Subaru's Hill Holder feature
that blocks the wagon from rolling backward on a slope.
This unusual Subaru is part car, part
truck and part SUV, an ultimate crossover
vehicle geared for active lifestyles.
It's the only car on the market with
the back bed of a pickup. Baja looks
like both a car and truck - the car
up front and truck in back.
front half comes from Outback and Legacy vehicles with a four-door cabin that
has front bucket seats and a back bench in leather. The plastic-lined truck bed
measures 49 inches wide but is abbreviated to only 42 inches. It will stretch
to 75 inches with tailgate dropped and the cab's rear wall pass-through -- a 30-inch-wide
portal dubbed the Switchback -- open. With Switchback shut but Baja's bed extender
in place at the tail, the bed reaches to 60.5 inches.
looks tough with a raised suspension and the body layered in cladding, with optional
rally lights and chrome bars lining the roof. The series expands to three models
for 2004 with a well-equipped Baja, the Baja Sport with pared price points and
a new Baja Turbo. Baja and Sport draw from the Legacy four-cylinder boxer engine
scored to 165 hp with manual five-speed or optional four-speed automatic shifter.
Turbo gets the 2.5-liter boxer four also used by Forester 2.5 XT, where turbo-charging
and inter-cooling make 210 hp. It's easy to distinguish due to the functional
scoop on the hood that marks a turbo-powered Subaru.
sedans and wagons grouped under the
Legacy emblem include three models for
both four-door sedan and five-door station
wagon formats - Legacy L, new L 35th
Anniversary Edition models with more
standard equipment and the 2.5 GT with
additional gear. All pull from a single-cam
2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder engine
that hits 165 hp through either a five-speed
manual or optional four-speed electronic
independent suspension common to all
Legacy models has a multi-link arrangement
in the rear, and all also carry four-wheel
disc brakes with anti-lock controls.
For additional safety, Subaru constructs
a ring of steel around the passenger
compartment that can fend off impact
forces of a collision from any direction
- frontal, offset front, side or rear.
AWD mechanisms work in the Legacy series. With a manual transmission, Legacy's
AWD device employs a viscous locking center differential to divides the engine's
power in half front-to-rear. With the automatic transmission the system adds an
electronically-managed continuously variable transfer clutch to the transaxle
tailshaft. It controls the power split between front and rear wheels due to acceleration,
deceleration and available traction. Either system can transfer more power to
wheels that have a better grip. Then the 2.5 GT has the VTD AWD system.
compact cars ride on chopped chassis from the Legacy series. Format variations
include a four-door sedan and five-door station wagon. This year the Impreza line
expands to include six different vehicles: Impreza Outback Sport wagon, Impreza
2.5 RS sedan and 2.5 TS sport wagon, Impreza WRX sedan and sport wagon plus the
rally-racer WRX STi sedan.
models show fresh front-end styling with revamped hood and grille plus multi-reflector
headlamps. And there's more safety equipment aboard, like active front seat head
restraints and electronic brake force distribution (EBD).
vary by model. The 2.5 RS sedan and 2.5 TS wagon plus Outback Sport contain Legacy's
2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder plant worth 165 hp with a standard five-speed manual
or optional four-speed electronic automatic. WRX sedan and wagon have a 2.0-liter
dual-cam boxer four with turbo-charger and inter-cooler added to zip it out to
new STi edition varies from WRX in terms of powertrain and gearbox, with special
mechanical equipment added to boost performance and handling. Engine displacement
increases to 2.5 liters and defines the most powerful four-pack in America, thanks
to a turbo-charger and inter-cooler scoring awesome numbers to 300 hp. All power
channels through a close-ratio manual six-speed transmission developed by Prodrive.
driver control center differential (DCCD) enables the STi driver to manually manage
torque directed to front and rear wheels for performance handling. Set the DCCD
in automatic mode, however, and it will distribute the torque in various ways
based on the driving conditions.
the STi uses a limited-slip differential in front and back for additional tire
traction. A super-stiff body structure from Subaru's ring-shaped reinforcement
frame has a hydroformed front subframe with the four-wheel independent suspension
system derived from Subaru WRC competition cars but tweaked for tight cornering
control on paved roads.
similar to the suspension on WRX, only
dropped by almost half an inch to set
up a lower center of gravity. And to
rein all of those STi horses, there
are serious brakes aboard with huge
Brembo discs visible between aluminum
spokes of the 17-inch BBS wheels. (...BACK)
our Review: Subaru
INFORMATION FROM SUBARU]