Subaru does listen to customers and will make changes to their all-wheel-drive lineup if you tell them what you want. A good example is when Tribeca owners complained about the SUV being too small, Subaru dropped the model and brought the new Ascent 3-Row family hauler and it’s been a hit.
An automaker doesn’t have to build an all-new model to make customers happy. It’s the little things and paying attention to detail to its current models that can win a customer over and make a big impression. Here are our top 11 things Subaru needs to do to make the best vehicles for customers.
1. Head up display in Forester, Outback, and Ascent
Many automakers like Hyundai are now offering a head up display on many of their models. It’s a great convenience feature and also offers another level of safety for drivers so they can keep their eyes on the road. So far, Subaru hasn’t offered it on any new model.
2. Push button start in lower trim models
It’s not a big thing but it’s annoying when you have to reach in your pocket or purse, get out the key and put it in the ignition to start the car. Subaru offers push button start on upper trims, but you shouldn’t have to buy the top trims or an option package to get it.
3. Heated steering wheel on more models
This is another feature that should be offered on more trim levels. You can’t even get a heated steering wheel on the new 2021 Subaru Crosstrek unless you buy the Hybrid. It’s an important cold weather feature to have that would make customers smile.
4. Fun accessories like an orange grille option
There are custom aftermarket grilles for Subaru Crosstrek in colors like orange that are available, that would also give Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent a unique appearance. Customers like to customize their cars so they don’t look like everyone else’s on the road. Subaru could also offer customers an aerodynamic package with a front lip spoiler, side under spoiler, aero garnish, rear under spoiler, and special wheels for a sporty appearance.
5. Special Edition Forester, Outback, Crosstrek and new Night Edition models
Subaru offered a Black Edition Forester for the 2018 model year but dropped the option when the 2019 Forester received a complete remodel. It’s time for Subaru to offer a Night Edition trim on Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent SUVs with black wheels, fog lights with black accent trim, black exterior badges and mirrors, and a front grille with blacked-out wing motif and chrome frame.
6. Put a new turbocharged engine in Forester
Subaru doesn’t need to bring back the higher-horsepower Forester XT trim, but they should offer the compact SUV with a smaller more fuel efficient turbocharged engine. Outback and Legacy now have the 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer, Crosstrek and Impreza are likely getting a new 1.5-liter engine, and WRX, STI, and BRZ are getting new direct-injection turbocharged engines. Why not Forster?
7. Make an Ascent-size pickup truck
The hottest segment in America is mid-size trucks and Subaru is missing out. They could use the Ascent platform and build an all-wheel-drive truck that would be a big hit with Subaru loyalists. There are renderings of what it would look like and it is the missing piece in the lineup. This Ascent pickup is from Neil de Vos Design.
8. BRZ convertible
The Subaru BRZ is getting a complete remodel and it would be a good time to bring in a new fun convertible BRZ sport coupe. The Mazda Miata MX-5 is a hot model and the BRZ would be a new offering that would excite sports car customers.
9. WRX and WRX STI Hatchback
Fans have asked Subaru to bring back the WRX and STI hatchback ever since the automaker dropped the model in 2015. The Subaru WRX and STI are getting a complete remodel for the 2022 model change and Subaru needs a hatchback body style to keep up with the Hyundai Veloster and Honda Civic Type R hot hatches.
10. New colors on Forester and Outback
Subaru offers hot new colors on the Crosstrek like Cool Gray Khaki, Sunshine Orange and new Plasma Yellow Pearl, but Forester, and Outback get left out. Subaru knows who their demographic is for its Crosstrek SUV and the Japanese automaker doesn’t want to do anything that will mess up its formula for success with Outback and Forester. We love black on the Outback, but there are some customers who want new colors on the exterior besides black, white, silver, and gray.
11. Toyota reliability
Last, and maybe the most important thing Subaru could do, is tap into Toyota’s reliability. It’s not easy when the automaker is growing so fast they can’t keep up with demand. Subaru has the ability now to ramp up quality with Toyota’s increased stake in Subaru Corporation to 20 percent, which includes a strengthening of their ties.
Subaru could increase its emotional appeal with the 2020 Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent SUVs with customers by doing a few things. In the comment section below, let us know what you would like to see Subaru do to improve its all-wheel-drive SUVs and sports cars.
Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Photo credit: Subaru, Neil de Vos, Adventure Subaru, Competition Subaru