The ads want you to believe Subaru customers love their vehicles like the Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek and that the brand can do no wrong. It is really true or is it just good advertising? There is plenty to like about Subaru, but they aren’t perfect and have their shortcomings. Here’s a look at the good and the bad.
Subaru customers say safety performance is important when they buy a new all-wheel-drive vehicle. The J.D. Power U.S. Tech Choice Study agrees, because three of the top five technologies consumers most prefer in their next vehicle are related to crash prevention. And Subaru customers love that the brand leads all automakers.
Customers want safe vehicles
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says Subaru leads all automakers in safety performance and crash avoidance. The IIHS announced the Subaru brand has achieved TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards on seven of their 2019 models, more than any other automaker. The 2019 Ascent, Crosstrek, Impreza (sedan and 5-door), Legacy, Outback and WRX all earned the highest ratings in the latest safety testing
The Subaru brand started the all-wheel-drive small SUV segment. It’s what put Subaru on the map and why they have had eleven straight years of year-over-year growth. Subaru doesn’t adapt AWD components to a front- or rear-wheel drive vehicle, they develop all their multi-use vehicles around Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. They actually offer four different all-wheel-drive systems on their cars.
2020 Subaru Forester
Why does Subaru offer four different versions of AWD? All versions of Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive distribute torque to all four wheels all the time, and each is tailored to the specific vehicles engine, suspension, and transmission.
Each reduces the load on each wheel and reducing and even helping to prevent tire slip, especially on slippery or loose surfaces. You won’t find Subaru customers stuck on the side of the road, and it’s a big reason why they love the brand.
What customers don’t like about the brand
2020 Subaru Forester
Subaru gets criticized for being too conservative in their exterior designs and that they need to have more progressive styling. But Subaru won’t budge on this issue. They have a valid reason, but customers don’t have to like it. It’s not surprising design changes are minor for the new generation of Subaru like the fifth-generation 2019 Forester SUV.
It’s because Subaru doesn’t like to take risks. Subaru tends to focus more on safety tech and upgrades underneath the exterior. They also like the large open greenhouse design. It does help improve outward visibility, even though the design does look boxy. Don’t look for Subaru to change this.
CVT automatic transmissions
One of the main complaints with Subaru customers is that they exclusively use the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) technology. The drawbacks are obvious to anyone who has driven one. In technical terms, a CVT transmission uses a pair of adjustable pulleys and a segmented metal drive belt to deliver engine power to the drive wheels.
The metal belt or steel pulley gives off a whining noise when you push on the gas pedal. The sound is similar to the noise jet engines make when the pilot gives the plane full throttle for takeoff. A low pitched continuous whine that can be annoying.
Now, all automakers like Subaru use the automatic CVT for its fuel-efficiency. So if you despise the Continuously Variable Transmission, you can thank it for its improved fuel mileage. Subaru is committed to the CVT but don’t look for them to change unless they develop a new fuel-saving automatic gearbox.
Subaru does a lot of things right that its customers love about the brand, so the love for models like the new Forester SUV is real. Subaru Corporation is one of the smallest Japanese brands and they aren't perfect, but look for them to will stay with what made them successful. It's hard to argue with eleven consecutive years of sales increases.
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Photo credit: Timmons Subaru, Subaru USA