Swapping Subaru For MOPAR: Sometimes You Just Need American
The symmetrical all-wheel-drive system that Subaru has included in many of their models over the years has been lauded as being one of the most capable AWD systems of all time.
Subaru also uses what is called a Boxer engine, which consists of opposed cylinders and pistons that apply equal and opposite pressure on a crankshaft. The symmetry of the paired explosions provides excellent torque, while the low total height and short length make the Boxer engine very well balanced and stable.
Despite the obvious pluses of owning a Subaru, many drivers are choosing to migrate to MOPAR options, like Jeep, or Dodge.
One Redditor, Esdeath_ga_Kill wrote “Been a Subaru guy most of my driving life, but today I turned into a Jeep guy! Doggo already claimed her space, too...” while sharing pictures of his new-to-him 2013 Sahara 4D.
In the same thread, another Redditor, MaryJaneOnTheBrain, described the difference between Jeep and Subaru as coming down to being about the type of driver you are. Similarly, in my previous article: “Mustang Mach-E: One Driver's Opinion and Where Is The Beef?”, I mentioned that my spouse and I are different types of drivers, which led to our choices in mode of transportation.
Whether or not you agree with MaryJaneOnTheBrain’s statement that Subaru’s aren’t particularly off-road capable (I’d remind you that Rally Racing was dominated by Subaru for quite some time), we can all agree that different vehicles are built for different purposes. They are tools with similar, but different uses. Each driver determines the ultimate use of their vehicle, but some drivers see their vehicle solely as a tool and some, like me, see the car as a crucial part of their lifestyle.
I can’t speak for Esdeath_ga_Kill, but for me, the CVT was what really cinched the deal on me trading out my Subaru.
The Continuously Variable Transmission is a marvel of engineering that typically utilizes a pully system that changes the ratio of the gearing by changing the effective size of the different pullies. If you’d like to know more about CVT, I would recommend checking out this video, titled: "Understanding CVT."
The reason that the CVT is what killed my love of my Subaru Legacy is simple: CVT is great for efficiency while performing poorly in the acceleration and interactivity department. In fact, in 2015, Subaru WRX with CVT option blew away critics with surprising sales.
The 2.5 L Boxer engine puts out a respectable 165 PS or 163 bhp or 121 kW @ 5600 rpm (according to www.ultimatespecs.com) but with the weight of the vehicle and the lethargic CVT, she just took forever to get to speed and was not incredibly fun to drive.
Comparing driving my Subaru Legacy to driving my Dodge Challenger is almost impossible. The Challenger blows the Legacy out of the water in every department except for keeping traction, which is exactly the department that I don’t particularly care about in the first place, so that works out for me.
The Subaru Legacy was an efficient tool for navigating central Florida’s busy roads and highways. It was reliable and comfortable enough as far as room for a guy as tall as I am (6’5”). What she wasn’t was fast, fun, or interactive. Using the Sport mode on her CVT and swapping between the simulated gears was an exercise in futility as the length of time it took the CVT to make a meaningful change to the gearing ratio was so much longer than the shift time of a manual transmission.
Stomping on the gas in the Legacy felt like a close friend was gently reminding you to stay in your seat.
Flooring it in the Challenger feels like getting thrown into a La-Z-Boy recliner by a caretaker or older sibling during play-wrestling. Putting the track mode on and laying out a 5.0 second 0-60 mph with the tires doing their Dolphin-squeak imitation as they struggle for traction during the launch just glues a big old smile on my face every single time.
Esdeath_ga_Kill didn’t explain exactly why he made the change, but it’s clear that he’s happier in the MOPAR Trail-Rated Sahara than he was in whatever Subaru he’d been in the past.
I will admit that it is not entirely fair of me to compare the 5.7 L v8 to the 2.5 L H4, but even so, Subaru just doesn’t make a fun to drive car in my size. The WRX STI would probably be a blast, but I’ve found it to be very restrictive in the legs department in my test drives in the past.
In the end, while Subaru makes a great vehicle, sometimes you just need Good, Old-Fashioned American innovation in your driveway if you’re after a certain driving experience.
Frank DiMuccio has been interested in the automotive industry since his childhood. In high school, he spent his free-time rebuilding his car and earned a newfound enjoyment of the grease and sweat of working in the garage. He can be followed on Twitter at @Fdimuccio4 for daily automotive news.