Saturday, January 21, 2017

It looks like a (insert car name here)

The 2015 WRX looks like a Mitsubishi Evo.  The 2016 Legacy looks like a Ford Taurus.  The 2017 Impreza looks like a Mazda 3.  But what if I told you that a Subaru looks like... a SUBARU.

In years past, Subaru struggled to come up with a unifying design theme for their vehicles.  From the square anonymous Legacies in the early 90s to the confused 3-piece grille of a B9 Tribeca, they've not really had a lineup that  really looked consistent from model to model.

As such, it's par for the course to make lookalike claims between Subarus.  Regardless of what comparisons are made for the front, the rear, the silhouette, or whatever mimicry may appear... these cars have recently adopted design cues that finally tie them together and, as a whole, give them well-needed consistency.  Hatchback, Sedan, or Crossover SUV, new Subarus are sharing key elements across the board.

In North America, every Subaru is fitted with a Boxer Engine at it's core.  This similarity is actually mirrored in the design of the headlights and tail lights on each model.  While many modern vehicles have swooping stylish LED lights or "eyes", those are simply aesthetic cues rather than holding meaning with the vehicle.  The shape, and often illuminated portions, of the outward parts of the headlights and tail lights on a Subaru symbolize the horizontal motion of the pistons in the Boxer Engine.  Regardless of the shape or size of the vehicle, you'll find this theme not just repeated in current models, but continuously echoed in concepts for future vehicles from Subaru.

Other design elements in the facia of each Subaru often feature a large hexagonal-shaped grille.  Even the BRZ, which appears to lack a grille, has a large black section on the front of the bumper mirroring that idea.  Many times the grille feature "wings" extending from the Subaru Logo in the middle that harken back to aircraft manufacturing heritage before Fuji Heavy Industries was formed.

As the car shapes and sizes change, these symbolic elements remain to mark each car as a Subaru.  In this era of auto manufacturing, many designs, Subaru included, are moving towards making cars safer, more aerodynamic, and sleeker.  The result can often make car designs looking very similar on the surface, so comparisons can be made,  However, the staple of new Subaru designs incorporates a few consistent elements and cues to their core technology and heritage that make a Subaru look like a Subaru.

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