Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Heritage Blue for SOA's 50th Anniversary

Subaru of America is celebrating their 50th Anniversary so, to commemorate this, they're rolling out all kinds of special edition options for their lineup of vehicles.  We've already seen a handful of limited production models announced or rolled out for Subaru in 2017.  The Black Edition Foresters take an aggressive look on the humble crossover SUV.  The BRZ tS and WRX STI Type RA look to dazzle enthusiasts with more power and performance.  But there's one special release that will cover all of Subaru's models to celebrate 50 Years in the United States, and they'll don a new color: Heritage Blue.
2018 Subaru Impreza Hatchback in Heritage Blue

Available across all Subaru models, Heritage Blue will act as the 50th Anniversary Special Edition color.  This silver/blue color will be available in 2018 on the highest trim levels for Impreza, Crosstrek, Forester, Legacy, Outback, BRZ, WRX, and WRX STI in 2018.  The new Ascent does not look to be getting a 50th Anniversary color option, as they won't be available for sale until late May of 2018.  In addition to the special color, these will also have a commemorative "Subaru 50th Anniversary" silver badge on the fender with a Gold star (signifying 50 years) and special wheel finishes.  Inside, each model will have black leather upholstery, silver stitching, silver seatbelts, and special embroidered logos.

Production numbers are limited and vary from model to model.  With the exception of the Forester (which is based off a Touring trim level), all of the 50th Anniversary Models will be released in the Limited (leather) trim level.  Interestingly enough the production numbers all end in some kind of "50" for each car with the exception of the WRX, WRX STI, and BRZ, which are grouped together to equal 1,050 total built.

Production Numbers
US-built cars will be hitting dealers before their Japanese-built counterparts.  Expect to see the Impreza, Legacy, and Outback in Heritage Blue in December and January with the Crosstrek, Forester, BRZ, WRX, and WRX STI hitting retailer lots in February and March.

I'll have more photos of each type as they become available.  It'll be interesting to see the interior change on the sportier models that normally have red-stitched interiors, too.  I'm looking forward to seeing those!


Monday, December 11, 2017

2019 Forester - News on the Next Generation

From it's inception in the late 90s, the Forester has been a standout staple of the Subaru lineup over the years.  It's been a class leader in reviews with each generation and is still the only vehicle to have landed MotorTrend's "SUV of the Year" award twice.  As such, the Forester is coming up on completing it's design cycle for this bodystyle and will be switching over to it's new 5th Generation Design in October of 2018.  Here's a rundown of what we know now, as well as handling some speculation surrounding the latest incarnation of the beloved Forester.

'19 Forester Spotted Testing
The 2019 Subaru Forester will be built around the Subaru Global Platform (SGP), which already carries the Impreza and Crosstrek platforms currently.  Reductions in noise, vibrations, and ride harshness are noticeable improvements in the current models, so the Forester should easily follow suit with these kinds of changes.  New for the 2019 Forester will be a Direct-Injected 2.5l Boxer Engine with a slight bump in power.  A Continuously Variable Transmission will send power through it's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.  Spy photos of the new 2019 Forester show that many of the window lines retain their boxy shape to continue it's excellent reputation for having stellar interior visibility.

Early Viziv Concept
The rumor mill has been spinning about the possibility of the 6-Speed Manual Transmission option going away.  If that's true, the Forester would be the third vehicle in Subaru's lineup to lose this feature, following the Outback and Legacy which did away with it in 2015.  With the market focusing more on pre-collision technology, it's likely that Subaru would follow suit and include EyeSight as standard equipment in the next-gen Forester.  EyeSight currently only works on vehicles equipped with a CVT, so the Manual would be phased out in favor of an All-EyeSight offering for the '19 Forester.

However, this has not been the case with the Subaru Crosstrek, which just picked up a new 6-speed option for it's latest version released earlier this year.  The Crosstrek was also marketed in other markets to have "all vehicles with EyeSight", but the US Market did not, so there's a chance that whatever rumor is spinning for the Forester losing it's manual transmission could be based on other markets.  The Forester is still currently sold with a 6-Speed option for the 2.5i (base) and 2.5i Premium models.  While demand is low in general for manual transmission vehicles these days, this is still a defining trait of the Forester when customers are looking for an All-Wheel Drive small SUV, so it would be surprising to see Subaru drop this option for the sake of saying that "all Foresters come with EyeSight".  Currently, there are no solid details to confirm or deny this rumor.

There are other rumors circulating that hint towards the Forester XT going away for the 2019 model as well.  While this may be true of the XT badge itself, sources have noted that there will be a Forester Sport offered for the upcoming 5th-Generation model.  It's likely that the change is only in name itself, as the turbocharged option on the Forester has been selling well even with low production numbers, which has been common with the higher-output options on Subarus in general.  Expect to see more distinct styling and features on the 2019 Forester Sport retaining that turbocharged oomph.

Monday, December 4, 2017

METHOD for our Madness

When METHOD Race Wheels teamed up with Subaru Rally Team USA to create a tough-as-nails wheel for competition, they couldn't have asked for a better result right from the start.  David Higgins and Craig Drew secured a National Championship riding on the METHOD 501 Rally Wheels and the rest is history.



Coming up on 5 years later and fans of these durable rally wheels get to welcome another design to the family.  The 501 started things off in Rallying, the 502 got tougher, and
now the New METHOD 503 Rally got LIGHTER.

These 503s will be available in 17x8 +42 which will weigh in at 16.5 lbs per wheel.  There's also an 18x8 +42 size that will weigh 17.8 lbs. "Flow Form construction" cuts down on weight while maintaining rigidity and overall strength.  But unlike the 501 and 502, these lightweight wheels are intended for use in autocross events or track days.  They come in matte black or gold finishes and will include a carbon fiber snap-in center cap for each wheel.

These wheels are ideal for the Mitsubishi EVO, Ford Focus RS, and Subaru WRX STI, all of which are ideal to use on both loose surfaces and on grippy tarmac, so it's nice to have a METHOD option that rounds out that option.  Run 501s for daily use, some 502s for rallycross fun in the dirt, and 503s for that weekend at the track.  Come to think of it, I'm already 2/3rds the way there with that plan!

METHOD 503 Rally wheels are slated for release in February of 2018.  Just in time to show your love for your all-purpose machine on Valentines Day!