Is Having The BRZ In Subaru’s Lineup A Waste Of Time?

When you think of Subaru you probably picture a Forester or Outback navigating through the woods on a dirt road, or a WRX STI racing on a rally circuit. AWD is it’s specialty, the ability that allows drivers to get from point A to point B throughout the winter, and give the owner a peace of mind when they get behind the wheel in treacherous driving situations. Subaru has never been known to appeal to the RWD, sports car community, and instead reaches the consumer who wants off-road capability or a vehicle that is immune to most, if not all weather conditions. The Subaru BRZ does not fit that mold and never will.

Last year Subaru managed to sell 7,500 BRZ’s, and during the best monthly sales, none of the figures reached 1,000 cars sold. Because Scion, Toyota, and Subaru collaborated on the BRZ/FR-S, Subaru isn’t taking a major risk, or one in which they’re not going to deal with the consequences of poor sales solely. Two other manufactures are also on the ship that appears to be sinking. The real question is whether Subaru is wasting their time with having the BRZ in their lineup.

Starting at $25,500, the BRZ is just a mere $1,000 cheaper than the base version of the WRX. They’re two completely different cars, but one offers more horsepower, AWD, four doors, and tradition, while the other is basically a rebadged Toyota. In the eyes of consumers the WRX’s 268 hp, coupled with a manual transmission, is more appealing than a 200 hp coupe. While they both are in different classes, the WRX will steal sales away from the BRZ because it offers more.

For Scion, the FR-S makes sense because they don’t have another sports car in their lineup that will compete in sales. The tC is cheaper with less horsepower, while the FR-S is more of a traditional performance coupe that attracts younger consumers who want a car with power. For the Toyota owned company, the FR-S isn’t as big of a waste of time, and in fact is seeing double the sales as the BRZ, and that’s because of the consumers that Scion attracts.

At the end of the day, there is no difference between the BRZ and FR-S except the badge on the front. The biggest variable however is the loyal consumers for both auto brands. Subaru is seeing limited sales, and from a numbers standpoint, they’re wasting their time by selling a coupe. Due to having a sports sedan within the same price range, the BRZ isn’t a great fit for the company. Scion on the other hand desperately needs the FR-S to succeed, and because of their minimal lineup range, the sports coupe can and will see better sales figures than it will for Subaru.

The BRZ was an experiment, one in which Subaru could see if they could make some noise in the sports coupe market. Because they have a tradition set on AWD and off-road capability, consumers aren’t flocking to Subaru dealerships to buy a RWD coupe that doesn’t fit in the AWD dominated lineup. Sales figures could rise, but it’s very unlikely. The remaining question is, how long will they keep the BRZ in their lineup before they cut their losses and move on?

Subaru Owners of America: We Envy You

After six feet of snow in a matter of three weeks, we’re waving the white flag. Subaru owners of America, you’ve made the best decision of your lives because you bought arguably the best winter vehicles on the market today. AWD and a history of long lasting quality is a worthy adversary for what mother nature throws at us during the winter. For those of you who are on the fence about whether to buy a Subaru or not, watch these videos or look out your window, you’ll see why owning these vehicles will make your lives better.

Time and time again Subaru’s have come up big in the clutch when driving in snow. In fact, during storms, Subaru’s are really the only brand that dominates the roads besides pickup trucks and plow operators. These vehicles were made for weather in New England and continue to stand the test of time. After this winter, when the snow piles are melted and people can get back to shopping, there is no doubt that Subaru sales figures will skyrocket.

Who cares about the CVT transmissions and very limited horsepower, at the end of the day these owners aren’t complaining about being stuck in snow and are instead warm inside their houses. If there is one thing that winter of 2015 has taught us, Subaru + AWD = the ultimate winter vehicle. A couple of more winters like these and state officials will have to make it mandatory to own one.

I think it’s safe to say we’re all sick of winter. If two foot snow storms are becoming the norm in New England, maybe it’s time to trade in the FWD sedan and move up to a more capable winter vehicle.

Whether You Prefer Automatic or Manual, Don’t Get A CVT

2015_Subaru_WRX_STI.008
Automotive Rhythms / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

For the die-hard gear-head, manual transmissions will always be what they swear by as it’s the only true way to experience every aspect of a sports car. But in the 21st century we’re given an array of different transmission types that allow the driver to either cruise in automatic, or have some fun by shifting into a non pure form of manual. However, whether you prefer an automatic or manual, the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) will most likely ruin your driving experience.

CVT’s can be found on most Japanese cars including the Subaru WRX, which as a car enthusiast, makes me cringe at the thought that the four-door sports car doesn’t get a more driver-friendly transmission. Some may wonder what’s the difference between a CVT and a regular transmission. When you floor the gas pedal you don’t get the full experience of hearing the transmission changing gears. Every kid can relate to the sound of the engine going through the gears, and if you own a CVT, you’ll never get to hear the switch to the new gear.

If you’re more concerned about fuel economy, a CVT would be the better choice as it’s designed to help save gas when you’re accelerating. The Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Subaru Legacy to name a few, are some of the models that have a CVT in them, but out of those three, the Legacy doesn’t get anywhere near the MPG’s of the Corolla and Civic. The 3.6R limited trim of the Legacy gets 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, but that does get overshadowed by the fact that there is a CVT transmission in the car. What’s the point in having the sportier version of a sedan when you can’t fully enjoy the revs and changes of gears?

Sports cars, and versions with a sports package should be enjoyed to the greatest extent. To put a CVT into a car that was built for the car enthusiast or the one who wanted to floor the gas pedal completely defeats the purpose of manufacturing the car at all. Other than a few ideal situations and how the car is used, a CVT would be useful in the city, but if you intend to take the car onto the open roads, don’t expect to feel the rush and excitement of accelerating on the highway and hearing the transmission go through the gears.