Dear Subaru –
While it is still running well and looking good, I would like to trade my Subaru in for one that is smaller and more economical. If I were to purchase a new Subaru now, it would be my third one. However, while I have been looking at your new cars, I am not totally finding what I want.
Your company advertises a connection to their loyal owners, indicating that you listen to what we have to say. So here is something this owner would like to contribute. Right up front I will tell you that I do not totally match Subaru owner demographics (or what the reputation of your demographics is). Around here you might often hear someone complain if the car ahead of them happens to be a Subaru with a woman in it – apparently women Subie drivers have a reputation for driving too slow. Having just attended traffic court the other night, I can attest that I am not one of those.
I do not earn close to what your “average” Subaru owner is said to earn, nor am I a lesbian (so the rumor goes that Subarus are a popular car with lesbians). Subaru owners are supposedly educated and of significant IQ…..I will own up to that… and I happen to be middle-aged. OK. So now that we have the stats out of the way, I am going to tell you what this particular woman wants in a Subaru. I have a feeling a number of us might feel the same.
Here is My Ideal Subaru. I hope you are listening.
OK, the All-Wheel Drive is standard. That’s the key reason for buying this car in the first place. What about an option/switch to actually turn off the AWD when we don’t need it, in order to save on gas? I know a few people who have actually modified their Subaru and put these switches on for that very reason. You should give us a choice.
Of course, good gas mileage. Excluding the hybrid, I want to see about 40 mpg highway at the very least. I think you can manage that, really, as it seems you are almost there now with this latest Impreza model. Please keep at it.
Safety still a given. A good, solid body and lots of air bags. Something that will hold up on impact.
Size – the car needs to be about the size of the Impreza and not any larger. I have been dismayed that the Outback and the Forester both have gotten progressively larger (and more aggressive looking) over recent years.
Speaking of aggression, I know I for one would like a car that looks “friendly”. This means a front grill that is not shaped like the gaping mouth of a shark during attack, or that resembles a nasty grimace or a vicious snarl. This means headlights that do not look like angry demon eyes. When I pull up behind another car, I do not want them to see Hannibal Lecter staring back in their rear view mirror. The front of the car, the “face”, should look “ pleasant”.
This also includes a body type that is not too angular and looks like a plastic model of a molecule from a high school chemistry class. However, this does not mean that the car should resemble a kaiser roll on wheels, or have a weak, silly, or clown-like look to it either.
At this point I would like to update my post, based on the comments of a reader who strongly feels that the “ass” of the car should not be too large. This is an excellent point. The rear end of the car should not resemble a big hippo butt. The body should be simple, clean and solid without being too clunky. If you were going to compare the Subaru body to a horse, I would have to say, not a Thoroughbred, not a Clydesdale, not a Shetland pony, but a Quarter Horse. Are you following me?
Tires. The car should come equipped with excellent, all-season tires that hold the road. We don’t need those massive, wide tires on this car. They are expensive to replace and the truth is, they really don’t give you any better traction. My Brighton Legacy with the smaller tires held the road better than my Outback with those giant ones ever has.
I would like rear bumpers that do not take up the entire back end of the vehicle, so that if they become damaged you don’t have to replace half the body of the car at the same time.
The five door hatchback is important for all of us who go crazy buying plants at the garden center, have pets jumping into the back, are tag sale addicts and junk collectors, haul lots of groceries, carry cellos or drums, make trips to the dump, move our kids to college, take trips, or happen to relocate frequently ourselves. The trunk space should be level with the tail gate, not recessed. The split back seats should be able to fold down flat. The height of the car from the ground does not have to be that high. Maybe just a bit lower than the Outback but not so low that you can’t get out of the car without needing grab bars. I want to be able to drive easily out of snow drifts, but am not going to be traversing any tundras or scaling the sides of a volcano, let’s be real here.
Visibility – the rear window should be large enough to see out the back clearly, especially while parking. Once upon a time, your earlier Foresters had great back windows. What happened? On that topic, good visibility all the way around. No blind spots. Ease of parallel parking is imperative and you should be able to back up out of the driveway without running over the neighbor’s cat, or the neighbor. Thus the smaller car with good windows. Strong, bright back-up lights are also helpful. Headlights that illuminate wide and clear, without creating shadows above or below.
Ride – good suspension. The Forester rides like a truck. You can feel every bump in the road. The Outback is a lot more comfy. Let’s have an Impreza type vehicle with super supportive seats, terrific shocks that ride smoothly and is quiet enough – eliminate the road noise.
Color – if one decides to choose Ice Blue , Sage Green, Indigo Pearl or whatever, they should also have the option of choosing the darker interior. I think there are enough Subaru owners who travel with pets, have children, live in rural areas, don’t have paved driveways leading right up to the house, or who might enjoy eating chocolate in the car (like me) who do not need or want a Warm Ivory or cream color interior. Because the dark interior is the logical choice, why should we then be forced to have to choose the Paprika Red exterior? I want an Ice Blue car with a charcoal gray interior, but you can’t get one from column A and one from B it seems. One of the major factors in deciding which model and color of Subaru I chose last time included the fact that I needed darker seats and floor carpet that would not instantly look stained and ruined. That should not have been a contributing factor. More flexibility on interior color choices! While you are at it, how about some more classy exterior colors too?
Further discussion on seats – For those wanting to spend more $$ in order to have a little more plushness, the option package should include these three things: heated front seats, automatic driver’s seat adjustment, and lumbar support. This last item is the one major thing that has turned me off to buying the new Impreza. No lumbar support in the driver’s seat. People who do a lot of driving and are middle-aged truly and seriously appreciate that kind of thing. It was the greatest invention in the Outback. Why should someone have to go out and buy a little lumbar pillow when they are paying all this money for your fancy car package? Why this was not added as an option to the new Impreza is beyond me. Who made the decision to leave that out? Such a simple thing to add, its absence probably just cost you some sales.
The Dashboard. Is it really necessary to have the mileage markings on the speedometer go up to 150 MPH? Who are we kidding here, really? We are not professional race car drivers. Are there some people who get off on thinking that their car “could” do this if they wanted to? Is this a testosterone thing? How about topping the speedometer off at an even 100? Then you can make the mileage markings on the gauge farther apart (since you will now have more room on the gauge) with precise and easy to see lines, so that you can actually tell that you are driving 62 instead of guestimating somewhere in the 60’s.
On the automatic version, I don’t want “shifting paddles” on my steering column. I want a neat, clean, steering column without too many doodads and crap on it. On the center console it can have a number of lower drives – D, D1, D2, L, L1, even L2 – to get you out of slippery spots.
The option of the dimming rear view mirror is very nice. Let’s keep that. We can also keep the in-the-mirror compass. I thought that was just one silly whistle and bell thing that came with my last car, but have actually found it useful on a number of occasions. Continue with the nice interior lights, the vanity mirrors, decent cup holders in the middle, the area around the ignition that lights up in the dark so you can see where to insert the key.
Speaking of keys, the key and the remote door opener should not be too large or an odd shape (as my current ones are). They need to be small enough to fit easily in a pocket without ruining it or falling out and small enough to fit easily in a purse. Also a remote starter for winter would be nice. Keep the overhead sunglasses holder but make it larger so it will close over today’s contemporary sunglasses styles. Make a space somewhere out of the way below the dash where you can hook a little trash bag. Make the glove box larger so it will close if you have more than a couple of papers in it. Nothing fits in there.
The radio/CD player should have multiple speakers and multiple graphic equalizer settings. It should be Bluetooth friendly. If a GPS is an option, let it be a decent sized one with a volume control that allows it to be turned up loud.
For me, a sunroof is not necessary, but very powerful A/C and heat is. The windows should be able to be easily de-iced too.
Lastly – can you do this at a reasonable price so that you are making a car for The People? An Every Woman’s Car that men will want to drive too?
That’s all I can think of at the moment. I truly believe you would have something extremely popular. You can even name it the Subaru Daeja! I hope someone is listening.