As I walked around the Subaru-designated area of the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, I traveled back through Subaru history from the past few years.
It started with the XV Crosstrek; the tangerine orange color took me back three years to the introduction of this new model. The orange color screams “look at me,” but the unique wheel pattern is what sets it apart. And after that came the can’t-miss-me green of the Hybrid.
The Forester XT also has undergone dramatic changes. In 2013, the distinctive scoop was missing from the hood and the air intake was rerouted through an opening above the grille. I was fortunate to have many occasions to drive this stealth beast; my favorite was with Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT USA) driver Bucky Lasek. (Read about my drive with Bucky.)
Then there is the BRZ, the first non-all-wheel drive vehicle produced by Subaru in almost 20 years. The rear-wheel drive introduced a fun sports car to the lineup. Featuring the 200-hp SUBARU BOXER engine, this road master offers excellent handing, and road-gripping performance.
Next up, the legendary WRX. Getting a facelift for 2015, this powerhouse now offers an optional Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with paddle shifters.
On display was the record-breaking Isle of Man WRX STI piloted by Mark Higgins. This nearly stock car “rocket” hit speeds of 160 mph and broke Higgins’ own previous record of 19:57 with a time of 19:15. (Read more about Higgins and Isle of Man.)
A sibling to this WRX STI was debuted by SRT USA at the 2015 Sno*Drift Rally in January and David Higgins and Craig Drew commandingly won the event. Then a new wide-body version was showcased at Rally in the 100 Acre Wood in February and performed outstandingly in the harshest winter conditions that rally has seen, allowing SRT USA to finish in a dominating 1st place.
EyeSight technology was a buzz in the Subaru area. Of course, I couldn’t help but share my personal stories about EyeSight with curious onlookers. This technology features a set of cameras that detect larger objects in front of the vehicle. With cruise control set, the system will help keep you at a minimum distance from the car in front of you if it slows down. At any speed, EyeSight will apply brakes if there is an object in front of your moving vehicle. I’ve experienced this on many occasions, including a pedestrian jumping out in front of me, a deer running in my path, and freeway traffic reducing speed significantly.
The latest innovation revealed this year is SUBARU STARLINK. This technology allows you to connect your phone to your Subaru, making your music choices nearly infinite. Pandora®, Aha™, iHeartRadio®, whatever your preference, there are many reasons to crank up the tunes as you enjoy your ride.1
What’s in store from Subaru for the next few years?
SRT USA driver/co-driver team of David Higgins and Craig Drew are on course to win their fifth consecutive Rally America National Championship.
Travis Pastrana will make rally and rallycross appearances beginning midseason.
With Bucky Lasek and Sverre Isachsen at the wheel for rallycross, we expect to see more exciting door-to-door racing and fights for podium spots. We also expect that they will debut new livery based on the 2015 WRX STI.
And will there be another Isle Man attempt? Or a Mt. Washington record-breaking run by SRT USA?
Stay tuned this season as we follow SRT USA.
We know that the Impreza will be produced at Subaru of Indiana Automotive beginning in 2016.
Consumer demand for the BRZ to have more horsepower has been constant since its debut. Will there be a change to the model? We’ve seen sketches of a BRZ convertible. Follow Drive Performance magazine as we cover what the future holds for this model.
The 7-passenger Tribeca has left the lineup. Fuji Heavy Industries President,Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, has stated a new 7-passenger vehicle will be coming at some point.
Special editions: We’ve seen a Legacy Sport, WRX STI Launch Edition, and a BRZ Series.Blue. What will be the next in the lineup?
What will be the next technology innovation unveiled?
1 Pandora is a registered trademark of Pandora Media, Inc. Compatible smartphone and free Aha app required. For Aha to operate, latest version of Aha application and optional integrated audio and navigation system unit required. Data provided by smartphone is displayed on navigation screen. Some state laws prohibit the operation of handheld electronic devices while operating a vehicle. Smartphone apps should only be launched when vehicle is safely parked. Aha is a trademark of HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated. Your wireless carrier’s rates may apply. iHeartRadio is a registered trademark of Clear Channel.