What’s in a name? In the world of cars, the name is worth a lot. Consider Volkswagen Group - the A4 Audi commands a higher premium than the Golf, which in turn fetches more than the Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon. Essentially the same platform, with cosmetic tweaks to the exterior and interiors. At grandly different price points. It’s not just the Germans, many models from the French, Italians and elsewhere are badge manipulated. It reduces costs – on research and development, plus the economies of upscaling production. Whether the end buyer actually receives benefits in reduced showroom prices is another matter.
A real downside is that affordable modern cars with character are few and far between. There is “much of a muchness” amongst many of today’s showroom offerings. A Brand that stands apart from the bland, however, is Subaru. Manufactured in Japan they have stuck to their principles and build vehicles that ooze character thanks to their core DNA – lowslung horizontally opposed Boxer engines driving symmetrical All Wheel Drive. It’s quite a mouthful, but when you press the start button and move off you know immediately you’re driving something special.
The exceptionally low centre of gravity and perfect balance and grip of Subaru’s symmetrical all wheel drive is breathtaking in corners and on greasy, treacherous roundabouts. All wheel drive is not just for winter – hit standing puddles of water in lesser cars at speed and very quickly control is ceded to the forces of physics. A Subaru simply shrugs, and gets on with it. Subarus excel offroad. They are the car of choice for Northern Ireland’s vets and farmers and will go places Land Rover drivers would stop and think about. The XV crossover, Forester, Levorg and Outback ranges are supremely capable and comfortable on the M2 commute, and an offroad delight.
The Eyesight safety system fitted on Lineartronic Outback estates is a revolutionary stereoscopic camera system that literally “sees” the road ahead and acts as a second pair of eyes to aid the driver, able to brake independently and minimise collisions. Insurance premiums on Eyesight equipped Outback have tumbled and the American Insurance Association have declared it “best in class” driver assist safety system.
Lineartronic gearboxes are, like everything Subaru do, developed by them for their own vehicles. The stepless steel belt driven Lineartronics returns close to what the six speed manuals deliver, across the range of Subaru diesel and petrol engines. Pleasantly free of surges or racing engine revs, it quietly gets on making journeys enjoyable and affordable. The joy of owning a Subaru is evident from the extraordinary length of ownership – most Subarus remain with their buyers for ten years upwards. With a five year warranty standard (except the racy WRX Sti) it’s not hard to see why residual values hold up so well.
With OTR prices in Northern Ireland starting from just £17,495 we’d certainly recommend checking out the motoring delights of driving Subaru. Dealers in Lisburn, Enniskillen and Dungannon, see more at www.subaru-Ni.com.