14 January 2004
Et tu, Subaru?
The pavement-inhaling WRX aside, Subaru, perhaps more than any other automotive marque, gets respect from the Greener Than Thou crowd, inasmuch as it makes generally sensibly-sized vehicles which eschew the more egregious frills one finds on other brands; Fuji Heavy Industries, the manufacturer, is viewed as the Anti-Detroit. (The fact that General Motors owns a small chunk of Fuji is either overlooked or ignored.)
So there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth when word gets around that there will be just enough modifications made to the 2005 edition of Subaru's popular Outback wagon and sedan to qualify them under Federal regulations as light trucks, subject to a less-stringent fuel-economy standard. The reason for this is blindingly simple: there's a horsepower race on, and Subaru doesn't want to be left behind. The wagon, at least, might pass for a truck, given the proliferation of crossover quasi-SUVs, but the sedan?