Subarus Simpler Name Game

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Subaru plans to make things a bit easier by simplifying its auto naming structure. The Japanese automaker will use the Outback nameplate only for wagons and the Legacy name only for sedans.

Before, the Outback name was used on both sedans and wagons. The name, in essence, signifies a rugged outdoor trim level of the Legacy sedan and wagon. Now, there are no fuss, no frills. The new and simpler naming structure will start with the 2008 models. According to Subaru of America, the company is going to be a bit more discriminating in how it uses the Outback name.

as well as those of the Legacy entertained extensive enhancements for the 2008 lineup. These modifications include revised front and rear styling, new front and rear bumper fascias, a bigger grille opening, and new headlamps and taillamps.

Additionally, the Legacy will be introducing a new variant - the 3.0 R Limited, which is equipped with a 245-horsepower flat-6 engine, Bilstein sport suspension, a five-speed automatic with paddle shift, and Subaru's Intelligent Drive performance control system.

What is more, all 2008 models will receive a redesigned instrument panel, revised interior fabrics, a telescoping steering column and integrated ignition key or remote entry. All six-cylinder models showcase electroluminescent gauges.

"Times change, and the radical becomes mainstream. The Subaru Outback seemed so different when it debuted as one of the first crossover vehicles in 1995. Its raised ride height, permanent all-wheel drive, and by its second year, body cladding and other styling cues cashed in on the then-hot SUV style, but with superior fuel economy and vehicle dynamics. 'The World's First Sport-Utility Wagon' brought Subaru from near-obscurity to fame and fortune, and provided inspiration for products from other manufacturers," said Carey Russ, a car expert.

"In common with all current Subarus, the Outback uses a liquid-cooled, horizontally-opposed engine mounted inline in a strong, rigid unibody chassis structure, driving all four wheels at all times through a sophisticated all-wheel drive system," Russ added. "The suspension is fully-independent, by means of MacPherson struts in front and a multilink system in the rear. The engine's low height ensures a low center of gravity despite 8.4 inches of ground clearance (at the exhaust pipe), and the suspension geometry was designed and rates calibrated to take advantage of this. All parts of the system work together, for a moderately firm ride and very good cornering ability and reactions to driver inputs."

"Unlike some crossover AWD systems, all wheels are driven all the time, so there are no sudden differences in traction and response when the rear wheels are suddenly activated. That AWD provides excellent traction on dry pavement as well as in rain or snow or on dirt or gravel, and so is just as useful in the Sun Belt as in the Snow Belt," Russ noted.

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