March 4th, 2011 by Tim Grimley
Over the last couple of months, I’ve begun dabbling in that coolest of sports, surfing. As is the way of these things, I watched someone younger, more talented and infinitely more physically attractive than myself make it look very easy one day and thought “Yes, I need a bit of that action”. So with the help of Muriwai Surf School and my friend/personal surf Yoda Daniel, I’ve been grabbing a board, heading out into the sea and joining the ranks of people taking sick rides on knarly left hand breaks. Dude.
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Or rather I haven’t. While others are merrily catching waves, I spend most of my time thrashing around in white water trying to work out which foot should go at the front. On the few occasions where I do manage to haul myself into an upright position, there is a rapid transition to a face-first dismount capable of making passing fish wince. In short, I am not a good surfer.
The strange thing is that I really don’t care. By nature I’m not what you would call a good loser and this level of epic failure is more normally met with toys being despatched from pram and me going home, but somehow with surfing it’s different. Sure I’d rather be one of the chiselled beach-God brigade to whom hanging ten comes as naturally as taking their next breath, but it doesn’t bother me to be the incompetent guy who looks like he’s been poured into a wetsuit three sizes too small either.
Surfing it seems, is not all about the end result, but rather the joy of simply doing it in the first place. And with that in mind, I don’t think it is entirely co-incidental that Subaru have decided to pick Kiwi pro-surfer Paige Hareb to be the face of their Impreza range. Read the rest of this entry »
March 2nd, 2011 by Car and SUV
The Geneva Motor Show has kicked into gear and among the futuristic concept cars and green technology is a little something for sports car fans.
Toyota and Subaru have been working together on a new rear-driving sports car for a couple of years now, and it is nearing production. While Toyota was soaking up the limelight with its pre-production FT-86 II version of the car, Subaru was all about showing how it’s going to look under the sheet metal. Subaru’s take on the rear-drive, front-engined platform looks very promising indeed.
Subaru’s concept car is non-turbocharged but comes sporting a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated boxer engine and rear-drive system without Subaru’s trademark AWD. The model is scheduled for production next year and as we already know from its performance models, Subaru can tune a chassis, and with this new car purpose-built for fun, rather than family duties it’s coming with big expectations.
So what makes it any good? Well, the engine is located lower and further back in the engine bay than in Subaru’s all-wheel-drive cars, because it doesn’t need a transfer case for the front wheels. There is also very short front and rear overhangs and the more central engine location means it will change direction swiftly. It does uses MacPherson strut suspension, however, so it may be limited in some respects for those seeking lower ride heights.
This Geneva unveiling is of a skeletal RWD Sports Car which looks cool but gives little away in terms of exterior styling. Performance figures haven’t been released yet, but expect that 2.0-litre boxer engine to be one peaky unit. Read the rest of this entry »
February 25th, 2011 by Car and SUV
Possessing genuine rally sport pedigree is something a few car companies have attempted to trade on over the years, but it’s never been more believable than in Subaru’s WRX. While Subaru is taking a recession induced break from the WRC scene it’s go-hard Impreza continues the rally-breed evolution that began back in 1992 with its first generation. While the rally bloodlines run stronger in the uncompromising Impreza STI the WRX remains far from a standard run about. The STI will always be the choice for those who aspire to performing dirt road power slides but the WRX is now closer aligned to its more coveted sibling than ever before. But does this mean the updated 2011 WRX is a balls-to-the-wall excitement machine? Car and SUV got belted into a WRX hatch to take a voyage of discovery… rapidly.
Over the years the WRX has seen more drastic costume changes than a Madonna concert and not all the different looks have been sexy, but the third-gen model has a definite raw charm. The big changes for the facelift are the inclusion of a wide body kit distilled from the STI, this has been like a course of steroids for the WRX and has resulted in a stockier more muscular look. While there are still thoughtfully placed clues on the STI like a more pronounced rear wing, only hardcore fans could now tell the difference between the two variants with a single glance. Read the rest of this entry »
January 14th, 2011 by Car and SUV
There is little doubt that the FT-86 sports car is the most exciting new model to wear a Toyota badge in nearly ten years. But there has been doubts on when and if the FT-86 will enter production. Those concerns have been addressed in a recent article by a Japanese newspaper which revealed that the FT-86 will make its debut later this year, along with its jointly developed Subaru twin.
Developed in a unique partnership between Toyota and Subaru, the upcoming FT-86 sports car won over audiences and gathered much interest in concept form at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, but its road to production has been broken up by uncertainty and a ‘on-and-off-and-on-again’ battle.
Speaking with the Japanese paper, Fuji Heavy Industries President, Mori Ikuo, reportedly confirmed that both models are nearing the end of testing.
Ikuo claimed that the production FT-86 (which some reports suggest may be called ‘FR-S’ in Toyota form) will be “very comfortable and fuel-efficient”, benefiting from a low centre of gravity for proper sports-car handling.
Exact technical details haven’t been announced, although it is known that both models will be powered by a Subaru-developed 2.0 litre turbo-charged boxer engine. The Toyota version will be a rear-wheel driver while Subaru’s model is likely to receive an AWD system. Some reports claim power figures in the region of 200kW.
Check back for more updates on this new model, till then feel free to drool over the images in the gallery below. Read the rest of this entry »
November 29th, 2010 by Car and SUV
Sony has finally released Gran Turismo 5 in the NZ market and while there are hundreds of cars to choose from the new Subaru WRX STI sedan is that little bit special.
The much anticipated racing game launched last week and had the WRX STI sedan included in its extensive car list. An STI sedan has not been available since 2007, but has now made its comeback.
So what? Well, the original Playstation was credited with popularising the WRX STI in North America, before it was launched into that market several years after it first appeared in New Zealand.
The new WRX STI has also been a sales success since its launch, when four-door sedan variants were reintroduced. In Japan, 2400 sedans and hatches have been sold since debut in July, double those initially forecast.
Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru vehicles, says featuring the WRX STI in Gran Turismo 5 is an effective and entertaining way to raise awareness of the model and introduce more people to the adrenaline-pumping WRX STI.
Since the first series was introduced in 1997, Gran Turismo has been highly popular not only among video game fans worldwide, but also professional racing and rally drivers.
So now you know what to ask Santa for Christmas this year – Gran Turismo 5. You could ask for a Subaru WRX STI but it may not fit in his sack.
November 18th, 2010 by Car and SUV
The current Subaru Impreza is, no doubt, a solid choice for new car buyers but for all its virtues it’s not know for its good looks. Subaru has a long and storied history of producing vehicles with faces only a mother could love, but that’s all set to change with Subaru dropping details and images of its new Impreza Design Concept. In a total reversal this model looks sharp and sexy.
The design retains the puffed-up wheel arches of the current Impreza, but merges in the more subdued mature Legacy styling for a much more handsome look. The front fascia is dominated by two aggressive air intakes which look large enough to swallow a whole possum. Those intakes are framed by the new trapezoidal grille and squinting headlamps. Interestingly, the silver fins that spread across the air inlets are actually fully functional fog lights.
For motivation, the design study makes use of the company’s new 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine, which is rather unfortunately bolted to a CVT gearbox. Will it be built just like this? Who knows, but the styling is a large step in the right direction.
November 3rd, 2010 by Car and SUV
Later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show (November 19 -28), Subaru will officially pull the covers off a never-before seen concept model that will show the firm’s new global brand statement, called “Confidence in Motion”.
It’s very mysterious at this stage with just a single teaser image released, there’s not really anything else we can tell you about the concept model at this stage. However, if you’re in the mood for some marketing hype the Subaru press release below concentrates on explaining the new slogan. Check it out and check back as we bring you more on this exciting concept. Read the rest of this entry »
October 28th, 2010 by Car and SUV
It probably won’t ever make it down here to NZ, or any other market outside of Japan, but the new JDM Subaru Forester tS deserves a closer look. Based on the Forester S-Edition, the tS is given the go-faster treatment with a range of upgrades and STi parts including a modified suspension that sits 15 mm lower than usual, 17-inch alloys, a front spoiler and some special tS badging.
In the cabin there are STI sport seats that use a combination of leather and Alcantara as well as a leather-wrapped sports steering wheel and a modified instrument panel.
Motivation comes from a 2.5-litre turbocharged boxer engine matched up with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Japanese customers won’t be limited to just Subaru Blue for colour choice with four exterior colors offered. It will be an exclusive ride too with Subaru planning on producing just 300 examples. The cost? Well it’s not a cheap steer with the base-model costing 3,450,00 Yen ($56,550 NZ).
Check out the gallery below for more images of the Subaru Forester tS.
Read the rest of this entry »