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2010 Subaru Outback Roof Rails… Should I Say Roof Rack FAIL?

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Like most Subaru owners, I’ve been very loyal over the years. Since 1996, I’ve owned 5 Subaru wagons–one Legacy wagon and 4 Outbacks. When I consider purchasing another vehicle, I really don’t wander much from the Subaru lineup because of the overall value Subaru provides. They are also a very progressive company with environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes.

Now all that may change with the 2010 Subaru Outback. Not only is it built unnecessarily like a wanna-be SUV with extra plastics and “tough” styling, they’ve completely missed the mark on one of the most important features–the factory roof rack!

Most roof racks are simply an open rail going front-to-back on the vehicle. This allows for easy installation of any aftermarket crossbar from Yakima, Thule or others. Being stuck with the factory crossbars is an extremely limiting factor, in my opinion and here’s why:

  1. Subaru is in the car business, Yakima and Thule are in the roof rack business… ’nuff said
  2. Genuine Subaru accessories are typically 4-5 years behind in technology
  3. The factory crossbars typically have lower load ratings
  4. Factory crossbars are funky shapes, thus limiting the bike and ski rack attachments
  5. Factory crossbars are limited in width and will only allow 2-3 bikes or a small box and a single bike… aftermarket bars can be set up wider to accept more bikes, skis and a larger box AT THE SAME TIME

Not only are the above limiting factors in play fro the 2010 Subaru Outback, but the open area of the crossbar rails (at center) I’m told is a mere 21-inches wide–not wide enough for a sturdy bike rack, cargo box attachment or enough for a stable ski rack.

Here’s a snippet from the crew at Rack Attack Portland about the 2010 Subaru Outback factory roof rack:

So we’ve had several of the Outbacks in our shop now, and I’ve got good news and more bad news.Good news–the Yakima Skybox 16 will work.  This will be the biggest box we can go with, and it will hold your 185cm skis.  The Thule Atlantis 1800xt is officially too big to clear the hatchback, though.

More good news–Thule will let you use the Crossroad 450 setup, and Yakima approved the Railgrab.

Bad news now–the crossbar spread for the above options are an almost pointless 21″–less than you will need for boards or boats over 8′, and too narrow for any cargo baskets or boxes.  Skis and most bike racks will be OK.  Yakima grants you 150lbs capacity, and Thule will only let you slide with 110lbs.

Well, that pretty much sums it up from the rack experts at RackAttack.com.

As a loyal Subaru owner, this is disappointing, but my disappointment is tempered because my next vehicle will likely be of the 7-passenger variety. Just so long as the Subaru Tribeca doesn’t lose its standard roof rails (hint, hint, Subaru!), it may still be in the running against the Volvo XC90 and other similar mid-size SUV’s with 3 rows of seating.

Look at the pictures to the right… one of these roof rack rails is not like the others.

More Info: See the Rack Fail for Yourself at Subaru.com

Midwest Subaru Owners Unite for Record-breaking Parade: July 11 – Itasca, IL

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Subaru of America, in participation with the Village of Itasca, will attempt to set a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ record for the “Largest Parade of Subaru Cars” in the world on July 11, 2009.

The opportunity to be part of this historic event is open to all Subaru owners. Participants are welcome to decorate their cars (not required), bring family and friends, and even your pet to ride in your Subaru during the parade. We will have an official adjudicator from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ to observe and confirm this record.

In addition to setting a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ record, Subaru Great Lakes Region will make a donation of $15 per Subaru that participates in the parade to two great organizations. The total donation will be shared equally between PAWS Chicago and Salute, Inc. For more information on these groups, click on the logos to the left or visit www.pawschicago.org and www.saluteinc.org.

Event Date: Saturday, July 11, 2009
Location: 500 Park Blvd, Itasca, IL
Event Time: 8:00 a.m. participant check-in (rain or shine)
Register by: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 (advanced registration required, open to the first 500 cars/drivers registered)

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Following this exciting event, participants are welcome to attend Itasca Fest. This fest includes live entertainment, carnival rides, food, bingo, kids’ entertainment, a three-on-three basketball tournament, and NASA’s “Journey to Tomorrow” exhibit. For more information click on the Village of Itasca link visit www.itasca.com.

Participants are also eligible to receive a special event room rate of $89 per night* at The Westin Chicago Northwest hotel. For your convenience, this four-star, four-diamond hotel is located within walking distance from the start of the parade. To make your reservation, simply click on the Westin Hotels and Resorts logo to the left.

More Info: Click Here to Register

2010 Subaru Legacy & Outback Unveiled at NY Auto Show

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Like most outdoorsy people, I’ve owned my fair share of Subaru’s.  They are (in my mind) the most versatile vehicles on the market for those who love adventure and drive in snowy climates. I’ve driven in some nasty snowstorms and on rough roads and my Subaru Outback has always delivered.

My favorite feature is the anger that I feel and sometimes see on the faces of other drivers of inferior, two-wheel-drive vehicles as I pass by them on a snowpacked road. In Utah, it happens ALL THE TIME.

Over the past few years, Subaru has gone through a little bit of an design identity crisis. Though many people didn’t like the initial front-end design of the Subaru Tribeca, I quite liked it because it was different and still quirky (sometimes that’s a good thing).

The new 2010 Subaru Legacy and upcoming Subaru Outback will feature more modern styling with a more rounded roofline, aggressive headlights, bolder grille and an updated interior with plenty of stylish touches and silver accents. Engines look the same with a 4-cylinder Boxer (standard and turbocharged) or the H6 Boxer, but transmissions are stepping into the modern day with 6-speeds and CVT options (view full specs). Expect the 2010 Subaru Legacy and Outback to hit showrooms early this Summer.

I’ll have to see the new Outback design in person, but the back end of the wagon looks a bit odd to me and the overall design is soft. On top of that, the roof rack is now nearly unusable with only a couple of feet exposed in the middle. Interesting.

Do you like or dislike the new Subaru design?

More Info: Visit Subaru.com

Is that a Subaru Tribeca or a Chrysler Pacifica?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

I’m a Subaru fan… have been for years. I love their cars because they are practical and can’t be stopped in the snow. The Subaru Outback has been wildly successful in snowbelt areas and with mountain-folks alike. I’m sure most of their sales come from Utah, Colorado and Washington State, but with the release of the Impreza WRX earlier this decade, Subies are all the rage with the rice rocket crowd as well.

Because Subaru owners are loyal (I’ve owned 5 of them), Subaru introduced the B9 Tribeca for the 2006 model year with the intent of wooing Subie owners who have outgrown their Outback wagons. The result has been less-than-stellar for the bottom-line of Subaru corporate. Sales have been sluggish because of the polarizing front-end styling. Some love it… others hate, hate, hate it. (more…)

2008 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

So, it’s taken a few months, but I’m starting to really dig the new Subaru Impreza body style for 2008. The old body style with the aggressive “love it or hate it” front end styling has been replaced by a more subdued and perhaps somewhat boring front end. Yeah, it’s got some good and bad attributes, but I think I can appreciate more now.

The wagon-esque style has now been replaced with more of a hatchback look. Overall size has increased and interior room expanded as well. Fuel efficiency isn’t world-class, but it’s still respectable at 27 mpg highway–especially considering the Outback Sport has Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive and weighs much more than comparable front-wheel-drive vehicles. (more…)