Subaru emerged among the top automakers in crash tests of model-year 2012 cars and trucks conducted by a U.S. insurance industry group.
Subaru, a unit of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., is the sole maker to have all of its 2012 models earn the grade, the institute said in an e-mailed statement today.
More vehicles won the ranking this year after manufacturers redesigned roofs to make them stronger in rollovers, the Arlington, Virginia-based insurance group said. Sixty-nine cars, 38 SUVs, 5 minivans and 3 pickups made the list after tests evaluating passenger safety in front, side and rear crashes, as well as rollovers.
“Commitment to protecting people in crashes is evident in the fast pace of design improvements automakers have made during the past year,” the institute said in the statement.
A record number of models qualified for a second consecutive year, Adrian Lund, president of the group, said in the statement. One hundred 2011 model-year vehicles received the top rating, according to the statement.
When you have to drive on the white stuff, you want to feel confident in your ability to get where you’re going.
All-wheel drive can give you that assurance. By powering all four wheels at the same time, all-wheel-drive systems provide better traction than two-wheel-drive ones. Plus, all-wheel drive is always on and adjusts automatically to changing road conditions — unlike four-wheel-drive systems typically found in trucks, which require you to make a selection for the conditions or type of terrain.
In preparation for colder weather, we recommend ten 2012 vehicles that offer a shovelful of value — as measured by our annual rankings — as well as all-wheel drive. Our rankings reflect resale value, fuel economy, safety and more, so these vehicles are well rounded. Eight of the ten were awarded Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Subaru Impreza 2.0i Premium hatchback
Courtesy of Subaru
Sticker price: $20,045
Invoice price: $19,150
MPG: 27 city, 36 highway
Heated front seats: Included in $500 All-Weather option package
The Impreza is one of the least expensive all-wheel-drive vehicles on the market. Redesigned for 2012 to be edgier inside and out, it gets 30% better fuel economy — and it’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick. The Impreza employs two versions of Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive: Manual-transmission models get “Continuous AWD” that initially splits power 50-50 between front and rear wheels, and automatics (which cost an extra $1,000) get “Active AWD,” which sends power to the wheels based on acceleration, deceleration and available traction.
Both systems will transfer power to the wheels with the best grip. The All-Weather package includes heated seats and exterior mirrors, as well as a windshield wiper de-icer.
Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
Courtesy of Subaru
Sticker price: $29,470
Invoice price: $27,688
MPG: 19 city, 27 highway
Heated front seats: Standard
Kiplinger’s named the Outback Best in Class last year, based on its fuel economy, stellar resale values and bragging rights as an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive comes in three different versions (all standard) on Outback models, depending on the transmission and engine — the 2.5i automatic uses “Active Torque Split AWD,” which distributes power to the wheels depending on acceleration, deceleration and available traction. The Outback also includes as standard equipment a windshield wiper de-icer; remote start costs $424.
The usual small $100 to $300 across the range.
Deep Indigio Pearl (light interior) & Ice Silver Metallic (black)
Ruby Red Pearl switches from light to black – yes!
Black interior options now Graphite Grey, Ice Silver, Ruby red & Sky Blue.
Azurite Blue & Steel Silver are gone.
No engine change
It was thought possible that the 2012 Outback would get the DOHC chain drive new Boxer as in the 2011 Forester, but no change.
Base model gets Audio controls on steering wheel
Premium now gets standard Bluetooth on the wheel, and a USB port.
Limited gets HD Radio with Harmon Kardon and a Screen as on the limited Forester.