Posted Monday, April 18, 2022 at 10:02pm
The Subaru Forester has changed quite a bit since its earliest days when the idea of a special variant meant offering the sport-tuned XT or, in other markets, the Forester STi. Times have obviously changed as the 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness shows. It’s all about getting muddier and going further off-road than other Foresters rather than carving canyons quicker.
While such a pivot over time may be painful for high-octane car enthusiasts, there are very good reasons for these changes: customers. Remember, people actually buy cars. And to find out what customers want and don’t want, car companies need product planners like Michael Redic. One of three car line planning managers at Subaru, he was responsible for the Forester Wilderness as well as the recent mid-cycle update for the Subaru Crosstrek that saw it (finally!) get a more powerful engine option.
He’s also a really interesting guy whose journey to product planning should be an inspiration to anyone looking to find a role in the automotive industry, but who isn’t entirely sure what they can do and how they can go about doing it. This conversation has been condensed and edited.
Posted Thursday, March 17, 2022 at 9:47pm
Quick 100 Acre Wood Preview
The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood. Open and flowing with a few tight, twisty stages thrown in. This year’s event features some of the fastest stages in the American Rally Association (ARA) series. Conditions can vary widely during this event, the range being from clear, sunny and 70 degrees, to the solid sheets of ice and snow of a true winter event.
Coming into the rally this year, the weather has been drier. Last year’s event featured torrential rainstorms the week before the event and was wet, with raging swollen streams, amid the pandemic to boot. The water splashes were deep and vast. I have never been to a rally that claimed so many cars due to water crossings. Coming out of the water splashes, one would see two to four cars parked due to water getting somewhere it shouldn’t be.
That was actually a year that the tortoise finished ahead of the hare. During the recce, some of the river crossings were so deep that the water actually came up over the hood of the car. Our rally car (CPD4) does not seem to care for the mix of deep water and high speed. My son, Spencer, and I took it easy through the deep water and kept chugging along. Often times, water would still hit the air filter element causing the car to sputter and threaten to die. The filter eventually dried out, resuming its normal function. This did not make for flashy or spectacular water crossing pictures, but we kept going. When the plaque for 3rd place in class was given to us it was a pleasant surprise.
We got to look at the stages today on recce. This year looks to be drier, at least until it begins raining on Friday. Friday’s stages are fast and flowing, and are up in the Potosi area. The wet, potholed and nasty parts are still there on the Saturday stages southeast of Salem. These rough, rutted portions, with holes filled with water and deep mud, are a challenge even in drier conditions. They will get much worse as it rains. Dodging car parts such as bumper skins can also be part of the repertoire.
Finishing this event is always an achievement-
Tally ho! Here we go!
Posted Monday, February 21, 2022 at 8:32pm
The question every year at Snodrift is, “What will the road surface be like?” The surface may range from melting snow with mixed gravel and mud to a solid sheet of ice. This year was of the “solid sheet of ice” variety. I have been competing in this event off and on since 2002. There have been numerous years where the roads have been icy, but the year that sticks… Read More →
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2022 at 8:55pm
We are in the winter rally season and have two rallies coming up. Here in the United States, it’s Snodrift based in Atlanta…Michigan. For the WRC, it’s Rally Sweden. Both are classic winter events, but there’s one difference between the two. In the US, we must use off-the-shelf snow tires. The WRC event will use a true rally snow/ice tire with studs. The difference between the two tires is immense.… Read More →
Posted Monday, January 3, 2022 at 10:47pm
Though Subaru is looking toward an electric future, the 2022 WRX is a clear indication of the brand’s commitment to its enthusiast customer base. Touted as a more refined reiteration of the iconic rally car, the fifth-generation WRX is the first version of the sporty compact sedan built on Subaru’s Global Platform, which improves vehicle dynamics and reduces noise, vibration and harshness — significantly enhancing the overall rigidity of the… Read More →
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