Audi and Subaru have been named best Mainstream Brand and best Premium Brand respectively in ALG’s 2018 Canadian Residual Value Awards (RVA), an important benchmark used for forecasting future vehicle…

Audi and Subaru earn top honours in 2018 ALG Canadian Residual Value Awards

2018 Subaru Impreza
The Subaru Impreza achieved best residual value in its “Compact” class. (Photo: Subaru)

Audi and Subaru have been named best Mainstream Brand and best Premium Brand respectively in ALG’s 2018 Canadian Residual Value Awards (RVA), an important benchmark used for forecasting future vehicle values by auto industry professions.

Now in its 10th year, ALG’s RVA projects future values of new models from 26 separate market segments, ranging from “Alt-fuel” to “Fullsize Commercial Van” and everything in between. There are many ways to measure value, although within the car industry the difference between the initial price paid for a new vehicle and its resale value after three or four years is a key parameter. ALG uses the average ownership duration of four years to determine mainstream volume brand values and three years for premium brands, with the results showing both Subaru and Audi are tops in their respective sectors.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek
The Crosstrek earned best resale value in the “Subcompact Utility” category. (Photo: Subaru)

“Depreciation is the single biggest cost of vehicle ownership, and informed consumers understand the importance of resale value when making their purchase decision,” said Eric Lyman, vice president of ALG. “The ALG Residual Value Award is a meaningful achievement in the hyper-competitive automotive landscape. Residual values are a key indicator for the market success of a vehicle, factoring in quality, product execution and brand desirability as primary drivers of ALG’s forecast.”

This is Subaru’s fourth consecutive RVA mainstream brand win, showing an impressive consistency in quality, execution and desirability. This year the brand earned four segment awards, including the Impreza in the “Compact” class, the Crosstrek in the “Subcompact Utility” segment, the Outback in the “Midsize Utility 2nd Row Seating” segment, and the WRX in the “Sportscar” segment.

2018 Subaru Outback
Subaru’s Outback has the highest residual value in the “Midsize Utility 2nd Row Seating” segment. (Photo: Subaru)

Other notable mainstream brands include Toyota that dominated SUV and truck segments with five RVAs including the Tundra achieving its eighth consecutive year topping the “Fullsize Pickup” category, the Tacoma at five RVA “Midsize Pickup” class awards in a row, the Highlander winning the “Midsize Utility 3rd Row Seating” segment, the 4Runner in the “Off-Road Utility” class, and the Sequoia earning top marks in the “Fullsize Utility” category. Honda received three RVA segment awards including the Fit in the “Subcompact” class, Accord in the “Midsize” category, and Odyssey in the “Minivan” segment.

Nissan managed two winners including the Rogue in the “Compact Utility” class and Maxima in the “Fullsize” segment, while the only one-off deserving mention is Kia’s Niro in the “Alt-fuel” category.

2018 Audi A5 Coupe
Audi’s A5 has the best residual value amongst “Premium Midsize” models. (Photo: Audi)

Audi, which has experienced a dramatic upsurge in new vehicle sales in recent years, achieved four category wins including the A5 in the “Premium Midsize” class, A7 in the “Premium Fullsize” segment, Q5 in the “Premium Compact Utility” segment, and Q7 in the “Premium Midsize Utility 3rd Row Seating” category.

“Audi has emerged in recent years as a contender in the luxury space against top European rivals, finding success with new product entries in the utility space and emphasizing innovative technologies that have resonated well with luxury consumers,” stated an ALG press release.

2018 Audi Q5
The new Q5 is rated highest for resale value in the “Premium Compact Utility” segment. (Photo: Audi)

Mercedes also took home four awards, albeit with two in the commercial sector. The winners included the Metris in the “Midsize Commercial” segment and the Sprinter in the “Fullsize Commercial” category, while its CLA Class took home top marks amongst “Premium Compact” models, and the G-Class achieved the highest score in the “Premium Fullsize Utility” segment.

No other premium brand earned multiple RVAs, but notable mentioned include the Maserati Quattroporte in the “Premium Executive” class, the Porsche 718 Boxster in the “Premium Sportscar” segment, and the Land Rover Range Rover Velar in the “Premium Midsize Utility 2nd Row Seating” category.

Subaru Canada, Inc. (SCI) capped off calendar year 2017 with its best December on record, helping the Japanese automaker to achieve its sixth consecutive year of annual sales growth. December 2017’s…

Subaru Canada achieves six consecutive record years of sales growth

2018 Subaru Impreza
The Impreza experienced growth of 42.4 percent in 2017. (Photo: Subaru)

Subaru Canada, Inc. (SCI) capped off calendar year 2017 with its best December on record, helping the Japanese automaker to achieve its sixth consecutive year of annual sales growth.

December 2017’s total was 3,876 units for a 4.6-percent gain over the same month in 2016, pushing Subaru’s total annual deliveries to 54,570 vehicles for an 8.7-percent year-over-year sales increase when compared to 2016’s 50,190-unit tally.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek
The Crosstrek found 14.9 percent more buyers for a total of 11,168 deliveries last year. (Photo: Subaru)

“More Canadians than ever before drove Subaru’s sales with a record-setting results streak, which gave rise to Subaru’s highest sales ever,” said Yasushi Enami, chairman, president and CEO of Subaru Canada, Inc. “With our sixth consecutive annual sales record in the books, we are ready for 2018 as our strong dealer network steps forward into 2018 and we bring our best product offering yet.”

2018 Subaru WRX STI
The WRX and WRX STI collectively increased from 4,217 to 4,616 units for a 9.5-percent gain in 2017. (Photo: Subaru)

Movers and shakers included the Impreza compact four-door sedan and five-door hatchback, plus the Crosstrek subcompact crossover SUV that achieved 38.6 and 48.0 December growth respectively. The Impreza’s yearly sales were even more impressive, with growth of 42.4 percent to 10,617 units overall in 2017, while the Crosstrek found 14.9 percent more buyers for a total of 11,168 deliveries last year.

2018 Subaru Outback
The Outback crossover’s 2.1-percent year-over-year growth was more modest last year. (Photo: Subaru)

Additionally, the WRX and WRX STI performance models collectively increased from 4,217 to 4,616 units for a respectable 9.5-percent gain in 2017, while the mid-size Outback crossover’s year-over-year growth was more modest, from 11,255 to 11,490 units for a 2.1-percent upward trend. Despite its smaller numbers, BRZ sports coupe growth was a solid 6.3 percent from 740 units in 2016 to 787 last year, although it should be noted that the BRZ’s 2016 sales represented a significant drop when compared to much stronger sales in years prior.

2018 Subaru BRZ
BRZ sports coupe growth was a solid 6.3 percent from 740 units in 2016 to 787 last year. (Photo: Subaru)

Ironically in a market that predominantly favours utilities, Subaru’s best-selling Forester compact SUV was one of the only models to slip backward due to sales of 13,441 units in 2017 compared to 13,798 in 2016, this being a 2.6-percent slide, the other model losing ground year-over-year being the Legacy mid-size sedan that dropped from 3,001 units in 2016 to 2,451 deliveries last year, representing an 18.3-percent downturn.

2018 Subaru Forester
Ironically in a market that favours SUVs, Forester sales fell backward in 2017. (Photo: Subaru)

On the positive, the 2018 Legacy has received a refresh that should boost interest, while the Forester will receive a dramatic redesign later this year. Available even sooner, the all-new 2019 Ascent mid-size crossover SUV, which just made its Canadian debut at the Montreal auto show, will arrive this summer. The Ascent is Subaru’s largest-ever crossover SUV with the choice of seven- or eight-occupant seating, expanding the Japanese brand’s market reach to a much broader market than ever before. This should help Subaru continue its sales growth momentum.

We’re back in the Subaru Forester’s saddle for 2018, this time in top-line 2.0XT Limited trim that comes standard with a 250-hp turbo-four, CVT with paddles, AWD, steering-responsive LED headlights,…

2018 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Limited Road Test

Subaru's Forester has come a long way since a funky squared-off, raised wagon by the same name debuted in 1997. That model did well for the brand and helped usher in the compact crossover SUV craze, but in 2002 the hard edges were smoothed out, refinements improved the cabin, and soon after a version of the WRX STi's turbo-four was added to a new top-line XT trim that pumped up performance. The Forester grew up to true compact SUV dimensions in 2008 for the 2009 model year with the release of its third-generation, while 2013's fourth-gen model, followed by its mid-cycle upgrade last year, returned some of its edgy, chunky original design elements, albeit in a larger more upright utility.

I've just scratched the surface of the many changes that joined those updates, plus numerous modifications in between, to the point that today's Subaru is so far advanced over its predecessors it might as well be an entirely different SUV. Of course, the same can be said of many popular cars and Read Full Story
As if Subaru’s redesigned WRX STI and BRZ weren’t enough on their own, Subaru’s performance division has upped the ante for 2018 with two limited edition models. STI, otherwise known as Subaru Tecnica…

Subaru delivers limited edition WRX STI and BRZ performance models for 2018

2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA and BRZ tS
2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA and BRZ tS
As if Subaru’s redesigned WRX STI and BRZ weren’t enough on their own, Subaru’s performance division has upped the ante for 2018 with two limited edition models. STI, otherwise known as Subaru Tecnica International, Inc., are behind the 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA and 2018 Subaru BRZ tS upgrades, which include exterior aero and design enhancements, interior styling tweaks, engine mods, weight removal, and revised suspensions.
2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA
The WRX STI Type RA adds styling and aero trim, but more important are its performance upgrades. (Photo: Subaru)
Starting with body modifications, the 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA gets a mesh grille surrounded by Cherry Blossom Red accents, a new rear bumper cap, a special front under-spoiler, black finished side mirror caps, a roof-mounted shark fin antenna, and STI fender badges, while the interior receives an ultrasuede-wrapped steering wheel, Recaro performance seats featuring red bolsters and stitching up front, an exclusive red ignition button, and a centre console-mounted numbered plaque.
2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA
Both models get a bit of red in the grille and extra aero bodywork. (Photo: Subaru)
Ahead of the firewall, the 2.5-litre turbocharged boxer four-cylinder gets a modified air intake, beefier pistons, and a retuned ECU, while a high-flow performance exhaust system snakes its way to the back. The six-speed manual transmission boasts a short-throw shifter connecting to a revised third gear ratio. The result is stronger straight-line performance, although Subaru isn’t clarifying how much.
2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA
Love those rally retro brilliant gold rims. (Photo: Subaru)
For faster cornering and shorter stopping distances, the new WRX STI Type RA gets a lighter weight carbon fibre roof panel and pedestal wing, a set of brilliant gold 19-inch forged alloy BBS wheels on 245/35R19 Yokohama Advan Sports rubber, specially-tuned cross-drilled Brembo brakes with monoblock six-piston front calipers and dual-piston binders in the rear, plus looses its spare tire and tool kit, while a reworked suspension featuring inverted front struts and rear double wishbones, plus Bilstein dampers and coil springs, not to mention better stability control thanks to modified multi-mode VDC, adds to its road-holding prowess.
2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA
That’s a carbon fibre roof. (Photo: Subaru)
If you were wondering, RA stands for “Record Attempt”, a race-prepped WRX STI Type RA NBR Special having set a new lap record for a four-door sedan at the renowned 20.6-km (12.8-mile) Nürburgring Nordschleife racetrack, its record time being 6:57.5 minutes and its driver one very talented Kiwi named Richie Stanaway, best known for competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship (check the photo gallery and video below).
2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA
The 2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA NBR Special set a new Nürburgring Nordschleife track record for a sedan at 6:57.5 minutes. (Photo: Subaru)
In comparison the 2018 BRZ tS is far from a Nürburgring record breaker, its STI upgrades designed to deliver “the highest level of ‘fun to drive’ and ‘pure handling delight’ through greater flexibility, better control, and stability,” said Subaru in a press release. Starting from a car that’s already amazingly agile thanks to an extremely low centre of gravity and a well designed suspension setup, the new 2018 BRZ tS adds STI-tuned front and rear SACHS dampers and coil springs, plus flexible V-braces under the hood. What’s more, new chassis and sub-frame draw stiffeners improve steering responsiveness, the new lightweight 18-inch STI wheels on 215/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber (a BRZ first) no doubt doing likewise while also providing better adhesion and quicker turn-in. Stopping power is enhanced by a set of Brembo brakes.
2018 Subaru BRZ tS
The new BRZ tS is all about downforce and handling, not to mention style. (Photo: Subaru)
The BRZ tS gets an angrier look due to front, side and rear under-spoilers that also aid airflow for improved traction and stability, while an exclusive rear carbon fibre STI spoiler is manually adjustable for fine-tuning rear downforce.
2018 Subaru BRZ tS
That’s one wild looking rear wing, while it’s also adjustable. (Photo: Subaru)
Like the WRX STI Type RA, the new BRZ tS also gets Cherry Blossom Red accents around the grille and a special rear bumper cap, while the trunk lid just above shows off unique BRZ tS badging. Additionally, the front fog lights have been axed for STI fog light covers, while the side mirrors, roof-mounted shark fin antenna, and exterior badging are finished in black.
2018 Subaru BRZ tS
A closer look shows this wing is all business. (Photo: Subaru)
Inside, the BRZ tS wows with black leather and Alcantara upholstery featuring contrasting red stitching, while red accents highlight key areas elsewhere, such as the steering wheel, dash panels, knee pads, shifter and e-brake boots, and door panels. The front seats look sportier thanks to red leather bolsters, whereas the seatbacks receive embroidered tS logos. Additionally, the gauge cluster visor gets a unique finish, as does the door panel trim, while the centre console sports an exclusive cast black finish and rearview mirror is frameless. Lastly, the BRZ tS receives a set of red seatbelts up front.
2018 Subaru BRZ tS
Both cars get unique interior upgrades. (Photo: Subaru)
Both cars are available in WR Blue Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, and Crystal White Pearl exterior paint. Check with your local Subaru dealer for pricing. Now, check out this video of the new 2018 WRX STI Type RA NBR Special setting a lap record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife racetrack:
 
Subaru’s highly successful Outback has been refreshed for 2018, with styling updates that better reflect its “rugged character,” says Subaru in an associated press release. Additionally, the 2018…

Renewed 2018 Subaru Outback improves styling and refinement

2018 Subaru Outback
Fresh new styling renews the look of the 2018 Outback, its updated headlights and front fascia especially bold. (Photo: Subaru)
Subaru’s highly successful Outback has been refreshed for 2018, with styling updates that better reflect its “rugged character,” says Subaru in an associated press release. Additionally, the 2018 Outback gets a renewed interior with higher grade materials, greater comfort and more advanced electronics, while the mid-size crossover SUV, or rather the “world’s first sport utility wagon,” rides on a retuned suspension promising a “smoother, quieter ride” and better control. The Outback is Subaru Canada’s third-most popular model, as well as its default flagship due to 2018 pricing that starts at $29,295 and topping out at $42,195, plus freight and dealer fees. This makes it most capable of making a tidy profit, giving it an important role in the alternative Japanese brand’s bottom line maintenance and growth strategy.
2018 Subaru Outback
The 2018 Outback’s grille is revised, its headlights offer more distinctive character, and its lower fascia is more rugged looking. (Photo: Subaru)
Last year Subaru sold 11,255 Outbacks through calendar year 2016, compared to 13,798 Foresters, 11,673 Imprezas, 9,723 Crosstreks, 4,217 WRX/STIs, 3,001 Legacys, and 740 BRZs. Over the first two quarters of 2017 the Outback sales grew to 5,648 units, and while this number appears to only be slightly larger than half of last year’s sales, it’s really much stronger than the 5,195 units Subaru sold over the first six months of 2016, with all but the final month of June showing growth over the previous year. Altogether the model’s Q1 and Q2 year-over-year growth was up 8.7 percent, which is considerably better than some competitors that have actually been falling backward despite the auto market’s love affair with SUVs. A mid-cycle makeover for the last four months of the year can only help.
2018 Subaru Outback
The 2018 Outback’s rear bumper is certainly a bolder visual statement than the outgoing version’s. (Photo: Subaru)
From the outside it’s all about showing a “bolder more rugged face,” adds Subaru, this due to a reworked grille, revised lower front fascia, new door mirrors, and much more aggressive rear bumper design. While the grille gets a stronger strikethrough in its upper section, the 2018 Outback’s redesigned headlights might be the most dramatic visual enhancement up front, now more sharply angled with a unique scalloped treatment at their topmost inner point, as well as more defined signature LED elements inside, whereas the matte black lower fascia’s fog lamp bezels protrude upward in a more pronounced fashion, or at least they appear to now that more body-colour surfacing separates them from the centre vent.
2018 Subaru Outback
The Outback remains a capable go-anywhere crossover. (Photo: Subaru)
New mirror housings with slimmer more sophisticated looking LED turn signals aside, there’s not much to distinguish the outgoing Outback from the new one when viewing from its profile, although if you look very carefully from this vantage point it’s possible to pick out some augmentation to the new taillight lenses and rear bumper, the latter feature getting additional black cladding extending upward at each corner. That bumper cap makes the most obvious difference from the rear view too, giving the Outback most of the “rugged” visual upgrade mentioned earlier.
2018 Subaru Outback
Top-line 2018 Outback trims offer improved interior refinement. (Photo: Subaru)
Helping the new Outback perform as well as it looks is a new seven-speed sequential manual mode for the standard continuously variable transmission (CVT), which also includes paddle shifters and off-road enhancing X-Mode, while all 2.5i trims are now Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) rated, which translates into some of the lowest emissions levels in their mid-size SUV class. Also important, all Outbacks get a revised brake booster to improve stopping performance. Inside, enhancements to the new 2018 model include a redesigned steering wheel with reorganized switchgear that improves “comfort and convenience” across the entire Outback line, while over on the centre stack is a new voice-activated dual-zone auto climate control interface featuring digital readouts for easier legibility and greater overall functionality, standard in just-above-base 2.5i Touring trim. Lastly, rear passengers get dual USB slots for connecting personal devices.
2018 Subaru Outback
Subaru has improved the 2018 Outback’s steering wheel controls for easier use. (Photo: Subaru)
The updated Outback receives two carryover engine choices, starting with the most fuel-efficient 2.5i and topping off with the most powerful 3.6R. The base four-cylinder displaces 2.5 litres and produces up to 175 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque, whereas the larger six-cylinder makes upwards of 256 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque. All Outbacks transmit power to the wheels through the CVT mentioned earlier, a type of transmission that maximizes efficiency. Fuel economy continues to be impressive too, with the H-4 rated at 9.4 L/100km in the city and 7.3 on the highway and the H-6 achieving a claimed 12.0 city and 8.7 highway rating.
2018 Subaru Outback
Upper trims get a new 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, while all models incorporate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (Photo: Subaru)
The Canadian-spec Outback will be available in seven trims for 2018, starting with 2.5i, 2.5i Touring, 2.5i Limited, and 2.5i Premier. Premier trim includes Subaru’s advanced EyeSight driver-assistance package as standard equipment, whereas EyeSight is optional with Touring and Limited trims. The Outback’s optional 3.6R engine can be had in Touring, Limited and Premium trims, although with this larger engine EyeSight can’t be had in 3.6R Touring trim, instead only available with the 3.6R Limited and standard with the 3.6R Premier. That EyeSight package, which is a very reasonable $1,500 upgrade, includes pre-collision braking, pre-collision brake assist, pre-collision throttle management, lane departure warning, lane sway warning, lane keep assist, lead vehicle start alert, reverse automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, and new high beam assist.
2018 Subaru Outback
The Outback is fully capable of light off-road duty. (Photo: Subaru)
Of note, the Subaru Rear/Side Vehicle Detection System (SRVD), which includes blindspot detection, lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert, is standard with all models above the base 2.5i. Last year’s Outback achieved a best-possible Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the IIHS when upgraded with EyeSight, so there’s no reason to think the new 2018 model will fare any worse. In fact, it should be safer and more convenient in real-world scenarios now that Subaru has integrated auto high beams on so-equipped Limited and standard Premier trims, which incidentally let them remove the third camera from behind the rearview mirror.
2018 Subaru Outback
Road trip? The Outback makes a great family vacation getaway car. (Photo: Subaru)
Additional 2018 Outback safety upgrades include a collision detection feature that can automatically unlock the doors if required, plus automatic door locks that do the opposite when getting under way, a window off-delay timer, improved child safety seat anchors, and a stiffer chassis that should also improve driving dynamics. All Outback trims should be quieter too, thanks to acoustic front door glass to reduce engine, wind and road noise, while additional standard equipment now includes a standard 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen featuring new Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.
2018 Subaru Outback
The Outback is perfect for trips to the ski hill. (Photo: Subaru)
That centre display grows from 7.0 to 8.0 inches in Touring trim and above, while the driver and front passenger benefit from a reworked centre vent grille, centre panel, air conditioning panel, and instrument panel. Additionally, navigation with detailed mapping adds functionality to that new larger infotainment display in Limited and Premier trims, while steering-responsive LED headlights benefit forward visibility. These upper trims get real stitching across the instrument panel too, as well as on the revised door panels, while new shift panel detailing and new seat trim patterns pull the mainstream volume-branded crossover SUV closer to premium rivals. On this final theme, top-tier Premier trim now includes auto up/down powered windows all around.
2018 Subaru Outback
Small trailers are easy work for the Outback 3.6R. (Photo: Subaru)
All trims can easily be sorted out via unique alloy wheels, with base 2.5i and Touring models getting 17-inch rolling stock, and larger 18-inch alloys added to Limited and Premium trims. The 2018 Outback 2.5i will start at $29,295 plus freight and dealer fees, whereas 2.5i Touring trim is priced $3,500 higher at $32,795, 2.5i Touring trim with EyeSight at $34,295, 2.5i Limited trim at $36,795, 2.5i Limited trim with EyeSight at $38,295, and 2.5i Premier with EyeSight at $39,195. If you want to move up to the 3.6R six-cylinder engine in base Touring guise you’ll need to fork over $35,795 before discount, whereas the 3.6R Limited starts at $39,795, the same package with EyeSight will set you back $41,295, and finally the 3.6R Premier with EyeSight is priced at $42,195. Most Subaru retailers should have a new 2018 Outback demo available for test drives, so make sure to contact your local dealer to experience it first hand.