Earlier this week, we told you about our trip to North Carolina to test drive the 2013 Subaru Outback.
What we didn’t mention was a series of philosophical discussions that broke out among the journalists on that trip.
Here’s what happened: 12 of us were invited to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the Outback launch event. But in addition to testing the new model and putting Subaru’s EyeSight system through its paces, our agenda also included paddleboarding, hang gliding, and yoga sessions on the beach.
As hokey as that might sound, it generated some genuinely interesting chatter among the group. Between activities, as we rode in the cars, on the buses, or sat down at meals, we found ourselves talking about the “Subaru lifestyle”.
There was little doubt in the group that the Subaru brand means “active”, “responsible”, “fun”, and “outdoor” — not to mention “OUT”. By way of comparison, several of us began pondering the “lifestyle” of our daily cars and realized that few brands, if any, have as clear a “lifestyle” as Subaru.
But there was also broad agreement that while some Outback owners do use their vehicles for outdoor activities, most don’t take full advantage of Outback’s capabilities. And so, we as a group resolved to do exactly that while on the trip. (Ultimately, what we did is manage to pull a front panel and a rear panel partially off the test vehicles, but they popped right back on and looked as good as new.)
Looking back over the last five years of Subaru marketing and product development, it appears that the Subaru “lifestyle” has become increasingly clear to Subaru, too. The exterior design language has changed so that the cars appear ready for anything. The interiors have become more functional without being too utilitarian. That seems to reflect Subaru’s understanding that most of their cars will be driven to and from the office, and occasionally to the grocery store — but that they ought to be ready, willing, and able to hit the trails, too.
Have you given much thought to the “lifestyle” of your car? Did it affect your decision to buy that vehicle? Drop us a line, or leave a comment below.
– Peter Sorgenfrei