Few car makers rival Subaru’s motorsport heritage. Nowadays, its expertise can be seen in every one of its production vehicles.
Think of the greats of world rallying: Colin McRae. Ari Vatanen. Richard Burns. Petter Solberg.
Now picture them in their vehicles, helmet on and steering wheel clutched in gloved hands. Is the car you’re visualising bright blue? Thought so.
Every one of these legends drove for the Subaru team and notched up their biggest career successes while racing under the manufacturer’s banner.
There was Colin McRae’s drivers’ championship victory in 1995, which coincided with Subaru’s first manufacturers’ title.
It scored two more straight works championships in the following years, with McRae consistently finishing in the drivers’ top two.
In 2001 Burns steered Subaru to a second drivers’ championship, with Norway’s Solberg doing it again two years later.
Subaru’s dominance of world rallying lives long in the mind of enthusiasts, and the legacy of that period of high achievement is enjoyed by everyone who drives its production cars today. Why?
Because each one features technology that was honed in the pressured environment of competitive motorsport.
Consider Subaru’s unique Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (SAWD) system. This is a feature of all of its world-beating rally cars, including the Legacy RS of the early 1990s and the much-admired Impreza 555 in which McRae became world champion.
Proven in the heat of competition, the setup sits at the heart of every model (except the BRZ sports coupe) in Subaru’s current line-up. It’s why vehicles like the Outback, Forester and XV deliver such a reassuring drive.
The SAWD works by driving every wheel, in contrast to the part-time four-wheel drive configurations favoured on many SUVs.
It then tweaks the precise power delivery in response to conditions, redirecting it from a wheel if slip is detected to facilitate a constant grip on the surface below.
As well as delivering astonishing road holding, SAWD translates to enviable go-anywhere ability, especially when allied to the enhanced ground clearance of the Forester, Outback and XV.
Whether you’re a rural dweller who traverses tricky country lanes in all weathers, a boating or caravan enthusiast in need of a tow car, or a lover of adventurous pursuits who needs a practical car to access out-of-the-way places, Subaru’s all-terrain credentials make the task of getting from A to B immeasurably more straightforward.
Even better, the brand is regularly recognised for the safety of its vehicles, which is perhaps unsurprising when you consider its motorsport heritage.
The fact that the Forester, Outback and XV all received a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests enhances the sense of putting yourself and your passengers in good hands. These cars really are made of strong stuff.
It is not hard to see why so many motorsport greats signed up with Subaru during its World Rally Championship glory days. If you’re at the top of your game, you want to drive the very best.
And while the average motorist may not have the astonishing behind-the-wheel nous of a McRae or a Vatanen, it is reassuring to know that, in some small way, you are part of the same legend. The modern Subaru is the heir to their success.
What is ‘Subaru Sense’?
Subaru’s unique approach to engineering underpins everything they do. They put capability, safety and reliability before anything else – always have, always will. In this series for The Telegraph and Subaru, adventurous people talk about the vehicles and technologies that make sense to them.
Subaru has been making cars for more than 60 years. The combination of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Subaru’s famous Boxer engine form the basis of a range of technologies designed to give you the ultimate confidence on (and off) the road.