Subaru, known for its rally-bred sporty handling showed off a very different side at the Eco Challenge Adventure Drive: fuel efficiency. Subaru brought out their entire AWD line-up (sans the Impreza) on a fuel economy challenge that spanned more than 100 kilometers through a mix of both city and highway driving conditions.
Eight teams of two or three people were split into the WRX STI, WRX, Outback 3.6R-S, Legacy 2.5i-S, Forester XT, Forester 2.0 i-L, Subaru XV 2.0i-Premium, and Subaru XV 2.0i.
The ideal layout of the Boxer engine coupled with the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive featuring an Active Torque Split (or Driver Controlled Center Differential for the WRX STI), means less parasitic power loss from the drivetrain to the driven wheels. In addition, Subaru’s extensive experience with this layout (continuously honed since 1972) means no other manufacturer can come close in offering an optimal combination of all-wheel drive performance, fuel economy, and efficiency.
Recently, Subaru has also invested in new engines and gearboxes to make their vehicles 10 to 20 percent more fuel efficient than before. First, the new-generation FB 4-cylinder engine (standard on the Subaru XV, Forester, and Legacy) is specifically made with economy in mind featuring low internal friction and a long stroke/small bore design. It’s also the first Subaru engine to feature a timing chain that replaces the costly-to-replace timing belt. Second, the application of the EPS or Electric Power Steering (in all but the WRX STI) means lesser load on the engine. Thirdly, is the introduction of direct-injection in its newest offerings: the Forester XT and WRX that feature the award-winning FA20DIT. Finally, the adoption of the Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) ensures that the engines are always at their optimal revs whatever the road or driving condition.
At the end of the fuel economy run, the entire convoy averaged 13.19 km/L. Here’s the breakdown:
- Subaru WRX STI M/T (11.00 km/L)
- Subaru WRX M/T (14.68 km/L) - BEST FIGURE
- Subaru Outback 3.6R-S (11.24 km/L)
- Subaru Legacy 2.5i-S (13.49 km/L)
- Subaru XV 2.0i-Premium (14.18 km/L)
- Subaru XV 2.0i (13.89 km/L)
- Subaru Forester XT (13.02 km/L)
- Subaru 2.0i-L (14.02 km/L)
The Eco Challenge Adventure Drive showed that with technologies such as the Boxer Engine, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, and Lineartronic CVT, these new-generation Subaru vehicles provides not only confidence in any weather and terrain conditions, but surprisingly excellent fuel efficiency. And this is just the start.
In December, Subaru is releasing the all-new Levorg sports tourer—the first in its line-up to feature a turbocharged 1.6-liter direct-injection boxer engine. In the quest to bump up its fuel-efficiency across its line-up, this new FB16 engine is touted as a possible replacement to its FB25 normally-aspirated motor developing similar power and torque figures but with much less fuel consumption.