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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

How I've Come To Appreciate Subaru's Safety After An Accident


Being a motoring writer means being constantly exposed to plentiful facts, figures, and specifications about every car that is introduced to our market. Each car makes its claim—of what makes it the next game-changer, why it’s better than the other guy, or how it can fit and support the lifestyle of the person it was made to serve. But that’s where it usually ends: with facts, figures, and specs all neatly written down on a page, save for, perhaps, a test drive opportunity that is only a few days’ worth.

That being said, it is rare for any one of us in the industry to gain a full user experience with any car that we are given the privilege to try. Not impossible, but rare. Given this, never did I ever imagine that I would be writing a first-hand account of what it is like to be on the receiving end of an accident while driving a Subaru Evoltis, the brand’s latest vehicle launch in the Philippines.

The Subaru Evoltis officially arrived on local shores last May. It was renamed from the Ascent, its original counterpart in North America. As Subaru’s first 7-seater product in a long while, it was designed to be the sizable, multifunction family car that had the looks and turbo performance of a sleek, rugged SUV. Being a Subaru, the all-new Evoltis ran on a 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine and came equipped with the award-winning Subaru EyeSight driver assist technology system.

The car was released to me just before the weekend. From the outside, it looked massive, standing proudly on 20-inch aluminum alloys. For a petite female, the cabin felt cavernous and the seating was higher than any Subaru that I had driven. As I drove the Evoltis northbound from the Subaru dealership in Manila Bay, it quickly began to feel all sorts of familiar. No doubt about it—it drove like an American SUV. Its body was decidedly heavy, in proportion to its size, but the steering was lighter and quicker on turns than the Forester. Its turbocharged engine made it responsive to acceleration, but its weight kept the suspension stable and smooth.

Because of that initial experience, I was excited to have the family try it out over the weekend. The seating was spacious, with generous legroom at every row, which meant that it could easily seat a family of five and a dog. Suffice to say that I drove the Evoltis with all the confidence that I did our own Forester. With the EyeSight as a standard, safety was a no-brainer, on top of the 100 other ways that made a Subaru one of the safest cars there was.

All that confidence, however, went out the window the second I realized that a speeding car was coming at me at top speed, with no signs of slowing down whatsoever. At that point, it did not matter what car I was driving or how supposedly well-trained I was in reacting to such a situation. All I remembered was that, in my eyes, the scene played out in near slow motion and before I knew it, the oncoming vehicle had t-boned the Evoltis at speed.

Now, we’ve always talked about how Subarus are designed to last, made with a heavy, sturdy, durable body that have been the talk of testimonials throughout the brand’s safety campaign. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how much of a difference these claims actually made. When the oncoming car struck the side of the Evoltis, the Evoltis absorbed so much of the blow that I, in the driver’s seat only felt a momentary jerk and rocking motion, as if the car had just come to a sudden brake. The car stood its ground and remained stable, with no signs of even tipping over.

In fact, when it was over, it took me a few seconds to realize what had just happened. The effect of the impact on me was minute that I was mildly surprised at the actual damage I saw when I finally got out and surveyed the accident.

In that split second when there was nothing that could prevent the inevitable, the only thing that stands between you and a major repercussion is the car cabin. While the damage to the Evoltis was fairly substantial, including the need for possible mechanical repairs, I came away relatively unscathed.

The Subaru Evoltis succeeded in what any vehicle should be able to do — protect its passenger — and added a new level of confidence in how well-made and safe Subarus truly are. The “Safety In 100 Ways” campaign isn’t all fluff. Take it from someone who used to love a Subaru just for how it drives, but now has newfound respect for the actual protection it can offer.

Check out our accident-free test drive of the Subaru Evoltis 2.4 Touring EyeSight here.

Words and Photos by Gen Tiu.

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