Toyota Now Owns 20% Of Subaru

My wife drives a Subaru Crosstrek, which she loves. I too, appreciate Subaru’s dependability, particularly in snow. All Subarus are all-wheel drive, so the brand is a go-to choice for people who like to head to the mountains, as I do.

I also admire Subaru’s Eyesight driver assistance system. The stock adaptive cruise control works perfectly. The lane departure warning system works fine for what it does, although I wish it had improved more over the last few years. And it would be great if Subaru supported over-the-air updates to improve the system over time.

Toyota obviously sees something in Subaru, as well, since the larger manufacturer just increased its ownership stake in Subaru to 20%.

The logic is apparently to provide Subaru access to Toyota’s hybrid technology. In fact, Subaru already uses this technology for its new plug-in hybrid Crosstrek. Supposedly there is a parallel plug-in hybrid Impreza that is available only in Japan.

Meanwhile, Subaru will provide Toyota with insight into both all-wheel drive and driver assistance systems.

In more personal news, on Monday I’m supposed to receive the Subaru giraffe for use with the Comma EON. If OpenPilot works on the Crosstrek as well as it has on the Toyota’s I’ve tested, I’ll be tempted to buy my own Crosstrek plug-in hybrid 🙂

ADAS Test Drive: Subaru Outback

Over the weekend my wife and I drove to Putnam Subaru in Burlingame, California, and took a test-drive in both a Subaru Impreza and an Outback.

Both models come with Subaru’s EyeSight ADAS technology, but the Outback carries a slightly more extensive ADAS feature set, so I’ll cover that here.

Adaptive Cruise Control: EyeSight includes an impressive adaptive cruise control feature that has the vehicle both accelerate and decelerate on the highway. It can hold a much slower speed indefinitely, if there is traffic, and then will re-accelerate when traffic clears.

Distance Control: The cruise control comes with a neat feature that allows the driver to set the minimum distance between their car and the car ahead. The distance can be toggled from close, to not that close, to far.

Backup Camera: This is a standard feature on modern cars, but still great.

Lane-Keeping: This system keeps the car in its lane if the driver starts to drift. My experience was that this would help correct minor drifts, but didn’t work for larger drifts, like those a distracted driver would encounter.

Blind-Spot Assist: I didn’t get a chance to test this out, but it was there.

Acceleration Cut-Off: Supposedly the car will cut off acceleration if the driver hits the wrong pedal and starts to speed into a rear-end collision. Curiously, though, it will not automatically apply the brakes — that has to be done manually.

Overall, EyeSight seems great. I am surprised they don’t have a parallel parking feature, but perhaps that is coming on future models. It would be great to see Subaru roll out these features across all of their models.