Edmunds dealer partner, Bayway Leasing, is now offering transparent lease deals via these forums. Click here to see May lease deals!
Options

Subaru Minivan in 2007?

SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
edited March 2014 in Subaru
Subaru May Field Minivan for U.S.
Subaru could be the next brand to bring a minivan to the United States to compete with the heavy-hitting Chrysler minivans, Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. Reports last week indicated that the new vehicle could be offered sometime after 2007, when the company redesigns its Legacy sedan and bumps it up into a larger size class. A Legacy-derived minivan could be built in the U.S. as well. The proposed van would be a seven-seater with all-wheel drive and a flat-six engine.
«1

Comments

  • Options
    njswamplandsnjswamplands Member Posts: 1,760
    nothing less than odyssey / sienna size for me
  • Options
    rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Sylvia, a few things:

    • There was a report of this, as you mentioned, last week. However the FHI guy was quoted as saying this minivan would be a "global" product, which suggests to me that it might not be quite as big as the not-so-mini Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda minivans. I hope I'm wrong here, because I think a Subie minivan needs to be the size of those in order to stand a chance. That maxi-minivan size is clearly what America wants.

    • In order to do this Subaru needs to have a much more torque-friendly engine. There is a rumor that a H-6 turbo is just around the corner. Frankly, I'm not sure if a turbo is the best answer for minivan customers. My choice would be for a larger non-turbo H-6. I think it would be cheaper to build and buy, could be tuned to run on regular gas, and won't "scare" the average minivan customer who generally are skeptcal of turbos.

    • A larger Legacy? Interesting... I wonder if it will be built off the Tribeca platform?

    Bob
  • Options
    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    I think that it probably won't be as large as the current Sienna and Odyssey unless its a US/Canada only product.
  • Options
    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I'm in the minority but I'd like to see something MPV-sized, now that everyone else seems to have vacated that size segment.

    -juice
  • Options
    rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Everybody vacated the MPV size for a good reason, very few people were buying them. That size might do okay on the "world market," but not here in North America. Then again, if gas prices keep rising, who knows... Maybe American minivan tastes will change.

    Bob
  • Options
    sweet_subiesweet_subie Member Posts: 1,394
    same here, i would love MPV size.
  • Options
    navigator89navigator89 Member Posts: 1,080
    Something MPV sized would do wonders for the handling because of less weight, however...

    If Subaru even wants a chance at competing, or even toppling the Odyssey/Sienna/Caravan from the minivan throne, it needs to be fullsized, offering fold flat third row seat, Nav, DVD entertainment, refined powertrain, and storage space. You can't do all this with something MPV sized.

    Mitsubishi makes the Space Wagon and Honda makes the Stream. Both are tall station wagons/minivans but they can't compete in North America because of their small size. Everyone's vacated that size segment because those vehicles dont sell (remember the Nissan Axxess, Eagle Summit?)

    A large minivan doesnt mean sloppy handling. The Odyssey/Caravan are large, yet they handle the best in the segment.
  • Options
    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I don't think Subaru has the resources to aim to topple those on the throne currently, and in fact it might be a costly/risky strategy to try.

    Toyota has more dealers, tenfold more, and tenfold R&D resources as well.

    Subaru has to play a little on the fringe, it doesn't necessarily have to be smaller in size, but something about it must be unique.

    They'd be looking for 40-50k sales per year, and could achieve that with an AWD MPV, which Mazda never offered here.

    -juice
  • Options
    rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Subaru has to play a little on the fringe, it doesn't necessarily have to be smaller in size, but something about it must be unique.

    Yep, boxer engine (and its inherent advantages) plus AWD. Also, nobody has done a high-performance minivan yet.

    Bob
  • Options
    chris65amgchris65amg Member Posts: 372
    I hope they don't. Performance minivan, indeed!
  • Options
    navigator89navigator89 Member Posts: 1,080
    It would be interesting if they did. We have performance trucks, wagons and SUVs - whats next? Minivans.

    And who knows? Maybe someone will make a high performance minivan, with a V8 and 300+hp.

    After all, two years ago did we ever think we'd have performance versions of the Trailblazer and Grand Cherokee?
  • Options
    jeffmcjeffmc Member Posts: 1,742
    I'm not exactly up on my MPV trivia, but Mazda offered AWD in the US on the first generation MPV, right? Apparently it didn't sell well enough to carry over.
  • Options
    njswamplandsnjswamplands Member Posts: 1,760
  • Options
    robr2robr2 Member Posts: 8,805
    But that was a total cluster IMHO. It wasn't a minivan. It really was an SUV - the new GM UpTerraMonSaturnwhatchamacallit really reminds me of it.
  • Options
    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Actually the last generation had 4WD, not AWD. And it was all truck, not very car-like, nor did it handle particularly well.

    -juice
  • Options
    jeffmcjeffmc Member Posts: 1,742
    new GM UpTerraMonSaturnwhatchamacallit really reminds me of it.
    Never pondered that similarity before, but you're right on in your comparison. (Well, except those are vans trying for an SUV look rather than an SUV trying to be a van.) :)

    juice - thanks for the clarification on the 4WD.
  • Options
    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    I owned one. Very truck like. But it only had 3 doors, like the Chrysler vans of yore.
  • Options
    robr2robr2 Member Posts: 8,805
    But it only had 3 doors, like the Chrysler vans of yore.

    It did? I thought it had 4 swinging doors. Then again, I'm getting older.

    Speaking of 3 doors - why did it take manufacturers so long to figure out a fourth door was a good idea? Honestly, it was only when I saw a fourth door that it dawned on me.
  • Options
    rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Same thing happened with extended cab pickups, remember? First 2-door models, then 3-door models, and then (finally!) 4-door models.

    Bob
  • Options
    robr2robr2 Member Posts: 8,805
    IIRC, Chevy and GMC are finally equipping their work vans with an optional 4th door. Some trades may not like it but for delivery vans, it makes tremendous sense.
  • Options
    rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    I agree.

    Bob
  • Options
    once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
    look like the new Mazda5 vanlet, but with AWD and of course the boxer?

    It looks like there is a lot of interest in the Mazda5. An economical, sporty, true six seater? With 5 speed MT? Subaru needs to keep an eye on their sales.

    John
  • Options
    lark6lark6 Member Posts: 2,565
    I hope they don't. Performance minivan, indeed!


    Doesn't that describe the upcoming Mercedes R-Class?

    Ed
  • Options
    once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
    but isn't performance defined by the eye of the beholder? We don't need a 300 hp touring minivan, I agree. But a light weight kick in the pants 250 hp turbo boxer minivan? That seats 6? And handles like a Forester?

    Yumm.
  • Options
    njswamplandsnjswamplands Member Posts: 1,760
    as I would love a heavy weight 300hp minivan
  • Options
    once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
  • Options
    njswamplandsnjswamplands Member Posts: 1,760
    hopefully they will not build something we both do not like
  • Options
    twrxtwrx Member Posts: 647
    I have two very large dogs (Great Pyrenes and Alaskan Malamute) so my Legacy 2.5i wagon is my sporty minivan.
  • Options
    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    People are already complaining that Mazda didn't produce enough manual tranny 5s.

    R class is priced in the stratosphere, though I do like it. Subaru could do something like it for $15 grand less.

    -juice
  • Options
    once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
    what is this? a Mercedes?

    John
  • Options
    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Based on the ML SUV.

    Thing is, it costs more than the ML, not less. Usually vans cost the same or less than similar SUVs (Sienna vs. Highlander, Ody vs. Pilot, etc.).

    -juice
  • Options
    once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
    WOW! That is a sweet sounding machine. How good is the Mercedes AWD? Buckle that to their 7 spd automatic and the V-6 CDI diesel and it is probably worth forking over $50 grand.

    John
  • Options
    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Similar to Subaru's VDC, with a rear power bias and traction control managing both axles.

    -juice
  • Options
    once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
    so... how does Subaru fit into the minivan scenario? Lots of competition.

    AWD minivans: Sienna, Benz... did I forget someone

    FWD minivans: MPV (dying, apparently), Quest (not real hot), Ody (still the king), Sienna (highly rated), the new Mazda5 6 seater (has 5 speed and better mpg), and the T&C (not sure how highly rated they are), Ford Freestyle (come on Ford).

    Must have missed someone, there sure are a lot of players here.

    So can Subaru step in? An R-class minus $15? The value luxury van with AWD and boxer? Is there money to be made here?

    John
  • Options
    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Not sure if Chrysler still offers the option, I know it's not compatible with sto-n-go, but they might still sell one without that option. It's missing from my buying guide if it is still sold.

    GM does sell an AWD version of the Uplander, though.

    Not much competition.

    -juice
  • Options
    navigator89navigator89 Member Posts: 1,080
    The Ford Freestyle isn't a minivan, it's an SUV crossover, sharing the platform with the Five Hundred. Ford's minivan is the Freestar, which is apparently outclassed.

    You forgot the caravan, which I believe is the best selling van for a long time now.

    You missed all the GM vans, Uplander, Terraza, Montana SV6 and Relay. You forgot also the Sedona, which will be all new for 2006, which is when Hyundai launches its van, the Entourage.

    An R-Class isn't really a minivan, I'd put it more in the field of SUVs like the SRX, FX45, X5, basically the fast car based SUVs.

    Good luck Subaru. This maybe the most fun to drive van yet. :D
  • Options
    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    But the R-Class is a crossover in the same manner as the Freestyle. Not that I see them competing...

    He's talking about AWD vans specifically, not FWD.

    -juice
  • Options
    once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
    Nav, thanks for the completed list. Lots of competition there.

    If the Freestar isn't a minivan, what does Ford offer? I thought the Windstar was history.

    Ford should have embraced the MPV as their minivan offering, we own one and it is a well put together package.

    Geez the GM line: I thought there was a GM "trio" but now there are four.

    A good dozen minivans. Probably the Sienna will be the only AWD competitor for the Subie.

    John
  • Options
    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That's their current van, though it sells so poorly I can't blame you for not noticing it.

    Ford wants to cancel it and build something like the Fairlane concept, which would share Freestyle parts.

    -juice
  • Options
    sweet_subiesweet_subie Member Posts: 1,394
    just, strech tribeca by 5-7 inches & offer a XL Tribeca. job done. no need for subaru to get into minivan if they do this.

    this will compete well with minivans.
  • Options
    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Price would be the only issue - it would be up there.

    -juice
  • Options
    jeffmcjeffmc Member Posts: 1,742
    I still think you'd need to add sliding doors after stretching Tribeca to allow access to the third row.

    But stretching Tribeca is probably not what will happen... we digress from the "world car" statement made by Subaru. This has gotta be an MX5-sized van. If they do someday make a van for North America based on Tribeca, I doubt it'll be a world car.
  • Options
    sweet_subiesweet_subie Member Posts: 1,394
    consider changing the title from 2007 to 2010 maybe ? there is no way subaru is going to get their act together by 2007 on this.

    it took them 5 years to bring tribeca.
  • Options
    jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    I think Mazda added a 4th door in 1996, but my 1991 MPV 4WD had 3 doors...

    Part SUV, (appearance, swing out doors) Part Minivan (3 doors) and Part Truck (4WD)

    Geez... Mazda may have built the first crossover! :P :D
  • Options
    navigator89navigator89 Member Posts: 1,080
    Wait, the Freestar is a minivan. I said the Freestyle is the car based SUV.

    The Freestar replaced the Windstar name in 2004.

    Thank god Ford didnt use the MPV platform to make a van. It might have sold well overseas, but in America we want fullsize vans.

    Why Freestar?? Windstar was a much cooler name. And now Ford's van is outclassed. I remember our 1998 Windstar was way ahead of its times, before the Odyssey, Quest, and Sienna came.

    The best thing I can say about Ford's van is that I love their two tone paint jobs. Thats one thing the Odyssey and Sienna dont have.
  • Options
    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    We had a loaner van for a few days, and enjoyed the amount of room. But really, it didn't seem like they made any progress since your '98 model, while others have. It just got surpassed.

    What was competitive in 1998 is an also-ran in 2005.

    -juice
  • Options
    rangnerrangner Member Posts: 336
    I think you're right. Subaru is a company slow to changes. It'll be awhile if it's going to be something entirely new and not a stretched Tribeca platform.

    Eric
  • Options
    once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
    over the Mazda 5. Good mpg, functional, manual tranny (is it the only small minivan with one available?).

    I'd like to see Subaru do one. It looks like some minor improvements are needed on the 5: rear AC ducts (if not standard AC), tinted windows, and a more powerful engine. The Subie 173 hp boxer would be just about perfect, even with the weight penalty of AWD.

    John
  • Options
    jeffmcjeffmc Member Posts: 1,742
    I parked next to a 5 Touring with NAV several days ago and chatted with the owners briefly. They love their 5 so far, and had a good dealership experience, too. Surprisingly, their few gripes didn't include horsepower. They thought it was too noisy inside and needed an armrest for the front passenger. They had driven several other vehicles, including B9 Tribeca, before settling on the 5.

    It was a little smaller-looking inside that I expected, and a little more Matrix/Vibe-like in person than I expected (I think because it's short in height for a van), but much better looking and overall, very well executed. I'd like to see Subaru enter this niche before it's overcrowded, but worry that it'd steal from Tribeca base models since Tribeca barely seats 7 anyway. I say enlarge Tribeca before introducing a small mini. Or just introduce a minivan that's larger inside than the current Tribeca.

    I'm a Tribeca fan, but on a Mazda 5 budget. The 5's an appealing package for the money.
This discussion has been closed.