Spring 2008 Forward to a Friend

Your Turn Letters from our Readers

The Name of the Game Is ... “Subaru”
I just wanted to let you know how much fun my five children and some of their friends have playing a car game they call “Subaru.” After a trip to Santa Fe, which seems to be the Subaru capital of America, they came back to Des Moines and began counting Subaru vehicles and developed an elaborate points system that rates the “Subaru-ness” of each one. The highest designation is the “Uber-ru.” While we don’t have a Subaru ourselves, the kids have been lobbying for one since fall of 2006 and really turned up the volume when they became aware of the Tribeca. You may have five future customers living in my house as a result of the game....

Thanks for building cars in a way that respects our environment, for treating your employees with dignity, and for making a car that my children have had a great deal of fun spotting over the past 18 months. I hope to be able to give them the Tribeca they want once my oldest graduates from college in four years.

– Cynthia Sharp, West Des Moines, IA

The game called “Subaru” has an elaborate points system for rating
“Subaru-ness.” Here are some examples.

Subaru game graphic.

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Rules for the Game Called “Subaru”

The first object is to spot a Subaru. When somebody sees a Subaru they call out, “Subaru.” That kid gets one point. The next step is to raise the score by having observed things about that car that makes it even more of a Subaru. (I guess this game means that you have done a wonderful job of identifying your cars with a distinct lifestyle – so much so that my 9-year-old gets it.) They have to be observant and think fast. A point can be assigned for the following:

  • A bike or ski rack with an additional point added for a bike, skis, canoe, or kyak mounted
  • A consciousness raising bumper sticker - environmental awareness, exhortations for peace, fully funded schools, etc.
  • A political bumper sticker (usually Democrats, but sometimes Republicans); extra point if the candidate lost in a prior election cycle
  • An extraordinary number of rock band decals gets a point
  • The kids also like to automatically award two points to the old pickup that's no longer manufactured because it's a rare sighting

Anyway, six to seven points is usually the most they can score off of one Subaru, but occasionally they see one that so completely satisfies their expectations that they designate it an “Uber-ru.” An example is the car my oldest daughter and her friend spotted in a small town near Des Moines. It not only had the outdoor gear and the bumper stickers, it was hand spray painted in a tie-dye pattern. They told us later that they were standing in awe when the owner walked up, and they had to congratulate him for owning an Uber-ru.

The kids have noticed that they see more in some neighborhoods in Des Moines and in other cities than they usually see in the suburb we live in. A big lesson in demographics, I guess.

Anyway, we have fun with it and certainly enjoy our trips around town much more since they started playing their game. I suppose it could be a really fun way to promote the car if the dealers held a contest to find their local Uber-ru.

– Cynthia Sharp


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We reserve the right to edit all letters and articles sent for publication in Drive magazine. Letters and all materials submitted with them (including photographs) become the property of Drive magazine and may be republished in any form or medium and will not be returned.
PZEV Emissions and Warranties

I have two questions prompted by the Fall 2007 issue:

First, in the Partial Zero Emission article, it is noted that the 15-year/150,000-mile PZEV warranty is only in effect in seven states but does not explain WHY it is only covered in those seven states and not in the other 43 states as well.

Second, in the otherwise excellent article on the new Impreza, you failed to note that the new Impreza 2.5i model lost its temperature gauge and substitutes a blue cold-temperature light, while, at the same time, the WRX keeps the gauge. The loss of the temperature gauge is exceedingly odd in a car like the Impreza, which is designed primarily for cold-weather driving and snow, where you will have extended engine warm-ups. Why did Subaru do this?

– Michael Marshall, Vienna, VA

From the Subaru of America, Inc. Customer/Dealer Services Department:

1. California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont have adopted the California Emissions Standards. As part of those states’ legislations, the vehicles sold in those states also must have the extended emissions warranty of 15 years/150,000 miles, whichever comes first. The other states that have not adopted these Californian standards do not have a requirement for this extended emissions warranty. The decision was made to keep the warranties on PZEV models registered in these other states the same as the warranty on non-PZEV models also registered in those states.

Subaru 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engine.
PZEV versions of the Subaru 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engine are available in Legacy, Outback, and Forester models.

2. Your concern with the need to warm up a 2008 Impreza, especially since our vehicles are considered “cold-weather” vehicles, is addressed with the operation of the temperature indicator light/warning light. When you start the car, this light will illuminate in red for approximately one second. After that, this indicator light/warning light changes to blue and maintains illumination in blue. This blue illuminated light turns off when the engine is warmed up sufficiently. Now, owners of 2008 Impreza models will have a better visual identification of when the vehicle is warmed up to operating temperature. These owners will know that when this indicator light/warning light turns off (no longer blue), the vehicle is at operating temperature.

If the engine is overheated, this indicator light/warning light illuminates in red immediately. At this time, safely stop the vehicle as soon as possible and refer to the section in the Owner?s Manual on engine overheating.

Here is the response from our Product Planning Department regarding why this change was made:

“After reviewing competitive vehicles, Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. determined that a temperature light is a more effective warning indicator than a gauge.”

Seeing Stars

Every so often we receive a query about the meaning of the Subaru logo. What do the six stars mean? Here is how we explain the logo in the Drive issue that we send to new owners.

The Subaru Star Cluster

Subaru logo In 1953, five Japanese companies merged to form Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. The new corporation adopted the “Subaru” cluster of stars as its official logo for its line of automobiles. Subaru is a Japanese word meaning “unite,” as well as a term identifying a cluster of six stars that the Greeks called the Pleiades – part of the Taurus constellation.

No Child Left Inside

Richard Louv seems to have struck a nerve among our readers. We received numerous letters and e-mail messages commenting on the excerpt from Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods, in which he encourages us to experience nature for our own health and well-being and for the long-term survival of the planet.

Drive magazine open to No Child Left Inside spread.

Here are one reader’s comments:

Never before have I read an article that continued to haunt me for days afterwards as did “No Child Left Inside” in your Winter 2008 magazine. As a child, I played outside constantly with friends. The play was not structured and regimented like today’s sports programs for kids. We used our imagination, built tree forts, rode our bikes, and watched ants. The sad thing is that today, it is considered unsafe to let your kids play outside unsupervised. Many kids live in places where nature has been erased and replaced with asphalt and concrete.

I truly believe that Richard Louv has hit the nail on the head with his ideas.

– Rebecca Kane, Dillon, CO

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More readers’ comments and observations about the excerpt from Richard Louv’s book:
  • I dare say [Subaru owners] are an adventurous and green lot to begin with. But we need to impress upon our kids the joys of the dirty world in the backyard before they spend their entire childhoods glued to an electric screen.
    – Sarah M. Lardizabal, Orlando, FL

  • Richard Louv makes excellent points about the iPod® and Xbox® generation seldom having experienced the outdoors. We try to provide a variety of outdoor opportunities for our Scouts, camping year-round (which means anything from 95 Fahrenheit in the summer to near zero in the winter here in the Midwest).
    – Alan Ritter, Des Peres, MO

  • My husband and I and our son and daughter-in-law are planning to move to a piece of property where we can have separate homes but share in the joys and privileges of land ownership. They want to raise their children to be stewards of the land and to delight in the ways of Mother Nature. Thank you for including such timely messages....
    – Jan Mahan, Lake Almanor, CA