RIP Dave Mirra – 1974-2016

Some tragic news came out yesterday as police confirmed reports that Dave Mirra, one of the world’s best BMX freestyle riders and rally car drivers died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in Greenville, North Carolina.

Authorities said they responded to an apparent suicide and discovered his body in a truck. Mirra, 41, was married with two children. He had been visiting friends in the area, officials said.

Growing up, Dave Mirra was an idol to me and my friends so this news really does hit home.  Mirra had super human talent and from all the coverage over the years he seemed like an absolute gem of a person which makes this all the more tragic.

Here is a recent tribute video of Dave Mirra.

Here are some older video highlights from Dave’s time as a driver for Team Subaru Rally USA.

 

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Who says sex doesn’t sell?

Well, some things never change as we see Subaru has decided to use the old story of the bad boy stealing the Sheriff’s daughter to sell its new 2015 WRX STI model. The new ad is a mini film about a Subaru driving outlaw (Bucky Lasek) who comes to town and steals the Sheriff’s daughter.  Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think.

Subaru teases us with concept car “Levorg” as lead up to Tokyo Motor Show

Subaru’s parent company Fuji Heavy Industries has announced it will introduce a new sports tourer “LEVORG” (prototype) at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. The LEVORG features a very stylish design with a sports car feel.  According to the official press release, the name is a combination of the words “Legacy,” “Revolution” and “Touring”.

Subaru Levorg

Subaru LEVORG

Designed to combine the feel of a sports car with the practicality of a touring car, the Levorg will be the first concept previewed from Subaru of its performance focused wagons. The specs are as follows – 1.6-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder and next-generation EyeSight technologies in what looks to be a sexy and strong package.

For official press release click here.

Source: Subaru Canada

2014 Subaru Forester Review

RedlineNorth recently had a chance to review the all new 2014 Subaru Forester.  We used this opportunity to take it on a spin up to beautiful Awenda Provincial Park, near Penetanguishene, Ontario for a weekend camping trip.  It also allowed us to put the Forester through its paces, both in town and on the highway.

Subaru’s mid-sized crossover is now on its fourth generation, and comes in two main configurations for the 2014 model year – a 2.5L, 4 cylinder boxer engine, or a 2.0L turbo charged version.  Within each configuration there are multiple trim packages, with the base Forester 2.5i starting at $25,995. RedlineNorth test drove the 2.5i Touring Package model with a six speed manual transmission ($29,995).

2014 Subaru Forester

In town with the 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i

The Details

With a MSRP of $29,995 the 2.5i Touring Package provides you with:

  • 2.5L 4-cyclinder Subaru boxer engine
  • 175 hp and 174 lb-ft torque
  • Six speed manual transmission with Hill Holder system
  • Subaru’s symmetrical full-time All-Wheel Drive system
  • Power liftgate with memory function
  • Large sunroof
  • 17×7 aluminum alloy wheels
  • Premium cloth upholstery
  • 10-way power-adjustable driver seat
  • Heated front seats
  • CD/MP3 system
  • Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity with voice activation and steering wheel-mounted controls
  • Bluetooth streaming audio
  • Rear-view camera
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • 36 month – 60,000 km New Vehicle Limited Warranty
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At home in the woods

Exterior

The 2014 Subaru Forester has a more upright, boxy, and overall SUV type look compared to its crossover cousin, the Subaru Outback which can easily be mistaken for a large wagon. While the Forester styling is somewhat understated, to its credit it provides plenty of ground clearance, 8.7 inches to be exact.  This is particularly nice to have when driving around the city, clearing speed bumps with ease. We also found the raised body made loading and unloading camping gear from the rear cargo space on our trip more convenient. Likewise, the raised profile of the Forester also translates into larger window space, giving the interior a very bright and airy feel. This is heightened by the extra large sunroof that comes standard in the Touring Package. The size and placement of the sunroof was one of our favourite features of the 2014 Forester and accentuated the open feeling of the whole interior cabin.

RedlineNorth appreciated the extra large sunroof which comes standard in the 2.5i Touring Edition

RedlineNorth appreciated the extra large sunroof which comes standard in the 2.5i Touring Package

Interior

Driver seating in the 2014 model is solid and at no point did we feel cramped.  The placement of the climate and steering wheel mounted controls make vehicle operation a seamless experience.  It enables the driver to concentrate on driving, rather than fiddling with buttons.  The one exception is the menu navigation on the 4.3 inch multi-function display.  The system isn’t as straight forward as it could be at the outset, however, we did get use to it after a short period of time.  The rear view camera images on the 4.3 inch display are small in size and it would be nice to have a larger monitor. However, at the end of the day the monitor is still large enough to determine if there are any obstacles in the way, which is what it’s designed to do.

Forester-8

Interior cabin view

We were pleasantly surprised with the interior build quality and overall design of the Forester.  The retractable rear cargo cover is a nice addition to keep valuables out of sight and its solid construction gave us confidence it would last the life of the vehicle. Similarly, the rear cargo and floor mats are made of a higher quality material and stood up well to the loading and unloading of camping gear.

There is decent interior storage space, with plenty of cargo room in the rear. The powered rear cargo liftgate is a nice touch and came in handy on our trip. With one touch open and close it makes accessing the interior storage space very easy.  We should also note the location of the rear latch connection for the child safety seat was positioned in a very convenient location and made the placement and removal of the seat a breeze.  It’s one of those little things that all add up to a big overall impression.

Rear cargo space in the Forester was plentiful and easily accessible

Rear cargo space in the Forester was plentiful and easily accessible

Performance

The six speed manual transmission found in the Forester feels smooth and responsive.  Effortless shifting between gears and the full time All-Wheel drive Subaru is known for, make the Forester a pleasure to drive.  Fully loaded with a weekend’s worth of gear the 2.5L engine wasn’t as spirited entering the highway as we would have liked so we would recommend an upgrade to the 2.0 L turbo engine with its 250 hp and 258 lbs-ft of torque if more powerful full time performance is required. Nevertheless, the 2.5i is fun to drive and provides more than acceptable power and performance for the vast majority of daily driving.

The 2.5i Touring Package comes standard with a 6 speed manual transmission

The 2.5i Touring Package with a six speed manual transmission

Fuel efficiency in the 2.5L version of the 2014 Forester is rated at 9.5L/100 km City and 7.0L/100 km Highway.  While climate, driving style, maintenance and a number of other factors can influence fuel efficiency, we are happy to see the efficiency during our test period fell within the stated range.

Summary

The 2014 Subaru Forester is a bit of a sleeper hit for us.  We are pleasantly surprised with its interior cargo space and convenience options such as the powered liftgate and rear car seat latch placement.  The full time All-Wheel Drive and smooth six speed manual transmission made for a very good driving experience. As a result, families considering a small SUV or minivan should take notice of the 2014 Forester and we think they will be happily surprised both in terms of day to day performance, but also in value for money.

Key competitors to the 2014 Forester are the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage and Honda CR-V.

Taming the Tall Pines 2012 – Part 1

This past weekend, Team RedlineNorth headed to beautiful and tranquil Bancroft, Ontario, Canada to experience the sights and sounds of the annual Rally of the Tall Pines. As the official final stage in the Canadian Rally Championships, Rally of the Tall Pines is home to a very competitive atmosphere as race results are critical to winning the national championship.

Action from Rally of the Tall Pines

The Canadian Rally Championship is comprised of six events held nationwide in a season that extends from February to November. The series is presented by Subaru Canada, supported by Yokohama Tire Canada and officially sanctioned by the Canadian Association of Rallysport (CARS). The all-season motorsport sees drivers and their co-drivers take modified road cars to the limit as they achieve blistering speeds over closed-road courses that typically cover more than 150 kilometers of gravel, dirt or snow-covered roads.

Rallying is one of the most grueling and difficult of all the motorsports since it combines both driving ability and technical know how as teams must make repairs to the cars on the fly in between the various stages. To be successful, a team must have a skilled and fearless driver along with an experienced navigator who can read the maps and communicate instructions seamlessly to the driver. In addition, teams also need to have  talented mechanics and technical support staff to be able to repair the vehicles in order to continue through the multiple stages. Here is a glimpse of the action from the service area after the first stage on Saturday.

And this year did not disappoint fans once again, as it was another close race that saw Patrick Richard and Alan Ockwell’s Subaru edge out Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard’s Mitsubishi for the victory. However, the championship was not on the line since Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard had officially been crowned the 2012 Canadian Rally Champions with their victory at the 2012 Pacific Forest Rally in BC in mid October. Nevertheless, the event was well attended by both local and regional fans along with rally enthusiasts from all over who come to Bancroft to experience Canadian rally racing in its finest form.

Be sure to keep reading the blog as we will be publishing a follow up story soon.

See here for more information on the Rally of the Tall Pines and to check out the final results.

Source:  www.carsrally.ca

Toyota GT 86, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ

Over the past six months, there has been so much buzz from the local tuner community over the arrival of the Toyota GT 86 model here in North America.  Well, we get it since it has been a while since Toyota sold a cool and sporty coupe here.  However, has irony has it, in the US and Canada it is actually badged under Toyota’s Scion nameplate as the Scion FR-S.  Whereas, outside North America it goes by the name Toyota 86 and in Europe it is called Toyota GT 86. Developed as a joint project between Subaru and Toyota it features a 2.0 liter boxer engine, 6 speed manual or automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive and 2+2 seating.

The Subaru version is called the Subaru BRZ and mainly differs in its front end, where the grille has a hexagonal shape versus an inverted trapezoid in the Toyota and Scion. The name of the Scion model of “FR-S” refers to the following Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive and Sport. The “86” number refers to the Toyota AE86, an infamously regarded model series among car enthusiasts of rear-wheel drive sports coupes and hatchbacks. Badged and sold as the Toyota Sprinter Trueno and Toyota Corolla Levin from 1983 to 1987 these models were the last rear-wheel drive sports coupes built by Toyota until the release of the new 86.

A great deal of the hype around these new model comes from the immense global marketing push of both Toyota and Subaru and as always here at RedlineNorth we like to observe how products are marketed in different regions.  Well, take a look at this online video ad that has garnered a ton of viral traffic both good and bad – it shows one perspective of how your wife may react to you the purchase of the new Scion FR-S.  Not sure it is going to win any political correctness awards but it sure gets the message across.

We really appreciate the ad folks pushing the boundaries as it makes for great entertainment and we hope the car can live up to all this hype. Time will tell.

Subaru Underwater for Three Months – Starts on First Try

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This 1996 Subaru Legacy wagon spent three months under water in a shallow Finnish lake after the owner drove onto thin ice to go fishing. After pulling the car out of the lake and finding a live fish from between the bumper and the bottom tray, the fish had let out its spawn on the alternator, they drained out the oil and water in the engine. For the first minute, all that came out was water. Out of curiosity, fuel was poured into the tank and it started on the first try!

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Apparently the guy drove 20 km with it and commented “Still some water in the fuel, kinda lacks power” however, most of the electrics are working – the wipers, headlights and instrument panel all seem to function. The guy also cleaned the ECU with brake cleaner beforehand.

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Who knew this was even possible, but I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home 🙂