Changing of the guard (Toyota RAV4 to Subaru)

September, 2014, represented a changing of the guard for me. The old Toyota RAV4 was both a good and bad experience, and today I traded it in for the official car of Colorado, a Subaru Outback. As you can see from the photos, the two cars are somewhat similar in design and color. (The top photo was taken in Coldfoot, Alaska, a very small “town” about halfway between Fairbanks and Deadhorse, Alaska.)

2015 Subaru Outback: Poor software quality

I have a 2015 Subaru Outback, and while the basic “car” is good, the software in the car is often comical, as in comically-bad, including bugs and poor design decisions. This image shows that my car has gotten 76.2 MPG over its lifetime, which is off by about 50 MPG.

It may be that this piece of data is trying to convey something else, so in that case it would just be poor design and not wrong data, I don’t know. But I shouldn’t have to dig through the car’s manual while driving 75 MPH on I-70 to figure out what this is trying to show. (And this is just one example of the Outback’s poor software quality.)

Subaru marketing and branding

I’ve become a fan of Subaru’s marketing/branding since buying my car last year. Unlike other auto makers who seem to be like, “Hey, you bought one of our cars, good luck with that,” Subaru comes right at you and says, “Hey, Al, you’re one of the Subaru family now. Here are some nice initial discounts on accessories and service, your first oil change is on us, and we’re going to stay in touch with you through our ‘drive’ magazine about what other people are doing with their Subarus, great trips to take, and oh yeah, some new car stuff as well.” They also send some mailers on a consistent basis to remind you that you own a Subaru. I’m not expressing it well, but they do a good job of welcoming you to the family — whether you think you want to be in that family, or not.

"Welcome to Subaru"

I bought a new Subaru Outback last week, and so far I’m very impressed with Subaru. I just received a “Welcome to the Subaru family” email, which I thought was put together well. It wasn’t arrogant, but just a statement of the resources that are available to new Subaru owners. It shows organization and thoughtfulness (while also helping to promote future sales), and I wish we had something like this when I owned my consulting firm.