Getting Familiar with Subaru

Subaru Impreza WRX STI

I can honestly say the Subaru Impreza WRX STI almost didn’t make it on my list, but as they’re bringing back the sedan in the STI for 2011, I was willing to consider it.  My husband has a WRX and absolutely loves it.  I enjoy driving it on occasion, (mostly because of the standard transmission), but I can’t see me owning one.  At least, one of the little hatchbacks.  I was rather surprised at how much he enjoys it as his previous car was a Roush Stage 1 Ford Mustang.  From his experience with the WRX, and others with Subaru, I know pretty well that they do well in the snow.  Ok, so  the STI is on my list, but how’s Subaru’s website in comparison to some of their competitors?

The Subaru home page isn’t too bad.  It’s relatively clean and easy to navigate.  I like how the models are visible regardless of the what is shown on the slider.  I’m not fond of the photos they picked for the slider however.  This one for example feels extremely washed out with the grey sky and the greyish tarmac and the greyish blue sedan and white hatchback.  When you hover over the photos, a slightly larger version with three options pops up.  A couple of times the hover option got stuck so it remained up blocking what I was trying to view on the lander.  Their lander doesn’t have a pause button or directional arrows, so if you want to take a closer look at something on the slider, you’ll have to wait for it to come back by.

I can’t help but appreciate the 2010 Impreza WRX STI Special Edition description of  “Limited edition STI with a Nurburgring-tuned JDM STI spec C suspension for track-taming ability.”  Granted, your average car buyer won’t appreciate the Nurburgring reference, but any enthusiast would love the opportunity to take a car on the Nurburgring track.  (Can I have an EVO MR and a WRX STI to test on the Nurburgring track?  Pleeeeeese?)

Clicking on the WRX model pulls up another page with a large photo of the WRX hatchback and links to “Photos and Videos” and Key features.  If you realize there’s more on the page (this picture filled my screen in a way that I could see some customer not realizing there’s more below it) and scroll down, there’s a very basic overview of the WRX models showing price differences and some of the key feature differences.  Most of the models are available in the 4 door or 5 door models, however, when you click on the options, not all of them pull up the correct photo.  When you click on the 5 door WRX option, it still shows the sedan instead of the hatchback.  Subaru’s primary goal seems to be to get you to request a quote as it’s highlighted within a blue arrow.  However, there are options below it to Build Your Own, Estimate Payments, and see Special Offers.

I’m interested in the WRX STI so I click on the Limited Edition Build Your Own link and after inputting my zip code I’m on the first option page.  On the right hand it lists the correct vehicle, however, the photo is not the correct vehicle.  It shows the hatchback which while available in an STI is not available in the Limited Edition.  As a consumer, I even clicked back to the previous page to make sure I didn’t miss something.  Nope, STI Limited is only available in the sedan.

One thing I liked about the Mitsubishi site is it showed how many steps you had left and you selected your options then clicked next.  On the Subaru site, you select your option then click on the next box down to go through your options and either print it, or request a quote.  Again, their goal seems to be to have you request a quote as that’s most obvious.  Selecting you accessory options is rather unwieldy.  It’s a long scroll bar with check boxes similar to the Mitsubishi site, however, unlike the Mitsubishi site, the Subaru site automatically pops up hover windows for each option with pictures, descriptions and prices.  Package options aren’t clearly marked here either.  Personally I found the hovering of each option as I tried to scroll through to be a distraction and chose to not select anything.

I click Request a Quote to signal I’m done and am met with something I don’t really understand either as a marketer or a consumer.

To request a quote, I need to re-input the year, make and model information.  I’m assuming they’ve decided to do this in case you were last building a model that you decided against, however, I would think most people would go back to what they did want and build it with the options they wanted before requesting a quote on that car.  Maybe that’s just me?

Either way, it appears that none of the information I just took the time to input carries through to the next step so whatever dealership gets my information (at least I get to choose) really knows nothing more about what I’m looking for than it’s a 2011 WRX.  As there are such large differences between the models and even just the fact of whether or not you want a sedan or a hatchback, I really don’t understand why they would waste so many people’s time.  I’ve wasted my time building my own car to both get an idea of what I want as well as to give the dealership an idea of what I want as well as the dealership’s  time.  All they know is they have a warm lead.  At least I was able to choose what dealership my information was sent to.

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