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Old 07-08-2008, 12:46 AM
 
Location: Palm Springs/Portland
42 posts, read 88,156 times
Reputation: 30
Default Subaru Outback...A Portland Phenomenon?

I have been wondering about something for a long time and have never seen it addressed in this forum. Not that it is earth shattering or anything, but I am amazed at the number of Subaru Outbacks in Portland. The city has to be the #1 sales point in the country for this automobile. What is it about this car that is so appealing to so many people in this city? I see them all over town of every age and condition. There doesn't seem to be one particular "type" of driver, just people that seem to love their cars. I personally don't find them very attractive, but I recall a car years ago that many people and even the company that made them, called ugly. That was the original Volkswagen Beetle and we all know what a success that car was.

So if there are any Outback owners out there or others that might know what makes Portlanders fall in love with the Subaru Outback, please let me know. Who knows, maybe I will end up with one some day!
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:45 AM
 
Location: In a delirium
2,588 posts, read 3,613,681 times
Reputation: 1311
I've wondered this myself. My theory is that this car somehow meets the needs of people who have families (or lots of friends) and outdoor gear to tote around. So, you can put little Sally and Johnny (or Betty and Chuck) in the back, load the snowboards on top, and toss Fido and some bags in the back. It sits a bit higher (I think) and has 4WD, so it's also better for taking up onto the mountain than your typical wagon. Lastly, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to buy it compared to the Volvo station wagon.
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:06 AM
Status: "Still holding on to flip flop weather!" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley
4,133 posts, read 7,959,547 times
Reputation: 3292
They are really common all over the northwest and the northeast as well. I saw a lot of them in Colorado as well. Seats 5, is AWD, can fit all kinds of racks on the top to fit outdoor gear, gets so-so gas mileage (but better than most SUVs, anyway). Not a serious off-road car, but a great all-weather car.
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Baker City, Oregon
1,986 posts, read 2,890,115 times
Reputation: 1809
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSP2PDX View Post
I have been wondering about something for a long time and have never seen it addressed in this forum. Not that it is earth shattering or anything, but I am amazed at the number of Subaru Outbacks in Portland. The city has to be the #1 sales point in the country for this automobile. What is it about this car that is so appealing to so many people in this city?
Until it was replaced by the Toyota Prius, the Subaru Outback was the official car of Hip White People:
#60 Toyota Prius Stuff White People Like

There are a lot of Hip White People in Portland.

There are several reasons why many Hip White People in Portland have not updated their Outbacks. Here are a few:

The Prius is too expensive and unaffordable in today’s economy.

The Prius can’t haul enough stuff. Even if they bought a Prius to drive to Barack Obama rallies, for practical reasons, they would have to keep their Subaru as a backup.

They would never be able to replace the bumper stickers:
#100 Bumper Stickers Stuff White People Like

Last edited by karlsch; 07-08-2008 at 11:35 AM..
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:48 AM
 
Location: The City of Orange
1,536 posts, read 3,861,204 times
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Subarus (specifically Outbacks and Foresters) are something of a cult vehicle among educated, middle-class liberals (with hipster tendencies). Decatur GA, a liberal middle-class enclave about five miles east of Atlanta has TONS of Outbacks and Foresters. I imagine the same goes for other similar towns like Northampton MA, Madison WI, Boulder CO, etc. Portland OR is basically a whole city that embodies the Subaru target demographic. The beauty of the Outback/Forester is that it allows greenies to drive a four wheel drive vehicle with a modicum of storage capacity, while getting decent gas mileage by steering clear of large FU SUVs.
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Old 07-08-2008, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Hillsboro, OR
5,626 posts, read 4,383,170 times
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Maybe its me but I see a lot of Volkswagen Microbusses in Portland. These vehicles are NEVER seen in New York for one. I see 60's/70's muscle-car's some running well, others... ... And I see a LOT of Prius'. They are hardly expensive compared to a Ford Escape of Chevy Avalanche. I can't say that I have seen a lot of Outbacks. I saw a lot more in NYC. My ex's parents (Seattle) had one and I drove us all from Puget Sound to Mt. St. Helen's, down to Salem and back without filling up. Very nice vehicle to drive, the perfect balance between 'enough' and 'too much'. You have to try very hard to use all of the capacity and power of an American minivan or SUV and most of the time you are simply wasting gas and space. The Subaru doesn't make you feel quite so hoggish when you drive it as a single driver but when you need to squeeze 7 (two kids, five adults) in you can do it.

H
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Old 07-08-2008, 01:11 PM
 
Location: The City of Orange
1,536 posts, read 3,861,204 times
Reputation: 620
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Maybe its me but I see a lot of Volkswagen Microbusses in Portland. These vehicles are NEVER seen in New York for one.
VW buses are vestiges of the hippie movement which still survives in Portland OR more than just about anywhere else. These vehicles have also caught on with retro-hippies -- young kids who harken back to the good old days of 60s counterculture. You don't see many VW buses since new ones have not been produced in decades. I heard recently that VW was talking about making a new line of buses modeled after the updated Beetle they started making a few years back. I imagine they would do fairly well on sales, at least initially (just like the new Beetle).
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:01 PM
 
2,182 posts, read 3,817,169 times
Reputation: 886
You think there's a lot of VWs here? Try Arcata, CA or Berkeley!
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:27 PM
 
919 posts, read 1,867,168 times
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I notice the abundance of them whenever I return to Portland from a trip out of town. They're not for me, but I think people buy them for the 4-wheel drive capabilities.

I also think Portlanders buy them to make some sort of statement that says, "I'm a crunchy, outdoorsy, liberal white person." They can tweak the statement by adding an array of bumper stickers. I never see so many bumper stickers on any other type of car.
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Portland, OR
854 posts, read 1,482,919 times
Reputation: 635
Default don't over analyze this!

As a Subaru driver (Impreza rather than Outback) I'll chime in. Am I a liberal? Yes, but not over the top - more middling. Am I white? Norwegian/Finnish ancestry makes me about as white as you can get. Am I hip? Not even close. My teenage daughters make sure I realize that fact! Do I love the outdoors? Yep - hike, climb, ski, play soccer, etc. But let's not over-analyze this. I bought the Subaru for the reasons many would buy a car. It was cheap (bought it used), gets better gas milage than any other 4WD; is more utilitarian when compared to the leather interior luxury-UV's that crowd the roads, is safer in bad road conditions because it has a lower center of gravity, and it is VERY reliable. The only car we've owned that compares in reliability is the used Honda Civic we bought when we were first married. Given the outdoor recreation opportunities, I suspect most Subaru drivers in places like the PNW and NE have similar reasons. I definitely wasn't trying to make a statement with what I drive, I bought what suited my needs. People buying BMW X5's and Lexus SUV's that never see a dirt road? They're definitely trying to make a statement. I've just never understood what that statement is supposed to be.
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