Ninety percent of drivers are above-average, according to a recent poll I just made up based on common claims I hear on the Internet. That figure goes beyond 100 percent when the driver has four-wheel drive and winter tires, or so I'm led to believe. In reality, it doesn't hurt to have both on a Subaru.
Once the numbers are all tallied up, Subaru sales are expected to have grown by a staggering 11% for 2013. Our esteemed big cheese, Matt Hardigree, proffered a theory a while back to explain why Subaru is doing so well in the United States:
They continued to build the cars they're known for. Yeah, the Legacy is a bit ungainly, but white people in cold ass climates looooooove Outbacks. Can't afford an Outback? A Subaru XV is just a raised Subaru Impreza with funky body-cladding, but people are eating that up.
Did they make the new Subaru Forrester gigantic and soft and dumb? Nope. They just continued to make it better.
While I'm no scientist, that sounds like a highly accurate hypothesis to me. But I'd like to offer a supplemental theory to Subaru's recent success as well. Four-wheel-drive is fun.
And while Subaru doesn't build a fully 4WD lineup anymore, owing to the BRZ, that hasn't taken away at all from its brand image of making wintery cars. As the ad above shows, 4WD will get you to work when it's snowing outside.
But that's not all. While 4WD and snow tires can lead to overconfidence when the blizzards of a frozen hellish wasteland have descended upon your little New England/Minnesota/New Jersey/Miami town because global warming, they can also undoubtedly lead to massive amounts of fun given a big enough field and a heavy enough dusting of snow.
And if there's anything people love, it's fun. In unexperienced hands rear-wheel-drive can cause nothing but spins, and front-wheel-drive can cause nothing but boring understeer, but with all of the wheels being driven it's relatively easy to have the biggest off-road powerslide of your life when snow is coming down.
Subaru's figured that out. Maybe one day everyone else will, too.