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It's common to see European automakers whose commercial cars are driven and inspired by their Formula 1 and Le Mans race vehicles. But Japanese automaker Subaru is a unique variation on that theme: a car company that draws the bulk of its inspiration from its success in off road rally racing.
It hasn't always been that way. Subaru was founded in 1953, with their first car coming a year later, and they didn't begin competing in rally racing until the 1980s. But once they found success on the dirt, they took what they learned and put it on the tarmac, and the results propelled them to popularity.
As such, Subaru became well-known for their off road vehicles, from the WRX – essentially an off road four-door sports car – to the Outback – the perfect family vehicle for anyone who lives in the snow. While Subaru's commercial success has skyrocketed in the last two decades, their roots have remained the same. The company is still dedicated to rally racing, and their cars continue to emulate their motorsports division, often down to the same engine restrictions.
Their current lineup features a diverse array of all-weather, all-day vehicles: the BRZ, Subaru's first true sports car; the longstanding Impreza sports sedan and wagon; the WRX four-door sports car; the Legacy mid-size sedan; the Forester compact SUV; the XV Crosstrek crossover; and the Outback mid-size wagon. Each is fun, safe, and ready for any terrain.
When it comes to glass, Subaru has another rally-inspired mindset: visibility is a very good thing. The Impreza sedan and the WRX both have front and rear windshields, front and rear side glass, and front and rear quarter glass attached to the door frame. The Impreza wagon has the same setup, but with a second piece of rear quarter glass behind the door, while the Legacy features the same setup as the Impreza sedan and WRX, minus the front quarter glass. The Forester, XV Crosstrek, and Outback all have front and rear windshields, front and rear side glass, front quarter glass, and rear quarter glass behind the door frame; the XV Crosstrek and Outback also have a second piece of rear quarter glass attached to the door frame. The BRZ has a front and rear windshield, front side glass, front quarter glass, and rear quarter glass behind the door frame.
Many of Subaru's models have been in existence for a long time, meaning that older models are perfect for having glass replaced at an aftermarket specialist. But the current line of Subarus – and a few of the older models – have a heated wiper blade feature that is usually lost when aftermarket glass is used. If you're determined to keep this feature, you'll most likely have to go through a dealership (though it's worth asking an aftermarket glass specialist if they can replace the glass while keeping the feature). The downside of this is that Subaru dealerships charge an arm and a leg for glass replacement, while specialists offer great prices and, very often, excellent service.
For an older Subaru, there's no question: head to an aftermarket glass specialist. For a newer vehicle, though, it's a matter of what you prioritize.