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Subaru mellows while Chrysler (FCA) rises in the Rockies

For several years, Subaru has maintained a huge presence in the Rocky Mountain region. Sales-wise, this is one of their biggest markets, not only for consumer sales, but for consumer recognition. Seeing Subarus bounding through snow packed back-roads heading towards Rocky Mountain ski areas is a worldwide marketing boon for Subaru.

Subaru has a fight on their hands for the heart and minds of the Rocky Mountains.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

With the advent of the significantly updated 2015 Subaru Legacy, Subaru continues to build on its strengths: all-wheel drive (AWD), ruggedness, safety and capability along with better efficiency. The exterior is much better looking than the vehicle it replaces and the interior is light-years ahead of the old model. The numbers based on safety, efficiency and ability all go the right direction. Yet, things outside of Subaru’s universe soil the accomplishments of the 2015 Subaru Legacy.

The main disturbance comes from FIAT Chrysler Automobile (FCA) and their impressive Chrysler 200 AWD. In nearly every measurable way, the 2015 Chrysler 200 AWD matches or trumps the 2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R. It’s more than one car; Chrysler’s overall effort put into consumer and media input mixed in with a dash of hardworking European brio feels woven into the Chrysler 200 AWD’s DNA.

Check out the differences on paper for similar vehicles with similar options:

The 2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited ( Approx $32,000)

  • 256 horsepower and 247 lbs-feet of torque via a 3.6-liter six-cylinder
  • The only transmission offered is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) which is hooked up to a permanent AWD system
  • Curb weight is approximately 3,700 lbs
  • Fuel efficiency for the 3.6-liter Subaru Legacy 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway

The 2015 Chrysler 200 S AWD (Approx $32,000)

  • 3.6-liter V6 295 horsepower and 262 lbs-feet of torque
  • The only transmission available is a 9-speed automatic
  • Curb weight is approximately 3,500 lbs
  • Fuel efficiency for the 2015 Chrysler 200 S AWD V6 is 18 mpg city and 29 mpg highway

Don’t get me wrong, Subaru still builds top-notch AWD vehicles and they are cherished among many in the Rocky Mountain region. It’s just that the competition is more aggressive and persuasive than ever, especially in snow country. Remember: Jeep is part of FCA and they are extraordinarily popular. In fact, Jeep’s influence has grown in this region by leaps and bounds in the past few years. All of that goes without mentioning new AWD challengers from Ford, Honda and Volkswagen.

Subaru needs to keep an eye on the ball and another eye on this region.

Check out the slick 2015 Chrysler 200 in this press event first drive video!

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