By James Wong
It’s been about three weeks now into Subaru ownership, and one thing apparent about the S204 (my example, at the very least) is that it is definitely not a Toyota or Honda where you can be pretty confident in owning a problem-free car.
In fact, the Scoobie is a recipe for a potential old-car disaster: turbocharged, all-wheel drive and bespoke parts. It just doesn’t really make sense as a sensible buy. But things are seldom sensible with cars, eh? Man maths sorts it out for you plainly to see.
So, I’ve gotten used to the quirky driveshaft knocks that sometimes intrude into the cabin while reversing up a slight slope – I get this while getting out from my home – as well as the slightly hesitant engine while setting off from cold. There are also unwelcome creaks there and here which spells of a chassis that isn’t as stiff as it should be, plus some noises in varying degrees from the engine bay once the car has been parked up. I guess I’m extra sensitive to these things as coming from the GTI, I’ve been trained to pick up any noise as something that could be potentially wrong. Thankfully, its major service is coming up next, so the car can be given a good look through to see if everything’s fine. Until then, I hope it holds up!
Another thing I noticed is the ferocity with which the car consumes its I/C water supply. In just about a week and a half, 2 litres of water has been sprayed to the hot intercooler. That’s a mighty amount considering I haven’t been driving the car very hard at all! Looks like I’ll have to watch this at least once a week and to keep a bottle in the cabin for top-ups. It’s quite refreshing to quench its thirst though – it’s like offering ice cold nourishment to a thirsty camel… Not sure how this makes me feel good but it does! It demands effort from ownership, and that care forges a bond that you just don’t really get from many modern cars nowadays where only computers can diagnose a fix.
On another more unfortunate note, the car gained a scar in its front carbon fibre lip, unbeknownst to myself. I don’t remember any instance where the car had scrapped its front over a hump, so I put it down to a couple of situations where undulations on the road brought the front crashing down to the road. Then it could have scuffed a part of the road which was higher than others. I’m not sure – but it’s painful all the same. I can see the carbon fibre weave exposed!
Also, it seems like Subaru had a bit of an oversight when fitting the exhaust so close to the rear bumper – there is some heat deformation directly above the exhaust, no doubt due to prolonged exposure to the scalding single-exit exhaust. I just wished Subaru thought of this before putting it there – I don’t think a German manufacturer would suffer from something like that…
Nonetheless, I guess these blemishes make the car “mine”. Although they aren’t good things, they are scars of experience – like how we’re shaped by our experience, good or bad.
Today’s photo shoot day, so if the weather holds up I should be able to get some nice photos and videos of the car. Can’t wait!