Is there more to Subaru than AWD across the lineup? What is the brand’s identity?

I grew up on Subaru being a respected brand, and it still is. However, over the past decade I’ve noticed a few worrying trends:

  1. Production Subarus look way off from concepts relative to other brands. And yes, I know most production cars can’t look exactly like their concepts by engineering and manufacturing necessity. However, Subaru just seems to be an extreme case. As an example, check out the exciting Legacy concept vs. the production Legacy.
  2. Where is the power? Nearly every Subie seems underpowered for no good reason. Even the new Ascent has only 265 hp, which means it will absolutely struggle with any kind of urgent (not even spirited, simply urgent) highway driving.
  3. There doesn’t seem to be any hybrid, electric, or self-driving plans. This makes me worried that the brand has painted itself into a niche corner and isn’t preparing for the future.
  4. AWD is great, but is that the only selling point? Other automakers have AWD options too. There are also a fair number of us who live in the snow belt and do just fine with 2WD, and it’s not like there’s ground clearance across the lineup to make further difference.

TL, DR: Subaru has become the Unimog of cars. Is this intentional? Are Subies designed entirely around 4″ of unplowed snow + 20 degree incline use cases with no consideration to anything else? What is the brand going for? Who are they selling to? Why does the brand seem not to care about styling? Explain the tao of Subaru in its current state to me, because I’m confused as heck.

submitted by /u/jdrch
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