Subaru Ascent v. LC

Discussion in 'General Tech' started by longranger, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. longranger

    longranger

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    Ok, so weird thing happened over at the LC200 tech forum. Romero—whose forum tagline is “New Toys Are Exciting”— apparently didn’t think the upcoming Ascent was going to be exciting enough, and closed that thread, after it had been open for less than a day, and generated a really good discussion, with folks contributing schematics, talking apples/apples & apples/oranges. With healthy disagreement. That’s weird. And disrespectful. Totally shuts down conversation instead of pushing the questions deeper.

    So, here we are in a general tech forum, Romero — let’s see how this one is moderated.

    Earlier post asked legit questions about anticipated capabilities of a soon-to-launch “largest ever” Subaru versus the real-world known quantity we know and love as the Land Cruiser 200, in concrete technical terms.

    Anyone who’s driven a Subie as a “winter rat” in Maine or Alaska, or off-road Colorado or Baja, knows that Subaru makes a hell of a capable machine. For a relatively low-clearance rig, the undercarriage is well-protected, so that a typical Subaru experience is really less about wondering about capability and more about wheel placement, maneuvering around impassable obstacles, and just enjoying the ride.

    For instance, we have no idea what the underbody protection/armor on the Ascent is going to be because we haven’t seen a single photo of the engine bay, suspension, underbody, etc. — nor any serious cutaways. The hope/expectation is that the Ascent breaks new ground in underbody protection — and maybe even has “slider-like” or slider-strength bottom support. That’s not an unreasonable thing to expect from a 2018 Subaru knowing the limits to which Subaru owners push their rigs. And it’s a totally reasonable thing to expect from Toyota for its über-capable apex off-roader. Not as a TRD after-thought, or as a wish-list item, but as a legit customer demand. That’s a tech matter deserving of serious 200-tech discussion.

    So too with a relatively easy bolt-on (1) LC Supercharger and/or Turbo and/or Turbos for the 5.7 like the Tundra’s supercharger. So too for a (2) factory aux fuel tank, so that folks don’t have to scrounge around online for “grey market” imports. So too with a basic (3) rubber cargo liner for a five-seat LC200 with third row delete; (4) push-button airbag disable. Toyota makes these and many other goodies for other markets but good luck finding one in the States.

    The time writing on forums like this isn’t just venting. It’s also research and organizing thoughts/documenting need areas. The intended audience is as much internal Toyota managers and aftermarket parts suppliers who hopefully see a market niche and step up to cover it. Anyone who has dealt with multiple Toyota parts departments trying to special order a TOYOTA OEM part like a cargo mat or aux fuel components that aren’t made for the US-market can relate to this. That then translates to the need for modding/fabbing, which brings folks back to forums like this, which then takes time and energy.

    We’ve all been in this boat as we’re trying to stretch the limits of our rigs. If you’re happy with your builds then I’m jazzed for you, and y’all ought to be out there enjoying the heck out of them, instead of shutting down discussions. I want to see if I can squeeze more capability out of mine, and I know other folks on here have done really radical things to get where they want to be, including awesome diesel conversions, and so on.

    There are a ton of naysayers, but someone who embraces opportunities to question our assumptions about the capabilities of our rigs (and the launch of the Ascent is that opportunity as much as the launch of the FJ cruiser was) — that contributor isn’t a troll. That contributor adds value. If you can’t see the value, stop reading. If you want more value/utility, demand it. If you shut down that value, it will go elsewhere. So just simmer down and let these threads generate discussion. That’s the whole point.

    What’re the tech/utility/offers/innovations that the Ascent is bringing? And how can these innovations be used to push the 200 further? These are the core questions here, and that’s why this belongs in a 200-tech forum. The non-tech chatter and subjective impressions about the Subaru versus Cruiser ARE very valuable as well, especially as the feedback relates to real-world observed performance on trails and in the backcountry.

    That’s not trolling; that’s gathering received wisdom. If you think this type of discussion doesn’t belong in a current-series tech forum then what the moderators ought to do is rename this forum from ih8mud to “I❤️LC” — with cute t-shirts to match. If you’re a serious mud-hater, then you want to have this conversation, as uncomfortable as it makes your body-on-frame worldview.

    The LC200 is awesome, yes, heartsies, heartsies, but it has a TON of room for improvement — which is basically 90% of the reason why ih8mud exists. The launch of the Ascent, like the 2020s launch of the Tesla pickup, are valuable opportunities for serious critical introspection, allowing us to tell Toyota, “Hey, if Subaru could pull X off in a rig that’s 1/2 or 1/3 of the price of an LC200, then you need to match or exceed.”

    Self-congratulatory back-slapping about the unmatchable “just perfect” Land Cruiser 200 isn’t mud hatin’ — it’s the definition of being stuck.

    So let’s have a healthy Ascent v. LC200 conversation in terms of how to improve and push the limits on both.
     
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  2. gaijin

    gaijin GOLD Star

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  3. Mudder

    Mudder

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    So you got mad because a thread that wasn't tech got closed? I wish life worked that way too. If I broke the rules and got mad it should all be fine.
     
  4. Jacket

    Jacket Moderator

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    Let's see what Romero has to say.
     
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  5. coleAK

    coleAK

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    First of all there are a TON of Subaru’s up here in AK, it is our #1 car brand. They great For winter driving (way better than a LC). Super reliable, I see many 20+year old ones every day on my commute. I see a bunch of stock and lifted outback/forristers many places I go off road and they could go probably 95% of the places I go in my 200. At least a few times a summer I get somewhere off the road system and am supprised to see a Subaru there. I think for countries that get the other LC versions you may be correct to a point, Subaru’s are big in Australia and New Zealand, but I still think an outback would be better due to its size and weight.

    However as for me and all the people I know that bought their LC/LX for other than hauling kids to school and the mall it would not have been an option due to: lack of towing capacity, limited payload capacity, no low range transfer case, and although I haven’t seen one I bet the interior is way more designed for hauling people then gear.

    So yes I do think people will use them for overlanding, camping, off-road but in no way compete with a LC buyer. If so there are many other vehicles that the same argument could be made for: Honda Pilot/MDX, VW Atlas, Volvo XC90, ... are all fairly similar to the subie from what I know of it so far.

    And yes I think Subaru will sell a ton of ascent’s up here and compare that to the probably <10 new LC/LX’s that get sold in state.
     
  6. hoser

    hoser SILVER Star

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    I can see how certain buyers might consider both vehicles... the kind of consumer that needs a vehicle to drive in inclement weather... mostly limited to on-road driving. But I don't see how the Ascent can be directly compared to a 200 in harsher conditions.

    @WorldCleanupDay Tell me how the following compare when it comes to vehicle durability, longevity & capability in an off-road environment...

    (1) Clutch/limited slip center differential vs Lockable Torsen center differential

    (2) CVT transmission... I know this technology has been out for many years but only used in lightweight and/or light duty applications. Was there a technological breakthrough recently?

    (3) Ascent has no Low Range gears. How will it cope with steeps grades. Ironically, the vehicle is called an Ascent =)

    (4) Unibody vs body-on-frame

    All the above put the Subaru in the "Crossover" category. Comparing a crossover to the LC200 is silly, me thinks.
     
  7. longranger

    longranger

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    That is precisely what the thread is asking. What gets me excited about the Ascent launch are the several mentions of hybrid/e-drive on this platform that are *reportedly* in development for the Ascent -- so, that goes straight to the Low Range question. These are unknowns, but it's worthwhile thinking about.

    Locking diffs are great, but there are also a number of aftermarket locker setups, and its not uncommon for folks to do axle swaps, and all sorts of even more extreme wrenching on their Land Cruisers to achieve higher performance targets.

    My intuition regarding Ascent capabilities has less to do with the Ascent being positioned to capture a big slice of the U.S. SUV/Crossover market, but with the fact that it's expressly being marketed towards second/third generation Subaru owners, who have outgrown their Outbacks and Foresters. And second/third generation Subaru owners -- folks who are intimately familiar with the maker's capability -- will be pushing the Ascent to its maximum limits -- because ... that ... is ... what ... Subaru ... drivers ... do. If you want proof of that, just look at a Subaru closely the next time you're parked next to one at Home Depot or whatnot. These machines are workhorses.

    So, designers who are working on the "largest-ever Subaru" will no doubt have anticipated the extraordinary -- non-spec -- stresses that 2nd/3rd-gen owners will put on their Ascents, and no doubt over-engineered the vehicle for that use scenario. Just like the 200 series was over-engineered over the already-impressive 100-series -- because aside from incremental changes, Toyota knows that many Land Cruiser owners are repeat owners, and so may have baseline performance expectations that are just really high.

    I'm writing this with the understanding that Toyota Land Cruiser engineers are familiar with ih8mud and benefit from the myriad mod suggestions here. Heck, if I ran a team of engineers designing the 300 series, the first thing I'd ask us to do is divide the forum and scour it for low-cost/high-yield mod suggestions. And not just in the details and the weeds, but also bigger picture, conceptually -- with a view towards the next 10-year production run for Land Cruiser (2020-2030+) being arguably its most important, because this is the production run that will see the Land Cruiser transition to factory electric.

    Aussies will insist on diesel; Americans on petrol; Gulfers on push-button airbag disable to keep using their Cruisers as dune buggies -- and that may all be well and good. But logic is going to also insist on some really kick-a$$ innovations in fully electric drive for the venerable LC. Conversions are happening already, and that's something that will accelerate.

    IF the Ascent as launched is designed to accommodate completely different drivetrains in a more-or-less painless/modular fashion, that's going to be a big deal. So if the suspension components/flex/mount-points/etc. are engineered for the 2019 model year to handle e-drive stresses, that's a TECH LESSON that Toyota and other makers would be well-advised to heed. In other words, if Subaru is creating an Ascent whose owners will be able to go back in five years' time and swap out their Boxers for an Electric or High-Efficiency Hybrid Boxer, that's something that could potentially be a game changer in capability for the regular ol' gas-powered 2019 Ascent.

    Bottom line, IF the Ascent is being over-engineered now for far-stronger-drivetrain tomorrows, that's a lesson that 300-designers and Land Cruiser aficionados should be exploring.
     
  8. hoser

    hoser SILVER Star

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    I wouldn't get too excited. Subaru is moving towards a modular platform for the purpose of cost cutting, ease of manufacturing and engineering. This can work because all their cars are kinda the same, just different sizes and shapes. None of them compete with Land Cruisers.

    There has been no breakthrough in technology with the CVT's. The transmission is constantly variable but the gears ratios are not infinite, as in the lowest gear is still approximately 3:1... no low gearing, no bueno.

    I was talking about center differential lock, not lockers in the axles. The Subaru can't lock the center. This is also a problem.
     
  9. coleAK

    coleAK

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    I had a Subie with a locking Torsen center diff.
     
  10. coleAK

    coleAK

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    Of course that was almost 20 years ago, way differnat AWD than a modern Subaru, and had a MT not CVT
     
  11. hoser

    hoser SILVER Star

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    Some Subarus sold in Australia also had a transfer case... but that was also years ago.
     
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