Ask Nathan: Future Subaru WRX Chatter, Jeep Cherokee Name, and Teen Drivers?

Image: Best Car

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Any information on the future Subaru WRX?
  • What’s going on with the Jeep Cherokee name?
  • Teen drivers needs help!

The first question comes from a WRX fan about the rumors about the future Subaru WRX.

Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) I still love my 2008 WRX. It might be time to move on and I was wondering if you heard anything about the future Subaru WRX?  

I was hoping they would go DSG and ditch the CVT. Also hope they produce one that is just as powerful but a little more economical. Thoughts?

M. Gotleib ESQ 

Image: Best Car

A: We are hearing some chatter about the future Subaru WRX.

Just recently, there was a post published through DriveTribe from AutoNews Australia about possible plans for the future Subaru WRX. Auto News Australia got their information from Japanese car magazine Best Car. The good news is that Best Car has good sources for JDM and export inside news. Unfortunately, some of the news could be negative for CVT haters AND some folks may not get a manual option.

According to the publication, the next WRX will be bigger in every dimension.

“The next WRX will be larger in physical size, measuring 4.65m in length, 1.85m in width and 1.45m in height. Wheelbase will be increased to 2.67 metres, and the entire chassis will be built off Subaru’s new Global Platform architecture.”

Power is expected to come from a larger 287 horsepower, 2.4-liter, turbocharged “Boxer” flat-4. It will probably replace the current powertrain as Subaru recently settled a class-action lawsuit regarding premature engine failure in the EJ25 engine. The publication speculates that the continuously variable transmission will not only remain, it will be the only transmission available in some markets. Which markets? They didn’t say, but the specter of losing a proper manual won’t sit well with fans.

Image: Best Car

The future STI could become even more radical:

AutoNews Australia reported that the STI could become a beast, with a nearly 400 hp H4 and over 350 lb-ft of torque. There is a rumor from an WRC insider that Subaru is exploring bringing the new STI into rally racing shortly after its introduction. Scuttlebutt has it that the WRX and STI will be sedans only.

An additional rumor speculates that Subaru and Toyota, who are working on a few projects together, may be working on a high performance hybrid setup for the WRX as well.

Stay tuned!

– N

The next question comes from a viewer who is concerned about the future of the Jeep “Cherokee” name.

2021 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) Can you tell me what’s going on with the Jeep Cherokee name? 

I hear that they may get rid of it! WHY??!! What do you think????

B. Daukm

(Photo: Jeep)

A: There is some news out there that Stellantis is addressing concerns about the name “Cherokee.”

It is possible that Jeep could drop the “Cherokee” name.

You can read the whole report here.

As a journalists, I see both sides. Sure, some folks feel that the names isn’t an insult against the Cherokee Native American tribe. Others see it as objectification and racially insensitive. Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. and CEO Carlos Tavares need to find an equitable way to make this work – obviously. I like the current Jeep Cherokee (and the upcoming Grand Cherokee looks promising), and I think it’s still one of the best off-road-capable crossovers in its class. My bottom line is: as long as the product is good, who cares what the name is? Go ahead and call it whatever. I don’t care if it’s renamed the “Fluffy Peanut,” as long as it still handles well in the rough.

The last question comes from a mother who is struggling with providing her teen with enough driving support.

Top 10 Mistakes New Drivers Likely Make While Learning

Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) Hi Nathan.

Lynda here. A long time ago you helped me with a minivan question. I’ve had my Sienna for three years and I still love it. Truly grateful. New problem. My teen daughter needs more driving experience. She has her license and is responsible, but I don’t have time to drive with her very much, just weekends. She wants more guidance before going solo. COVID has made everything tough and I can’t have her drive with school friends.

Is there anything I can do to instill her with confidence?

— Lynda

A: Hi Lynda!

I just went through something similar last year when the pandemic kicked in. My teen needed more confidence building, and I devised a schedule that got her up and running confidently. When everything first shut down, my kiddo was still green and needed help with the basics, like parking and understanding how to merge.

I incorporated her weaknesses into taking care of simple day-to-day tasks as often as possible. Weekends are a good start, but you should try to have your teen drive you to everyday errands. Even something as trivial as a run to the grocery store is a challenge for new drivers.

Simple errands requires forethought and forces the driver to consider things like:

  • Where do I park and how do I safely park?
  • What route should I take?
  • Why bother securing groceries and where do I put them?
  • Stopping at a gas/EV station and filling up
  • Understanding safe/easy routes home.
  • NOT losing your keys and wallet (my munchkin managed to do both)

Never underestimate the value of showing your teen how mundane driving tasks are done. It’s one step towards independence and maturity, which many of them crave. On top of that, even if she’s not attending school, having her drive around the school’s general location can help her in the future. Once again, understanding the routes, areas to park and areas to avoid can help.

One final suggestion (I know readers may provide some pointers as well), spend time in a parking lot.

I make a point of standing near the car, giving my kid instructions – especially when parking. Not being in the car, but still having a voice when instructing them seemed to work well for me. I was able to walk along-side as she figured out how to maneuver into difficult parking spots. I set up some cones in strategic locations, but just about anything will work as an obstacle.

The most important thing is learning by doing. The more she drives, the better she’ll get.

I hope this helps.

— N