Disclosure: I was contracted by Servco Pacific to cover the First Hawaiian Bank International Auto Show. All opinions are my honest observations of the Suzuki/Subaru brands for readers of this blog.
I loved cars from the day I was born. It was instilled in my genes from the get-go. My dad was a down-home auto enthusiast that shared his love of cars and the outdoors with me when I was growing up. I remember on weekends, he’d take our family in our Toyota Corolla on long drives around the island. We would visit family and friends, sometimes stopping at quaint country stores or eating lunch at long-forgotten eateries along the way. Although I might not have shown much interest in the technical details of autos back then, I appreciated the way everything worked together in both the mechanics and styling of a Japanese compact car. They have certainly come a long way since then and I’m still in awe of how far they have actually come within my lifetime.
Well at this point you’re probably wondering what does this have to do with fishing? Let me continue.
In the late 70s and early 80s, my father worked for Servco Pacific selling their Toyota and Alfa Romeo brands at the old Motor Imports site on Kapiolani Boulevard. Around 1978, he bought a nice used 1975 Toyota Corolla 4 Speed 2 door coupe that would do the heavy-duty driving of taking us to fishing spots all along the rough O’ahu coastline. The roads back then were horrendous, especially on the leeward side, and my father would take that Toyota around Kaena Point with nil a scratch (this is before that chunk of land near the point went out to sea)! and the next day drive it to work! I was often flabbergasted and fascinated at the same time of how this car and man worked together to cross insurmountable obstacles in paths only 4×4 trucks navigated. His logic was that only a Japanese compact car could make it without assistance because it was nimble, light and had great gas mileage!
Fast-forward 30 years and it’s the first year that I had the pleasure to join my friend, L.P. Neenz Faleafine, in her social media coverage of the First Hawaiian Bank Auto Show. I was ecstatic when I was assigned to cover Servco’s Suzuki and Subaru brands. I was astonished at the selection of both brands 2012 vehicle lineups that my dad would’ve been drooling over.
My dad’s philosophy of nimble, light and great gas mileage really rang true with this year’s models.
Suzuki: Nimble For the Great Outdoors
My first encounter with the Suzuki Motor Corporation was with their motorcycle brand when I raced my Suzuki RM80 on motocross tracks in the 80s. Based on that experience, I later bought a Suzuki GSXR-600 when I moved to Philadelphia for my daily commutes. My sister-in-law had an old beat-up 1984 Suzuki Swift 4 door Standard that would never die. My brother-in-law still has it on the Big Island and uses it as his daily driver because it saves him gas! I call it the “Fred Flintstone” special because it has holes in the floorboards! My cousin relies heavily on his Suzuki DF series outboard motor for his fishing boat and hasn’t had much of a hiccup since he switched to Suzuki.
The reliability and utility of the Suzuki brand cannot be underestimated. Thus, I was overjoyed when I saw Suzuki’s new lineup for 2012. The Suzuki Kizashi is impressive and looks like it could cut its way on the highway. I like the lines, has all the electronic gadgetry that I need (iPhone/iPod connection, power outlets, bluetooth, usb, etc.) and the cool interior. My daughter said that the Kizashi is the car she wants for her senior year! For the price, it might just be possible. Put on some racks and I could use this for surfing, kayaking or fishing after work and still go out in the evening for a fancy dinner.
That being said, Suzuki has other models that I would definitely use to hit the surf or cast my bait out without feeling the pinch on my pocketbook. The Suzuki SX4 and SX4 Crossover are ideal for getting off the beaten path and yet be ahead of the pack by saving yourself dollars at the gas pump. My ex-boss had a daily driver that she drove from Kahuku to Kapolei in her SX4 Crossover and had it loaded with gear from her kids sports activities. Yet, it made it through all the floods, hurricanes and high surf that’s prevalent out there! So I know the SX4 is “old reliable” in my book.
You might remember, the local phrase, “Is dat da one?” and you answered, “Yup, dis da one!” when you found something you really liked. If you’re looking to upgrade to a SUV, then the 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara is the one! I love sport utility vehicles for their 4WD and high ground clearance. However, they always seem to me to be too expensive for my taste and not worth all that room while it sucked your money in gas and maintenance costs. Plus, they’re harder to clean. If I were to do what my dad had done for my kids, I’d take the Grand Vitara. It’s spacious enough for all my fishing equipment and I can accessorize it with electronics and amenities to make my fishing trip more comfortable. But that’s me! I’m getting to old for the roughing it crowd. Maybe, someday they’ll let me test it out for a year! Haha!
Subaru: Has What It Takes
I love the outdoors and half the battle is getting there. Thus, it’s natural that I have always been a big Subaru fan. I’ve driven most of Subaru’s lineup (except the Legacy and the Tribeca) in my “youthful” years and was always impressed by their stability and versatility. The standard all-wheel drive kept me on the roadway and gave me comfort that I could get out of tough situations (just like my dad!). The 2012 Subaru Forester and Outback can both be used as daily drivers and as weekend workhorses. They impressed me with a lot of creature comforts that’s not common in other vehicles. Lots of room to change, cargo room, little hideaway places and you can get it dirty, without feeling guilty that you just “dirtied” your car, if you know what I mean. Tint the windows, get some racks and you’re all set for the beach or the highlands! LOL!
Another reason to love Subaru’s are their tenacity for winning! I’ve watched Colin McRae and other World Rally Champions behind the wheels of the Subaru Rally Team WRX/STI. These cars are fast and have sharp lines! I was able to talk to a bunch of locals who were milling about these cars and asked them, what impressed them most about the WRX/STI models? Many loved the fact that they could drive these race-bred cars on and off-road and never worry about getting home. They also love the fact that nobody would mess with them because of their racing heritage! Nice!
The 2012 Subaru Legacy and Tribeca models are great commuters for the family and if you need the extra seats/space, they will certainly fit the bill.
Your Next Move
Choosing the vehicle for your next adventure in the great outdoors needn’t be difficult with both these brands to help you decide. Suzuki for its reliability and utility. Suzuki sticks to this mantra by offering one of the best warranties in America for their vehicles. Subaru for its versatility and stability. All-wheel drive, a penchant for the outdoors and a global racing heritage. Both offer a variety of rides to choose from that are fun to drive for those pursuing an active lifestyle in Hawaii.
I recommend you check out the Servco Pacific website for more information and schedule a test drive at your nearest Suzuki or Subaru dealer. You won’t be disappointed!