Overview & Reviews
Subaru is a Japan-based automaker whose recent offerings are both practical and fun to drive. The automaker crafts vehicles whose all-wheel-drive powertrains and available turbochargers facilitate sharp performance. Incongruously, most Subaru vehicles are discreet and versatile enough to serve as competent family haulers, and the brand is known for boasting some of the best crash test scores in the automotive world.
In the early 1950s, a collection of Japanese companies joined to form Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. Its automotive division came to be known as "Subaru," which is a Japanese word meaning "unite." In 1954, the first Subaru car was unveiled. Powered by a four-cylinder engine, the P-1 (its name was later changed to the Subaru 1500) boasted a front-wheel wishbone-type independent suspension and was the first car to feature a monocoque body designed in Japan. Sales were suspended due to challenges associated with funding and support, but Subaru soon resolved its difficulties and rolled out a sibling for its first-born; the 360 was introduced in 1958. Dubbed the Ladybird because of its ladybug shape, the compact 360 proved immensely popular, and remained in production for 12 years.
The 1960s saw the launch of the first Subaru truck. Based on the Subaru 360 platform, the Sambar minitruck offered both compact dimensions (a must for Japan's crowded, narrow streets) and an extremely spacious cargo bed. The truck was soon joined by the Sambar Light Van, a compact van built for both commercial and leisure use. In 1966, the automaker rolled out the 1000, a car that holds the distinction of being the first vehicle to use the drive technology that is the linchpin of current Subaru models: a front-wheel-drive system coupled to a horizontally opposed engine. This setup offered many advantages in handling and performance. By the end of the decade, Subaru North America had been founded, and exports to the United States had begun.
Subaru started the '70s with the introduction of the GL/DL (called the Leone in other markets). The sedan (it was soon joined by a coupe and a station wagon) broke new ground by offering four-wheel-drive (4WD) capability. Up until then, 4WD had only been offered in off-road-oriented vehicles. Coveted for use in the snow and in hilly regions, the GL and DL also benefited from the increasing popularity of outdoor sports like skiing and fishing, and went on to become the world's top-selling 4WD vehicle. In 1977, Subaru rolled out the successful Brat; based on the GL, it was a small car-based pickup whose cargo bed featured a pair of jump seats. More and more, young people were seeking a vehicle designed for an outdoorsy lifestyle, and the rugged Brat was perfectly in step with their needs.
Subaru continued to offer versatile but slightly quirky vehicles through the '80s. It developed the world's first electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. The technology made its debut later that decade in a new Subaru, the tiny Justy economy car. By the end of the '80s, Subaru had given birth to the Legacy, which replaced the outgoing GL/DL (now called the Loyale in the U.S.). Available as both a wagon and a sedan, the Legacy placed an emphasis on performance.
The automaker made a name for itself in motorsports in the 1990s by being the first Japanese marque to win the Manufacturers' title at the World Rally Championship three years in a row. The Subaru family continued to grow during this decade, with the addition of the high-performance SVX, the popular Legacy-based Outback wagon and the sporty Impreza. In the late '90s, General Motors acquired a 20 percent stake in parent company Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) with the aim of strengthening its presence in foreign markets. This affiliation didn't last long, however, and Toyota currently owns a small percentage of FHI.
Today, Subaru's lineup includes everything from compact trucks to family-friendly wagons to high-performance cars such as the WRX STi. The brand is hailed as a top pick for enthusiasts seeking vehicles that offer a shot of utility with their performance thrills.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 7,751.00
Question next purchase - 2008 Subaru Outback
By experiences1 - December 30 - 1:13 pm
This 2008 subie is my 3rd subaru experience. I was reluctant to leave a review because I have been told I am too critical so you be the judge. 1998 subaru was very noisy engine wise other than that a head gasket failure at 135000 miles 2001 subaru brakes once every other year at the dealer. Coolent leaks at the heads of the engine maintained by conditioner. 2008 Head gasket leaks at 68000 miles needed replacing. wire harness broke to tail lights. Noisy catalytic converters sheilding replaced under recall which is good. 75000 miles has a skip plugs and wires. ok
It does it all! - 2003 Subaru Impreza
By Dave - December 30 - 6:40 am
I never write reviews, but I love this car and feel I owe it to the brand. I am completely sold on Subarus from now on. Snow, dirt, and wet roads are afterthoughts in this thing. I have taken it everywhere from snowdrifts to Jeep trails, and never had to second guess it. My favorite feature about it is storage space. I considered the few other cars with the elusive combination of storage and fuel efficiency, but none can touch the Subaru's AWD drivetrain. I will never go back to owning a truck for recreational purposes. The wagon can carry multiple bikes, gear for all and still have room for my dog. I love this car.
2011 Forester are not representative of the Subaru name - 2010 Subaru Forester
By nornet - December 30 - 4:21 am
I have had 3 Subarus. The plain old vanilla Legacy sedan was by far the best of the bunch (2008). The Outback Limited (2007) was pretty close behind. The Forester was one of the poorest vehicles I have drive. You can not sit in these seats for more than 2 hours. This problen goes back at least 10 years. My first encounter with a Forester (2000) was in the same quality seats. If you wan't to shuttle around the city than this can be overlooked but for any distance driving look elsewhere.
Super Fun to Drive - 2011 Subaru Impreza
By masterdds - December 29 - 4:04 pm
Just picked it up this week. So far, the car has been a blast to drive. I have been getting about 22MPG on mountain roads. The stock stereo is decent. Leather very comfortable. Some road noise, which I don't mind. One caveat is that there are not too many compartments to store stuff....I am the type of person to carry around some supplies for emergencies and moving from my old Corolla to this car forced me to downsize.
A winner - 2007 Subaru Legacy
By RiverMeister - December 29 - 2:43 pm
I just picked the car up and I love it. Traded my 12 mpg Durango and am already getting 24 mpg on my first tank. Lots of safety features make this an extremely safe vehicle. Lots of fun features personalize the vehicle and make it a blast to drive.
Highly recommended - 2004 Subaru Outback
By JohnM - December 29 - 2:00 am
I am extremely pleased with my Outback. Even with 4 cylinders, it gets me up some pretty steep roads. Handling the mountain highways is a delight.. Ride is smooth yet firm.
Almost 3000 miles and 3 mos - 2014 Subaru Forester
By ashmatt - December 28 - 3:44 pm
We initially were looking at the Crosstrek and perhaps the Outback. The dealer mentioned the Forester and we took it for a drive. We quickly forgot about the other two. Test drove Ford, Nissan, Honda too. When I drive the forester MPG- city/hwy 25/32. When my wife drives, which is most of the time, city/hwy 22/29. Overall a little disappointed in the gas mileage perspective, but it does better than our 2009 Camry! Price paid- 28423- Limited, option pack 2, remote start, splash guards, all weather mats. Briggs in Topeka went very smoothly.
So far, so good - 2002 Subaru Outback
By Sun195 - December 28 - 8:06 am
I've had this car for three years - no problems yet. Performs well in snow/wet weather. AWD is idiot-proof. Hauls a ton of stuff with seats folded down. Decent gas mileage -- 30+mpg on one recent long trip. Comfortable for longer trips. Adequate power for freeway; not too zippy around town. Short enough so that roof rack is easily accessible. I wish I would have got all-weather package w/ heated mirrors. Car has survived two minor accidents fairly well. This is the "Swiss army knife" of cars.
Good deal, Great car. - 2001 Subaru Impreza
By Slack - December 27 - 10:00 am
I bought my Impreza L sedan with 43k miles and it was in great shape. This is my first Subaru and it won't be my last. Although most consider it to be bottom-of-the-line as far as Impreza's go, it is still a fun and reliable car to drive. I have close to 52k miles on it already and have had no problems whatsoever. The ride is smooth and the engine is peppy. The interior is plain, but tasteful. Seats are comfortable(front and rear). Plenty of trunkspace and decent leg room for passengers in the rear.
Blast to drive! - 2002 Subaru Impreza
By kevin1111 - December 27 - 10:00 am
I admit I wanted a sports car, but needed some practicality as well, and within a budget. After reading all the positive reviews, went to go drive the car, among many others. Was surprised by the stability and stance (drives like the car is wider than it is!) The suspension is a good compromise - little body lean, but a good ride none- the-less. Had a better ride than the BMW 3-series I test drove.
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