Here is our pick of the best Subaru models ever made.
Subaru has gone from a Japan-only car brand to worldwide popularity among the devoted core of buyers. The company produces rough-road capable SUVs and affordable sports cars, and it is famous for the use of a boxer engine layout and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard in almost every vehicle. This year in July, the manufacturer celebrates its 70th anniversary.
All modern Subarus are decent offers in their classes, but like any brand, Subaru has more significant models.
Subaru Forester (1997 – present)
This versatile compact crossover SUV with advanced safety tech and all-weather capability is Subaru’s best-seller and a winner of multiple SUV of the Year awards. It has 5 generations, and numerous specifications/versions including a hybrid e-Boxer, Forester Sport, or a more off-road-oriented Forester Wilderness.
The 2005 Forester STI was a great high-performance variant with one of the most aggressive SUV designs. The vehicle featured a 2.5-liter turbo-four making 265 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque and pairing an upgraded 6-speed manual transmission. The STI could hit 0-60 in only 5.2 seconds and gained a top speed of 131 mph.
Subaru Impreza (1992–present)
This compact car is the predecessor of the Subaru Leone and the successor of the WRX. It is now in its 6th generation. From its launch in 1992, the model was available in three body styles: a 5-door station wagon, a 2-door coupe, and a 4-door sedan. A 5-door hatchback joined in 2008 and, together with the sedan, it is still in the market.
The all-wheel-drive Impreza is a unique selling proposition in the global compact class that is typically characterized by front-wheel drive.
The model has a number of outstanding versions, including the 2000 Impreza P1, 1998 Impreza 22B STi, and 1996 Impreza Series McRae.
The limited-run Impreza P1 (1000 units only) was a unique 2-door car in World Rally Blue paint, with 276 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, all-wheel drive (not symmetrical in this case!), and a top speed of 155 mph.
The uber-rare Subaru 22B STi was a 40th-anniversary special edition available only in 400 units and sold out in just 30-45 minutes. That version came with a 276-hp boxer engine, a 5-speed manual gearbox, and needed 5.0 sec to speed up to 60 mph. Its top speed was 157 miles per hour. An ultimate rally homologation was sold for $312,555 setting the record for the most expensive auctioned Subaru.
The Impreza Series McRae was produced in 200 units to commemorate Subaru’s first-rally win. The special edition model featured open-headrest Recaro seats, a 207-hp engine with a 5-speed manual transmission, and a full-time AWD system with a viscous limited-slip differential.
Subaru Outback (1994-present)
The manufacturer used an “Outback” nameplate for a crossover station wagon marketed from 1994 till the present (another name is the Legacy Outback) and for the 1994–2011 Outback Sport – a derivative of the Impreza hatchback. Already 6 generations are on the scene, This model is a reliable, strongly-demanded solid performer for years.
The 2019 Outback 3.6R is one of the best-selling variants in Subaru’s lineup, a great choice for those who don’t want an SUV but need more space than a hatchback. It features 8.7-inch ground clearance and a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter flat-6 engine with 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. The 3.6R offers luxuries like rearview cameras and heated seats, tons of room for people and cargo, and the best safety suite in the industry (for the time of the model’s arrival in 2018).
Subaru Brat (1978-1992)
The Brat (Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter) is a Ute or Coupe utility based on the Subaru Leone. Such utes as the Datsun 620, Ford Ranchero, or the Chevrolet El Camino inspired Subaru to create its own model.
Other names: Subaru 284, Brumby, MV, Targa, and Shifter. Two generations were launched. The Subaru Baja made from 2003 to 2008 became its successor.
The Brat was unique in its own way: it had a lightweight body of 2,200 pounds, full-time four-wheel drive, and two jump seats in the bed (US version) allowing to designate it as a passenger vehicle and to avoid paying 25% Chicken tax.
The Subaru Brat used 4- and 5-speed manual transmissions and the Subaru EA 1.6- and 1.8-liter engines. The 1983-1984 models got a turbocharged 94-hp engine and a 3-speed automatic transmission.
Subaru WRX STI S209
Subaru BRX (2011-present)
Subaru SVX (1991-1996)
The Subaru Vehicle X (SVX) model was ahead of its time
Name in Japan: Subaru Alcyone SVX. That was a 2-door, front-engine coupé produced and marketed in a single generation. The car was rather a flop in terms of sales, nevertheless, we’ve put it on our list for uniqueness.
The SVX had a wedge shape design, an exclusive window-in-window feature, and a 3.3-liter boxer horizontally opposed flat-6 engine (the only option for the model) with up to 231 hp and 228 lb-ft. Subaru offered the SVX only with a 4-speed automatic transmission but either will front or all-wheel drive.
The latter established a trend that follows at present. The car’s 0-60-mph acceleration time took 7.3 seconds, and a top speed was 143 mph.
The model has its own achievements. In 1991, a Subaru SVX won the Alcan Winter Rally a race from Seattle to the Arctic Circle and back. A Subaru SVX PPG Pace Car was used in the 1990s both as a pace car for several seasons and as Subaru’s promotional tool. Then it was stored for many years in the “Subaru Performance Attic” in New Jersey.