QotW: What Subaru model is the most Subaru?

Happy Boxing Day from JNC! Speaking of boxers, Subaru is the most prolific builder of horizontally opposed engines in the automotive kingdom. But if you had to distill the Subaru essence into one model from any time in the company’s history, what would it be? Perhaps a dirt chucking rally car, a funky all-wheel-drive wagon, or some kind of strange unibody pickup? Which car is most representative of the marque? In other words:

What Subaru model is the most Subaru?

The most entertaining comment by next Tuesday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What do you want from Japanese Santa Claus this year?“.

Not surprisingly, many good little boys and girls wanted entire cars. That’s no problem for Japanese Santa Claus’s Tardis-like knapsack. Hopefully Ian G. got his FJ Cruiser Trail Teams Edition, Jim Daniels got his Honda S2000 and Santa’s own RS-Watanabes, and Taylor C. got his super rare-spec Toyota HiAce. We don’t know if SCOTT was looking for some Toyota Corolla TE37s or some Rays TE37s, but maybe he received both!

If it wasn’t cars, it was car parts. We hope Keith woke up to find an R200 diff for his Z under his tree, Land Ark got his coveted JDM Miata and Legacy parts, and Art got the doily seat covers for his Toyota Carina that are probably ridiculously expensive. Fred Langille has the parts to rebuild his Nissan S-Cargo, maybe Santa brought him the will to do it.

If it wasn’t cars or car parts, it was car-related toys. We really hope Santa delivered エーイダン some 1968 redline Hot Wheels and Corgi diecasts, gave Nigel the rare Tamiya Nissan Leopard kit he was looking for, and dropped 50 pounds’ worth of A Quiet Greatness off at Bryan Kitsune‘s house.

We don’t know exactly what Ben E. was referring to in his answer, but the holiday season can be really tough for some people. Our hearts go out to him and we know it’s not much, but if some stickers might brighten up Ben’s day, then he will win the final QotW of 2023. May your 2024 rise like a touge road into the mountains:

This year, all I ask of Annual Gift man, is hope.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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7 Responses to QotW: What Subaru model is the most Subaru?

  1. Fred Langille says:

    The most Subaru-like Subaru? The Ladybug … the Subaru 360, of course! If it wasn’t for automotive schemer Malcolm Bricklin, also the force behind the Canadian-built Bricklin safety sports car (and Yugo), Subaru might never had the opportunity to come to the USA. These ubiquitous little Kei cars (and vans and pickups) were the beginning of the wave that Subaru became in this country. It took awhile but, when the focus formed on their uprated models, that when it began.

  2. Legacy-san says:

    The Subaru that is the most “Subaru” is what we now call the Impreza. When it was introduced in 1966, with the boxer engine as a competitor to the Toyota Corolla, it was called the 1000. The name changed in 1971 to Leone and introduced All Wheel Drive as an option, and in 1992 the name changed again to Impreza. The WRX can trace its beginning to the 1968 RX coupe too.

  3. Alan says:

    I might be biased (long-time and adoring owner of an ’06 5MT Outback XT), but the BL/BP Legacy.

    In many ways, it felt like peak Subaru. It was the last of the relatively compact Legacys, last with Subaru’s once-traditional frameless windows, and by my judgement, the best driving of any generation before or since by a sizable margin.

    All Legacys had been handsome things for the first four generations, but the fourth gen marked a clear zenith; it was a Japanese E46 inside and out, marking a level of visual sophistication that few cars from our favorite car-producing nation have ever achieved. This is made all the more marked by the steady devolution of the line into the bloated, willfully ugly, sloppy-driving piles that culminate with the current 7th gen.

    Mine, after a decade of service as the primary family vehicle, frequent 9/10ths canyon romps, and daily Italian tuneups, has finally stated letting her head gaskets go at 170k miles. Under standard boost, she’d probably still be going at close to 100%. Regardless, I’ll never let her go, and have plans for a full JDM 2.0 liter/6-speed swap in the near future.

  4. Patrick Faria says:

    I will say that the most “Subaruest” car ever made is the Impreza WRX. And I’m saying that because I really know some other cars that are cooler and way more reliable than that piece of crap, but that kind of information I’ll never disclose. A true JDM is like that, think for yourself.

  5. Ian Gopez says:

    (My old) ’98 Impreza 2.5RS Coupe. That’s the most Subaru of Subarus. Factory gold wheels (didn’t have that in ’99-’01), big giant hood scoop and (for the time) a lot of torque out of those 4 wheels. It just harkens back to a time when WRC ruled my world. Its what launched World Rally to a wider American audience and was a catalyst for Subaru and Mitsubishi to bring the WRX/STI and Evo cars to the states..

    Also for Boxing Day, I made sure I spoiled my Boxer-Bulldog pup and we went to go see the Christmas Lights at night. But then again she is spoiled like every day. As she deserves to be.

  6. Bryan Kitsune says:

    That would have to be the Outback. If there’s anything I’m sure of, it’s that Subaroo is an Australian company who devoted themselves to AWD to help blokes safely dodge kangaroos in the extreme conditions of the bush whilst on their way to enjoy some shrimp on the barbie.

    To the great Petter Solberg’s dismay, the Roo Avoidance System wasn’t infallible.

    OK, even if Subaru is Japanese. I’ll still go with the Outback…and I’m sorry, some days I’m just like this.

  7. 555jay says:

    If you’re outside Subaru looking in, it has to be the Outback.

    But I gotta think that if you *are* Subaru, then still a subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries, less than a generation removed from all-aircraft engineers, then it has to be the Subaru Alcyone/XT.

    Look at it- It’s literally a airfoil. They spent extensive amounts of time in the wind tunnel working on the aero to minimized drag. It’s full of features that are “quirky” not just because they were rare/unique in the car world, but because it was a bunch of differently-thinking designers and engineers knew they could load them up with out risk of the user falling out of the sky.

    Then as a bonus, the model’s own 1st-generation run acts like a microcosm of Subaru’s own overall arc…
    “Let’s use a 4-cyl turbo!”
    “We can make the styling edgy and sharp!”
    “Put in FWD or selectable 4WD!”

    And then a short time later:
    “Maybe they want a 6-cyl motor.”
    “Better tone it down a bit. Get out the plain fabric and make it look more like the Celica/Prelude.”
    “Start switching them all to AWD instead.” [Toyota collab notwithstanding]

    Sound familiar?

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