Subaru History

Subaru is a well-known Japanese auto manufacturer established in 1953. It is not a standalone company, but actually the auto-manufacturing division of Japanese conglomerate Fuji Heavy Industries, of which Toyota holds a 16.5% ownership stake. The name comes from the Japanese name for the Pleiades star group, which also gives clues about the company’s multi-star logo.

Subaru is also known for several distinctive motoring qualities; the first of these is its ‘boxer’ engine, in which the cylinders lie in a flat, horizontal configuration. This lowers the car’s centre of gravity and gives better handling and stability. The Porsche 911 also uses a boxer engine layout. Another Subaru quirk is that it favours symmetric all-wheel drive in most of its cars. Subaru is also known to offer turbocharged performance variants in its lineup. Subaru Tecnica International (STI) is another division of Fuji Heavy Industries specializing in tuning of Subaru vehicles and their preparation in rallying. The STI brand is famous among lovers of motoring video games, as well as hot-blooded street racers worldwide.

Subaru Models

Subaru’s models on sale in New Zealand start with the Impreza, a perennial rival to the Mitsubishi Evolution. The Impreza is available in both hatchback and sedan, and as the sedate version with a 2.0-litre engine, or the manic WRX STI variant, with a 2.5 turbo engine and a great-sounding exhaust note, with performance to match the looks and noise. The Impreza has also competed successfully in rallying, having won the 1995, 2001 and 2003 WRC championship with legendary drivers Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Petter Solberg respectively.

Next up is the Legacy, a midsize sedan also available in a performance version called the GT Spec B, and also offered as a sedan or wagon. The Outback is a raised, body-clad version of the Legacy wagon for traversing offroad areas. The Forester is a sort of raised wagon, but not quite an SUV. The Tribeca is Subaru’s first large SUV, and quite a good one at that, even though the first model had a strange ‘nostril’ grille.

Looking at buying a Subaru? Check the vehicle history of any Subaru by entering its number plate in the field above.