1988 Subaru Justy GL 1.2L gas from North America


The trusty Justy will get you anywhere you need to go, while being fun to drive


Not much, it's a little tank!

The thermostat went sometime before I got it, so the radiator fan would not come on by itself. My brother rigged up a manual in-cabin switch for it, which worked pretty well. Prevented it from overheating too much.

The driver's seatbelt never retracted. I got a new one, but never replaced it. Just ended up tying a knot in it.

Sometimes when turning it on in the morning, if I gave it a little throttle, but not much, it would just die. It was very hard to start up after that, but if I put the pedal to the floor, I could usually start it back up.

Really liked to warm up. Without a good warm up, it would stall every time I stopped until it got up to temperature.

Before I knew about the radiator fan, I drove it up an extreme hill with lots of stops in Seattle, filled with four passengers and luggage in mid-August heat. Needless to say, it overheated so badly that the car wouldn't move for about half an hour until it cooled. That was a lot of fun.

General Comments:

I loved my little Justy literally until death. While driving home a couple of weeks ago, a driver ran a stop sign and collided full force with me. My poor Justy was totaled, but I came out with nothing more than a bad bruise and a broken heart.

This car was quick, just not very fast. It got off the mark well, but definitely had a maximum speed.

I loved the boxy 80's styling; can't be beat by any Honda!

I loved not having power steering, I felt it made me more "in tune" with the car. It handles like a go cart.

This car will just go anywhere. It has good clearance and excellent maneuverability.

The push-button AWD was very easy to activate, and can be done on-the-fly - even going freeway speeds!

The back seats are comfortable and roomy for such a small car. My friend's (much larger) '88 Civic Wagon cannot handle a carseat. My Justy could, easily.

Hills were a big problem. At in-city speeds, hills were just no problem, the Justy could clear them with ease. Anything faster than 45 MPH, however, was nigh unconquerable. I eventually learned how and when to downshift to handle hills I was faced with regularly, but one memorable trip over to Eastern Washington saw the Justy struggling to keep going 35 MPH in a 70 MPH zone over the mountains.

This car is a little tank, it never dies! Whatever you can give it (except for hills) it will take gladly. This would be an absolutely unbeatable first car if you can find one.

Overall, I never really treated my Justy well. I beat the crap out of it, and didn't perform as much maintenance as I should have, but I loved it. There will never be another car as near and dear to me as my little Trusty Justy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th August, 2010

1988 Subaru Justy GL 4X4 1.2 from North America


My favorite car out of the 30+ cars I've owned


I've replaced 3 clutches on this 4-wheel drive while the clutch in my FWD lasted 253,000 miles. The last clutch has lasted 5 years and is still going strong.

The rear axle had to be replaced.

The clutch cable broke.

A computer had to be replaced. It was damaged when a new catalytic converter was welded on without disconnecting the battery.

It's had 3 catalytic converters installed, one got destroyed because of the damaged computer described above.

The car leaks oil.

The radiator fan stopped working.

General Comments:

When my 88 Justy DL's clutch wore out after 13 years, I bought this 88 GL for $200 and hope to drive it for many more years to come.

It gets 28-31 mpg compared to 35-41 with my DL. It's extremely peppy for a 3-cylinder.

Despite being one of the smallest cars on the road, it can carry lots of stuff with the back seats folded down.

I've been rear-ended 3 times in my 2 Justys, with no damage, although the bigger cars that hit me suffered some damage.

Despite having several newer cars at my disposal, I'm always happiest driving my Justy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd December, 2008