1988 Subaru Justy from North America


Great little car!


Clutch needed replacing early.

Exhaust pipe fixed due to a recall (free).

Interior components very cheap and break easily.

Cloth seats torn and need seat covers because of the metal coils underneath.

General Comments:

Overall great little car, very peppy. I really have not taken great care of it, but it continues to run with no major problems.

Seats fold down and can really fit many items, I have moved five times with this car!

Beware of the thin roof and lightweight construction, could be very unsafe in an accident.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th April, 2001

25th Apr 2003, 11:49

This is so true, you should see the wreck I had in my Subaru Justy! I would love to post pictures of it!


22nd Jan 2007, 21:10

Counterpoint to the rollover safety discussion going on here: I rolled my 1993 Subaru Justy and the car and occupants survived quite well. The car was equipped with a Yakima roof rack, which may have aided in structural rigidity of the roof... but the car survived well and was drive-able again after putting it back on it's wheels.

26th Aug 2011, 14:37

The body was changed in 1991; they made a wider and stronger body. Comparing a 1988 to 1993 in a crash test is not fair.

1988 Subaru Justy S II Jem 1.2 petrol from UK and Ireland


Best car I have ever (nearly) owned


Virtually nothing serious.

A little welding on the gear linkage at 140,000 (about £50).

Some rust beginning to show.

General Comments:

Brilliant little car. It actually belongs to my wife, but I drive it whenever I can in preference to my '92 Subaru Legacy, which over the same period has cost me at least £6,000 in bills... that is why I say I would not buy another car from the same manufacturer.

Nippy performance, great suspension and handling for such a small car... and the 4WD has got us out of trouble on several occasions.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd March, 2001

1988 Subaru Justy 4x4 from North America


A great car for the ice and snow


Lots of weather-related stuff (VERY cold winters here - often 40 or 50 below zero):

- Frozen and leaking brake hoses (twice in consecutive winters), big $$$.

- Cracked CV boots (every winter), annoying but somewhat unavoidable in our climate and not really the car's fault.

- Frozen and broken fuel pump (one winter at 40 below), self-repaired with a fuel-pump meant for a different car model; dealer pump way too expensive.

Other problems:#

- Worn-out spark-plug windings caused spark plugs to pop out while driving (big bang, loud noise, great fun!). Had to be re-wired, not too expensive though.

- During its last year it developed a vacuum leak that caused the brakes to "hiss" and lose power when engaged. Also, in hot weather (and our summers get hot!) the engine would often refuse to start for ca. 1 hour after it had been turned off. VERY annoying, since it usually happened in some shopping-mall parking lot.

General Comments:

Despite everything described above, I'd call this a worthy little car. I got it at advanced middle age (130,000) miles, after having weathered 7 interior Alaskan winters, and drove it through 4 more all the way to the onset of senility at 180,000 miles. It should be noted that generally a mile in interior Alaska counts for two miles in a milder climate, because of our brutal winters. So I was anticipating some age-related problems, such as the spark plug thing. Cold-related problems such as break hoses and CV boots happen a lot up here.

Overall, I was impressed by the engine's ability to keep running even with major health problems - in the end it (almost) always got me home. Also, despite its rather wimpy look and tiny tires it has good road clearance and performs exceptionally well in ice and snow: great traction and reliability, and the 4WD can be easily engaged at the push of a button. It boldly went where many SUV's could not go.

A downside is the fact that any spare parts and dealer service is much too expensive, but I worked around that.

I finally sold it because it was having too many senior moments that were getting too expensive. Sold it to a tinkerer who wants to fix it up and rebuild it again. So by now it might be whizzing around out there again.. .

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th January, 2001

22nd Mar 2001, 14:23

If you had had a automatic transmission and had trouble you would have found it very expensive as they are like a snowmobile trany and that's not good. I wonder where one could find a standard transmission for a 90 Justy.

1988 Subaru Justy 4x4 GL 1.2 gasoline from North America


Tough as nails


Major unexpected items were:

1) New synchros on 3rd and 4th gear at 98,000 (warranty).

2) Rear driveshaft at 175,000 KM.

3) Rear shock tower rubber cushions at 200,000 KM.

General Comments:

CV joints are pretty well gone (300,000 KM) but who can complain?

Engine still bullet proof, never been touched even though driven like I hated it.

I finally parked it for good after 11 years and 310,000 KM. I promptly went out and bought a used '91.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th December, 2000

1988 Subaru Justy GLII 1.2 petrol from UK and Ireland


Rubber Boot surrounding a CVJ broke, but was fixed under warranty.

General Comments:

Ideal first car with good performance and very cheap to run, not ideal for large familys as space is lacking, but overall the best car I have ever had!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd October, 1997

7th Dec 2000, 17:15

A Justy is a great car to own, especially when it comes to mpg and maintenance costs. I've had my 88 "rusty justy" for about 6 years now and it has not given me any problems.