1990 Subaru Justy GL II 4WD 1.2 petrol from UK and Ireland


Don't bother unless in good condition


-Rear suspension failed, leaky shocks and coils.

-Dim headlights.

-Battery fell out of place.

-Rusty Chassis

-Steering Bush failure

-Bad fuel consumption.

General Comments:

I expect in it's day, a brand new Subaru Justy GL would have been the works. However, ten years on, unless it's been very well kept, it really isn't worth bothering with. They just weren't designed to last, and all the problems I've had with this one indicates that unless locked in a garage since production, your Subaru Justy will crumble to pieces after 10 miles driving. Just not worth the money.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th April, 2003

27th Aug 2007, 09:17

I disagree completely. My 1990 Justy 4wd (bought new) worked flawlessly till 2006 and 465.000kms. Only problem I had with the car was rust (fixed for 150€ in 2004).

Car is gone now as I have had accident with it. Repair would be more expensive than the car was worth, so I just bought 1996 justy. Have driven the new one (this one looks exactly like Suzuki Swift and it also has 4wd) for more than 70.000kms and the car works fine with no problems.

Would buy another in a heartbeat.

24th Oct 2007, 13:51

I picked up a Subaru Justy with the ECVT 2WD. The car has 125,000 KMs on it. I knew the motor was pretty much toast going in, but for 2G's for the car, what the heck.

Had the tranny checked. The body is 'perfect' (NO RUST!), yet obviously it was well used.

Took it to the Subaru dealer to get the engine rebuilt (most expensive way of doing it @$4000.00 Cdn). The bearings were running on copper, but nothing damaged!! Had NO PROBLEMS GETTING PARTS. I suspect the previous owner was not big on oil changes because it is obvious to me that these engines do not wear out that bad with only 125000 KMs!! With a good tranny, good body, good suspension and New Tires ($400). POOF! - We have the makings of a brand new Justy for $7400.00. A reasonable price for nice reliable vehicle.

Currently I am at $10,000 Kms on the new engine. Once it gets over to 20,000 Kms, I'll switch it over to synthetic.

A brand new base model car sells for around $16,000 CDN. And these new cars are designed to fall apart. My 1996 Chevy Blazer costs $1200.00 for a new fuel pump. My Fuel pump failed 4 times! Compare that with the Justy $4000.00 Rebuild!! This is really pretty cheap and is good bang for the buck!

I am planning on adding a pile of Rudder Zincs (they use these on boats) and that will stop all rust on the vehicle BEFORE it starts. Cost $50.00.

I'll know more as time goes on. But in my own humble opinion, I think a Justy that is in decent shape is worth getting fixed.

1990 Subaru Justy ECVT 1.2, 3 cylinder from UK and Ireland


A mini Impreza!


In the last 4000 miles, the only problem that I have had with the car was a blocked fuel filter, resulting in spluttering under load and maximum acceleration. This took some time to figure out what was wrong, but once we found the filter (located just in front of the left rear wheel), the replacement part was only £10 (would have been about £3 from Subaru, but we didn't want to wait for them to order it!) and my father fitted it.

Had to change the spark plugs, which helped the car run a lot better.

At some point, someone has added a button that operates the starter, because the one on the ignition no longer works properly.

General Comments:

My Justy has the "jem" package, which simply means it has colour coded bumpers and mirrors, and in white it looks fairly good, making it appear younger than it really is. I would have thought though that they could have added central locking, but you can't have everything!

For a 12 year old car, it has resisted rust quite well, apart from the front wheel arches which had to be done when we bought the car.

It's the three door version which I think looks better than the five door. In addition to the coloured bumpers and mirrors it also had white wheel trims which made it look a bit girly, which I being an 18 yr old male, didn't particularly want! So Dad came up with the idea of painting them gold like the Subaru Impreza WRX, and the end result is actually pretty good, certainly better than being white.

It has the automatic ECVT (Electro-continuously variable transmission) gearbox which acts as if it has loads of different gears, that change depending on how far down your right foot is on the accelerator. In other words, when you boot it the revs rise to just below the red line and stay there until you let off.

The gearbox also has two modes "D" for normal driving, and "Ds" (drive sport or slope, according to the handbook) for sporty driving. In Ds mode it has more engine breaking and a much more responsive feel (i.e its more fun!), and is much better for overtaking as you have power on tap, rather than having to wait for it to build up like in D mode.

Considering it only has a 1.2 3 cylinder engine with automatic, it is surprisingly fast with 50 - 70 coming up pretty quickly. Unless put in Ds however, hills can blunt its performance, but other than that its great, and it gets 40 mpg too! It also has 4wd which can be operated on the move via a button on the side of the gear stick, which is handy for quick getaways on roundabouts etc.

The ride and handling are OK, it has a tendency to under-steer sometimes in the wet when going round roundabouts etc, and dad tells me you can get torque steer when hammering it too! The ride improves with more people in it, as it becomes less harsh, but it also blunts performance, and breaking power. The worst aspect I can think of about the car are the original stereo speakers! How Subaru could get away with supplying those is a mystery. I sorted it out however with a custom setup compromising of a pair of old hi-fi speakers placed in the boot, the end result was surprisingly effective, and a massive improvement on the tinny originals.

Considering it is only a 1.2, the insurance group of 6/7 is slightly over the top - my friend has a Peugeot 306 1.4, and the insurance group is only grp. 4!

Another minus point that might bother some people is the pitiful excuse for boot space. The consolation is that its much better with the rear seats down, which provides a respectable load area.

Overall I'd say that it's a reliable, fun, and economical little car, which is way, way, way better (and faster) than the alternatives. e.g. Novas, Unos, Metros and Fiestas!

Sorry to those people who have the above cars, but you should try the Justy. Plus the three cylinder engine sounds great... now that's something you couldn't say about the cacophony created by a Fiesta and its tappets - you can tell one is coming from three miles down the road...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st November, 2002

27th Oct 2010, 12:51

My family bought a 1989 Subaru 1.2 Justy ECVT with 19,000 miles in 1995, now 15 years later the car has done 39,000 miles having been serviced every year even when only covering 500 miles in 12 months. It looks like new and goes very well.

It just passed its MOT today with no problems. What more can I say? It is built like a tank underneath and covered in 1/4 inch grease like underseal including the engine bay from new, just the standard push button radio has been upgraded but we have kept the old one.