1990 Subaru Justy GL II 4WD 1.2 litre petrol from UK and Ireland
A top quality Japanese 4x4
After 12 years of standing on a drive in north Manchester, the rust was pretty severe, so much money was spent on fiberglass and bodyfiller to repair it.
The engine, otherwise faultless, had very dodgy cables, and the only replacements available were very nasty, so I was usually driving on two cylinders.
The most annoying fault has been the electronic ignition, because it is impossible to know where the fault lies. Replacements from Subaru cost in the region of £350, and scrapyard alternatives are incredibly scarce. The closest I could get was an ignition for a 1000 cc Sumo (The micro-van equivalent,) so I used a modified ignition from a 3 cylinder Triumph bike.
Not bad for £35, and it works perfectly, even when stressed.
The anti roll bar mountings at the back of the car had rusted through, and the car was always knocking while driving. To fix it, I needed to weld a new bracket. This has held for three months, so it can't be too bad a job.
The pump for the rear washer fluid had failed, so a spare equivalent was used, and works well enough.
The drivers' seat has lost its shape at the sides, but the fabric is still intact, despite it not being very hard wearing. The result of this is that you have to hold yourself in your seat when taking corners at speed.
The 'ru is rock solid, even when heavily damaged it still drives well, after buying it fourth-hand for £300, I got the car home and, considering the state it was in, was shocked it had made it.
It's an ideal car for the lazy motorist, as it will go for ages between services.
The handling is great, although due to the state of the seats, you get thrown about when pushing it round bends.
For a 3-cylinder, the engine picks up nicely at mid-range speeds, doing 0-60 in about 12 seconds, but struggles beyond about 75mph.
On long motorway journeys, you wish the suspension wasn't so stiff, as your legs start to go numb through the vibrations.
As a first car for a 17 year old, I've found that the UK insurance companies will rip you off for about £1700, as it is a group 6 car. Therefore I wouldn't recommend it to teenagers, but if you can afford it...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 1st October, 2002
On the cables.
What do you mean by very nasty?
Standard ignition leads available cost about ten pounds for a set of three, and on the box claim to be 'high quality', but when I came to replace the electronic ignition system, during the testing the contacts failed on the third lead's termination (next to the distributor.) This took about half an hour to diagnose, and on getting a replacement found that to come apart on opening the packaging! Fortunately the third replacement worked fine, but I had to drive around on the original lead for a while before buying it.
If I had wanted to buy specific Subaru replacement parts, the price would have been in excess of £30, so I decided not to bother.