Subaru SVX Review and Specs

Subaru SVX Review


  • Luxurious style
  • Unique body shape
  • Executive level comfort
  • Fantastic road holding


  • Gearbox problems in earlier models
  • Expanses of glass leave a hot interior on sunny days
  • Small boot
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Overview, Look, and Feel of the Subaru SVX

The Subaru SVX was named after the brightest star on the Pleiades star cluster, as used on Subaru�s badge. The Subaru Vehicle X for which the SVX stood was their first venture into the exotic market with the production of this Grand Tourer coupe. The SVX was manufactured from 1991 until the end of 1996, with the stated Subaru aim of producing a car that was both comfortable and fast.

The body shell, designed by Italian car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, was a smooth blend of some of his favourite car design elements. This gives the car the feel of both old and new � it emulates older established vehicles while bringing some of its own individuality. Subaru retained one of the concept car�s most unique elements � the SVX�s window-within-a-window design, inspired by those used in aircraft cockpits.

The two-door coupe featured butterfly wing doors that opened upwards � another Giugaro trademark used successfully on the DeLorean DMC-12 and Lamborghini Countach. It was also an aerodynamically shaped car with a low drag coefficient, increasing its overall road holding and flat line speed.

Subaru SVX Engine Specs and Performance

The SVX was only fitted with the largest Subaru engine of the time, the 3.3L Boxer EG33, horizontally opposed flat six. The engine was a modified EJ20, found in the Impreza and Legacy cars, but with increased compression, 4 valves per cylinder, and a DOHC arrangement. It managed to produce 172kW of power and 309Nm of torque.

All SVX cars were fitted with automatic gearboxes, as Subaru at that time did not manufacture a manual transmission capable of handling the engine�s power. The more responsive Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) that gave faster traction delivery was available in Australia with AWD with a 36/64 power split.

When the pedal was flush to the floor, the SVX accelerated from 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds and had a top speed of 248km/h, although after 1994 they were fitted with electronic speed governors, which limited the top end to 230km/h. For a speedster, the car was also a very economical vehicle to run and capable of 805Kkm on a tank of fuel, giving it a consumption rating of 9.4L/100km. It�s not the fastest grand tourer on the street but definitely one of the most comfortable rides out there.

Standard Equipment and Options for the Subaru SVX

The comfortable ride is equalled by the sumptuousness of the interior. As with all Japanese cars, there is a great emphasis on technology, and the SVX is full of novel-for-the-time additions. Climate control, cruise control, 6-speaker stereo, powered windows, power locks, power steering, adjustable steering wheel, 8-way driver�s seat, and an electronic sunroof all make for the perfect ride. The later models, post-1993, came complete with a driver�s airbag as standard.

The front is spacious and provides plenty of legroom and headroom. The well-laid-out dashboard is easy to read, and everything is within an arm�s length. The rear is less roomy but offers more space than the average coupe; it is more of a two-plus-two car � ideally children making up the second two.

Subaru SVX's Competition

Entering into the executive grand tourer class, the Subaru SVX came up against a variety of cars, such as the Dodge Stealth/Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4, Mazda RX7, Nissan Skyline GTR, and Audi TT 3.2 Quattro.

In the luxury market, the Subaru SVX exhibits great value for money. It may not possess the raw power of some of its rivals, but it can definitely match them for road handling. Where the SVX excels is in its interior styling, finish, and refinement. This is a well-equipped, uniquely styled car that is a pleasure to drive.

Above all, what Giugaro created with the Surbaru SVX was an individualistic car, which few of its class could equal for looks and style. Low centre of gravity and reduced noise and vibration make travelling along in the SVX a joy. The economy at the time made them expensive cars to buy, but over time, they have become a reasonable buy in the second-hand market. Although they are reliable, their mechanical complexity makes them costly if you find yourself in need of repairs.

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