Just looking – Subaru SVX

A flat-six sports car for very little money... that isn't a knackered old Boxster.

We usually try and apply some relevance to the cars featured in Just Looking – reference to something we’ve driven in the preceding week for instance, or a way of getting similar performance with greater character on the used market.

This week’s link is a little more tenuous, as it’s through manufacturer alone. Having driven Subaru’s latest turbocharged Forester it was tempting to hunt out one of the rare imported STi versions, but there were none to be found on our sister site, Classic and Performance Car.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

What we did find was a tidy example of one of Subaru’s most rare and unusual cars, the SVX. For sale at the Classic and Sportscar Centre on the edge of the North York Moors, it’s another reminder of just how innovative the Japanese car industry was during the country’s bubble economy of the 1980s.

It was, like the vast majority of Subarus, equipped with full-time all-wheel drive. And it also used a boxer engine, allowing a typically low bonnet line for sleek, sports car proportions.

Advertisement - Article continues below

More unusually, that engine was a 3.3-litre, four-cam, six-cylinder unit, producing a respectable 231bhp. While that didn’t put the SVX on the same level as its contemporaries – think Supras, RX-7s and 300ZXs – it was enough to project the relatively heavy (1590kg) SVX to 60mph in 7.3sec and 154mph.

Sadly, the SVX was auto-only, though this did add to the relaxed, GT-like feel of the sumptuous cabin (of which this example boasts a fine example). Most notable of all though was the SVX’s styling.

The work of Giorgetto Giugiaro, then at ItalDesign, the SVX made its debut as a concept in 1989 but changed little for production in 1991. The shape is most notable for its glassy canopy and split side windows – usually a detail seen on cars with scissor or butterfly doors (like the contemporary, and equally glassy Toyota Sera), but the SVX’s doors were conventional.

With fewer than 25,000 sold worldwide between 1991 and 1996, SVXs are rare – particularly in the UK – so seeing a clean example always raises and eyebrow. That lack of popularity originally means prices are still fairly low and this car, with a comprehensive service history, is a relatively modest £5995.

It won’t handle like a BRZ, and it doesn’t quite have the all-round practicality of the Forester STi we were searching for, but as a significant part of Subaru’s heritage for not a lot of money, it’s curiously appealing.

> Find Subaru SVXs for sale on Classic and Performance Car

Advertisement - Article continues below


used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

27 Mar 2020
Alfa Romeo

Alfaholics GTA-R 300 gets full carbonfibre body conversion

13 Mar 2020
classic cars

'Horse power, rum coves and the faint whiff of manure…'

18 Feb 2020
used cars

Lancia Hyena Zagato joins Jalpa, RS500 and more at Race Retro auction

7 Feb 2020

Most Popular

Mercedes CLA45 AMG hatchback

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S coupe UK review

The more stylish version of eCoty 2019’s bronze medallist is as impressive on UK roads as it was overseas
28 Mar 2020
Nissan Juke R

This Nissan Juke-R can be yours for $719,579

Near-700bhp Nissan special project Juke-R goes up for sale in Germany 
30 Mar 2020
Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen Golf GTI turned to 380bhp by Mountune52 

For just over £2000, you can pump your Golf GTI to Golf R-smashing power figures
30 Mar 2020
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019