The Subaru SVX is a seriously underrated Japanese car

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The world of Japanese cars is amazing, and the country is responsible for producing some of the greatest cars on the planet. When we think of Japanese cars, we think of all-time classics such as the Mazda RX-7 and Honda NSX, and others like the Nissan GT-R Skylines, old and new. For some reason, however, a number of Japanese cars go unnoticed and often overlooked even by some of the world’s top automotive journalists.

A Subaru car could be one of those cars, and that is the Subaru SVX. The SVX is perhaps one of Subaru’s more unusual cars, also marketed as the Alcyone SVX. Doug DeMuro called it the strangest Subaru of all time, and it certainly is a weird looking car and has some weird characteristics. But underneath it all, it was actually a pretty good car, and one that seems to have slipped under most people’s radar for some reason. It might not be the most underrated car in Japan, but it is certainly one of the most underrated cars in the country as a whole.


Subaru SVX development



1991_ItalDesign_Subaru_SVX_01
via Car Styling

The first time the world knew the Subaru SVX was when it debuted as a concept at the Tokyo Auto Show in 1989. The styling was carried out by famous Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro d ‘ItalDesign, and the car certainly caught everyone’s eye as one of the most spectacular Subarus in the company’s history. The SVX was powered by a 3.3-liter EG33 H6 engine and had a 4EAT four-speed automatic gearbox as its transmission, and the car was marketed as a fairly high-end car, destined to conquer the US coupe market. cruise.

It was certainly an ambitious goal, but it was one that Subaru was pretty confident it would be able to do. The SVX had fairly smooth and clean lines, in part thanks to its two-piece power side windows, which were split about two-thirds from the bottom. In its early days, the SVX would have the EG33 engine for its entire lifespan, and it would be the largest engine Subaru produced for its production cars until the 3.6-liter EZ36 engine was released in 2008 for the Tribeca. Oh, and the SVX was pretty impressive four-wheel drive as well.


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The SVX during production



Subaru SVX Front quarter view in Red
via Classic

The SVX was not without its problems at first. His early career was hampered slightly by overheating transmissions, warping brake discs, and premature wheel bearing failure caused by the temporary grease that Subaru packed into the bearings. It was under the misconception that dealers would replace it with something more permanent during pre-delivery inspection. It wasn’t that the dealerships weren’t doing it on purpose, they just forgot that it was something they had to do. So in fairness to Subaru, it wasn’t really their fault.


Despite these issues, the SVX was basically a fantastic car. The 231bhp flat-six engine provided plenty of grunts for the company’s flagship car, and the automatic transmission was fairly smooth despite its short lifespan. Style was also something, often described as an airplane-inspired glass-to-glass canopy. What was more impressive was how Alcyone XT concept the SVX was, given how far manufacturers tend to stray from concepts. You are certainly not going to be uncomfortable in the SVX, and it offered a relaxing and very enjoyable driving experience. It absolutely performed as you would expect.


It is a rare machine in 2021



Subaru SVX in yellow top down view
via Autocar

The SVX was sadly overtaken by the NSX and the RX-7, which means it has been so underrated for years. The window-in-a-window feature that the car had on its side windows was certainly brave and brilliant. This helped reduce wind noise, provided excellent visibility to the outside, and you could open a small window and not get wet if it was raining. The idea did not catch on, however. On the highway, this is where the SVX excels, and it’s happy enough to go at 80mph, awesome stuff, and it’s such a smooth ride. It is a great cruise car and one that is now quite rare.


RELATED: Here’s How the 2022 Subaru WRX Stacks Up to Its Rivals

Not perfect, but definitely underrated



Subaru-SVX- Side view in gray
via the nostalgic Japanese car

The SVC certainly isn’t the perfect car, but it’s something that deserves a lot more appreciation. Its slow sales numbers meant it was never going to outperform its American rivals, but its all-wheel drive system and flat-six engine made it a great cruiser with good grip and a very comfortable car. There’s a lot of plastic inside, but the Alcántara seats more than make up for that, and the interior certainly isn’t sticky. If anything, the circular gauges that appear on the dashboard offer a certain interior touch. The SVX was not the car that shaped the future as Subaru perhaps hoped. But he deserves credit for being brave, daring and awesome.


Sources: Secret Classics, Car Styling, Classic, Autocar, Japanese Nostalgic Car


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