The Subaru SVX Is the Weirdest Subaru Ever

The Subaru SVX Is the Weirdest Subaru Ever

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this is a 1992 Subaru SVX and it's the weirdest Subaru ever made of course given my penchant for weird and bizarre cars that means I love it and today I'm gonna take you on a tour of it this SVX comes to me from the Clarion builds street team which has been preserving some cool cars lately it was restored by bells and Vaughan in Pasadena California and you'll see just how nice it is throughout this video but back to the
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SVX as you can see it doesn't look like your typical Subaru don't raised-up station wagon like the outback no rear hatch so you can load in your golden retriever this thing is a coupe and a very strange one the SPX came out for the 1992 model year here in the United States and it's sort of the Forgotten 1990s Japanese sports car everybody remembers the Mazda rx-7 the Toyota Supra the Acura NSX the
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Mitsubishi 3000gt the Nissan 300zx but most people forget that Subaru had its own sports car in this era as well the reason most people forget that is that the SPX wasn't quite in the same performance realm as the other Japanese sports cars from the era the only engine you could get in the SPX was a 3.3 liter flat 6 which maxed out at 230 horsepower nowhere near as much power as some of the other Japanese performance cars offered also the SVX was only available with all-wheel drive instead of
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rear-wheel drive like the Supra and most of the other Japanese sports cars then there was the fact that the SVX was sort of intended to be a luxury Touring Subaru sports car and so it was only available with a 4-speed automatic transmission there was no manual option and that also killed some of the fun but it didn't totally kill the fun because while the SPX might not have been the fastest 1990s Japanese sports car it was certainly the most distinctive and unusual today I'm gonna take you on a tour of the SV X I'm gonna show you
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exactly what I mean then I'm gonna get it out on the road and drive it and then I'm going to give it a dug score and for more of my thoughts on svx click the link below to visit autotrader.com slash oversteer where i've also rounded up a list of the best-preserved older subaru models currently listed for sale on auto trader now I'm gonna start the quirks and features with by far the biggest quirk of the SVX and that would be the windows now the first thing you notice when you look at this car is it has no real a
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pillar like basically every other car instead you have a window here a window here and then the windshield and the only thing separating them is little seams in between it's absolutely bizarre and it was really bizarre back in the day this thing came out people refer to this car as the Batmobile because of its totally crazy window design so you might be wondering how exactly do these windows work and why did they do this we'll start with the how now the interesting thing is the top part of the window this bit here this is fixed in
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place this doesn't roll down only the lower part actually rolls down into the door like a traditional window the top part was just fixed it was extra window for whatever reason so if you wanted to roll down the windows you can only roll down this piece now the weird thing is that when you open the door the entire panel opens both the fixed window and the non fixed window but for some reason only the lower bit rolls down now the weird thing about the window being split like that is the fact that when you're driving around you look over and there's like this black seam running through
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your window which is totally crazy it doesn't look like that in any other car but this vehicle had sort of two levels of windows now two more unusual items about the windows one is the fact that even though it was just window window window with no painted a pillar it didn't actually benefit your visibility all that much because in the interior of the car you still have a fairly traditional looking a pillar it was purely done for style it wasn't as some might suggest an idea to give you sort of see-through a pillars to make the car a little safer another interesting thing about the SPX there's something I didn't
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know until very recently the rear windows are exactly the same I always assumed they continued the seam in the windows for style but actually the rear window rolls down and it works the same way the lower part rolls down into the car whereas the upper part is completely fixed in place just like it is in the front one other interesting item related to the windows is the fact that the entire top of this car was intended to look like sort of a glass canopy not only did you have the weird window but the SME exes were two-toned the
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lower half of the car was painted the body color in the upper half was black to sort of match a tinted window it's hard to tell on this dark red car but here is a lighter car you can see when I'm talking about the goal was by putting black here and windows here it all just looked like one big upper canopy full of windows even though that isn't actually true there was a metal roof on this car and not complete windows over everything now one funny item with the SVX despite all of the crazy window nests and despite how they
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wanted it to look like a canopy the sunroof is metal the sunroof isn't a glass sunroof so they went to all this trouble to make the car so windowed in every way and draw this attention to the glass and then they just stopped short on the sunroof they're like now we'll just make it a metal sunroof so if you want the sunroof open you could open it and then you get the air but if you close it you can't leave the glass panel open to get the sunlight next we move on to the interior of the SVX which has quite a few interesting quirks and features but before we climb inside just getting in with the key now take a look
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at this this is the key fob for this car this is the factory key fob it is very unusual you can see it's very small and it just says Subaru SVX and it has one single orange button so what does that button do well everything if the doors are locked push it and it unlocks them if the doors are unlocked push it and it locks them and if you hold it down it's also the panic button and it will set off the alarm one button is all you needed back in 92 now next up another interesting item at this car has automatic retractable seatbelts I've covered this in other vehicles basically
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the gist is that the government at the time told automakers that they could choose between either putting airbags in their cars or installing these automatic retractable seatbelts that run up this track when you open the door the theory there was there were sort of the first three-point seat belts and the idea was it forced automakers to do some safety item either three-point belts or airbags and automakers had that choice interestingly Subaru did both with this car they have an airbag and they have the automatic seatbelts which is very strange some automakers chose one some
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chose the other super chose both not sure why that happened I can't think of any other car where it has both the automatic belts and the airbag next up noteworthy item is the fact that this car has a lot of Alcantara in the interior it has an entire swath of Alcantara on the door panel and then the lower dashboard on the driver side and the passenger side is also Alcantara same thing with the door panel on the passenger side now in modern cars this wouldn't be surprising at all since Alcantara is commonly used but back in 92 this must have been a big deal up and next up moving inside and into the
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drivers footwell one very interesting item in there it's actually on the lower dash there's a button that you can press that will slightly move the windshield wipers the theory here is if you live somewhere snowy and cold then you know that it's going to snow tomorrow you can press that button and the wipers will move up to be on like a defroster thing so they won't get stuck to the windshield you can easily get in the car turn it on and begin defrosting them it is a really good idea now speaking of that area over there to the left of the steering wheel you may have noticed at the end of the turn signal stock it says
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bright so what's that about is that how you turn on the brights the high beams no it turns out that when you have the headlights on if you push bright it brightens up the gauge cluster to the highest possible setting it's very strange there is a little dial to adjust obviously the gauge cluster brightness but you can just tap bright and have it automatically as bright as possible this was a weird feature but Subaru had a reason behind it if you turn on your headlights the dashboard lights usually dim a little but if you wanted to turn on your lights and keep the dash lights
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bright so you could see them that's when you hit the bright button now next I'm moving further into the interior we get to one of my favorite items in this entire car and that would be the climate control temperature adjuster take a look there's this little black circle next to all the climate controls what does it do well when you turn on the climate control it turns out to be like this little see-through circle that has the climate control temperature in it and you can press it up or down and that raises or lowers the climate control temperature it is so cool it's a really
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neat idea and it looks kind of modern and futuristic even by today's standards now one unfortunate thing about this however is because the climate control temperature is set so far into that circle when you're sitting in the passenger seat you can't see it at all you have no idea what the temperature is you have to kind of lean over in order to see it but it is still a very cool look my favorite thing about this little circle is the fact that if you want to see what the outside temperature is pressed out temp and then the outside temperature temporarily displays itself in this little circle
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when you let go after a few seconds the outside temperature goes away and it goes back to the inside climate-controlled temperature that is a pretty cool dual use of that little circle now next up moving further down in the center control stack here you see there's this giant weird leaf shape and panel interestingly that panel has the radio inside it if you push it it opens up and reveals the radio this car obviously has an aftermarket infotainment radio system but that's where the radio wasn't a stock one too now on the base level svx models this panel was just gray
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plastic and it looked ugly but the upscale models like this one received wood trim fake wood of course but wooden trim it nonetheless and if for some reason you wanted to cover up your radio behind a panel you could do that now next moving further down we wanted a transmission lever which is fairly normal of a 90s Japanese car except it has this little button that says manual now you see a manual button on a transmission lever and you think well it's for like a manual mode for shifting but this car doesn't have that instead
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manual simply allows the car to start in second gear for cold and icy starts you shift into drive into three press manual and then it starts in a higher gear so the wheels don't slip if you're on ice I don't know why it doesn't just say snow / ice but Subaru decided to go with manual now speaking of the transmission moving to the glove box and you'll see there is the owner's manual I leave through the owner's manual nothing particularly interesting in here except on page 6 - 24 there's a whole thing about towing and it even says that
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this car is rated to tow up to 2,000 pounds which seems crazy for a vehicle like this and it was crazy because the transmissions on these cars were known to fail they have an incredibly high failure rate and probably even higher if you attempted to toe with your Subaru SVX transmission but nonetheless that was an option to you if your wanted premature transmission failure now moving down from the transmission we have another very interesting item in this car and that would be the parking brake yes this little lever here is the parking brake
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even though it looks like a control on an airplane but in order to put the parking brake on it wasn't your traditional lever you just pull it up and then it's on or you push this little button on the side push it down and then it's off another odd item in this car is the interior door handles it doesn't just have a will handle that you pull instead it's this plastic bit that you pull up not particularly strange but a little odd also a little odd aren't the controls for the dome lights in the ceiling here you have four buttons spot door room and spot spot is the spot
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light basically the map light if you're sitting in the driver passenger seat you press it and then the light shines directly into one si door is obvious light goes on with the doors but room is the weird one turns out if you press room that turns on the giant dome light in the center to illuminate the entire interior or as Sumeru calls it the entire room of the car next I'm moving on to the gauge cluster nothing particularly unusual here just looks like your typical 90s Japanese car gauge cluster in the top right you can see there's a little gauge with two
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rectangles that is intended to be a view of the car from the top down and that will let you know if a door is open or a seatbelt is unbuckled one other interesting item there is a group of buttons below the gauge cluster and above the steering wheel over on the left you have the button for the fog lights you push it and the fog lights turn on and they're yellow this car came to such a pointy front end that Subaru couldn't integrate the fog lights below at the regular headlights but they didn't do something distinctive they made them yellow this car has these
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bizarre yellow fog lights like a car in France in the 1970s with headlights very strange but it wasn't that uncommon with Japanese cars from this era a few others also had yellow fog lights even stranger than the yellow fog lights at least by modern standards is the tail light which isn't just a little set of brake lights over here instead it's this giant tail light that stretches across the entire trunk of this car this was fairly common with 90s Japanese cars but in today's world this giant light bar is kind of
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weird although light bars arm come back so maybe the svx was ahead of its time now my favorite thing about the rear light bar in this car is the fact that the only rear exterior badging in this car is integrated into the light bar and specifically into this center bit which was more just a reflector it says Subaru SVX right there in the middle so you knew what you were following if you looked into the light bar mixed up another interesting thing about the rear of this car how about the fact that it has a rear wiper this car is not a hatchback it just has a
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traditional trunk and yet it has a rear wiper very very rare although a little bit more common on Japanese market cars the Nissan Skyline had it and the Mitsubishi Evo had it but it's really uncommon to see a rear wiper on a car with just a regular rear window and a trunk now speaking of that rear wiper if you open up the trunk put the key in twist it and then open it right up one of the things you'll find is that there is a washer fluid reservoir back here on the passenger side above the tail light so this car didn't just have a rear
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wiper it had a rear washer and if you look at the base of the rear wiper sort of in the middle you can see where the water would squirt out if you wanted to wash your rear window with your wiper washer system pretty cool now inside the trunk here you can see there's a lot of stuff you have the car cover there's also a factory Subaru SVX bra for the front to prevent it from getting rack ships in the days before the clear bra but my personal favorite item in here is in this box and that's where you will find a lot of interesting Subaru SVX
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memorabilia starting with the records for this car the original owner kept insanely detailed records including fuel stops and the date of the fuel stop and the miles per gallon here's a trip to Topeka in 1995 go further down and here is a trip to Jeff's and I like took it to Jeff they were getting pretty good into fuel economy in their STX not bad anyway another interesting item in this box the VHS tapes this car comes with two VHS tapes here's the Subaru owner
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information VHS tape from the 1992 SVX and if you open it up you can see there is a listing of its table of contents with the exact minutes and seconds of each for instance if you want to know about visor mirrors you sit there with the VCR and hold the fast-forward button until 2010 and then you could look at the visor mirrors brake fluid check at 2423 fuel requirements at 9:25 if you really wanted to get the most out of your VHS tape I suppose you could just watch it straight through there's also another VHS tape here the our new look
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Subaru VHS tape which is just sort of a general overview I guess of the SV X and the Subaru lineup at the time a lot of 1990s cars were delivered with VHS tapes so that you could go home and watch them and learn more about your purchase but it's rare that anybody still has them next remove up front and under the hood where there are a few interesting quirks one is the engine itself no plastic engine cover under here and it looks really cool I especially like the top it says h6 in giant print
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I don't think Subaru had made a flat 6 before I think all their prior cars were 4 cylinders up until this point but this was an h6 and they were proud of it and they wanted to show just how muscly they had gotten by printing it they're in giant print of course other automakers were making a v8 so this wasn't really that exciting but it was for Subaru another interesting item under the hood is this a warning label that says caution changed the fog lamp bulb after radiator has cooled to avoid a burn the two things were close enough together
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that they had to warn you of that I love that warning label and I love the fact that they have one on both sides just to make sure you didn't get burned and the fact that they had to curve the warning label just a little bit so it would fit perfectly on this panel that it's printed on that is kind of a funny little item now next up earlier I mentioned that the rear windows roll down and if the rear windows roll down it's probably because this car has rear seats and of course it does and so I will now climb in them now to access them you open the door you pull a little
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latch on the seat pull it forward using the power seat controls now incredibly the front seat moves forward further than just about any front seat I have ever seen in any vehicle it's like they actually wanted people to climb into the back and so it actually is pretty easy for me to get back here although obviously it is pretty tiny once you're actually in place for example I put the seat back and there's only a couple of inches of room even though I move the front seat forward like a foot and a half now in the back seat there's nothing particularly
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interesting or unusual aside from those windows that roll down which I already showed you and the fact that the back seat can fall forward to allow a pass-through into the trunk it isn't a split pass through but if you press this little button under the passenger side rear seat headrest the seat falls forward and there's the trunk though if you have some large item that won't quite fit in the trunk you can fold the seat down and you can drive it home in your SVX and so those are the quirks and features of the quirkiest Subaru of the modern
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era now it's time to get it out on the road and see how it drives this was intended to be sort of more of a luxury touring car I loved it in with the 90s Japanese sports cars because it came out at that Aaron had the same sort of exciting styling it was those powerful super whoever when it debuted but Subaru gave this automatic in leather and sort of that big opening to the back seats and a lot of features because they wanted this to be more of a touring car the hope was that it would be sort of like Subarus entree into the the luxury
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car kind of world driving along the very first thing you note it's impossible not to you can see the little window seams that separate the windows it is so weird to see that there and it gets in your periphery when you're driving I'm sure you get used to it to the point where you probably get in a normal car and be like why doesn't it have these but when you see it from here it's just like what is going on one thing I'm surprised by is how low you feel in this car I never sort of viewed this as a exotic car or a supercar or anything like that but actually you almost do feel that low in the flesh in the front
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yeah the steering is actually pretty good I'm surprised by it not incredible by any means but better than I would expect from a car like this the driving feel is nice this cars relatively comfort there's a lot of room in front again owing to it's sort of touring car experience there is a little thing in the car called power when you press the accelerator down and off or a certain way it activates the power mode and it increases the RPMs the shift points is
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it knows you want to go fast Florin it here oh there's power mode wow it actually it actually almost feels like power mode makes it kind of come alive the the transmission is clearly a little tighter in power mode going around some nice corners here whoa power mode it halls it's not incredibly fast but it does feel pretty good I'm actually more surprised by the handling the acceleration the acceleration is fine but the handling is pretty decent there
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is body roll but it's fairly minimal and there's a little on center vagueness but also fairly minimal if this were a 2002 car I'd be like yeah it's not so great but for a 92 this is pretty good especially since back then super wasn't that experienced of a sports car manufacturer nonetheless back it's out of power about down flooring him it's just not that fast I don't necessarily think that it's a function of the engine to our thirty horses in a cart of this size should be fine that was born the original WRX no.2 the problem I think is
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the transmission of four-speed Auto is just gonna kill the fun and kind of dull the process that was what Subaru wanted to make it a GT car they didn't offer two transmissions I assume to sort of simplify the lineup and make it a little bit less expensive to build of course they should have because the automatics in this car are known for failure and so if they had offered two transmissions at least the manuals could be more usable a lot of people do manual swaps now in the transmissions avail and so that's the Subaru SVX this car isn't especially thrilling to
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drive but it's certainly thrilling if only because it's a weird and unusual footnote in Subarus history and in the history of the famous 1990's Japanese sports cars I totally understand why Subaru has gone more mainstream with models like the ascent and the Forester but for people like me who love weird cars the SPX will always hold the special place in our hearts and now it's time to give the SPX a dug score starting with the weekend categories and styling I like the styling but a lot of people find it odd it definitely gives
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the carbon of a dated look and it gets a six out of ten acceleration zero to 60 is 7.3 seconds and it gets a 1 out of 10 handling is surprisingly nice given this cars touring car Am and he gets a 5 out of 10 fun factor is ok but only ok given the four-speed Auto and the mediocre acceleration and it earns a 4 out of 10 cool factor is decent these were unique cars and they're fun to spot today and it gets a 6 out of 10 for a total weekend score of 22 out of 50 next up are the daily categories and features it's reasonably well equipped for the time but obviously not luxurious by modern standards that he gets a two out of ten
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comfort is fine and it gets a five out of ten quality is decent the interior is acceptable and similar other cars of this era but the main problem is reliability transmission problems are common and so it only gets a four out of ten practicality is good for a car like this and it gets a four out of ten finally value is pretty high these are incredibly cheap and you can buy a nice one for five to ten grand which is great money for such an unusual car I'd only recommend a manual slot to liven things up a bit and it gets a 7 out of 10 for a total daily score of 22 out of 50 add it
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up and the Doug score is 44 out of 100 which places it at the bottom of the Japanese sports car list no that's no surprise because it's not really much of a sports car it's cool though when I'm glad I got to spend the day checking out the STX and it's weird windows [Music]

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