CC Capsule: 1992 Subaru SVX – The Japanese Citroen

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Always hankered for a Citroen? The Subaru SVX is the closest thing we’ve gotten to one these past few decades. I find the resemblance to the XM more than coincidental. Which is a bit odd (or not) considering that the XM beat the SVX to the market by a few years (1989). And the XM was styled by Bertone, while arch-rival Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Ital design did the SVX. A case of great minds thinking alike? Or just the styling cliches de jour? Given the Subaru’s “aircraft-inspired glass-to-glass canopy” with the very unusual windows within windows, the SVX was actually more “Citroen” then the real thing. No wonder it’s such a curious oddity today.

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The SVX’s engine was a further development of the boxer six that first showed up in the XT6 a few years earlier. Now it sported DOHC heads and 3.3 liters, but its 230 hp weren’t exactly earth shattering, even for the times (and price). And due to its struggle with weight (3600 lbs), performance was more garde than avant. Zero to sixty came in 7.3 seconds; the quarter mile in 15.4/92 mph. Obviously, the SVX wasn’t going to offer the performance to bucks ratio of a Mustang GT.

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Subaru’s manual transmission wasn’t up to the H6’s twist, so it was automatic only. The word on the street is that the automatic is overstressed too, and very fragile. Buyer beware! And although conceived of as an AWD all-the-time coupe, Subaru sold some FWD versions during ’94-’95 in an effort to keep the price down. It was still too steep, and the market for cars like this was just melting away during the nineties.

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It’s said that Subaru lost some $3k per SVX sold, or a total of $75 million. But a major part of its existence was to be a halo car, and in that respect, those numbers aren’t exactly terrible. And how much is Subaru making on the BRZ?  No one will ever accuse it of being the Japanese Citroen.

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Related reading:

CC: Subaru XT – Forward To The Future in 1985

CC: Subaru SVX – A Price Point Too Far