It was a small ugly station wagon and it was from an automaker from Japan called Subaru. When Americans laid eyes on the first Subaru Leone Estate it was not love at first sight. Those who saw the first Subaru wagon wondered who would buy one of these unattractive little vehicles from Japan.
The Subaru Leone Estate was the first Subaru to be fitted with the automakers Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system and this iconic car would set the pace for Subaru’s niche market that is setting records today. Subaru has achieved another significant milestone and has fitted 14 million cars with its All-Wheel Drive systems since its introduction in 1972.
Subaru created a niche market for their all-wheel-drive Forester SUV, XV Crosstrek crossover, Legacy sedan, Outback wagon, Impreza compact, WRX and WRX STI performance models. Back in 1972, Subaru had one AWD system. Today, Subaru doesn’t have just one, they have four types of AWD systems they use in their multi-purpose vehicles.
Why does Subaru offer four different versions of AWD?
Subaru doesn’t have a “one type fits all” approach with their lineup of vehicles. They all come standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, but each vehicle gets a “tailored” version of Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive to fit a particular powertrain or model. Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD systems remain central to the appeal and capabilities of all of its model range except the rear-wheel-drive BRZ sports coupe. This leads to their class-leading stability, predictable handling and fun-to-drive dynamics.
The iconic Subaru Leone Estate with 4WD started it all for Subaru by creating a niche market that has made the Japanese automaker very successful. Subaru set another significant milestone this month by producing their 15 millionth Boxer engine. You can read about it here.