14.5.2009Subaru Justy 1.0R review
While 4WD and turbocharged engines seem to have been on Subaru's main course menu for some years a need to attend to better MPG figures has led to the introduction of the collaborative, compact Justy, states Iain Robertson.
Apart from the twee twin exhaust tail-pipes (a Subaru signature), today's Subaru Justy, introduced last summer, is a broadly familiar model. In fact, it has even greater relevance since the Toyota Corporation took a sizeable chunk of Subaru's shares, when troubled General Motors hung the company out to dry. Yet, returning to the familiarity issue, Daihatsu (owned by Toyota) produces the Charade version and Perodua makes its Myvi model, which means that you may have seen this nicely proportioned sub-compact before.
Powered by the same 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, twin-overhead camshaft unit that serves so competently in the Toyota Yaris and Aygo models, as well as providing the base power units for both the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107, a power output of 68bhp is actually quite impressive. What it translates into is a unit that provides an adequate amount of pull, while returning a moderate fuel figure and a beneficial exhaust emissions result. In fact, running on two-star unleaded, the Justy will attain an Official Combined fuel average of 56.5mpg, a figure which I exceeded by just 1.0mpg in surprisingly normal running about, which is an unusual occurrence, while emitting just 118g/km of CO2.
This figure is enough to warrant a £35.00 VED cost (new road tax band C), which should provide the Justy with one of the lowest running costs of a UK petrol car. Yet, despite its economy leanings, the Justy will still return a sensible top speed just nudging 100mph, while moderately low gearing gifts the car with acceleration from 0-60mph in a whisker over 13.0 seconds. Normally aspirated, the engine provides the feel of a unit that is not only of larger capacity but of seemingly greater power than the figures suggest. You cannot help but fall in love with it; its gruff, off-beat engine note accompanying every strong burst of throttle away from junctions and obstacles.
However, it is a raucous little unit, which suggests that sound-deadening in the cabin is not quite as comprehensive as it might be – there are more refined alternatives available at the Justy's £8,806 asking price. After even the briefest of motorway drives, the noise can become a little wearing. Yet, around town, it is a delight, with its electric power steering providing uncannily good responses at the helm and a significantly better sense of connection with the front tyres than some small cars. Parking it is also very easy, despite its larger body dimensions over some of its rivals from the `Kei-class` cars of the Far East.
The cockpit is surprisingly plain and free of frills, apart from the unusual little instrument binnacle sitting atop the steering column, which contains both a rev-counter and speedometer, with digital readouts of fuel contents, fuel economy and temperature in a small block at the base of the unit. The centre console contains the CD-player stereo radio and the rotary dials for the heating and ventilation system. Mind you, the equipment level is good, with standard air-con, alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, electric windows and a `plip` alarm system attached to the central locking. Passive safety has also been well considered and there are no less than four side airbags in addition to the driver and front passenger items.
Storage space is well considered in the Justy, as there is a deep tray running virtually the full width of the dashboard, with extra bins and pockets set into it. The door pockets consist of the usual shallow map-holders and, although the boot is of modest dimensions, good depth means that baggage can be inserted upright and, while the rear seat cannot be split-folded, the rear space can be trebled by folding down the cushion.
Overall, this model helps Subaru to bring down its CAFE (car average fuel economy) figure, upon which the company will be judged by the EU, should it fail to reduce both MPG and CO2 results in coming months and years. However, it also provides Subaru with a small-car lifeline that it seemed to have abandoned a few years ago, when the previous generation car arose from the GM association with Suzuki.
Ironically, the Subaru is the most expensive of the Daihatsu and Perodua trio, with the baseline Charade saving the buyer almost £500, while the Myvi owner will save another £700, without taking any possible dealer discounts into account. Interestingly, the Justy's `in-house` rivals also have 1.3-litre engines, while the Daihatsu even offers a zesty 1.5-litre alternative, but in the taxation-friendly arena, the smaller engined Subaru delivers what it needs to.
Model tested: Subaru Justy 1.0R
Body-styles: 5-door hatchback
Engines: 1.0 (P3)
Trim grades: 1.0R
Prices: from £8,806
In the showroom: Now
Review star rating: 5 STARS
Warranty: Five years, 60,000 miles
Iain Robertson © Next Green Car.com 2009