We're massive fans of Subaru here at Colin Appleyard. They stand for quality, versatility and fun and depending on your age, may also represent something else. Older 'Scooby' fans will go all misty eyed for the distinctive blue and white Impreza World rally machines ripping up the gravel, whilst more recent owners will know them as practical, high-quality, reliable machines, boasting some of the best crash test protection scores in the automotive world.

Our Huddersfield and Ashton sites have been Subaru main dealers for over a decade now but even we need a reminder of the origins of this stunning range. So where did it all begin?


In the early 1950s, a collection of Japanese companies joined together to form Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. The automotive division of this new company came to be known as Subaru, meaning ‘unite’ in Japanese.

By 1954, Subaru unveiled the P1 which was their first car as well as Japan’s first monocoque design (a vehicle structure in which the chassis is integral with the body). A second car, the 360, was introduced in 1958 and was dubbed the Ladybird due to the nature of its shape. It proved hugely popular and remained in production for 12 years.


During the 1960s, Subaru launched their first truck which was based on the already popular 360 platform. The Sambar minitruck offered both compact dimensions and a spacious cargo bed (which was a necessity for Japan’s narrow streets).

In 1966, Subaru released the 1000, a car that bares much resemblance to the drive train for which Subaru have become renowned for - a front-wheel drive horizontally opposed engine and a layout that is still made by Subaru today and otherwise known as the Boxer engine. By the end of the decade, Subaru North America had been founded and exports to the US began.


Starting the 1970s on a strong foot, Subaru released the Leone AWD (all-wheel drive), a predecessor to the Impreza. This AWD drive train had previously only been offered in off-road vehicles, and so the Leone benefitted from popularity amongst outdoor sports enthusiasts, later becoming the world’s top-selling 4WD vehicle.

In 1977, the successful Subaru BRAT (Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter) was released, proved popular with the young, outdoor sports enthusiasts.


Continuing with their offering of versatile yet quirky models throughout the 80s, Subaru developed the World’s first electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT). This technology debuted in the tiny economy car called the Subaru Justy in 1984 which continued to be manufactured until the mid 90s.

By the end of the 1980s, the Subaru Legacy had been introduced to the model line up to replace the Leone and took on the 100,000km World Land Endurance Record. 24 drivers succesfully completed the attempt in 447 hours, 44 minutes, and 9.887 seconds maintaining an average speed of 138.78mph (223.345km/h). The Legacy went on to hold the record from 1989 – 2005.


Entering the 1990s, Subaru decided to make a name for itself in motorsports! Manufacturing of the infamous Subaru Impreza (now WRX) began in 1992 and went on to be the start of Subaru’s three-year long WRC Championship spree.

Subaru's focus turned to performance, as well as practicality, with the Vivio and SVX joining the range in the early part of the decade.

Present Day

As we entered the new millenium, Subaru’s legacy was strengthened further with their signature AWD drive train and boxer engine featuring in many of their models.

This legacy can even be seen in their current line-up; from ‘family-wagons’, such as the XV and Outback both with a 5* Euro NCAP rating, to the Forester with lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission to provide smooth acceleration, the high-performance BRZ which delivers exceptional on-road handling and tnot forgetting the all-wheel drive Levorg estate.

Subaru at Colin Appleyard

Whilst one of the lesser known brands in the UK, we can't praise the Subaru range highly enough and really recommend taking a look or better still, taking a drive. Hailed as a top pick for enthusiasts and families alike, the line-up provides utility along with performance with absolutely no question over safety and reliability. So whether it's safety and practicality you're looking for, or the assurances of being on the road no matter what the weather, today's Subaru range will not fail to deliver.

To find out more on each of the individual models click here or see for yourself by contacting your local Colin Appleyard dealer to arrange a viewing.