Subaru Justy 1.0 R

Our staff photographer loves all things Oriental. Will this include our new Japanese city car?

When you’re growing up, everyone asks you what you want to be when you’re older – and I never had any desire to be a fireman or train driver. My ambition was to become an animator.

I loved ‘anime’ (the popular Japanese art form), and quickly found myself taking an interest in Eastern imagery and culture. This dream came to an end at the age of about 15, when I discovered skateboards, football and all the other things that occupy a teenage boy’s time.

However, I still have a love of all things Oriental, so I was chuffed to be handed the keys to the new long-term Subaru Justy when it arrived at the Auto Express offices. As junior staff photographer, I rack up lots of miles, and need to carry loads of kit, so I’m excited to find out how the little Japanese city car copes with the strain.

First impressions are good. Commuting into our central London office is a breeze, as the Justy’s compact size is well suited to city driving.

I think it looks good, too. It’s based on the Daihatsu Sirion, and the flat bodysides and chunky arches give it a distinctive appearance. Smart alloys also provide a bit of flair, and the Subaru badge projects the kind of sporty image missing from the Daihatsu.

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Worries I had over storage were also dispelled quickly. Much like the first time I tried sushi, I was pleasantly surprised! There’s room for all my camera gear, even though the boot has a capacity of only 225 litres.

The simple dash design is in tune with the exterior styling, and it comes well equipped – the standard air-conditioning has been very welcome during the recent warm weather.

So far I’ve been impressed with the 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine. On motorways you have to plan overtaking manoeuvres well in advance so you don’t lose momentum. And you’re always aware of how hard the car is working thanks to the constant – and tiring – noise from under the bonnet. But it’s also full of character and perfect for city driving. Rear parking sensors add to the appeal in town.

The Justy is the only two-wheel-drive model Subaru produces, and is a million miles from the rally bred Impreza. But the handling is tidy enough.

And what really impresses is the fuel economy: the Justy has averaged 44mpg. That’s saving me a fortune in train fares, and a few longer trips should see the figure improve. It’s superbly built, and so far, after only 1,169 miles, I can’t fault it. So it’s a great start for the baby Scooby.

Extra Info

Second opinion - Jack Rix (Staff Writer)

Otis has been hogging the keys to the Justy since it joined our fleet, and I’m one of the few people to have wrestled them from his grasp – and what I found surprised me. The engine provides nippy performance in town and the cabin quality is good, too. What’s more, there are loads of useful storage cubbyholes for things like CDs. I also like the little Subaru’s styling – those standard-fit alloy wheels are very smart.

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