Subaru Justy

Costly windscreen chip repairs are spoiling our enjoyment of city car.

I’m tearing my hair out with our long-term Subaru Justy – but you can’t blame the car!

It’s not the lack of pace that’s bothering me. Nor is it the poor motorway refinement. In a city runabout, such concerns are easy to forgive. What’s much harder to excuse is its tendency to pick up stone chips.

My regular weekend trip back home from London to Bournemouth is the problem, and the M3 motorway is the culprit. The Justy has been bombarded by debris, whether it’s from slow-moving HGVs, family filled people carriers or speeding repmobiles – and this is taking its toll.

Thanks to Autoglass in Camden, north London – branch manager David Reeve is always able to fit me in at short notice – the windscreen has only needed replacing once. But I’ve had three separate minor repairs, and a further two chips are now waiting to be fixed.

The damage is probably down to the car’s upright windscreen, but I feel as if I’m running the gauntlet every time I head to the south coast! In most other respects, living with the Subaru couldn’t be easier. Tell most people you drive a Justy and their reaction is usually one of confusion or amusement, but that only adds to its appeal. Although the wider public doesn’t realise it, my long-term car is a real diamond in the rough.

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Long-term tests

It only has 68bhp, yet there’s more to life than straight-line performance, and I’ve got used to the Subaru’s lack of speed. Besides, you can make up for its slow responses on motorways by anticipating lane changes and other traffic in advance.

The concentration this requires does take its toll, though, turning longer trips into driving marathons. I still haven’t tired of the characterful three-cylinder engine, however. It combines with sweet alloys to ensure the Justy looks and sounds the part.

And I’ve got no complaints about fuel economy, either. The Subaru’s fantastic return of 44.1mpg is more than welcome, and helps to keep running costs to a minimum. Let’s just hope I don’t have to spend any more on windscreen repairs – or I’ll start to wonder if I’ve walked under too many ladders...

Second Opinion

The Justy is a fun little car to drive and great around town. It’s incredibly easy to manoeuvre, although as soon as you head out of an urban area, the trade-off is the amount of body roll in corners. Other concerns for me include the modest performance of the small 1.0-litre unit, plus the surprisingly loud engine note. Still, inside, the car is spacious and comfortable, the dashboard is stylish and there’s lots of room in the back for two. So, all in all, much better than I expected.

Conor Mills Motoring writer

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