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Subaru SVX

Okay, I know I'm going to take a little abuse this time around. Not many people even seem to remember the Subaru SVX, and outside the WRX, Subarus don't get a lot of respect from the performance-car crowd

The only problem, though, is that I really like the Subaru SVX. The SVX was Subaru's first sports car, unless you count the extravagantly wedgy and slow XT (another guilty pleasure of mine and undoubted future Car Lust).

Part of what I like about the SVX is the styling--the marriage of classic sports car contours (if you cross your eyes a bit), with some incredibly quirky front- and rear-end treatments and bizarrely appealing split front windows. It's weirdly aggressive, oddly elegant, and indisputably interesting.

I'm also evidently the only person on the planet who feels that way.

Likely as a result of the styling, the SVX didn't sell all that well, but the 230-horsepower flat-6 engine, extremely low drag aerodynamics, all-wheel-drive, and a sophisticated suspension system made the SVX an excellent performer for the time, with 7-second runs to 60 mph and a top speed of more than 140 mph.

After the horsepower explosion of the last decade, those numbers don't exactly read like supercar performance, but for the time the SVX was a distinguished performer. What's more, it accomplished that performance in a smooth, refined fashion more evocative of a grand tourer than a muscle car.

Weird but wonderful, the SVX is one of my favorite cars of the 1990s.

Another true believer, flatsix92, has posted these beautiful photos on Flickr. Keep the flame burning, flatsix92.

--Chris H.


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A previous Car Lust got me interested in buying a '92-'96 Nissan Maxima SE.
This Car Lust got me searching used car listings for the SVX.

But buying a car more than a decade old is a big investment, because I want to fix it up and take care of it, not just trash it when it starts having problems.

So which car is likely to keep me more pleased for a longer time? I know the SVX is a decent car in speed/acceleration. Its all-wheel drive helps it be nimble in the turns. Some reviews have said it is heavy and so brakes slowly.

The Maxima SE handles like a BMW, and its 190 HP rocks. It also looks slightly bigger than my current '99 Corolla.

It probably also is a question of exotic and hard to find parts vs more mainstream but easy to find spare parts.

I've never owned a sports car. I like the peppiness of my Corolla, but miss the handling of my (long since sold) '95 Honda Civic. I've got the money, time, patience, and situation to finally get a car for me, rather than my family.

To both Chris H. and any readers:
Aside from the coolness factor of owning a slightly rare car, which car is just plain more fun to drive around town? Which is more fun to drive on long trips?

Ha. Wow. That's my car! :) I was just googling for random SVX info and found this site! Awesome! :)

I've owned my SVX since 2001, when I bought it for $3600. I have a video of it racing around in the badlands on youtube, check it out:

Anyway... it's been an incredible car. I put it into storage a few years ago, because I went back to school, and I couldn't afford school+ insurance, and I miss it immensely. It draws a lot of attention, it's very nice to drive... it isn't amazingly fast, but it's easily faster than most vehicles on the road, and it's geared for highway driving. This means off the line... not so much...but once you're moving, it accelerates very quickly. Also, the brakes on mine were 'blah' when I got it... they were okay, but they pulsated, so I spent some time researching the problem and discovered that pedal pulsation is NOT warped rotors, it's actually 'uneven pad deposits'. Brake pads have a max operating temp, and when you go past that temp, they slide off unevenly onto the rotor. This uneven layer of pad material deposits itself on the rotor, and causes thicker and thinner areas, and accelerated wear in some areas, and not others. You can read more here:

Anyway, I replaced the rotors with some slotted ones, and bought the pads with the highest max operating temp I could find... Axxis Ultimates. They weren't cheap, but holy hell... this thing brakes amazingly well now. It's been a very reliable car, netting me around 20-24 mpg most of the time, with my all time best being 28mpg. I currently have 192k miles on it, and it's still in great shape and burns no oil. I've taken it on cross country roadtrips quite a few times, and it's always such a blast to drive.. .it's very stable at high speeds, comfortable, and powerful. I think over the course of owning it, I've sunk about 5 grand into maintenance, replacement parts, and upgrades, but it's really not so bad, since they hold their (little) value quite well. Another big thing people overlook is the build quality. It's just phenomenal. Alcantara/leather/padded interior is amazing. Paint is great. Very well put together. If you can find one in decent shape... get it. You won't regret owning a dependable, reliable, powerful rare sports coupe. It gets a LOT of attention, and it's pretty classy. I love mine so much, I actually proposed to my wife in it a few years ago, that way she can't ever make me get rid of it. ;)

You need to join the SVX world network!! We had 24 of these cars at ONE autocross event last year! 7 were competing, the rest just sat there and looked GOOD!

There is an SVX 'meet' scheduled for April 19th and 20th (2008), in Reading Pa. All the 'semi-locals will be there! I have dedicated the last 5 weeks to applying 'shine' to 3 of them for this 'meet'.

You are NOT alone!! We only have 5,000 Members, with 300 of them being active. I have met 75 SVX owners, seen 55 of their cars, driven 20 of them and painted 3.

You aren't the only ones, there are tons of us out there!

We SVX owners are a rare breed of enthusiasts. Come together!

I've just returned this past Sunday from the 9th annual Reading SVX Meet. We had 48 cars--a record. Mine was the first SVX to show up at the first Reading Meet back in '99. My car clicked over 276K miles on the way back to Kentucky. I've made the "Pilgramage" all 9 years. I have two...both 92's both pearl and black. My kids call the SVX my obsession. Unfortunately, they're right. There are those who continue to try to mod them. That's okay. But, for me, I like it stock. Because, as it is, it's the greatest luxo-sport cruiser on the road and that's what it was engineered (over-engineered, actually) for.

I too own one (up in Vancouver, British Columbia) and think it's a great car, vastly underrated ... although I ewould not accuse subaru of over-engineering the transmission. I'm about to put in my third one ... it's really weird to wonder how they got that aspect of this otherwise amazing car so wrong.

Hello again.. I remember this car quite well! It was to far ahead of it's time, cost to much & last but not least, Subaru was not known as a performance brand back then. My experience was the 92 model year. I worked for a Subaru-VW dealership in Tampa Florida. This was the most fun car to take out for a test drive ( a close 2nd was the VW Corrado VR6 ).. the handling & brakes on this Subaru were unbelievable.. It's too bad it didn't catch on but who would have payed 30k for a subaru back then?

I love the SVX!! There was an 80's novela from Brazil where the young & handsome Bad Boy drove a Subaru SVX. That was the perfect car for the character: elegant, misterious, powerful, imposing, seductive...

The SVX remained a mistery for me until I saw it in an auto encyclopedia I was collecting, and BAM! I started learning everything I could about it.

Too bad the car didn't last long, but for some reason those exotic windows seem to announce bad sales. The SVX, the DeLorean, the Bugatti EB110... all with these kind of wondows, all never were developed enough to start producing profits.


SVX is my dream car.

I will have one within a year.

I don't quite know who will read this, however, I'll post a comment.
It all started with a Subaru wagon with a 5 spd. I loved that car, I'd like another. From the same family, I later buy a 92 SVX. That car sat outside from day 1, also under an acorn tree. I liked it but my friend talked me out of fixing it up. While at the Subaru dealer, for one of the two cars I had, I noticed an SVX with leather and a sunroof, and the pining began. My same friend who told me not to fix my 92, had bought a car online, it was junk, with a refund in his hand, he was searching the internet for another, he found a 97 SVX in polo green, the color I wanted. The car had just been listed that day, at a used performance car dealership, We worked our way through hours of traffic, and that same day with my friends refund, the SVX in the color I wanted was mine. Well almost, I made it to the dealer with 5 minutes before closing, the salesman said he had a lot of calls that day, about that car, but had not sold it. I put a deposit down with my friends refund, he found a car he wanted their and 30 days later, a road trip for two cars was in order. I now am the proud owner of a 97 SVX, and the car is gorgeous, Polo green was always my favorite color and it is the LSI . Quick distraction, I was pining for a newer SVX and found a 96 in red, for sale, the person at the garage said the owner wanted 96 for it, I said I know it's a 96, He said no, it's $9600, yeh hullo, The paint was faded from Florida, and without tinted windows, the leather seams were well expanded. Lucky me, I did'nt buy that one. My 97 has been garage kept since new, the interior is flawless, the paint is gorgeous, and I have spent thousands at the dealer to fix any an all leaks, quirks, etc, the car is MONEY, I had a 87 Porsche 944, that car, in turbo had just 230 horse maybe, It wouldn't get out of it's own way on a flat surface in a inch of snow. I always wanted the BMW 8 series coupe and still do, but same concept as the Porsche. I guess I'll finish, The SVX IS AWESOME, I think it is a beautiful car, rare and endangered, I am running 4 snow tires and have blown by trucks and cars in a full blizzard at 75 miles an hour into the fast lane, which was not run in and covered with snow, and jammed by them all, only in the straight sections though, and be careful, but damn, this car rules.

I'm back for a quick post, If you are looking for parts google, motorsport warehouse and link to the SVX store. Great website.

I just bought my 92 svx 3 days ago....I need a wheel bearing and have to get the power steering fixed because it leaks, however other than those minor details, It is Amazing!!! I got a great deal on the car and hope to have many years of enjoyment!!

No, youre not the only one who feels that way. My boyfriend has this car, and i find it to be the sexiest looking car i've ever seen, even if its a piece of trash by now and never works right.
its THE badboy car.. haha
you should hear the sound it makes now that something is fucked up in the muffler (dont knwo the name of that part in english, sorry lol) it ROARS like a harley davidson ;)

LOVE that car.

I saw one of these yesterday on the way to the store in San Antonio, TX with my friends, I had never seen one in my life so I was instantly intrigued. Needless to say, whilst listening to my friends bicker I turned around just to get behind it and see what it was. I must say, it is truly one of the most interestingly sexy cars I've ever seen and now hope to own one.

Own a 94, simply awesome!! also own 2 XT6 and XT4 Turbo, this car SVX is all it's own... The Gran Turismo... not the same Beast as XTs{changed riding style a bit} here in Eastern Canada SVX means Ski Vehicle Xtreme!! when roads are closed you go, my Ride has no storage fees...she's also all winter long!!! The look Exotic period. Everybody wonders.... priceless

Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous! I wish I had made more of an effort to get to drive one while it was still possible to see them on some used car lots.

own a '92 pretty much all original, good shape, always garaged, and am considering sale

approaching 160,000km

if interested, drop me an email and I'll forward a picture

has always been a great car - best open road super-tourer ever

I am the owner of a '97 SVX Lsi. I purchased this car new. The car has only 42,000 miles. Never exposed to snow. Lots of TLC. The car is completely original, down to the wiper blades and tires. The only exception is the front brake pads. The car is teal in color.
Question: I just recently experienced a slight vibration when turning the car left or right from a dead stop. At first I thought perhaps it was low inflated tires, but now think it might have something to do wtih clutch pack in the rearend. I was told to find a parking lot and do some slow figure eights. The thought being to lub the clutch disks. I did this and it seemed to help, but it did not cure the problem completely - Any advice? Please email response to: Thank you.

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