Compact car; Built in Japan
  • 2-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,500*


1990 Subaru Loyale 2-door hatchback


1991 Subaru Loyale 4-door sedan


1992 Subaru Legacy Loyale 4-door wagon


1993 Subaru Legacy Loyale 4-door wagon


1994 Subaru Legacy Loyale 4-door wagon

Pros:
  • Cargo room (wagon)
  • Wet-weather traction (4WD)
Cons:
  • Acceleration
  • Engine noise

The Subaru Loyale may not be as refined as other vehicles in this league, but it offers a lot of value for the money.

Overview

Subaru’s faithful DL and GL sedans and wagons were called Loyale for 1990. The sedan and wagon came in a single price series with standard equipment that fell between that of the old DL and GL, while the 2-door coupe came only in sporty RS trim. Two engines were available: a 90-horsepower 1.8-liter flat 4 and a 115-horsepower turbocharged version of the flat 4. Both engines came standard with a 5-speed manual transmission; 3-speed automatic was an available option. Turbo models equipped with 4-wheel drive provided a 4-speed automatic in place of the 5-speed manual. The Loyale wagon and sedan were available with front-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive (4WD). Subaru provided a choice of either on-demand or permanently engaged 4WD.

Yearly Updates

1991 Loyale
Several models are axed, with the survivors receiving a host of luxury features. Gone are the 2-door coupe models, the Touring Wagon and all Turbo Loyales. All Loyales now use a naturally aspirated 90-horsepower version of the 1.8-liter flat 4. A 3-speed automatic carries on as the only alternative to the standard 5-speed manual gearbox. New features added for ’91 to the remaining 4-door sedans and 4-door wagons that were previously optional include air conditioning, power steering, power windows, locks and mirrors, tilt steering, intermittent wipers, and on the wagons, a cargo cover.
1992 Loyale
No changes are made to the 1992 Subaru Loyale.
1993 Loyale
New colors are the only changes made to the 1993 Subaru Loyale.
1994 Loyale
Only one model–the popular 4-door wagon with on-demand 4WD–returns for the Subaru Loyale’s final season.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Two engines are available for the Subaru Loyale, a 1.8-liter, horizontally opposed 4-cylinder and a turbocharged version of the same engine. The normally aspirated version provides 90 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 101 pound-feet of torque at 2800 rpm. The turbocharger changes the output to 115 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 134 pound-feet of torque at 2800 rpm. Both engines come standard with a 5-speed manual, with a 3-speed automatic as an available option. Turbo models equipped with 4-wheel drive provide a 4-speed automatic in place of the 5-speed manual. All turbocharged models of the Loyale are dropped for the ’91 model year, which also eliminated the 4-speed automatic.

Turbocharged ohc H4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/109
Engine HP 115
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 134
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
22/25
22/24
20/26
25.4

21.2

ohc H4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/109
Engine HP 90
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 101
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
25/32
24/26
19.4

Road Test

The Loyale’s 4WD system is not a permanent, self-acting system as found on the new Legacy, but is easy to use with a simple push of the gearshift-mounted button. If you don’t really need 4WD, then you can save money and buy a front-wheel-drive model. By selecting a front-wheel-drive model you can not only save on fuel, you’ll gain a little acceleration too, since they tend to be lighter on their feet without the extra weight that the 4WD hardware adds.

Either way, the Loyale’s Achilles heel continues to be its weak, coarse engine. In front-wheel-drive models with manual transmissions, the 1.8-liter four delivers passable performance. But when burdened with an automatic transmission or the extra weight of a 4WD system, the Loyale feels strained and anemic.

On the road, the Subaru’s four-wheel independent suspension helps Subaru strike a good balance in ride and handling. With their thin roof pillars, the Loyale models provide excellent visibility in all directions. There is ample room for four adults–five in a pinch–though tall drivers might complain about sparse leg room. Instruments and controls are clearly marked and handy steering-column stalks carry switches for the lights and wipers. Standard power windows feature “one touch” up and down functions.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1991 Subaru Loyale 4WD wagon

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 40

Specifications

2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
97.5 174.6 65.4 51.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
39.8 15.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.6 35.8 42.2 32.6
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
97.5 174.6 65.4 52.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.9 15.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.6 36.5 41.7 35.2
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
97.5 176.8 65.4 53.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
70.3 15.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.6 37.7 41.7 35.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Loyale 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 74
Injury 81
Theft 31

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: If it is difficult to shift out of park, the transmission’s parking pawl must be replaced. (1990-91)
Automatic transmission
Description: If the transmission is slow to engage after being parked, the torque converter is draining down and a new cooler line with a check valve must be installed. 1990-91)
Seat
Description: Misaligned side rails prevent the seat from locking in place. Shims must be added to the outer rail to correct the alignment. (1990-94)
Transmission noise
Description: Knocking noises from under the car when accelerating or changing gears is likely coming from the exhaust flex joint. (1990-92)

Recall History

1990 Loyale
Description: Under certain conditions on cars with 4EAT electronically controlled automatic transmission, park gear may not disengage.
1990-91 Loyale with 3AT automatic transmission
Description: Shift linkage may be incorrectly adjusted.
1990-93 Loyale
Description: 5-speed manual gearbox may leak.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.