Sporty/performance car; Built in Japan
  • 2-door coupe
  • longitudinal front-engine/front- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,200 – $3,300*


1992 Subaru SVX


1992 Subaru SVX


1994 Subaru SVX


1992 Subaru SVX


1994 Subaru SVX

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • 4WD traction
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear-seat room

Unique in design, the SVX never caught on in the sales race. Not in the same performance league as the Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo/Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4, which also have all-wheel drive, SVX is the only one in that spirited group that came with an automatic transmission.

Overview

Subaru broke new ground for 1992, releasing the sleek, high-performance SVX luxury coupe as a replacement for its wedge-shaped XT6. Compared to the front- and 4-wheel-drive XT sports coupes, the SVX measured four inches longer in wheelbase and also in overall length.

Sole powertrain was a 230-horsepower, 3.3-liter 24-valve flat-6 engine, linked to an electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission. Permanently engaged 4-wheel drive (all-wheel drive) was standard, as were antilock brakes and a driver’s airbag. Standard equipment also included automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and an 80-watt audio system.

SVX quickly became known for one distinctive feature: its “window-within-a-window” design. Most of the side glass was fixed in place, and only the unusual little window, mounted within the bigger pane, rolled up and down.

Yearly Updates

1993 SVX
No change was evident in the second season for Subaru’s all-wheel-drive performance coupe. Due to a glut of cars, Subaru delayed the introduction of 1993 models until spring of that year.
1994 SVX
New lower-priced L and LS versions of Subaru’s sports coupe debuted this year, with front-wheel drive instead of permanent all-wheel drive. AWD was now limited to the top-line LSi model. A passenger-side airbag joined the driver’s airbag on the LS and LSi models, which got conventional manual front seatbelts instead of motorized belts. Antilock brakes were standard on LS and LSi, but not available on the L. On all models except those with “pearl white” paint, the roof and trunk now were body-colored. With white paint, the roof and trunk were black, as on all prior models.
1995 SVX
An expanded lineup for 1995 included two front-drive models (L and LS) and two with permanently engaged all-wheel drive (L and LSi). Antilock brakes were standard on all except the front-drive L. All models had dual airbags.
1996 SVX
Two versions of Subaru’s sports coupe were offered in 1996: base L and more costly LSi. Both had permanent all-wheel drive. The LSi had such features as variable-assist power steering, leather seats, a power sunroof, a CD player, heated mirrors, remote entry system and antitheft alarm, and a split folding rear seatback.
1997 SVX
For its final season on the market, the SVX gained a new body-colored grille and 215/55VR16 tires. Laguna Blue was dropped as a color choice.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/front- or 4-wheel drive

All SVX coupes used the same engine: a horizontally opposed, 3.3-liter 6-cylinder that developed 230 horsepower. A 4-speed automatic was the sole transmission. Front-drive SVX coupes were available in 1994-95, but in other years all the coupes had permanently engaged 4-wheel drive.

dohc H6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.3/202
Engine HP 230
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 224-228
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

17/24

17.8

Road Test

When it debuted for 1992, the SVX had little direct competition in its price segment of the performance/luxury-coupe market. Few rivals in this class offered 6-cylinder power combined with 4-wheel drive.

Somewhat eccentric in appearance, an SVX is extremely competent on the road. All-wheel-drive traction gives it fine grip in turns, even when the pavement turns wet.

The firm suspension works with the tires to furnish excellent cornering grip, without a trace of harshness. Riding flat over dips, without jarring through bumps. the SVX remains well-balanced in directional changes. Electronic speed-variable power steering, offered in the Touring Package, is a desirable addition. Most early models had that package.

Acceleration is robust with liberal application of the throttle. The horizontally opposed engine pulls the coupe strongly from virtually any speed, unleashing plenty of power for passing. We’ve accelerated an SVX to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds. Subaru’s automatic transmission generally shifts well, but occasionally winds up in too high a gear to provide a small speed increase without downshifting.

Gas mileage wins no prizes. We averaged close to 25 mpg in an early SVX (in mostly highway cruising), and 17.8 mpg in mixed city/highway driving.

With the available power driver’s seat, as well as the standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel, automatic climate control, and premium sound system, an SVX yields a very comfortable driving environment. Subaru claimed 4-passenger seating, but the rear seat lacks sufficient head room for average-sized adults, and would be short on leg room as well with tall people seated up front. Although the trunk is fairly large, its opening is quite small, so getting luggage in and out can become tedious.

Subaru’s “window-within-a-window” side glass treatment was supposed to reduce buffeting with the windows open. Although the inner window frame leaves a “line” in the driver’s peripheral vision, most people won’t notice it after a while. Toll booths and ATM machines can be a challenge, because the window opening is so small. Otherwise, visibility is better than in most sports coupes.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1995 Subaru SVX

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 - 8
80%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 2
20%

Other

Value - 3
30%

Total: 41

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
102.8 182.1 69.7 51.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
8.2 18.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.0 35.0 43.5 28.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A

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 N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brakes
Description: The hydraulic motor for the antilock brake system may run after the key is turned off, requiring a revised relay for the motor. (1996)
Dashboard lights
Description: The turn signals cancel prematurely because of excessive plastic in the steering-column combination-switch bracket. (1992-93)
Engine knock
Description: Knocking noise from the front end is caused by defective strut mounts. Revised mounts are available for replacement. (1992)
Engine mounts
Description: Due to the multitude of configurations (bolt holes, accessory attachment points, etc.), cylinder heads for 2.5L engines are extremely difficult to interchange, often making the simplest solution replacement of the engine. (1995-97)
Hard starting
Description: No-start or hard starting after sitting overnight in may be due to ice forming on the fuel injector tips. (1993-98)
Poor transmission shift
Description: Poor acceleration from a standing start is actually programmed into the computer, and can be overridden by removing a resistor in the ROM (read-only memory) socket and destroying (but not removing) the noise suppressor. (1992-93)

Recall History

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.