Subaru Leone and 4X4

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Subaru Leone and 4X4

1971 - 1979
Flat 4 "boxer"
1361/1600 cc
72 kw
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
Number Built:
1 star
The Subaru Leone made its debut in June 1971, and the Subaru Leone 4WD Station Wagon followed in September 1972.

Both sedan and 4WD wagon shared the same suspension and engine, at the front was strut type independent suspension, while at the rear was a semi-trailing arm type independent suspension.

Many credit the Leone 4WD as the car that introduced the world to the concept of the SUV - as nearly all 4X4's had been - up until that time - limited to off-road vehicles. The mass-produced 4WD variation of the Leone remained an ordinary passenger vehicle - made extra-ordinary by having (somewhat limited) off-road capabilities.

When the vehicle was first put on the market, demand came mainly as a result of the special applications the car could be used for, such as commercial use in snowy and mountainous areas. However, the car was highly praised in both the domestic (Japanese) and overseas markets for its originality.

In 1974 the unconventional "Boxer" engine was increased in capacity to 1.6 liters, giving the Leone a much needed boost in power.

So successful was the 4WD Leone that Subaru was to invest heavily in their 4WD technology, and this was the forerunner to Subaru's current AWD technology so widely praised today.

While Fuji Heavy Industries has gone on to manufacture high quality, high performance and extremely well polished cars today, during the 1970's the Leone was not all that well sorted.

The car lacked refinement, NVH was high, the seats uncomfortable and the frameless doors added to the feeling of the car being very "lightweight and tinny". Soon rust would become the early model Leone's biggest enemy, and seeing one on the roads today would be an extremely rare occurence.

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