Driving a 90s Subaru Made Me Realize How Much Subaru Has Changed

Subaru has been selling cars in the US for a couple decades at this point. When you think of Subaru you think of the WRX, or the WRX STi. You think of turbocharged flat four engines that are all wheel drive that can move just as fast on road as it can off road. That’s thanks to Subaru’s success in the World Rally Championship. But Subaru still sold cars before they entered the World Rally Championship, and the Subaru Loyale is one of them.

A 1992 Subaru Loyale


I drove a 1992 Subaru Loyale the other day, and while I liked the car I noticed a lot of differences between the Subaru of today and the Subaru of yesterday. The first and most noticeable difference is just how weird Subaru has gotten. The Loyale felt like a normal car, If I didn’t know any better I could have easily mistaken the Loyale for a Toyota or Honda of the same era. The only weird thing about the loyale is the engine noise, and the fact that the spare tire is under the hood. No seriously, the spare tire is on top of the engine. And it’s a full inch bigger than the other four wheels on the car.

After their continued success in WRC, Subaru got weird. The STi got a comically large rear spoiler, and all WRXs got large hood scoops. They looked weird and different, which drew a lot of people to the cars.


Another huge difference is obviously the power. The Loyale had 90hp, making it very very slow. After the WRC, even the normal family sedans were turbo charged. I drove a 2004 WRX, and even in its stock form, it was a lot of fun to drive. So for the better, Subarus perform a million times better than they did in the early 90’s. \


Something that has stayed constant, is the lack of a proper back seat. Until around 2013, Subaru back seats were not a place you wanted to be. They’re crammed, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. What annoyed me the most was the lack of back seat room in the 2005 Legacy wagon I drove. The trunk was massive, but Subaru only left about two feet for the rear seat. This has since changed, as I’ve ridden in a 2016 WRX and I fit in the rear seat with ease.


Very few people know about Subaru pre-WRC. But the truth is, Subaru used to make very normal not-special cars. If you’d like to learn more about Subarus, I’ll leave my new Loyale review as well as three other Subaru reviews I’ve done in the past.


Written by Zack Pradel