BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear

Subaru has just sold its 20 millionth AWD car

And this cutesy Leone 4WD was its very first. What are the chances of a retro remake, Subaru?

Published: 09 Jul 2021

Here’s a fun fact: 98 per cent of all Subarus sold globally are all-wheel drive. Which says rather too much about the niche appeal of the delectable BRZ coupe. It may be a Boxer Rear-drive Zenith, but those with fistfuls of cash and an empty space outside their house seem to disagree.

Anyway, let’s stay ‘glass 98 per cent full’ on this one. Because Subaru has just sold its 20 millionth all-wheel-driven car, an achievement clocked up 49 years after the first rolled off the production line.

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And this is it: the 1972 Subaru Leone 4WD Estate Van. With peak outputs of 79bhp and 76lb ft, this was no rip-roaring rally refugee like we came to love Subaru for from the Nineties onwards. But just observe its tangible pluckiness; standard Seventies styling, right down to wing mirrors on the actual wings, but hoiked up several inches and with sturdy steel wheels wrapped in knobbly all-terrain tyres. It was Japan's first mass-produced AWD car.

Have you ever wanted to leap in something and go greenlaning more? Even those front seats look primed and ready to hold you (and a co-driver) in place as you bounce merrily over rocks and ruts. And with a flat-four 1.4-litre engine under the bonnet, even the soundtrack will be correct.

Reckon Subaru should lift its current, performance car-less UK line-up with a retro remake?

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