Used Subaru Justy Hatchback 1992 - 2002 review

Category: Small car

Only good if you really need four-wheel drive

Subaru Justy Hatchback (92 - 02)
  • Subaru Justy Hatchback (92 - 02)
  • Subaru Justy Hatchback (92 - 02)
Used Subaru Justy Hatchback 1992 - 2002 review
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Steve Huntingford
Published01 January 2006

What's the used Subaru Justy hatchback like?

Superminis and 4x4s are two areas of the market that don't often cross over. There's a good reason for this - it gives rise to cars such as the Subaru Justy.

True, in slippery conditions, the standard four-wheel drive is a boon, but on Tarmac there are plenty of better superminis that are far more talented, and will cost you less. The Justy is based on the old Suzuki Swift, and that doesn't give it the best of starts. There's plenty of grip, but the handling is poor and the ride is even worse. To cap it all, the small engine offers only mediocre response, and refinement isn't good.


Only good if you really need four-wheel drive

  • The Justy is the only four-wheel-drive supermini (of a certain age) you can buy
  • Ride and refinement are poor, the boot is tiny

The interior is plasticky, too, and the four-wheel-drive hardware robs the rear cabin and boot of space. It's not particularly cheap, it's not particularly well equipped and it's not much to look at. If you don't need four-wheel drive, don't touch it with a bargepole.

Ownership cost

What used Subaru Justy hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Subaru Justy hatchback?

In comparison with similar cars of the day, it is expensive to run. Four-wheel drive never comes cheap, even when it's in a car as small as this.

The Suzuki Swift, for example, is mechanically identical to the Justy, apart from the four-wheel drive. The big difference is that you can pick up a Swift much, much cheaper than you can a Justy.

The extra weight of all that gear also has a big impact on fuel economy. Where the Swift returns a very reasonable average of 47.9mpg, the Justy can only manage a comparatively paltry 40.9mpg. You'll pay a group 6 insurance premium, the same as you will in the 1.3 version of the Swift, but this isn't particularly competitive when compared with other cars in the class.

Servicing will be cheaper than the Swift, though, because it needs to be looked at every 12,000 miles, rather than every 6000 for the Suzuki.

Our recommendations

Which used Subaru Justy hatchback should I buy?

You only have one choice to make, because there are three- and five-door variants available. Neither is particularly spacious, but the five-door is marginally easier to load passengers into. It also has central locking, while the three-door doesn't.

No matter how many doors you have, though, the car will be a 1.3 GX. The engine is the same as the 1.3 in the Suzuki Swift, and gives 67bhp. However, where this is tolerable in the Swift, the added weight of all that off-roading hardware in the Justy means the car is slower, noisier and less economical. It'll take you around 14 seconds to get to 60mph, and while this isn't too unrealistic in terms of time, getting there will be a very noisy affair.

The sole GX trim provides only basic kit. You'll get power steering, electrically adjusting mirrors, an immobiliser, twin front airbags, split folding rear seats and a radio cassette, but that's pretty much it.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Subaru Justy hatchback?