Italian Style: 1994 Subaru SVX LSi AWD

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The term “halo car” and Subaru don’t usually go together, although they have made some amazing cars over the decades. This sleek 1994 Subaru SVX LSi is one Subaru model that comes to mind. The seller has this one posted here on craigslist in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. They’re asking $8,990, here is the original listing, and thanks to Rocco B. for sending in this tip!

It’s hard to argue with the success of Subaru’s WRX series, especially the STi, but design-wise, they aren’t exactly the equivalent of a handmade Italian leather shoe. The sexy Italian-designed SVX is the most “designer’y” Subaru of all time, I would argue. I recently had a boxy 1988 Subaru RX Turbo five-speed sedan, maybe the least-sexy Subaru of all time, other than a 1988 Subaru GL five-speed EV that I currently own. Not sexy in the least, no how, no way.

The “Subaru Vehicle X” (SVX) was known in Japan as the Alcyone SVX, and Alcyone refers to the brightest star in the Pleiades constellation – as in the Subaru logo, which is actually more derived by the number of companies that merged to form Fuji Heavy Industries in 1953 since there are six stars shown on their logo and the Pleiades star cluster is known as the Seven Sisters. Are you confused yet? If so, my work is done here. The seller has included a few underside photos and this car does look solid.

The SVX was sold in North America beginning in 1991 for the 1992 model year and they were sold here until 1997, with those later cars having been built in 1996. They were never a big success, unfortunately, with just over 14,000 cars being sold here. This particular example appears to be in nice shape and the interiors, and seats, in particular, are known to be luxurious. Maybe not for legroom in the back, but the seats themselves. There is an actual usable cargo space in the rear and who can argue with those crazy partially-operable side windows? That’s the stuff of legend, whether it’s practical or not, who cares.

The engine is Subaru’s EG33, a 3.3-liter boxer-six, which would have been factory-rated at 230 horsepower and 230 lb-ft of torque. It’s backed up by Subaru’s 4EAT four-speed automatic and this LSi is the top-of-the-line model that sold for $36,740 in 1996, an equivalent of almost $70,000 today. This example runs and works great, according to the seller, who lists an incredible amount of maintenance work that has been done. They’re right at Hagerty’s #3 good condition value. Have any of you owned a Subaru SVX?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. alphasudMember

    When these were new I thought the styling was a bit too much. Didn’t care for the window in a window design. Now if Subaru were to take this design and freshen it up it would probably sell well. A real shame they were not offered with a manual transmission back then. Now in today’s market that’s a different story only loose the troublesome 4-speed and replace it with a modern transaxle. Also with a proper exhaust these sound really good.

    Like 4
  2. Rick

    So first he says he has $10K in maintenance, then the next sentence it’s $20K. So.. which is it? With that mileage the transmission is going to need a rebuild (really fragile in these cars), so.. offer up $5K since he doesn’t know what he has in it.

    Like 1
  3. Bruce

    Owned two, still have one. Everyone has an opinion about the windows, but I can tell you any other car I’ve driven feels claustrophobic.
    The wheels on this one are a puzzle. Three of them are on the wrong side. The spokes should be ‘grabbing the pavement’, only one does in these pics.
    Nothing else like it, IMHO.

    Like 3
  4. PRA4SNW

    Something tells me that this car, especially with an auto, will be a hard sell.

    Like 0
    • Palandi

      IIRC it was never sold as a manual… although there are a few known swaps

      Like 3
      • SubGothius

        Correct, as Subaru at the time didn’t have a manual trans that could handle the torque from this flat-6, though some have swapped in a later WRX manual ‘box that can.

        Speaking of, the transmissions on these were something of an Achilles’ heel. I’ve read the problem was that it didn’t cope well with tires of significantly differing diameters, which tended to overheat the trans/diff over extended cruising. As such, fastidiously maintaining uniform tire pressures, and replacing all 4 tires together as a matched set when any one of them needed replacement, was a necessary preventive measure.

        First-year cars also had a debris screen in the transmission cooler line that tended to get clogged when an overheating trans burned its fluid, so later cars omitted this screen, and owners of earlier cars addressed this issue by simply punching a hole through the screen.

        Like 3
  5. Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car. I remember when the Subaru SVX was first offered here in the USA. I remember saying “It’s about time Subaru offered something different from its usual practical cars we’ve seen since the late 1970s.” It was nice to see something sporty from Subaru. It’s a damn shame that it was discontinued when it was. I would’ve loved to drive a car like this.

    Like 2
  6. Howie

    Never understood the windows.

    Like 1
  7. scottymac

    I agree, Scotty, establishing the “…least-sexy Subaru of all time…” could chew up a whole bunch of time, but I’ll vote for the Justy. Justy ugly box. Waiting on these SVXs to drop more in price for a Corvair transplant with a five or six speed. Still hate the open deck design.

    Like 1
  8. Michael Jones

    They only came with an auto. No stick, but it’s a popular upgrade as a lot of other Subie trans kinda’ fit. I’ve owned two of these. Great GT cars, just eat the miles – in total comfort.

    Like 0
  9. Tbone

    Owned similar car (same year and color).Brakes and the auto transmission are weak points on the car. Great for getting thumbs up, especially from Little kids.

    Like 1
  10. Gary Sparkes

    We’ve owned one for 15 years. Great car, becoming more sought after as they become rarer. Here in OZ, that car would pull $20-25,000 AUD without issue. Only 247 ever made it to our shores. Rare as dinosaur teeth.

    Like 1

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