Sometimes it’s fun to imagine people being unreasonably defensive about their cars. “Just you wait,” the Justy owner shrieks. “Slightly inclement weather and a marginal gas price increase is coming, and then guess who will be laughing?” With or without snow, the Justy’s gas-sipping virtues and AWD capability are attractive even in examples more “broken-in” than this one, which has more cylinders than seat stains. Find this 1988 Subary Justy 4WD with 54,000 miles in Sacramento, CA for $4,800 via craigslist.
Subaru’s diminutive hatch was sold in the States from 1987 to 1994 as a three-door or five-door (beginning in 1990), front-drive or all-wheel drive (beginning in 1988), carbureted or fuel-injected (beginning in 1990), or with a manual transmission or CVT (also beginning in 1990). Regardless of model year or equipment, they’re all slower than Ben Stein impersonating an auctioneer. Sixty-six horsepower from the 1.2-liter SOHC 3-cylinder will do that, but it will also return 41 highway mpg. It’s a mixed bag.
The previous owner utilized the Justy’s roof rack, mud flaps, and push-button on-demand 4WD system for winter commuting before waking up in the 21st-century and upgrading to a WRX. Forging through snow drifts with 12-inch wheels must be a blast. If that fails, just pull a Legolas and skate on top of the snow. This thing only weighs 1,655 pounds.
The Justy boasts 25 cubic feet with the seats folded down. For comparison, a 2015 Chevy Spark affords 31.2. In a drag race, the Subaru owner will be the one yelling “Just you wait, please, I’m almost to third gear!” but don’t let that keep you from the cleanest, most efficient, late-80s economy hatch out there.