In 1987, Subaru introduced a mini-compact 3-door hatchback named Justy. It enjoyed a bit of a following in its first presentation with its great handling and its easy driving impressions. Its small frame is deceiving because due to its hatchback design, the cargo space is maximized and the Justy could haul more, especially with the introduction of the 4-door Justy two years after, although it hade the same wheelbase. Both trims came with either front-wheel drive or on-demand 4-wheel drive. During its life span in the American market, the Justy became widely known for its available electronically controlled variable-transmission. Dubbed ECVT, it presented an endless spread of gear ratios. Although a similar idea had surfaced a few decades before, Subaru was distinctive for offering it in the U.S. market at that period. One of the crowd drawers for the Justy was its available form in 4 wheel drive an innovative idea then for mini-compacts.
The Justy was equipped with a 1.2 L three-cylinder engine and either a standard manual transmission or the revolutionary ECVT. The ECVT technology was utilized because with a conventional automatic transmission performance would have been below par, due to the small 3-cylinder engine. It was also the transmission of choice, even though the manual had excellent mechanical reliability and fuel economy, it was far too noisy and idling was rough. The ECVT was far more capable of getting more acceleration than the manual. The initial Justy was offered in two trims, the base and the GL
For 1990, all models excluding the base Justy, got a 73-horsepower fuel-injected engine upgrade, instead of the carbureted 66-horsepower 3-cylinder. Fuel-injected models were provided with a new intermediate front driveshaft to assist in diminishing torque steer. A new Fun Justy appearance package was initiated for the 2-door model. But only after a year, this package was dropped from the roster. As like it was before, the 2-door hatchback was offered in base or GL trim, while the 4-door hatchback was offered only as a GL. By 1993, only one engine was offered as even the base model no sported the GL engine. In 1994, the Subaru Justy met its demise and now ended a seven year run. Though it was still exported to other countries such as Europe, where Justy's are still produced although tagged as the Suzuki Swift, its loss in American market was a big blow for Subaru. In its final year, the Justy lost the ECVT in its drive leaving only the conventional 5-speed manual transmission. he lineup was trimmed to just two models; a base front-drive 2-door and an upscale 4-door GL with 4-wheel drive, which was triggered by depressing a gearshift-mounted button. The Subaru Justy rode off top its last sunset.