From Legacy to Ascent: The Evolution of Subaru Cars and How Often They Change

Subaru is a Japanese car manufacturer known for its all-wheel-drive vehicles, boxer engine layout, and commitment to safety. With a loyal following of car enthusiasts and a reputation for reliability, Subaru has made a significant impact on the automobile industry over time. One of the most interesting aspects of Subaru’s history is how often they change their car models. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of Subaru models, their release dates, features, and the reasons behind their changes.

Subaru’s Car History: From The 1970s To Present

Subaru commenced car production in Japan in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that their vehicles caught a significant following in the US. The company experienced tremendous growth in the US during the 80s and 90s, with its impressive lineup of compact cars, coupes, and station wagons.

The 70s: The Birth Of Subaru’s Legacy

The first Subaru model to gain popularity in the US was the Legacy, launched in the 1970s. The Legacy was marketed as a value-priced, all-wheel-drive sedan that offered tremendous stability in harsh weather conditions, making it suitable for families who prioritize safety and reliability.

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The 80s: Brat, Justy, And XT

In the 1980s, Subaru expanded its car model lineup by launching three distinct models: the Brat, Justy, and XT. The Brat was a unique pickup truck that appealed to individuals who wanted a versatile and affordable vehicle that could handle rugged terrain. The Justy, on the other hand, was a compact hatchback with a fuel-efficient engine, which appealed to eco-conscious consumers. Lastly, the XT was a sporty coupe with an aerodynamic design, making it a favorite among car enthusiasts.

The 90s: Impreza, Legacy GT, And Forester

During the 90s, Subaru upped its game by launching models that featured sleeker designs and new technologies. The Impreza was launched in 1993, targeted towards car enthusiasts interested in a high-performance compact car, and it quickly evolved into the iconic WRX STI. The Legacy GT followed a few years later and was aimed towards those who wanted a sporty sedan, while the Forester was marketed as an SUV with the versatility of a wagon.

The 2000s: B9 Tribeca, Impreza WRX, Tribeca

In the early 2000s, Subaru launched three models, with the B9 Tribeca being the most notable. The B9 Tribeca was an unconventional crossover that sported an unusual front grille and large headlamps. The Impreza WRX was also launched during this period, and it was an instant hit with sport driving enthusiasts. Lastly, the Tribeca was a large SUV aimed at families that needed ample space for cargo and passengers.

The 2010s: BRZ, Outback, Crosstrek

Subaru continued to innovate throughout the 2010s by launching three more models. The BRZ, an affordable, rear-wheel-drive sport coupe developed in partnership with Toyota, was released in 2012. The Outback and Crosstrek were crossover SUV models launched in 2013 and 2018, respectively, with advanced safety features like EyeSight Driver Assist Technology™, making them popular among families.

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The 2020s: Ascent, Legacy, Forester

Subaru launched the Ascent in 2020, their largest SUV available in North America. It features seating for up to eight passengers and advanced safety features that come standard, making it an ideal family vehicle. The Legacy also received an upgrade in 2020, with a new turbocharged engine option that produces 260 horsepower. Lastly, the Forester, one of Subaru’s most popular vehicles globally, received an update in 2019, with advanced safety features and an updated engine.

How Often Does Subaru Change Its Car Models?

Subaru is known for its creative spirit when it comes to designing and revamping its cars. The frequency of car changes varies, but significant changes usually occur every five years, with minor refreshes and updates every two to three years. These significant changes often include new models and redesigns of existing ones. For example, the Legacy was completely redesigned in 2020, making it a nicer car than before.

How Do Subaru’s Changes Affect Buyers?

Subaru’s changes in car models have a significant impact on buyers’ preferences and expectations. For example, the decision to launch the Ascent in 2020 was based on the need for a larger SUV, suitable for families with seven or eight passengers. The safety features that come with newer models of Subaru also have a considerable impact on buyers’ preferences. Safety-conscious buyers prefer cars with advanced safety features like EyeSight Driver Assist Technology™, available in Subaru models launched in 2014 and beyond.


What is the most popular Subaru model ever sold?

The Forester is the most popular Subaru model, both globally and in the US, with over 250,000 units sold annually.

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Which Subaru model is the safest?

Subaru vehicles are known for their safety, but the Outback is the safest Subaru model, with advanced safety features like EyeSight Driver Assist Technology™ and standard all-wheel drive.

How often should I change the oil in my Subaru?

Subaru recommends oil change after every 6,000 miles, but it can vary depending on driving habits and conditions.


Subaru has come a long way since the launch of its first car model in Japan in the 1950s. The brand has grown by leaps and bounds and gained popularity due to its unique lineup of affordable, all-wheel-drive cars. The frequency of car change in Subaru varies, but it has contributed significantly to the brand’s success globally, making it a favorite among car enthusiasts and families who prioritize safety, reliability, and affordability. Whether you are a car enthusiast or potential buyer, understanding the frequency of Subaru car changes can help you make informed decisions when purchasing a new or used Subaru vehicle.

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Peter Banks

With years of experience as a professional mechanic and Subaru specialist, Peter is one of the most respected members of our team. He's written several articles on Subaru maintenance and repair, and his advice and tips are always practical and helpful. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes.

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