Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures


Body style:

SUBARU R2   2003 2010
2003 2010

Built for the kei-car market in Japan, the 2003 R2 was named after the R-2 model built in the late ’60s early ’70s by Subaru.
The kei-car market was essential for any Japanese carmaker. After all, it was their home ground, and it wanted to be recognized as a significant producer. For that reason, Subaru hired the Greek designer Andreas Zapintas to make a small vehicle fit for that segment. It wasn’t an easy job to make room for four adult passengers inside a car and keep the compulsory class’s exterior size.

It looked like an egg with wheels in the corners and slim, tall headlights. Its front grille resembled the same wing-theme as the Subaru Tribeca, but after the 2006 facelift, that was replaced by a black grille with a chromed horizontal slat. The mini-MPV look, with rounded corners, or no corners at all. Basically, right after the front wheel-arches, there was the opening for the front doors, and the rear doors sported a cut for the rear wheel-arches. Zapintas integrated the taillights high on the d-pillars, so they were protected against the shopping-carts bumps.

Inside, the R2 offered enough room for adult-sized passengers, but not over average height. The Japanese minimalist style was noticeable on the flat, curved dashboard that sported a small extension for the center stack’s gear-selector. Since the car’s trunk was tiny, the designer installed deep pockets on the passenger’s side, in under the dashboard.

Under the hood, Subaru installed an inline-four engine that complied with the kei-cars regulations. It was available with or without a supercharger, and it was mated to either a five-speed manual or to a CVT.

Full Description and Technical Specifications
SUBARU R2   1969 1972
1969 1972

Long before the Subaru was known for its symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, the Japanese carmaker built an affordable and fuel-efficient city vehicle: the R-2.
In 1969, Subaru was a small carmaker that offered a product to fill the commuter car’s needs. Something easy to keep on the road, light on the budget, and easy to park. The R-2 was what people from many countries were looking for. While in Europe was a big offer from the French and Italian carmakers, and the Beetle was still on the assembly lines, the offer was smaller on the Japanese market. As a result, in just one month after the R2 launch, Subaru received over 25.000 orders.

Like in later days, Subaru didn’t worry too much about the exterior car design. They just installed two, round, headlights on a bubble-car with a short front end, and that was it. Getting in and out of the car via the two-doors was easy. Due to the bubble-shaped roofline, the car offered decent headroom in the rear, somehow like a Fiat 600 on the European market. Subaru offered two versions for the instrument cluster: one with two dials and the other with three dials, including a tachometer.

Subaru designed the car to be as cost-effective as possible. To achieve that, it took the VW Beetle idea and installed an air-cooled engine in the back. Due to its small displacement, it was considered a kei-car, making it more affordable and faced lower taxes in Japan. Later on, after 1972, due to stricter pollution norms, the R2 switched to water-cooled engines.

Full Description and Technical Specifications

Our Brands

Write to us!
Hello, how can we help?
Whatsapp Support Line