Subaru Vivio

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Subaru Vivio
Subaru Vivio
Automotive industrySubaru
PredecessorSubaru Rex
SuccessorSubaru Pleo
Car classificationKei car
Car body style3-door Hatchback
5-door Hatchback
2-door Targa top
Automobile layoutFront-engine design, Front-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive
Transmission (mechanics)5 speed manual
Length3295 mm (129.7 in)[1]
Width1395 mm (54.9 in)
Height1385 mm (54.5 in)
Curb weight650 kg (1433 lb)-700 kg (1543 lb)

The Subaru Vivio was a Kei car that was introduced in March 1992, and manufactured by Subaru. It has a supercharged 658 cc (52 hp)[2] (44 hp in Europe) engine which is small enough to place it in the lightcar class, which gives its owners large tax breaks in Japan. The Vivio feels roomy considering its small size, thanks to a relatively tall profile and large windows. It is one of the lightest kei cars, weighing in at between 650 kg (1433 lb) and 700 kg (1543 lb) depending on the trim line.

The name "Vivio" is a reference to the numbers 660.0 written in Latin numerals, and also inspired by the word vivid. It replaced the Rex. It was available in 3 and 5-door versions commonly, with 2-door Targa top version named T-top in acceptance to the order. The Vivio Bistro was a facelift variation with a retro theme, with Mini-esque front and rear fascias, matching upholstery and modifications to the dashboard. The Bistro series was popular and Japan would see a string of modern retro-styled cars.

The Vivio was available with a variety of Supercharged 4-cylinder engines.


The supercharged grade RX-R and RX-RA was widely used for rallying in Japan. RX-RA was a motorsports trim grade with more close ratio gears and harder suspensions than RX-R. You can still see some entrants using Vivio at WRC Rally Japan.

In 1992, at the Paris-Beijing marathon raid, a private entrant ran the Vivio RX-R. Most people who saw the car imagined its early retirement but was faster than works team Mitsubishi Pajero at the prologue stage, and ran for more than a week until it broke its suspension. The car finished to the goal unofficially after repairing, with no other serious troubles.

The most famous appearance of Vivio in an international motorsport event was in the 1993 World Rally Championship season round of the Safari Rally under the decision of former factory driver and Subaru Technica International founder and team owner Noriyuki Koseki to promote the car.[3][4] He made the decision to enter three of the sports model Vivio Super KK[5] driven by Masashi Ishida, local driver Patrick Njiru and up and coming WRC star Colin McRae on his Safari debut.

Only one of the three cars finished where it settled for 12th place driven by Njiru.[4]

McRae did manage to set the fastest stage time before managing up to two stages up to Makindu before retiring with Suspension (vehicle) failure.[3][6] He later remarked about the car "You can hide the whole car in every single Pothole along the route!"[4]. Ishida later retired with Head gasket failure.[6]

This appearance was satirized by cartoonist Jim Bamber for the Yumping Yarns cartoon of Car & Car Conversions magazine, when he depicted McRae driving his Vivio underneath an Elephant.


  1. "1992 Subaru Vivio". Retrieved on 2007-10-29. 
  2. "What is a Vivio?". Retrieved on 2007-10-29. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kenya: Citizens Remember Colin Mcrae
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Subaru Vivio Details :
  5. Super KK is the FIA homologation name for the RX-R grade
  6. 6.0 6.1 RallyBase
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