Subaru R1

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Subaru R1

The Subaru R1 was introduced by the Japanese carmaker Subaru on January 4, 2005. It was designed to fit within the Japanese kei car tax bracket.

The R1 is a two-door version of the Subaru R2, but with a shorter body and wheelbase. The R1 is unusual in that it does not use up the maximum length allowed for by the kei car regulations—the only other kei cars to have done this since the 1989 Autozam Carol were the Suzuki Twin and the European Smart Fortwo.

The R1 was only available in one spec level up to end of 2005 with one engine. A DOHC 658 cc 16-valve AVCS engine is the middle child in the trio of engines for the R2. It is available with the three engines which are available for the R2: the I with a SOHC 34 kW (roughly 46 horsepower) engine, the R with the above mentioned DOHC engine rated at 40 kW (54 horsepower) and the S with a supercharged and intercooled engine rated at 47 kW (63 horsepower). The R1 is being marketed as a personal car and as a middle-aged couple's second car; a combination of leather and alcantara seating is available. All R1s are equipped with a CVT, and all trim levels are available with front-wheel drive as well as four-wheel drive.

In its promotional materials, the R1 is frequently compared to the Subaru 360, the first production Subaru automobile.

The R1 is the base car for several vehicles:

  • The Subaru R1e, an experimental battery electric vehicle, currently undergoing limited production for selected industrial clients in Japan. There is intense interest in this vehicle within the US EV community as it employs Lithium Ion batteries which contribute to a significant improvement in range, and which can be 80% recharged in just 15 minutes.
  • The Prodrive P2 concept sports car.[1]



  1. Top Gear Season 8 Episode 5 2006.06.04