Subaru Rex Returns After 30-Year Absence With Daihatsu Rocky Underpinnings

Produced over three generations from 1972 through 1992, the Rex has been resurrected for 2023 in the guise of a Daihatsu Rocky with Subaru badges. A subcompact crossover that promises outstanding safety, this fellow boasts a three-cylinder lump of the naturally-aspirated variety.
2023 Subaru Rex 8 photos
Photo: Subaru
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Considered a compact in Japan, the Rex features a turning radius of 5 meters (make that 16.4 feet). Available in a grand total of nine paint choices, the boxy newcomer is equipped with blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and six airbags. Equipped with good ol’ buttons for the air conditioning and heater, the Rex comes standard with a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, a 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, as well as wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity for your smartphone.

The Z trim level features auto hold for the continuously variable transmission and an electronic parking brake, whereas the G trim level makes do with a traditional handbrake. Pretty much a copy of the Rocky in terms of exterior and interior design, the Rex does come with a slightly redesigned grille. At press time, pricing kicks off at 1.82 million yen, which converts to about 13,135 freedom eagles at current exchange rates.

Equipped with 16- or 17-inch wheels, the Daihatsu-engineered crossover comes with either a urethane or a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The 1.2-liter engine is good for 87 metric ponies at 6,000 revolutions per minute and 113 Nm of torque at 4,500 revolutions per minute, figures that convert to 86 horsepower and 83 pound-foot. Codenamed WA-VE, this mill comes exclusively with a continuously variable transmission, which is better suited for this application than a torque-converter automatic tranny.

Tipping the scales at 970 kilograms (2,138 pounds) and 980 kilograms (2,161 pounds), the Rex G and Rex Z cover up to 20.7 kilometers per liter of gasoline. Converted to U.S. liquid gallons, that’s 48.7 miles per gallon.

As per the attached release, Subaru expects to sell 150 units per month.

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 Download: 2023 Subaru Rex press release (JP) (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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