Subaru’s underlying concept – where enjoyable cars can only be developed if there they are backed by a sufficient level of safety – has been the focus of development since the very first car was designed. Subaru history is essentially a reflection of the history leading up to ALL-AROUND SAFETY.

1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
  • 1960s
    1960 -
    Advanced, realistic crash testing conducted as a Japanese manufacturer making use of guiderails and crash test dummies.
  • 1960 -
    Rear-end crash testing of the Subaru360.
  • 1965 -
    The first Japanese manufacturer to begin crash testing (frontal, rear-end).
  • 1966 -
    Subaru1000: Subaru’s first FWD car powered by the SUBARU BOXER is released. High levels of safety are obtained in collision safety testing.
  • 1970s
    1971 -
    A special Subaru collision safety programme is developed as part of collision safety testing for the Leone.
  • 1972 -
    Subaru Leone 4WD Station Wagon, the world’s first mass-produced 4WD passenger car, is released. It features a selective system where the driver could switch from 4WD to 2WD mode.
  • 1965 -
    The first Japanese manufacturer to begin crash testing (frontal, rear-end).
  • 1977 -
    Engine drop tests begin for the American Leone (L-Series).
  • 1979 -
    Leone 4WD tests: As part of steps to improve collision safety for the Leone 4WD, the propeller shaft and differential are designed to split and drop down during a collision.
  • 1980s
    1981 -
    “Leone 1800cc 4WD Automatic” is released, using the world’s first wet hydraulic multi-plate clutch in the rear wheel drive transfer case of its AWD automatic transmission.
  • 1983 -
    4WD turbo Leone equipped with an air suspension system to hydraulically adjust the height of the car.
  • 1986 -
    Research into the use of high-tensile materials for car frames begins.
  • 1986 -
    XT: Plastic bumpers that comply with the five-mile-an-hour rule introduced in America as the first “energy absorbing bumpers” developed in the world.
  • 1986 -
    Leone 3-door hatchback coupe RX-II (1.8-litre turbo engine) uses a full-time AWD system with a bevel-geared and differential-lock centre differential.
  • 1987 -
    MP-T 4WD developed into the full-time 4WD “ACT-4” system, operating on pulse control to predict front and rear torque distribution.
  • 1989 -
    First generation Legacy released. The model became the Subaru’s new safety standard in order to further improve safety and protection in actual collisions.
  • 1989 -
    Turbo Legacy comes equipped with the full-time 4WD system with viscous coupling LSD centre differential. A tandem brake booster braking system increases the safety of the car.
  • 1990s
    1990 -
    Installation of on-board crash data acquisition systems/crash test facilities
  • 1991 -
    “VTD-4WD (Variable Torque Distribution 4-Wheel Drive)” for outstanding turning, and the “4WS” (four-wheel steering system) installed in the SVX for a superior balance between safety and driving enjoyment.
  • 1993 -
    Second generation Legacy: The rigidity of frameless car bodies that provide protection against offset collisions is increased for even higher levels of collision safety.
  • 1996 -
    First generation Forester: Built on the Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frames body for the current superior levels of collision safety.
  • 1998 -
    Third generation Legacy: The Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frames body and front frame structure envelopes the Horizontally-Opposed Engine. The installation of front side airbags raises collision safety to unprecedented levels.
  • 1999 -
    “ADA (Active Driving Assist)” driver assist system using stereo cameras is released and installed in the Japanese Legacy.
  • 2000s
    2003 -
    Car-to-Car crash tests: To improve safety even further, construction of crash test facilities that recreate actual crash conditions is completed.
  • 2007 -
    07MY Impreza awarded the ‘07/08’ Grand Prix by JNCAP. The same year, the Impreza is given the title of the Safest Japanese car.
  • 2007 -
    Safety improved immensely with the “SUBARU Dynamic Chassis Control Concept (DC³)” concept, to take driving enjoyment to new heights.
  • 2008 -
    “EyeSight” is released as the world’s first safety technology operating using only stereo cameras.
  • 2009 -
    Fifth generation Legacy: A frame mount is used for the engine to help improve frontal collisions, rating at the top of safety assessments around the world.
  • 2010s
    2010 -
    EyeSight is improved further as a highly-advanced crash avoidance system installed in the Japanese Legacy/Outback.
  • 2014 -
    EyeSight is enhanced, with improvements made to core functions such as the use of colour stereo camera images