First AWD model in 1972
Will soon move to electric AWD
Subaru is marking an all-wheel drive milestone. 20 million AWD vehicles have left the automaker’s factories since the very first one way back in 1972.
The automaker’s all-wheel drive system has come a long way since that very first vehicle. It was a Subaru Leone Estate Van (wagon) that became the first mass-produced AWD passenger car in the country (and one of the first anywhere) 49 years ago. The tiny Leone was Subaru’s largest car at the time, introduced, fittingly, ahead of the Sapporo winter games, in order to show off adverse weather performance.
While that model didn’t cross the pond until 1977 (badged DL and GL), it didn’t take long for Canadians to embrace the winter benefits of all-wheel drive.
Since then, Subaru has moved from compact AWD in the Justy to full-time AWD in the 1986 Leone. The company turned AWD into a legend when it arrived in WRC with the Legacy and later Impreza (making STI a household name).
Today, Subaru says that 98 percent of its global vehicle sales have AWD equipped, more than any other mainstream automaker. The only Subaru that doesn’t offer the system today is the BRZ sports car.
For the next 20 million, Subaru’s AWD system is getting ready to make its electric debut on the Solterra electric SUV set to launch next year.
Which model was the 20 millionth off the line? Subaru, surprisingly, didn’t say.