Some saw the Justy as a good ‘starter car’ — but it often wouldn’t start at all... Carburation was the only induction method available at launch in 1987 and if you pumped the throttle a few too many times, it would flood. The legendary Subaru reliability didn’t apply here...

It could carry four passengers but it helped if you weren’t interested in the comfort and well being of at least two of them. No, it wasn’t the most roomy of hatchbacks, but aha, it had all-wheel drive so you could carve up the corners, right? Yes — if those corners were downhill because with a 1.2-litre three-cylinder motor which only made 66 horsepower, you weren’t going anywhere fast in this. The boxer four-cylinder would have been far better but what the three-pot lacked in power it made up for in er, unreliability. Premature oil pump failure was common and since there was no oil gauge in the dash (!) owners were oblivious to the damage being done and drove on until the engine packed up. The weak motor and AWD wasn’t a great combination; the extra weight of the drive system hampered fuel economy and what’s more, riding on tiny wheels meant ground clearance was limited so you’d steer well clear of the beaten track. At least the Justy was better than walking — and it had an E-CVT. This ‘revolutionary’ gearbox offered limitless ratios and was supposed to be the next big thing in the automotive world but buyers weren’t about to be fooled by the marketing hyperbole. CVTs had already come and gone in the Fifties and if the technology had been improved that much then why wasn’t it being offered in the flagship Legacy when that launched in 1989 and only in the hopeless little Justy?

The poor car felt more like a test mule for the brand’s latest wizbangery and unsurprisingly, it proved a hard sell across dealerships because it wasn’t very practical or at all potent and it sure wasn’t pretty either.

Some owners will defend the Justy and maintain that it was a reliable and well-built vehicle but you’ll find more that will tell you they had to replace everything, probably even the ashtray.

An AWD, E-CVT small hatchback sounded like it could be useful but for what exactly? Nobody really knew.

Subaru built it until 1994 and has since been selling rebadged versions of other cars using the Justy name — the latest being the Toyota Tank. And just as you’d expect, it’s another weirdo...