It’s a Subie Thing: Subaru Fandom Explained

Subie is slang for Subaru, but you’d probably only know that if you owned one. Let’s take a look at the Subaru fandom.

Why Does Subaru Have Such a Large Fanbase?

2023 Subaru Outback - subaru.com
2023 Subaru Outback - subaru.com

Subaru owners are some of the most passionate owners around. These owners all love to drive and talk about their Subaru vehicles. It doesn’t matter which vehicle you have from the company either. You can have an Impreza, WRX, Legacy, Crosstrek, Forester, Outback, Ascent, Baja, or even a Sambar and you’ll be welcomed by the Subaru community with open arms. It’s an automotive family that only cares that you have that six-star Subaru logo on your vehicle. Let’s check out some of the different things Subaru fans do and some reasons why the Subaru brand has such a following.

A Whole Bunch of Nicknames

Bugeye WRX Subie - media.subaru.com
Bugeye WRX Subie - media.subaru.com

Owners giving their vehicles nicknames isn’t something specific to only Subaru, but this fandom acts as a hivemind when naming models. The Subaru owners have adopted a multitude of different ways to refer to Subarus without actually saying it. Subie, Scoobs, Scubie, Scubaru, and a number of other odd names are all used when referencing a Subaru. Not only that, but different generations are sometimes given unique names to help classify them easier than the designation from the manufacturer.

For instance, models derived from the Impreza platform are often identified by their headlight designs. Mention the Meaneye, Bugeye, Blobeye, Hawkeye, Stinkeye, or Raptor-Eye and any Subaru fan will know which model generation you’re talking about. So, while saying “Bugeye WRX Subie” might sound kind of silly, it’s actually referring to a 2000-2002 Subaru Impreza WRX.

Subaru Badge of Ownership

Subaru Badge of Ownership - badgeofownership.com
Subaru Badge of Ownership - badgeofownership.com

Subaru provides their devout fans with a fun addition to their Subaru called the Badge of Ownership. These customizable car badges are a free gift from Subaru that lets owners display how many years they’ve been a part of the Subaru family. Not only that, but there are also 33 different lifestyle icons that can be added alongside those years of loyalty. Each of these lifestyle icons represent a different activity, interest, hobby, or even high mileage milestones that will come together to help paint a picture of what kind of Subaru owner you are. It’s a fun little gesture from Subaru that more manufacturers should look into doing.

Subies: AWD All the Time

1972 Subaru Leone Wagon - netcarshow.com
1972 Subaru Leone Wagon - netcarshow.com

Ever since the production of their first All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) car back in 1972, the Subaru Leone Station Wagon, the AWD drivetrain has been a staple to what makes a Subaru a Subaru. Today, all Subaru models come standard with AWD – almost. The only current vehicle from Subaru without AWD is the Subaru BRZ, but that’s just a badge swapped Toyota GR86 so we’ll give them a pass.

AWD makes the Subaru lineup one of the most practical in the automotive market since they can get around just about anywhere. Four wheels spinning in snow, sand, or mud is a lot more effective than any FWD or RWD car. It’s part of the reason why adventure seekers choose these cars. Subaru’s AWD system is so good though that I’ve even seen instances where a Subaru Outback is pulling a lifted truck out of a sticky situation.

A Love-Hate Relationship

2022 Subaru WRX Boxer Engine - netcarshow.com
2022 Subaru WRX Boxer Engine - netcarshow.com

While Subaru owners may love their AWD adventure vehicles, there’s also common flaws that the Subaru community likes to joke about at their own expense. For the most part, all of the issues come from those boxer engines Subaru models are known for. The horizontally opposed engines are a unique quirk to all Subaru models, but the orientation can create headaches.

The biggest known issue for Subaru vehicles is how often they blow head gaskets. It’s become so infamous that it’s a meme among Subaru fans and the car community as a whole. While replacing head gaskets in any vehicle can be a headache, the tendency for blowing gaskets mixed with the boxer configuration makes the situation worse. There are tight spaces at either side that you have to awkwardly reach around to in order to fix this issue. Most people working on replacing a head gasket will actually pull the whole engine out to make things “easier”.

Remembering that Subie Rally Heritage

Subaru Rally Car - media.subaru.com
Subaru Rally Car - media.subaru.com

One of the reasons Subaru has gained the following it has today is because of its success in the rally racing world. The brand has been running in the World Rally Championship (WRC) for over a decade and has seen numerous manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships. While the Subaru Impreza is primarily the rally champion car everyone recognizes, Subaru’s other models have seen some interesting success stories in the world of rallying as well.

The Subaru Legacy actually kicked off the Subaru World Rally Team back in 1990 and was able to achieve a number of podiums along with three consecutive British Rally Championship titles. A Subaru Crosstrek was modified by Vermont SportsCar to race in the Chinese Rally Championships and was able to win the 2017 Manufacturers’ Championship. There was also the homebuilt Subaru Outback that was able to complete the 500-mile, Reno to Vegas Best in the Desert race that is known for getting the best of even trophy trucks. While the Outback only placed 165th overall, it made it to the end which is a feat in and of itself. Then there’s the Subaru BRZ that has seen some wins in Subaru’s home country at the All Japan Rally Championship series.

Subaru Legacy in 1990 WRC - wrc.com
Subaru Legacy in 1990 WRC - wrc.com

This is really only a sample of all the rally examples of Subaru models since fans all around the world are entering their beloved Subies into amateur rally and rallycross events. Those rally roots dig deep and live on in every Subaru that hits the road.

Made for the Outdoorsy Dog Lovers

Subaru owners and their dog - media.subaru.com
Subaru owners and their dog - media.subaru.com

Not everyone that owns a Subaru is racing it sideways through the forest though. Some of these fans just love how far off the beaten path their Subarus can take them with their furry companion. Subaru is the automotive brand for the dogs. They’re consistently donating to animal shelters, hosting adoption celebrations, providing dog accessories, and making their vehicles dog friendly. Subaru interiors typically feature water repellent and durable materials, so those dogs can have a day of fun without their owners worrying too much about how dirty their Subie’s interior may get.

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Jesse McGraw

Jesse McGraw brings his life-long car obsession into his writing. A fun childhood that involved growing up around race tracks, working on a rusty ‘99 Dodge Dakota held together by zip ties, and collecting Hot Wheels developed into a strong appreciation for automotive history. If there is an old, obscure, or rare car, he wants to know about it. With a bachelor's degree in Web Development & Design from Dakota State University, Jesse can talk shop about car or computer specs, focusing on classic cars, imports, and car culture.

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