Cars > Peek

The new Subaru Rex looks oddly familiar

But it’s a whole lot smarter than you think it is

Does it look familiar? Well, your guess is probably right. PHOTO FROM SUBARU

”Isn’t that just a rebadged Toyota Raize or Daihatsu Rocky?”

Well, yes, you’re not wrong. What you’re looking at is another fine example of badge engineering. This time, it’s specified for Subaru. Meet the Rex, and it’s mostly what you think it is. But to be clear, the nameplate isn’t entirely new.

The previous Subaru Rex lasted for three decades, and was built by Subaru itself. PHOTO FROM SUBARU ONLINE MUSEUM

Time for a short history lesson: Subaru used to be a kei car manufacturer before it started making all those wonderful WRXs and Foresters that everyone loves. The Rex was the brand’s entry in the segment from 1972 to 1992, spanning three whole generations until it was replaced by the Vivio. It was all made by the company itself, unlike the Rocky/Raize-based Rex you now see here.

These cars used in-line-two engines that resided at the rear, until the third generation shifted it to the front, and also allowed for the usage of slightly bigger supercharged in-line-four engines to complement the other in-line-twos.

Does the addition of a bigger grille and the Pleiades make this subcompact more desirable? PHOTO FROM SUBARU

Now, the modern Rex comes in two variants, the G and the Z, and prices will start from ¥1,654,545 (P670,752) to ¥2,171,100 (P880,164).

What can we say? It looks exactly just like the Raize, save for the Forester-like grille, Subaru logos, and redesigned 17-inch alloy wheels. It also only comes with one engine, the 1.2-liter, naturally aspirated three-cylinder called the WA-VE with 87hp and 113Nm, mated to a CVT. And no, it won’t be coming with Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD; it’ll just be front-wheel-driven.

You could play ‘spot the differences’ with the cabins of the Raize and the Rex. PHOTO FROM SUBARU

The inside receives a few changes, like a Subaru emblem on the leather-clad steering wheel, a black-and-red interior color scheme (which is also available on the Japan-spec Raize), and an electronic parking brake. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same banana, with the same digital gauge cluster and a nine-inch infotainment screen with smartphone connectivity.

We want small cars to be fully loaded with safety equipment like the Rex. PHOTO FROM SUBARU

You might be wondering: “Okay, so what’s so special about this?” Considering it won’t be hard for owners to eventually make their Raizes look like this car, it’s the fully loaded safety suite that will distinguish this car from the rest of the eventual lookalikes.

No, it’s not called EyeSight, but Smart Assist. While the top-of-the-line Raize in our country has four parking sensors, a blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert, the Rex takes it a step further with a whole host of features seen in more expensive vehicles.

You have features like automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, misacceleration prevention, forward vehicle detection, and adaptive headlights with high beam assist and side lamps. Also, there is adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping warning, road-departure warning, and a 360° camera with automated parking assistance.

Pretty cool, right? If anything, we hope that Toyota will eventually introduce a Raize with most (if not all) of these safety features.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.