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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Subaru Sambar Buyers Guide

The Subaru Sambar is a cabover kei truck and microvan manufactured by Subaru, a division of Fuji Heavy Industries, specifically for the Japanese market. It is Japan's first Keitora(軽トラ), shorthand for "kei class truck" and is still in production. The Sambar is available in both microvan and Kei truck (Pickup truck style) to fulfill the Kei car guidelines. Still popular in the domestic market, the Sambar continues to be produced in Japan, China as well as in Finland with a joint venture with Elcat Automotive.
Since its introduction in 1961, the Sambar has used a rear engine, rear wheel drive format (with optional 4WD from 1980 on), with the first two generations using the air-cooled engine from the Subaru 360, and later generations using the water-cooled engine from the Subaru RexVivio and the Pleo.
Until 2012 the Sambar model was still using the Sixth Generation chassis and body with updated fascia. It was the first Kei truck that used a cabover design, with the passenger cabin over the engine. The current generation is a rebadged version of the Daihatsu Hijet/Atrai.
The name Sambar is very similar to the top trim package for the Volkswagen Type 2 called the Samba introduced in 1951, which also used an air-cooled engine installed in the back, utilizing rear-wheel-drive, and was available in pickup configurations with fold-down beds.

The fifth generation Sambar was introduced in 1990. Engine regulations for displacement size were increased and the Sambar's engine was upgraded to 660 cc. For the 4WD version it sold as Subaru Dias Wagon as a permanent trim model. Commercials in Japan used Kuniko Yamada, a Japanese comedian.
The tradition of using the engine in Subaru's kei car offering, the Subaru Vivio's engine was shared in this version of the Sambar, the EN07. The engines piston amount increased to four cylinders and 55 PS (54 bhp) was available with an optional supercharger model, coupled with fuel injection. An automatic transmission was offered in the form of Subaru's ECVT system in tandem with full-time 4WD and a viscous coupling differential.
Subaru Sambar truck
1994 saw a full model change with a body similar to the Domingo, with the EF12 three-cylinder engine's displacement increased to 1200 cc and SOHC borrowed from the Subaru Justy. A maximum seating capacity of seven was possible. October 1995 saw the elimination of the ECVT transmission due to drivability issues and a 3-speed automatic was available instead, coupled to the EMPi 46 PS (45 bhp) engine.
Special edition appearance packages were offered including a retro "Dias Classic", later available on the Sambar truck, influenced by the Subaru Vivio Bistro.


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