Listed below are the key features and specifications for the Subaru BRAT.  The listed data is for stock BRATs and could be different on any used model as BRAT owners have been known to modify and customize them.


Key Features

  • Production Year(s): 1978-1993 (Until 1987 in North America)
  • Production Numbers: 92,445 (1978-1987)
  • Assembly Locations: Ōta, Gunma, Japan & Waitara, New Zealand
  • Body Style: Two (2) Door Coupe Utility
  • Engines: 1.6 L EA-71 H4 & 1.8 L EA-81 H4 (after 1982)
  • Transmission: 4 Speed Manual or 3-spd Auto
  • Trim Levels: DL & GL
  • Gas Mileage (MPG) 1.8L Engine: 18 – 21 (Auto) / 20 – 26 (Manual)
  • Dimensional Specs
    • Wheelbase: 96.7 in
    • Length: 174.2 in
    • Width: 64.4 in
    • Height: 56.3 in
    • Ground Clearance: 8.3 in


Vintage Subaru Brat Ad



The BRAT’s drivetrain was designed with weight and versatility in mind to target both rural users along with off-road enthusiasts.  The initial engine offered was a 1.6-liter EA-71 horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine making 67 horsepower.  This was quickly replaced during the 1982 design update with a 1.8L EA-81 increasing the hp to 73.  (These updated BRAT’s are easy to spot because the rounded headlights were replaced with rectangular ones).

A popalar version of the BRAT was made available as an option for 1983 and 1984 model years which featured a 94hp turbocharged STI engine.  The turbo engine model was also where 3-spd auto transmission models can be found as the 4-spd manual was standard with all other BRATs.  A single-range transfer case was used throughout the BRAT’s production however a dual range t-case was offered with later and GL models.


Anything else to add?  Let us know in the comments section below…




  1. Is it possible to (convert/replace) a 1979 Brat 1.6-liter EA-71 horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine making 67 horsepower with a 94hp turbocharged STI engine without changing the transmission ?

  2. It is definately not an “STi” engine. The STi engines didnt come into play until the EJ series of engines and the WRX STi wasnt available until early 2000’s the closest thing before that was the impreza RS. Im sure its stated here as such because its turbocharged. its possible to do but if the money isnt a problem swapping to an EJ series motor would jack the horsepower up more than the EA81 would.

  3. “All BRATs came standard with the all-wheel drive system. From 1978 through to 1980, BRATs came standard with Subaru’s 1.6-litre four engine available with either a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic transmission. There were also two trim levels available – the DL and the GL. The primary difference between the two models was the number of round front headlamps: the DL model had two while the GL model’s grille housed four.” wasnt 100% sure so i had to make sure but the 1.6 was ended in ’80 not ’81. there is a better site about BRATs on this link.

  4. I’m about to buy an 87 brat and I could put in an engine from an 87 Subaru GL but I was looking for something with more speed can anyone point me in the right direction?

  5. Having bought a Brat literally today, and having measured it with a tape measure 4 hours ago, I can confidently say that your measurements are incredibly off, my good sir.
    Width: 60″ dead-on
    Length: 163″
    Height: 55″

  6. I loved my Brat, I once took it to Canyonlands National Park, all the lower camping sites were full said the Ranger, I said “no problem looks like there’s still some over Elephant Hill” he said “you need a 4-wheel drive” I said “I have one” he said “no, you need a real 4-wheel drive” and drove off. Needless to say my brat and I drove up and over Elephant Hill, and this was 30 years ago before the road was made a little easier. Don’t let the brat fool you, that low range could pull that little gem just about anywhere. The approach and departure angles sucked, but it made up for it with sheer will power. I ran that thing into the ground before it ever let me down. It was one fun 4-wheeler.

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