GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Subaru Pleo RS













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SPEX

Year: 1998-1999
Country: Japan
 
Class: Kei
Type: light RV
Host: GT2
 
 
Price: $12,650

 
Length: 133.66" // Width: 58.0" // Height: 62.0"
Wheelbase: 90.9"
Overhang: @3' 6.5"
Track: 50.6" [F] 49.6" [R]
Ground Clear: 5.9"
Weight: 1,895 pound
Layout: Front Engine / Front Drive
Tires: 155/55R-14
F. Suspension: L-shaped lower arms / struts / coils
R. Suspension: dual link / struts / coils
Brakes: Vented Discs
 
Engine: 658 cc DOHC inline 4
Tested hp: 61 @ 6,000 rpm
" Torque:
``71 @ 3,400 rpm
 
Aspiration: supercharger
Fuel Syst: EFi
Valves / Cyl: 4
Bore x Stroke: 2.20 x 2.63"
Compression: 9.0:1
Redline: 7,000 // RPM Limit: 8,000
 
Credits / HP: $207.38
Lbs. per HP: 31.06
Hp per Ltr: ``92.7
Transmission: 7-speed manual
 
0-60 mph: 18.615 seconds
0-100mph: 1 minute 17.110 seconds
 
400 M: 22.287 @ 66 mph
1 KM:
40.254 @ 84 mph
 
Test Track: 2:35.698
 
Top Speed at Redline
1st: 51 mph
2nd: 69 mph
3rd: 89 mph
4th: 106.45 @ 6,600 rpm (power limited)
5th: n/a
6th: n/a
7th: n/a

 


-------------------EXTERIOR------------------

Don't worry, I'm about as disinterested in the Subaru Pleo as you are. After all, it isn't really all that interesting to look at. Just another funky subcompact 5-door which would normally garner hardly anyone's attention, except for a few Kei-car fanatics. Yet, it does have a couple points of interest. So I feel compelled to add it to my ever-growing website.
 
Seems that when GT2 was in development, the Pleo was one of the newer Keis on the JDM automotive market. 1998 was its first year of production, yet amazingly there were a bunch of different versions available: the A, LL, LM, RM, and the RS. Only the RM and RS (thank the Gods) appear in our game...and they only appear in GT2, not in other Gran Turismos. Which doesn't surprise me. These two are the ones which were the sportiest of the Pleo family. Each of the five real-life versions seem to have had a variety of option packages, yet boast little difference under the skin. We could go into details here (which version has keyless entry and which doesn't) but umm...it won't change the outcome of our gaming experience, so let's move on.
 
There isn't much more to say about the Pleo. Like many other super-light Japanese cars, weight reductions don't take much off. So they're pretty much optional for most low-powered racing situations. In GT2, both the RM and RS versions are represented, but the RM is the odd one out since it winds up being 122 pounds heavier than the RS with full weight removed. Neither car gets a racing kit, which I'm sure won't shock anyone. Both can accept rally tires, though, which is rather a frightening thought. WHY?
 

---------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN--------------

If you think the Pleo RS is nothing but a bore to be ignored, you'd be right, but you'd also be wrong.
 
True, there's nothing surprising under the hood. A typical Kei-class 658 cc 4-cylinder engine with a whistling supercharger dominates the puny engine bay. Not much to get excited about; but then, it's not the engine we're going to discuss....it's the TRANSMISSION!
 
Because the Pleo RS happens to be one of the only cars in GT2 that has a 7-speed. I had my doubts about this, so I did some research. Sure enough, real-life Pleos have what is basically an electronic CVT transmission with 7 speeds in manumatic mode. A bit complicated for such a small car, but what the hell. There are a handful of cars in GT1 & 2 (a few prize Supras and other oddities) that have 7-speeds, but the Pleo's 7 is highly sought after by Gameshark enthusiasts, who prize code # 801ccfd0 0669  since they can use it to hybrid ANY car in GT2 to have seven gears.
 
Want to modify a Rover Mini with a Corvette engine, Impreza 4-wheel drive, and Pleo 7-speed? It can be done. Only in GT2 can the different codes for parts be pieced together to create any fantasy machine you wish, from what I've been told online by HYBRIDLVR and a few others. If its in the game, you can use it.
 
But if you're like me and don't (won't) own a GameShark, all you can do is try the Pleo's 7-speed in an actual Pleo. It makes this car the most flexible Kei in GT2, especially if the racing gearbox is bought, but otherwise you'll never use 7th, 6th, or even 5th gear during races.
 
At best, a Pleo RS will accept a Stage 2 supercharger and produces 187 hp @ 7,400 rpm with 149 ft-lbs. of torque at 5,100. And like other Keis, the Pleo can go further than some would think, earning plenty of money. For instance, my Pleo cost $12,650. With about $58,000 in aftermarket parts, I won the Trail Mountain Enduro against the mighty Lotus Elise 190. That's a net profit of $79,350, not including the subsequent sale of the prize car. Not too shabby.
 

--------------------CHASSIS / HANDLING----------------------

Once power is being seriously added, the Pleo goes from being sluggish with an overly grippy front-end, to a little pit bull with nimble characteristics, but also a nasty habit of understeer...kind of like driving a tinier version of a Civic.
 
 My driving experience behind the wheel of a Pleo is limited to just a few races (and sorry to say, that's how it's gonna stay). I did the B-license National races at Japan, Tahiti, and Laguna Seca (losing at Laguna), as well as the Trail Mountain Enduro. Being up against the mighty Lotus Elise was no picnic! With semi-racing suspension and the car's stock tires, I had to prove myself in corners since the Elise had the power advantage.
 
As usual, I won thru timing in those corners  ...taking a single pit stop along with the Lotus, and lowering lap times till I got ahead. Not much else to say....it can be done.
 

PROS

1). Two steps of supercharging on the after-market can take the Pleo into some exciting profit-margin territory.
 
2). Typical light-weight Kei car. Will you need weight reductions? Probably not.
 
3). 7-speed transmission. Yes, it's true. Many a GameShark user has happily dismembered the poor Pleo for its gears the way poachers will take down a rhinoceros for its tusk.
 
4). Zippy front-drive handling can kill much sportier cars in corners, assuming your steering is precise.
 
5). Many exotic parts (racing suspension, super-soft tires, etc) will sit in the garage parts bin. You shouldn't ever need them to win.
 

CONS

1). Many races (more than you'd think) can be won in a Pleo, but eventually you'll need to move on. Not that this'll bother many of y'all.
 
2). The 7-speed gearbox this car is packing is nearly unique in GT2, but it only becomes fully useful when one buys full-modifyable gears. Driven totally stock, you'll never get past 3rd or 4th gear in racing situations, no matter how much power is being used.
 
3). Won't turn many heads....the Pleo isn't a choice any of us would make if they were trying to impress a chick or something.
 
4). Poor acceleration.
 
5). Yeah, and the blistering 106 mph top speed (stock) isn't much to write home about either.
 
6). Grippy front-end gets heavily understeerish unless you upgrade to racing tires.
 
7). A bit on the pricey side for a Kei.
 
8). No racing kit!

 

Originally Published: January 20, 2006