Subaru Legacy

After a flat start, our Sport Tourer is making up for lost time.

  • The firm’s boxer diesel engine is incredibly smooth. It sounds good and revs seamlessly. This powerplant is perfectly suited to the estate, which makes trawling up and down motorways easy and fuss-free. Early indications are that economy will be reasonable, too, because 38.4mpg from a four-wheel-drive estate isn’t bad.
  • My only significant complaint has to be the notchy gearshift. You’re always conscious of it – especially when shifting out of the exceptionally low first gear. Some colleagues don’t think much of the Subaru’s styling, but I quite like its quirky image.

Our long-term Subaru Legacy Tourer has only just turned up, but it has already been in the wars. Days after arriving to replace my Skoda Superb, I nursed the new car to a halt on the A12 in Essex with a puncture.

Luckily it was a rear tyre that had deflated, or I could have endured an entertaining few moments trying to slow down the Subaru. Another stroke of good fortune was the timing. I was approaching an exit from the busy dual carriageway, so it was easy to stop.

However, with a long journey ahead, the get-you-home tyre sealant in the boot wasn’t going to be much good, so I limped slowly to tyre fitter ATS Hutton, Essex. A nail had pierced the rubber, so the near factory-fresh tyre couldn’t even be repaired. Nor was there a replacement in stock.

So I had to leave the Legacy overnight while a new tyre was sourced. Not a good start! Still, since then I’ve been making up for lost time by racking up nearly 2,000 miles, and I’m more than happy.

The tagline Subaru uses for its Legacy advertising is Uncommon Sense, but so far all I’ve found is commonsense! Whatever followed the Superb had big boots to fill, and the Legacy ticks allof the essential boxes. It’s a quirky choice, too, which appeals to me.

Essentially it’s a four-wheel-drive family estate. With a few extra trim additions it looks sporty, and even a bit aggressive. Our car wears purposeful 18-inch alloys and sill extensions, while the bonnet scoop for the 2.0-litre diesel engine harks back to the firm’s rally-bred petrol turbos. Pearlescent white paint also helps it stand out from the crowd. I think the Tourer is attractive and distinctive.

The interior is geared more towards practicality than outright quality, but it’s well built, with plenty of space for all my camera equipment.

The gearbox is my main gripe, as its notchy shift isn’t as smooth as the Superb’s. This might improve as the miles stack up, so I’ll keep an eye on it.

To help drivers who tow or head off-road, first gear is very short, so you really notice the shift when pulling away.

Other than that, I can’t fault the latest addition to the Auto Express fleet. All the same, I think I might invest in a spare tyre...

Second Opinion

The new-look Legacy is distinctive – and at its best as an estate. I’m not convinced the latest revisions improve its styling, but this is a car that has been designed to do a job, rather than concentrate on cutting-edge details and elegant lines. And the smooth boxer diesel engine is a great powerplant. Even without the mid-range kick of some rivals, its linear power delivery and refined character make the Legacy a lively performer.

Ross Pinnock, Roadt test editor

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