Subaru Legacy

Our Legacy is about to gallop off into the sunset after eight months. Has it proven a thoroughbred with us?

  • THE Subaru’s 2.0-litre diesel engine is a real highlight. Despite the Legacy’s four-wheel-drive system it still managed to average 40mpg, and it’s both smooth and punchy. But while rivals are available with more power, the flat-four is limited to 148bhp and the six-speed manual is notchy.
  • IN range-topping SE trim, the Legacy suffers from a firm ride. The mix of big 18-inch alloys and stiffer dampers means the estate can crash into potholes and shudder over motorway expansion joints. On the plus side, body control is excellent and the Subaru is agile in corners.

Take a look at the picture on the left, and you’ll find it almost impossible not to make a quip about me trying out alternative forms of horsepower!

However, there is a serious reason why our long-term Subaru Legacy is parked up alongside this four-legged thoroughbred. In an effort to push the brand upmarket, the Japanese firm has been sponsoring Britain’s high-profile showjumping and eventing championships. So, for its last photographic assignment  before it leaves the Auto Express fleet, I took our versatile estate to meet one of the UK’s up-and coming eventers, Emily Llewelyn.

Not only is the 20-year-old one of our brightest hopes for London’s 2012 Olympic Games, but she’s also a brand ambassador for Subaru. However, after more than six months behind the wheel of our Legacy, I don’t need any further persuasion from Emily about the benefits of owning one of the firm’s cars. Practical, reliable and spacious, the four-wheel-drive Subaru has become as essential to my job as a zoom lens and tripod. I’ve even come to like the car’s bold looks.

With its distinctive swept-back headlamps and prominent bonnet scoop, the Legacy certainly stands out from the crowd. Inside, the build quality has really impressed.

Despite being used as a photographer’s workhorse – and an occasional removal van by my colleagues – the Subaru’s cabin is still in top condition. If only the dashboard design didn’t look so dated. The Sport Tourer also scores full marks for reliability, as the diesel-engined estate has barely missed a beat.

The oil level warning light came on just before its first service was due, so I dropped the car into AMC Chelmsford, Essex, for a routine service. Friendly and helpful staff greeted me, while the bill came to a reasonable £218. Better still, after its health check, the flat-four unit felt as smooth and eager as ever.

The only real saga was the stone-chipped windscreen. Supply issues meant that it took a few weeks to source new glass, after it was cracked by a stray stone. Autoglass in Chelmsford eventually got hold of a replacement, fitting it in an hour or so at a cost of £470.

However, even this niggle failed to detract from my time with the Subaru. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s not long before the characterful Legacy gets under your skin. Its huge boot swallows everything, and the four-wheel drive was a big bonus in the winter weather.

It may have been outclassed by the Skoda Superb and Ford Mondeo in a recent group test. But if you want an alternative, no-nonsense family estate with go-anywhere ability, you should trot down to your Subaru dealer.

Extra Info

“Four-wheel-drive family estates are back in vogue, so now Subaru faces competition from Skoda, Vauxhall and Volkswagen, to name but a few.”Ross Pinnock Road test editor

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e
Fiat 500 vs Honda e vs MINI Electric
Car group tests

Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e

The new Fiat 500, MINI Electric and Honda e are three retro-inspired electric superminis - but which is best?
19 Jun 2021
New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review
Audi Q4 e-tron 2021  front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review

We get involved with the new all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron SUV on UK roads for the first time
17 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review
Volkswagen ID.4 GTX
Volkswagen ID.4 SUV

New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review

VW ID.4 EV gets another electric motor and four-wheel drive in hot GTX form
21 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review
Nissan Qashqai 2021
Nissan Qashqai

New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the larger, more comfortable and higher-tech Nissan Qashqai SUV in the UK
16 Jun 2021
Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition revealed
Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition
Ford Puma

Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition revealed

Ford unveils a special edition Puma ST, with a black and gold colour scheme chosen by Ford fans over social media
18 Jun 2021
New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power
Vauxhall Astra render
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power

The new Vauxhall Astra will get a plug-in hybrid powertrain and a more premium image - here’s how it could look
17 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review
Volkswagen Caddy California MPV - front
Volkswagen Caddy

New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review

It’s a family hauler and weekend camper all rolled into one, but is the Volkswagen Caddy California any good?
21 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services
Tesla Model 3 police car - front
News

Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services

Tesla hopes to offer UK police forces a new zero-emission emergency responder option with the Model 3 police car
17 Jun 2021