It has always been associated with class, has the Legacy.
Friend of a friend’s parents are stinking rich and could afford any car in the world, but they have a Subaru Legacy. It has four-wheel-drive, lots of space a charismatic boxer engine that now boasts diesel power and a growing reputation for reliability and ruggedness.
Desirability in the marque has jumped significantly since the introduction of the diesel engine it uses. The 2.0-litre engine produces 150 brake horsepower and has been a revelation in this, the Outback and the Forrester.
Should you be a petrol lover, don’t worry - a 165 horsepower 2.5-litre engine is available for you, good enough to see it hit 120+ miles per hour, with 60 taking 11.4 seconds; it still attains over 30 to the gallon, but mine here gets to nearly 50. And not forgetting a 2.0-litre version that starts the range off in ES-guise.
It has 350Nm of torque from low down in the rev band, ensuring swift, snappy acceleration through the gears. The Legacy uses the clever i-Active Valve Lift System in the boxer unit that adapts the combustion process according to the driver input. This in turn promotes smoother, linear power from the engine and ensuring swift progress. Top speed for the diesel is 120+ miles per hour, but 60 takes only 9.2 seconds; emissions are good for a 2.0-litre engine at 148g/km, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, it can get just shy of the 50 mile to the gallon mark.
All Subaru’s get the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive which is matched and somewhat adapted to the engine and gearbox derivatives you have.
The clever bit is where it distributes power in a 50:50 split between the axles for and aft via a vicious coupling centre differential. Lower mounted front suspension settings give the Legacy a smooth ride, and aiding stability and refinement, whilst at the back the anti-roll bar is now thicker ensuring greater agility and improving roll resistance.
The car as you can see from the picture is quite a big one; it’s nearly 6 centimetres longer, the same increment wider and again a full 5.5 centimetres taller now. As a result, there is more leg and headroom than the outgoing model and this really shows when you open the doors to get inside.
In here the materials have certainly gone up a notch or two; I have a multi-function display at the centre of the dash to my left and a neat silver switch for the electronic parking brake. Seats are large and rather comfy and are heated; standard kit in here includes cruise control, electric windows, dual-zone climate control, a six CD tuner with Bluetooth connectivity and automatic activation for both lights and wipers. I also have a sunroof, which some people (despite it having air conditioning) still like and one can’ fault that.
It has numerous airbags and safety features dotted around and as I lift the tailgate, the loading capacity is over 500-litres of space – boosted to mammoth 1650-litres should you flatten the split-folding rear seats.
The Legacy will go head-to-head with the likes of the BMW 3-Series Touring and the Audi A4 Avant, all will have similar prices when you take in specification adjustments. Without question, the petrol version is going to sell more on the performance rather than the fuel savings and low running costs so that will make the diesel version here the best seller by a country mile.
As an outsider, one could say the Subaru looks rather better in the flesh than in pictures, but it’s a great drive and with prices starting at just £22,000, it is a viable alternative for sure. For the record, the diesel entry-level price is £25,000; mine here with sat nav costs just shy of £30,000.