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Subaru leaves a Legacy. Image by Dave Jenkins.

Subaru leaves a Legacy
Subaru's Boxer Diesel has been a long time coming, but it's a cracker.

   



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| A Week at the Wheel | Cambs, England | Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer 2.0D R |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

Exterior-wise there is little to note in terms of the latest version of the Legacy. It's inoffensive bordering on bland - not much marks this car out from the earlier model. There is a fairly prominent badge on the tailgate to signify the fitment of the new diesel engine though, along with twin-exit exhausts that house downward facing outlets, but the car has not changed much during its lifecycle.

The interior is a different matter with a heavily revised dashboard in terms of style, ergonomics and quality. Gone are the swathes of bland, cheap plastics that had aged badly over the years to be replaced with something more akin to that seen in the new Impreza. Subaru is keen to embed its corporate identity in the appearance of its models on the inside as well as the outside and this latest interior has been rethought accordingly. Squint at our pictures and you can just about make out the spreading wings that extend from the centre of the dash. Perhaps more importantly to the paying customer, many of the mouldings and componentry of the dash have been significantly upgraded. However, it is still no better than class average.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

One could argue that this revision of the Legacy wouldn't have been produced if it were not for the new engine housed beneath the low slung bonnet line. It has taken Subaru quite some time to join the diesel age, no doubt losing some market share in the process, but the wait has been justified due to the quality of the engine produced. Sticking with its brand-defining Boxer configuration Subaru's engineers have developed a unit that battles for class honours in terms of refinement and economy.

On paper, the 148bhp and 258lb.ft figures are competitive with the rest of the class, but are not significant improvements. Performance is aligned with more sporting rivals such as the BMW 320d and the Legacy offers a similar blend of flexibility and punch. Where the Boxer scores relative to the competition is in the inherent advantages of its configuration, namely NVH and centre of gravity. In terms of the former, the V, Vibration, and H, Harshness, aspects of its performance are class leading with a smooth, clean revving nature rarely found in diesel engines and a relaxed manner that shames those of cars such as the 2.2-litre turbodiesel Jaguar X-Type.

The Boxer Diesel is not perfect though:, a pronounced rocking of the engine on start up is a little uncouth and the low rev engine noise is uninspiring, but these are small niggles compared to the benefits the engine offers. At odds with rivals, the Legacy offers only five forward ratios and though they're slick and the engine has more than enough grunt to bridge them one can't help but think that a more relaxed cruising gait could have been beneficial. Having said that, a motorway fuel consumption figure of 54mpg is hardly one to be complained about for a large four-wheel drive estate car.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

Having not driven a Legacy for a few years it was a pleasant surprise to be reminded of how capable a chassis the engineers developed for this car. That low-slung engine improves agility and balance and the finely tuned four-wheel drive endows it with a grippy and balanced nature. As an all-weather tool the Legacy proves itself to be more than a match for all but the most accomplished of rivals and stands favourable comparison with the class leading Ford Mondeo in the dry. In the wet, the Subaru is the more effective ground coverer.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

Whilst the interior may lack some of the class of more esteemed and modern premium rivals, it would be harsh to mark down the Legacy too far as a result. Bear in mind that this model is available from around 21,000, which undercuts the majority of rivals by a significant margin, and that figure gets you a spacious, practical, four-wheel drive estate car powered by a thoroughly modern and capable diesel engine. One should also factor in an economy figure of 51mpg we achieved over almost 1,000-miles with the car and the correspondingly low tax bill associated with such fine economy and emissions figures.

Overall: star star star star star

It's hard to mask the fact that the Subaru Legacy is an aging product now and that many rivals are better looking and have nicer interiors. However, it is equally difficult to argue that this Legacy is not a very good car indeed. The engine pushes the established class leaders very hard and adds something to the Subaru brand that it has never had before, not least economy. It may be old but if you're considering the purchase of a diesel wagon, ignore the Legacy diesel at your loss.

Dave Jenkins - 8 Oct 2008



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2008 Subaru Legacy specifications: (2.0TD R)
Price: 20,995 on-the-road.
0-60mph: 8.5 seconds
Top speed: 126mph
Combined economy: 49.6mpg
Emissions: 151g/km
Kerb weight: 1510kg

2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.

2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.



2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 






 

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