- We like...Drives beautifully; new engine is great
- We don't...Not the roomiest for the money
New diesel engine makes this estate powerful, economical and our pick of the rangeSubaru has made, and makes, some fantastic cars. But they’ve been caught by the rise in fuel prices and the shift towards eco-conscious driving. Trouble is Subaru’s trademark petrol engines, built differently to most are fuel-thirsty and pump out more pollution than average. Dial in the four-wheel-drive that most Subarus use and the problem’s worsened.
Other makes might have bought in a batch of diesel engines from outside. But Subaru couldn’t do this: its Legacy saloon and estate are designed for Subaru’s low and flat engines, and others wouldn’t fit. So the company went and made its own from scratch.
And it’s a roaring success. Well, more growling and gurgling, actually, because the motor makes a heady noise that’ll ring familiar to the ears of Subaru diehards. Once warmed, it sounds just like the petrol ones of old. But the big difference is that this 150bhp 2.0 unit sips diesel at just 48.7mpg, while puffing out 154g/km of CO2. That’s pretty much as good as it gets.
It’s bursting with life, too, hauling with verve what is a heavy car, that’s powered at all four wheels. If you’ve driven a Subaru before – and liked it – you’ll love this. The ride is smooth and bump-softening, the steering direct and communicative. The Legacy stays level through bends, so you can pilot it quickly without upsetting passengers.
The 'Sports Tourer' name is because Subaru wants you to view the the Legacy as 'lifestyle', rather than one that's there for lugging loads down to the local tip. Though, of course, it will do that. So it's no surprise that this estate’s not the biggest among its direct rivals: for outright size, you’d want a Mondeo or a Passat. But it’s not that far behind and it’s very handy because the seat backs drop easily to extend the load space, which is square and flat. Its only drawback is that the housing for the centre rear seat belt makes a curious hump in the roof lining. We’d shy away from the creamy-beige leather and matching carpets of our car if you ever carry a dog or children, though.
That aside, the cabin’s pleasant spacious and strongly built. It mayn’t feel as special as a BMW’s or a Merc’s but it’s no let-down and it’s a few grand cheaper, too.
Our RE model has everything you’d want - climate control, beautifully covered leather chairs and (fiddly) touch-screen sat-nav - and it's keenly priced. While it’s dearer than a Mondeo or a Passat it is rarer and a jot classier. But, come trade-in time, you’ll find that it sheds value from new as quickly as the Ford. At three years old, a Legacy will command a little over a third of its original asking price. Add in the Sube’s above-average parts and servicing costs and it starts to look expensive. There’s the R model, too, which ds without the sat-nav, leather seats and a few other gew-gaws but is £3400 cheaper. Though the range-topper is tempting, the R’s the one we’d go for.
- Engines2.0 D
- 0-60 mph11.1sec
- Insurance groups13
Motors.co.uk value verdict: