Subaru Legacy Sports

Tourer

Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer, front
Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer, interior
Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer, side
Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer, rear

SUBARU'S flagship is the Legacy - a car which is celebrating its 20 anniversary and it has certainly grown with the times.

The latest generation in Tourer form is longer, wider and taller to meet the requirements of a new age and offers a different choice of driving experience because of its powerful petrol or diesel 'boxer' or horizontally-opposed engines.

Amazingly this is the fifth generation of a car that drove Subaru into a new age and a bonus is that the model has now been awarded five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating in a five model range that starts at £24,795.

The Legacy's traditional market pull in addition to the boxer engine has been its symmetrical all-wheel-drive system which has made the model so popular with the likes of doctors and vets who work in rural areas and have to get through, whatever the weather.

It sold more than 3.6 million including its Outback sibling model to the end of 2008 so it is important that the latest generation builds on the core values that made the Legacy so special.

Subaru's design team using significantly increased dimensions, including an 80mm longer wheelbase, enabled the creation of a Legacy Tourer with a much bolder stance and greatly heightened on-road presence.

There is also a completely re-engineered all-steel unitary structure that delivers vastly improved crash safety performance.

And importantly each of the five versions is so comprehensively equipped that the only factory-fitted option will be special paint finishes, priced at £430.

The big news on the practical front is that the rear suspension is of an all-new, more compact design that facilitates much increased cargo bay capacity - up by 67 litres to 526 litres, with the rear seats upright.

This diesel version was fitted with a smooth-changing six-speed manual gearbox which, with the low centre of gravity of the engine gave a very sporty performance for a tourer.

This really is premium quality driving with an electric sunroof, dual-zone, fully automatic air-conditioning, a quality audio system with six speakers; automatic lights and wipers and a powered driver's seat. The audio system is MP3 compatible and a Bluetooth hands-free system is fitted as standard.

There is also a hefty comfort bonus on the new car with all-new, larger front seats offer excellent comfort and support, with 10-way power adjustment on the driver's seat (including lumbar support), and four-way manual adjustment on the passenger seat. The front seats feature 20% softer cushions and 10% softer backrests.

Perhaps one of the most useful features of this car is a remote one-touch mechanism conveniently located in the cargo bay side panel which the backrests to be folded flat in one simple operation from the rear tailgate when loading long items. You only have to be struggling with complicated release levers and cords in the rain once to realise the importance of this feature.

The Legacy reloaded stands firm as the truly individual choice in larger estates. There is a performance car bursting to get out and this is a feature few would decry.

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