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Subaru Legacy: Test Drive Review

Date: 20 January 2010   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Large family
P11D price: £27,065
Key rival: Skoda Superb

With less than a year left in the life of the previous generation Legacy, Subaru went to the trouble of fitting its first ever diesel engine.

That was because diesel is vital to sales in European markets due to the lower CO2 and higher mpg it brings.

The old-generation Legacy diesel came in below the 160g/km CO2 threshold for capital allowance, something few other makers have managed to do with a four-wheel drive car. So you have to ask how Subaru has engineered the all-new Legacy, launched at the end of last year, to be worse for not only CO2 and mpg, but also acceleration and top speed, especially as it is also lighter and has more kit than the predecessor.

For the record, the car tested here is an SE Nav spec car, which comes in at 168g/km and 44.1mpg, where the old car was 154g/km for CO2 and had an official fuel figure of 47.8mpg.

While Subaru does not have a reason for the increase, there are two likely candidates given that the weight is near unchanged. The car is now fitted with a six-speed gearbox and a particulate filter, both of which could have a negative impact on official CO2 figures. However, they are welcome additions as the old car was sooty on acceleration and the extra gear means better real-world fuel economy on the motorway thanks to lower revs.

So should you say 'no' to putting the latest Subaru Legacy on your choice list? Well, there are positives.

The main reason for buying one is the car's continued practicality and all-wheel drive grip. We tested it in the snow earlier this month and it was ideal for taking this writer's kids to nursery every day in conditions where two-wheel drive vehicles simply couldn't go.

Also good is the boot, which, at a useful 526 litres, is 67 litres larger than before. The flat boot floor is also lower, making loading easier.

Another welcome interior improvement are the softer, more comfortable front seats. Equipment levels are increased, too, but then so is the price. The SE Nav car, priced at £27,065, includes Bluetooth, cruise control, leather, satnav, climate control, heated seats and keyless entry. But while this last item means the old, frustratingly quick-to-act immobiliser is gone, the new low-cost system only works on the front doors. The result for anyone who opens the rear doors first to put in their kids means you still have to use the keyfob plipper.

As part of the improved interior and equipment, Subaru has opted for an electronic parking brake, rather than the traditional variety. Unfortunately, the counter intuitive push-for-on parking brake button is placed right next to the push-for-off ESP anti-skid control button, not a good design move.

If you must have all-wheel drive, and that's got to be the primary reason for considering a Legacy, then it's a contender. However, it is somewhat off the pace against rivals and, unusually, against the car it replaces.

Subaru Legacy 2.0D SE Nav estate manual
P11D price£27,065
Model price range£23,095-£27,295
Fuel consumption44.1mpg
CO2 (tax) 168g/km (24%)
BIK 20/40% per month£108/£216
Service interval12,500mls
Insurancegroup 12E
Boot space (min/max)526/1677 litres
Engine size/power1998cc/150PS
Top speed/0-62mph120mph/9.6secs
On sale September 2009
VerdictGood if you must have
all-wheel drive, otherwise
look elsewhere


Good if you must have all-wheel drive, otherwise look elsewhere