Now the car has a few more miles on it, I can report that there has been little improvement in the performance of my Sport Tourer. Admittedly, 2nd and 3rd gear acceleration have become tolerable, but the high 4th and 5th gears are still painfully slow. It makes motorway driving arduous and overtaking dangerous. Don’t think that with four-wheel drive and a dual ratio gearbox this car is set-up as a towing machine, as the weak engine means it wouldn’t ‘pull the skin of a rice pudding’ let alone a caravan or trailer. The engine might have ‘class leading power output’ for a non-turbo 2.0 litre, but its 160bhp is delivered at 6800rpm. This is way beyond the range of normal driving. The 5-speed gearbox and ‘drive-by-wire’ throttle, do there level best to make sure you can’t exploit the power available. For normal driving, think of this car as a large estate with a 1.6 litre engine. A few niggles that I have found to add to the list are: Very thin paint which chips and scratches easily; even if you hand wash the bodywork. The large sunroof on the Tourer has meant the interior courtesy light has been pushed so far back in the roof lining, that it now only does a good job of illuminating the rear head rests. Reliability is only average as I have found that the instrument ‘Lo’ indicator, for the low ratio setting on the gearbox, failed after a couple of weeks, and the car has been off-the-road for two days due to a Mass Air Flow sensor failure at seven months old.
I had been lusting after a Legacy for years and recently finally had the money to try one out. I test drove the 2.0 litre RE and fell in love wih its handling and comfort sufficiently to take the plunge. I don't regret doing it but have now gone back to nice sensible Octavias. The biggest surprise with the Legacy was the mystery of the vanishing horsepower. How could a 167bhp engine propel even a 4wd car so slowly? Even my wife complained. And the sluggishness didn't imply any kind of frugality with fuel. I doubt if I got over 31 mpg on any tankful. The car was a delightful drive otherwise. Apart from the lovely handling I particularly enjoyed the smooth powerful brakes and my excellent powered leather seat. With only the rear wheels driven I suspect this could nearly have been a great car. But even aside from the power/consumption problem the detailing of the car didn't approach that of my Octavias (I'm on my third). For instance, as Charles Anderson notes, the climate control is pretty iffy. Tip: Either get a powerful version of the Legacy and live with the appalling consumption or forget them.
I felt I needed to update my earlier review, A few months down the line and i'm getting the distinct impression I have a Friday afternoon car... Yes it's still great to drive, and it holds the road like few other estate cars, yes the 2.5 is nice and torquey, but things just keep going wrong :-( First off it needed new disks and pads done under warrenty as it was only 18k miles and the disks were badly scored. Then the exhaust heat shield started to rattle annoyingly Then the idle became quite lumpy, the dealer adjusted a setting Then the clutch started to scream at me if I took off at anything resembling a fast pace Then the front suspension started to squeek & groan Then it started to cough and splutter when starting on cold damp mornings (new battery fitted)
Now all these points have been duely fixed by a very polite dealer, but the suspension noise and clutch scream (I'm convinced it's slipping) have re-appeared again. It's also started to behave very oddly on full lock where the inside front wheel seems to be dragging rather than turn fully.
So bad luck or Friday Afternoon car, who knows? I'd still recommend the car to friends but I'd have to tell them to take any used one for a good long test drive before signing on the dotted line. On the up side a friend of mine has an identical model and has had nothing go wrong !
This car is comfortable, has little road or wind noise and a really big boot. The ride is firm, but refined, and it handles fantastically well, particularly in wet conditions. It is excellent on snow or ice, even with summer tyres; with winter tyres, the grip is just incredible.
Safety features, active and passive, are good, and the control layout is clear. The Legacy has no-nonsense practicality, very good quality materials which are well-fitted. Against other comparable alternatives, running costs are not high.
As a family estate car, I have nothing against it. The steering might feel a bit light, but if you want a more sporty car, buy the Impreza WRX Plus. For more grunt, get the 3.0-litre engine. The 2.5i (or the new 2.0i) are good enough for family transportation.
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