I always liked Subaru and felt they were different from the mainstream. However, I’m changing my opinion since buying a 2.0 RE Sport Tourer.
It is not a bad car by any standard, is just not brilliant either. The main disappointment is the performance of the 2.0 engine, which now has around 160 bhp. It lacks any pulling power in 4th or 5th gear, and above 4500 rpm the engine sounds harsh and the gearbox feels overstretched; put your foot flat to the floor and it will go nowhere (turning off the air-con helps).
The performance of the car has made minor niggles more irritating: The indicators rarely auto cancel. The immobiliser re-arms too quickly after unlocking the car, so you have to press the button on the key-fob to get the engine to start. The CD/tuner is very poor quality. The climate control has a mind of its own, and constantly blows cold air through the centre dashboard vents which can’t be shut off.
As for the dealer, I was charged £55 for the ‘free’ 1000-mile service. They have taken 10 weeks and three visits to try to fit a roof rack and they are still not sure if they have ordered the correct part.
On a more positive note, the car is smooth and quiet and has a good driving position. It is easy to manoeuvre and has a decent amount of space and a good level of basic equipment. Only buy this car if you are happy with the performance, as running costs could be hard to accept. For me, I’m buying a diesel next, which Subaru don’t offer – get the point!
Previous car - BMW 525 D Sport. New one Legacy 2.0 RE Tourer
Why a Subi? recommended by friends whose 5 and 7 year old cars are still going strong. At least £15k cheaper than a new beemer. Good dealer attitude and less common then a Mondeo or Vectra. Much better rear visibility then the Puegeot 407.
Good points: the RE has good kit; comfortable on long journeys, handles better than the steering initially suggests; good estate with easily folded seats and flat floor. Both dealers were helpful and interested.
On the negative side: really needs reach adjustment on the steering which feels a bit light, although you get used to it; why no memory for the electric drivers seat, one touch window only for driver. Fiddly reset for the trip computer.
Fuel consumption at 1800 miles only 28mpg- they say it will improve and I am hoping!
Overall: a bit different from the run of the mill and better dealers. Good value for money could be great with a few small improvements.
I chose the Legacy after test-driving the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring and Saab 9-5 Wagon. In my opinion, it offered more interior space, and beat them all with superb equipment levels, quality and engineering. I collected it in October 2005, and 25,000 miles later I'm still in love with it. Nothing's gone wrong, except for a jammed rear seatbelt.
I'm absolutely smitten by the engine - it's lazy and torquey until you let the revs climb - then watch it go! I love the way it handles - the 4WD and braking system is a delight and you get amazing levels of grip. Even on rutted muddy lanes it always feel supremely safe.
We've got three children under six years old, so the interior and boot gets trashed regularly. I can vouch for the durability of the leather and most of the plastics used inside. The attention to detail is great - the frameless windows, the way the needles flick to max when you fire the engine up, that muted burble from the twin exhausts. It all reminds you that you're driving something a bit special, not another German pocket executive car.
The only downside is the fuel consumption - it manages low 30s at best, but that issue is far outweighed by the exclusiveness and character that the car oozes. The Legacy has a combination, of space, quality and driver enjoyment that can't be matched for the price - I can't understand why I don't see more of them on the motorways, but I'm not complaining because that's the way I like it.
I bought this car when it was one year old with 13,000 miles in silver. It has so far had replacement front discs, a replacement engine at 35,000 miles, a replacement headlight (a poor design, easily damaged when replacing bulbs) and a section of exhaust (all under warranty) and I still think it's pretty good.
It is now two years old, showing 53,000 miles. It does seem to eat tyres and brake pads (but that could be down to a slightly heavy right foot!).The auto box is not the best in the world and you can be caught out if you kick down and then ease off, resulting in a quite disconcerting bang.
On the day of the fatal engine blow up (bits came through the top of the block!) Subaru assist arrived promptly and arranged a replacement (a Laguna after some haggling) which I had to drive for a month while waiting not for the engine, but for a bracket of some description (hand crafted on the thighs of a Japanese maiden?).
The handling for a big estate is pretty good, and the equipment level is excellent when compared with the equivalent German marks. It seems to live in the garage, but I liked it so much I extended the warranty and will keep it for another two years at least. The dealer is generally good, except when they scratched it replacing a headlight.
Overall, it's big, well equipped and thirsty, but it is four-wheel-drive, brilliant in grotty weather, and frankly not too run-of-the-mill.
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