This all-new Subaru Legacy is the fifth evolution of the venerable estate, and it arrives at a time when the Subaru brand is changing. This shift began with the controversial move from saloon to hatchback in the recent Impreza – a move that started a shift from the traditional performance focus towards more mainstream, practical brand values.

This Legacy estate follows that same brief. A narrow model range incorporating only three engines and one body shape highlights the fact that the Legacy is targeting a different kind of buyer this time around. The engine options are all four-cylinder boxers: 2.0- and 2.5-litre petrols, the latter mated to a CVT, and the 2.0-litre diesel with a six-speed manual.

There’s a similarly limited range of trims: S, SE and SE Nav Plus on the diesel, SE and SE Nav Plus on the 2.5, and unique to the 2.0-litre petrol, ES Nav. There’s not much in the way of options, or colour choices, either. The market for roomy family estates is full of talented and affordable competition.

To find a place at the top, the Legacy must prove that its unique combination of standard all-wheel drive is enough to recommend it over similar-sized, similar-priced front-wheel-drive offerings such as the Ford Mondeo estate, not to mention the 4x4 Skoda Superb estate, potentially the Subaru’s fiercest rival.

Top 5 Mid-size execs

  • The Jaguar XF is a sublime British executive saloon. It has a tremendous interior and even greater dynamics

    Jaguar XF

  • Superb engine and cabin, but ride and handling let the side down

    BMW 5 Series

  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
    The E-class more than lives up to traditional Mercedes values

    Mercedes-Benz E-Class

  • Audi A6
    The Audi A6 is a car that delivers in every area

    Audi A6

  • The Lexus GS is unusual in the part of the market in not offering a diesel option

    Lexus GS


First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Subaru range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    27 November 2015
    We try the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol version of the Golf Bluemotion. If you're not doing mega miles, it's a better bet than the diesel
  • 2015 Mercedes-AMG A45
    First Drive
    27 November 2015
    Mercedes couldn't let the Audi RS3 get away with having more power than its AMG A45. As part of a wholesale A-Class facelift, it now has 376bhp and a host of other revisions
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    More powerful Clubsport version of Volkswagen's iconic hot hatch proves thoroughly entertaining on our track-only first drive in Portugal
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    Suzuki has added an automatic diesel powertrain to its S-Cross crossover line-up. Does it offer a compelling choice over the manual versions?
  • First Drive
    24 November 2015
    Alpina’s D3 saloon and estate benefit from the latest BMW 3 Series updates. We've always loved it, but is it still as beguiling as ever in this latest form?