From £21,865
Despite a classier interior and the usual brilliant chassis, latest Legacy hampered by standard auto and lack of diesel option

Our Verdict

Subaru Legacy
Estate-only Legacy puts emphasis on space and comfort

As a true workhorse, there are few better than the Subaru Legacy. As an everyday estate, there are loads better.

In Japan and America, Subaru’s Legacy is not only a brand leader, but a sales success. Meanwhile, here, even enthusiasts struggle when confronted with the Legacy name, with vague notions of a rare, if fine- handling car, usually seen in estate form.

This Legacy is all new, and in 3.0R guise, matches a six-cylinder boxer engine developing 241bhp to a five-speed auto ’box with Tiptronic function. Available in either saloon or estate bodystyles (a ‘crossover’ Outback will also be available), it goes on sale in November at an estimated £25,000-£26,000.

Previously, saloons have only taken 15 per cent of Legacy sales, but Subaru is looking to double that figure with this latest incarnation.

On the road, it feels solid, both in terms of structural stiffness and in the even weighting of its controls. The steering, reassuringly weighty around the straight-ahead, lightens up at speed but communicates well through the slim Momo rim.

There’s little roll and plenty of grip, and the Legacy makes rapid, fuss-free progress with the usual excellent ride, which is firmly controlled but absorbent, although this was judged on smooth roads.

Equal-length manifolds mean the boxer six is robbed of its famous warble, but it’s impressively smooth and revs freely to the red line.

But it doesn’t feel quick – blame the muddling auto and the low mileage of the test car – and 241bhp seems optimistic. In an age of excellent six-speed autos, Subaru’s new five-speeder feels outdated. Changes are slow and at times jerky, and the ’box is often indecisive.

This interior is a major improvement on the old model’s, though. Plastics are well chosen and the interior ambience has a quality, if derivative, feel. It’s just a shame that the exterior is so anonymous.

With a manual ’box, diesel engines and a halo twin-turbo model still some way off, the Legacy looks set to remain a rare sight. For such a good car, that’s a real shame.

Adam Towler

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka