With the Subaru Legacy, the company has tried to create an estate that offers space, comfort and value. And in some ways it has succeeded. Rear passengers can relax in the wide seats and plentiful leg room, and only the Skoda Superb estate offers similar space and four-wheel drive at the price of the Legacy.

The 2.0-litre petrol car appears to offer decent value, until you examine the running costs, but it’s a cheaper car to run and offers better performance than the 2.5-litre petrol that’s saddled with an unresponsive CVT transmission. The 2.0-litre diesel is the sensible choice and the engine performs well with stats to match.

Steve Sutcliffe

Even in this, its best guise, it falls well short of the class best

Subaru’s legendary reliability, and the generosity of the equipment list, will appeal to many who just want a reliable workhorse that’s painless to live with. But beyond that, the new Legacy fails to shine. Awkward gear ratios and a clunky gearshift make it hard work in town, while an unsettled ride and lacklustre handling compromise its appeal elsewhere. In trying to appeal to a different market, the new Legacy has lost the unpretentious honesty that made its predecessor so likeable and compromises on too many key points.

Even in this, its best guise, it falls well short of the class best. If you insist on a four-wheel drive estate, the Skoda Superb is a far more sophisticated choice. But if it’s just an estate you’re after, there are many that do the estate bit just as well, but will be a much better proposition for drivers.

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