What is it?
Subaru’s new diesel-powered Legacy has finally touched down in the UK, adding the prospect of 45mpg to Subaru’s traditional values of permanent four-wheel drive and extreme utility.
The new engine has already won rave reviews thanks to its combination of 148bhp and near class-leading fuel economy: the claimed 49.6mpg is exceptional for a vehicle fitted with permanent four-wheel drive.
What’s it like?
In a word: brilliant. The new engine is a gem – smooth, refined and torquey. Low-down urge is particularly impressive, with strong pull available from just 1200rpm onwards, where most modern turbo-diesels are still languishing in off-boost lethargy.
It’s quiet too, although some of Scooby’s trademark flat-four warble has made the translation into diesel. From a standing start, Subaru has engineered one of the world’s best four-cylinder diesels.
The rest of the Legacy is as before – big and sensible, if starting to feel dated compared to some more modern rivals. Range-topping RE trim brings plenty of kit with it, although the button-strewn dashboard makes finding the relevant control a challenge. The driver’s seat feels a bit short on support, too – especially as the agile chassis encourages enthusiastic progress.
And there’s no dynamic downside to report – the diesel Legacy drives as well as its petrol-powered sisters: massive grip, excellent responses and a willingness to adjust its line on the throttle that belies its status as a tonne-and-a-half estate.
The new engine will be introduced in other Subaru models in the next few months. And, on this evidence, it’s set to revitalise the brand like nothing else.
Should I buy one?
If you want diesel running costs and the reassurance of four-wheel drive then yes. The Scooby’s only significant price-point rivals, the VW Passat 2.0 TDI 4Motion estate can’t match the Subaru for ruggedness or fuel economy – and Volvo’s V70 D5 AWD is far more expensive. The diesel Legacy estate is the best reason yet not to buy an SUV.