With its new 2.0-litre entry-level model, Subaru is hoping to get the Legacy onto the shopping lists of more buyers. It’s aiming high, with BMW’s 3-series firmly in its sights, but this is a tough challenge.
The normally aspirated 2.0-litre Boxer engine replaces the 2.5-litre unit and with 162bhp the horizontally opposed engine is one of the most powerful in the sector, outdoing the Audi A4 2.0 FSI and matching the Mercedes-Benz C200 Kompressor. It also features a new close-ratio gearbox and, of course, Subaru’s renowned symmetrical all-wheel drive system.
The all-wheel drive system and low-slung engine will appeal to keen drivers but what should really sway buyers is the price. At just a shade under £17,000 it’s a lot of car for the money and the entry-level model equipment levels are high. Climate control, front and side airbags, cruise control, a leather Momo steering wheel, 17in alloy wheels, and front and rear electric windows are all standard.
Even the most basic BMW 320i is priced at £21,625.
Whether potential BMW and Audi buyers will see the Legacy as a serious option remains to be seen. While it has the facets to appeal to the keen driver, it doesn’t have the interior quality and badge kudos that the German three, plus Lexus, now command.
It’s more natural rivals would be the likes of the Honda Accord and the Toyota Avensis, but at this level the price and equipment level differentials begin to disappear.
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder Boxer; 162bhp @ 6,800rpm; 138lb ft @ 3,200rpm
Performance: 0-62mph: 9.2sec; top speed: 133mph
Transmission: Five-speed manual, AWD
Test period: April to September
Start mileage: 150
Current mileage: 1,033
Efficiency 32.5mpg (combined); 207g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £8,825 (36%)
CAP RV 3yr/60k: £7,625 (31%)
Likes: Excellent handling, roomy interior
Dislikes: No reach adjustment on steering wheel