What is it?
It’s a weird one, the Legacy Tourer. Four-wheel drive as standard in a big, well-built, generously equipped Japanese estate. But somehow it fails to get us interested. Maybe that’s because it’s expensive and never has the sense of luxury we’ve come to expect at this price from European rivals. Subaru’s large estate just ends up feeling very middling.
Despite the unavoidable thought process that links the Legacy to Subaru’s former glories in WRC with the Impreza, there’s nothing very sporty about this car, especially not in farm-spec estate. In fact, the Legacy feels engineered more towards comfort than handling prowess, its four-wheel-drive system a safety element for mucky rural roads rather than a means of getting your throttle in early on a wet roundabout in Salford.
And in all honesty, the engine to go for in this car is the 2.0-litre diesel, which Subaru revised last year to make it both more economical and smoother to use. Both it and the 2.5-litre petrol alternative are boxer configurations, which gives them a distinctive hum, so the petrol isn’t that quiet anyway and the diesel has a full 90lb ft more torque to play with. This makes it a lazier, more comfortable cruiser that pulls well in gear and it’ll be better up to the job of towing that horsebox.
If you can dispense with any ideas about this being a performance car – eyes off that bonnet scoop – you’ll find a refined and comfortable workhorse lurking in there somewhere.
On the inside
Subaru has never excelled at interior design, favouring functionality over luxury. This latest Legacy is much the same, although it is better equipped than it was with all models getting a high-resolution reverse parking camera and, on diesel models, a fuel-saving gearchange indicator light. More important to most Subaru Legacy buyers, however, will be space and there’s plenty of that. Head and legroom are plentiful and flat, folding rear seats provide a big and versatile load space.
Despite the agrarian undertones, the Legacy is actually very well equipped for the modern farming man. Even the entry-level S model gets climate control and posh toys like auto headlights and wipers. Subarus also have a deserved reputation for excellent reliability and longevity, so this is the sort of car you can run for years without fear. Revisions to the diesel engine last year mean all come in at under 160g/km, with the best now returning 49.6mpg and emitting 149g/km. That’s a handy 7 per cent improvement on before.