Fleet News

Subaru Legacy 3.0R auto

Subaru

Review

EVERY so often, a car arrives at Fleet Towers which gets all the testers in a right old lather.

It happened again the other week when the Subaru Legacy 3.0R turned up.

Road test editor Simon Harris pulled up outside the pub where we were saying farewell to an old work colleague and a minute or two later we were all outside goggling away like mad.

First question was: what the hell is it? It looked every bit an upmarket German offering of some kind. It wasn't a BMW or an Audi but it wasn't far off.

Then there were those dazzling alloy wheels and those fat twin pipes poking jauntily out of the rear end – it looked mean and it looked fast.

A Subaru? We all gasped in amazement. Surely this relatively obscure Japanese marque couldn't produce a car like this?

Well, the news is it can and it has. So far, every tester who has tried this car has loved it to bits.

I've been waiting to get my mitts on the keys for weeks. My turn finally arrived last week and I was not disappointed.

Surely there can't be another car in this league that offers so much for so little? Our road test editor reckons that to spec up an Audi A4 3.0-litre quattro to this level would cost around £9,000 extra – and then the Subaru beats that car on power by 20bhp.

Whether the user-chooser company driver will opt for this vehicle or not largely depends on whether he or she wants to impress the neighbours with a badge.

Unfortunately, the rather unusual Subaru logo on the bonnet won't do much for anyone's image as the marque lacks the cachet of the rival German models.

But out on the roads, the loser now will later win, as Bob Dylan once said in his legendary song 'The Times They Are A'Changin'.

Plant your right foot hard on the accelerator and a miraculous event occurs.

First, a powerful whining noise emanates from under the bonnet as that glorious six-cylinder boxer engine decides what to do and a nano-second later the car will be hurtling towards the horizon, leaving most others behind it to bite dust. Sixty miles an hour from standing comes and goes in under eight seconds and if you're not careful, you'll be easily surpassing 140mph.

Previous testers have been registering around 22 miles per gallon, but most of the miles driven so far have been short blasts.

Therefore, when I used the car for a journey to see my cousin in Southend-On-Sea last Sunday, a round trip of some 230 motorway miles, I decided to conduct a little experiment.

Instead of my usual lead-footed driving style, I eased off on the throttle for the whole journey, carefully sticking to speed limits and generally adopting a relaxed driving style.

The good news is that the car's fuel economy rose to just under 28 miles per gallon for this trip – and there were two side benefits too.

Not only did I arrive at my destination feeling extremely calm and relaxed but also my dear old mum's theory that you don't get there any quicker by driving like a loony proved to be true.

I arrived in just under two hours, exactly the same time as it takes me when I drive with my foot nailed to the floor.

Company car tax bill 2004/05 (40% tax-payer)

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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