Fleet News

Subaru Legacy 3.0R



AVID readers of the long term road-test page will recall that in my last two reports on the Subaru Legacy, I have been heaping praise upon it like mad.

I have marvelled at the power of its 3.0-litre 245bhp engine, been staggered by the relatively low price of the car and have been cossetted with all the standard spec like leather electric seats and both CD and cassette player.

To hear me talk, you would think this vehicle is the ideal fleet car. But take a glance at the fact file panel and a different story unfolds. Add up the figures and the Legacy starts looking more like a financial nightmare for both the company that owns it and the driver.

Although the front-end price is ultra-low for what you get at £24,500, after three years/60,000 miles this car will be worth a mere £6,000 or 27% of its original price. Not many people want to buy secondhand cars with big engines.

For the driver, just look at the fuel consumption figure. It even dipped to just over 22 miles per gallon last month.

Admittedly, I have been yahooing about in the Legacy a bit recently, trying to see just how far I can push it, but even the official figure of 29.4mpg makes this car a thirsty performer.

And a 40% tax-payer will find him or herself digging deep into the pocket to find a whopping £249 a month for the privilege of driving the Legacy.

These figures all add up to the fact that few fleet drivers will probably choose this car.

It's a great shame as I rate it well up among the top 10 list of all the vehicles I have driven in the past decade.

So after all my glorious praise, is there anything I don't like about the Legacy? Well, yes, just one or two things.

For starters, the Legacy features frameless windows. Years ago I owned an old Triumph Spitfire with these items attached and after a couple of years of people slamming the doors shut by holding the glass instead of the metal doors, they both rattled like proverbial barn doors in a gale.

I'm not suggesting anything like that has yet occurred on the Legacy but I fear it might do after a few years. However much I try to use the handles, I still find myself accidentally using the glass to close the door occasionally.

The Legacy also has a function whereby the immobiliser is automatically switched on if, 30 seconds after opening the doors, the engine has not been started.

I'm sure there is a sound security reason why this happens but it can be damned annoying if you have shopping to load, or an aged parent or children.

My only other moan is that the stereo system doesn't seem to have enough power. Most ordinary folk will be quite happy with it but despite my advancing years (52 in September) I still like to listen to Joe Satriani at ear-bleeding volumes when thrashing up and down the motorways of Britain.

These niggles aside, the Legacy is a cracking car by anyone's standards.

I am due to swap it for another vehicle in a few days' time and it will be with a heavy heart that I pass on the keys.

Company car tax bill 2004/05 (40% tax-payer): £249 per month

Mileage - 5122 miles

Figures based on three-years/60,000-miles

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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