With its petrol-guzzling days behind it, the latest £26,295 Subaru diesel Legacy Outback SE is like a reformed drinker who’s determined to stay on the wagon.


On a trip from Warwickshire to the Scotgrass event at Dumfries and back, most of it involving “enthusiastic” motorway speeds, the trip meter still averaged a positively holier-than-thou 41mpg. And that’s with permanent 4wd…

That sort of consumption figure suggests that the Legacy had a weedy engine with barely enough power to pull the skin off a rice pudding, but that certainly wasn’t the case.

In fact, the 150hp Outback had more than enough power for steaming along motorways and powering past laggards on A-roads. It was quiet, too, with engine noise kept well in the background even when the throttle was floored.

We had the six-speed manual gearbox instead of the auto box that many Legacies probably go out with. It was nice enough and had a useful indicator to remind you what gear you were in.

But it also suffered from that common six-speed shortcoming which is a first gear so low that you can only spend three nanoseconds in it before it’s time to move into second. It was also surprisingly notchy. We’d probably go with the auto next time.

What about the rest of the car? It’s not exactly pretty, but has a bulky, bulbous, presence that made it easy to pick out in the vast car-park at Scotgrass. Inside it’s no shrinking violet, with a shiny, ostentatious dash and plenty of gleaming surfaces.

But it’s all good stuff. The seats are comfortable, there’s ample room for rear seat passengers’ knees and there’s a decent boot too. Plus leather seats and a six-disc CD are standard.

However we found the optional satnav a bit slow to keep up with our actual progress. Often, by the time it decided to display a particular junction, we had passed it anyway. Perhaps the satellites were in the wrong place that particular day.

LIKES  GRIPES
 Spiffing fuel consumption  Ultra-low first gear
 Quiet  Bulbous looks
 Nice ride  Slow satnav