By Cheryl Tay
The Subaru Legacy GT is a fine example of a family car for a man who knows how to think for himself and the family. It is built with sufficient comfort for the children yet has the performance for the driver.
This purple (actually referred to as Dark Amethyst Silica) Legacy GT test drive unit that we tried proved that theory when we took it out for an afternoon. It reminds me of a Volvo, stable and reliable but with a stronger fun factor.
The Legacy GT is not something that would turn your head or catch your attention (unless you choose a strange colour), hence not attracting unnecessary street racing challenges. At the same time though, the drive is enthusiastic enough to keep your right foot happy.
Not surprising at all as the Legacy GT shares the same Subaru Boxer engine as the sporty WRX. In this variant, the 2.5-litre turbocharged engine is mated with a five-speed automatic transmission, delivering a maximum power output of 265bhp at 5,600rpm and a maximum torque of 350Nm between 2,400rpm and 5,200rpm. You may use the paddle shifts mounted on the steering wheel when you are alone in the car to get your needed kick on a straight and long stretch of road.
The performance of the gutsy Boxer engine coupled with the smooth gearbox gives a happy drive with effective handling. With a decently healthy amount of torque, the Legacy GT is quite a joy when trying to get out of a slow-moving lane to join the faster lane in a traffic jam. It takes 6.2 seconds to get from rest to 100km/h and is relatively quick on its heels to cut in, but not to the extent which will frighten your passengers.
Of course, this is a family-oriented car after all and the suspension set-up is suited for comfort, hence making it appropriate for driving the kids to school or across the North-South highway for a holiday in Malaysia.
Cornering not as compromised as expected, with good traction from Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system that balances the mass of the drivetrain well, distributing power evenly to all four wheels. In fact, you can even feel the amount of grip through the steering wheel right down to the driver’s ass.
It was a rainy afternoon the day we took out the Legacy GT and it showed us that the AWD feature is actually quite useful in Singapore even though we don’t have hilly or off-road areas to drive in.
Inside the cabin, Subaru has tried to make it upmarket and it did work to a certain degree. The interior is uncluttered and modern, with dials and controls neatly laid out and clearly visible, but somehow the feeling you get is not one of lavishness or luxury.
Other features include rear cabin air vents dual-zone air-conditioning, cruise control, audio controls on the steering wheel, auxiliary audio input jack for your personal selection of in-car music and the Subaru Intelligent (SI) System.
Something interesting is the electronic parking brake which is operated by push button (push to engage and pull to deactivate), making it easier to use than a foot brake or hand lever and also freeing up space in the footwell and centre console.
But where the Legacy GT scores compared to its competitors like the Toyota Camry and the Nissan Cefiro, is in its ability to entice and appeal to a younger, hence wider, crowd. Stereotypically, a family car need not be dashingly attractive with angular lines and sleek curves. As long as it is practical, fuel-economic and spacious, the car will suffice for a daily mode of transport.
However, the Legacy GT has done more and gone beyond that stereotype, offering a family vehicle option that doesn’t entirely remove the racer bit from the driver. Satisfying both the family and the driver with a need for an occasional speed, the Legacy GT is the right formula (minus the sleepy looks).
Subaru Legacy 2.5GT
Engine: 2,457cc 4-cylinder DOHC 16v turbocharged
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Max Power: 265bhp at 5,600rpm
Max Torque: 350Nm at 2,400-5,200rpm
0-100km/h: 6.2 secs
Top Speed: 245km/h
Price: $180,888 with COE (accurate at time of printing)
Distributor: Motor Image Enterprises