Subaru Legacy Review

Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer

Subaru Legacy Review

Subaru Legacy Review | Part TwoSubaru Legacy Road Test

You may have seen the advertisements for the Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer and Outback with the tag line, ‘It’s here’ - the world’s first boxer diesel-engined passenger car.

You may have seen the advertisements for the Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer and Outback with the tag line, ‘It’s here’ - the world’s first boxer diesel-engined passenger car. But what is all the fuss about?

It’s all about symmetry, smoothness and economy but I’ll start with an explanation of the so-called ‘Boxer’ engine. It is also known as a horizontally opposed cylinder engine, which is a bit of a mouthful but provides something of a clue as to how it works. Whereas, in the more common layout, the pistons move up and down inside upright cylinders, in a boxer engine they are positioned sideways, working off a single crankshaft in between. The name ‘boxer, came about because of the action of each pair of pistons, moving simultaneously, mimic the punching actions of a boxer.

To see it in action is a thing of beauty as the sideways movement and synchronisation of the pistons is much smoother than in a more conventional engine and almost hypnotic. It also means that a balance shaft or counterweight on the crankshaft is not needed to counteract the weight of the reciprocating parts, making it lighter and less complicated.

So, this form of petrol engine is inherently smooth, efficient and relatively quiet but in developing the diesel version, Subaru has taken it a step further. Initially, the boxer diesel will only be used in cars bound for the European market and particularly the UK where 40 per cent of cars sold are diesels. So, it made sense to join in and gain a share in the market.

The result is a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder unit, which is lightweight, compact and strong. Furthermore, the engine and transmission are mounted low, in a line and kept within the wheelbase for more efficient working, a low centre of gravity and better dynamics on the road.

In order to make the most of the new engine, there had to be a few modifications. For instance, the 5-speed manual gearbox has higher ratios to cope with the extra torque and lower engine speeds; the front springs have been tweaked to suit and the power steering is now electric, which helps to increase the fuel economy.

Long gone are the days when diesel-engined cars were slow, lumpy, for want of a better word, and just plain smelly. This common-rail, direct injection unit has a variable nozzle turbocharger, an inter cooler, a particulate filter, catalytic converters and exhaust gas re circulation, which allows it to meet Euro4 emission standards.

Subaru Legacy Review | Part TwoSubaru Legacy Road Test
Subaru Legacy Road Test Data
Model ReviewedSubaru Legacy Sports Tourer 2.0D REn
Body TypeEstate
ColourSteel Silver Metallic
Performance (manufacturers data) 
0 - 62 mph8.9 Seconds
Top Speed 126 mph
Transmission5-Speed Manual
Fuel TypeDiesel
CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures) g/km
Economy (NEDC Figures) 
Urban39.2 mpg
Extra Urban55.4 mpg
Combined48.7 mpg
Insurance Group13
Euro NCAP RatingTBA
Warranty3-Years / 60,000 Miles
Price (when tested on the 01/09/08)£23,655

The information contained within this Subaru Legacy review may have changed since publication on the 1 September 2008. The actual model road tested may feature options and functionality specific to that model, which may not be available as on option or be fitted to other models in the range. Options may not be available on UK specification cars. You may wish to check with your local Subaru dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce this car review in full or part, in any format without our written permission. © 2019