1999 Subaru Legacy SUS Limited

From the June 1998 situation of Car or truck and Driver.

Aha! We knew it. The AMC Eagle was in advance of its time. Exactly 19 a long time forward, it would seem. The Eagle line of 4-wheel-travel coupes, sedans, and wagons, which we praised loudly for their peerless mix of on- and off-street trip and managing, preceded the sport-ute growth by roughly a ten years.

Today, almost just about every automaker is either easily seated on the SUV bandwagon or ready for rapid boarding. Several are checking out new niches with vehicles like the superior-lux Lincoln Navigator, the butch Mazda MPV All-­Sport minivan, the jacked-up Subaru Outback wagon, the Jeep Jeepster off-road coupe principle, and the tricky-to-cate­gorize Suzuki X-90.

Now Subaru has retraced AMC’s steps into the sport-utility-sedan subsegment with its new Legacy Activity Utility Sedan. The SUS is a loaded 2.5-liter Legacy GT sporting the Crocodile Dundee line of Out­back outerwear. The ensemble consists of a hood scoop, a decklid spoiler, two-tone paint with a stone-guard coating, and bush­whacking bumpers adorned with Paris-­Dakar fog lights up front and a sewer-pipe exhaust in back again. Huge 15-inch aluminum wheels are shod with high-profile 205/70-sequence Michelin XW4 tires. People tires and a a little bit elevated suspension give the SUS 7.3 inches of floor clearance to go together with the off-roader appears (shallow tactic and departure angles nonetheless prohibit Subarus to light trail jogging, having said that). And, of study course, the Legacy Sport Utility Sedan, like all Subarus, functions complete-time 4-wheel push.

Outdoorsy touches adorn the inside, as well, like a weather conditions-band radio break up, folding rear seatbacks to accommodate skis and other gear and heating for the entrance seats, the outside the house mirrors, the backlight, and the windshield place exactly where the wipers park. The base Legacy SUS commences at $23,890. We opted for the Minimal product, which arrives with leather-based, a glass sunroof, a CD participant, and other niceties for $26,090.

Jim FrenakCar or truck and Driver

Appropriate there, many of you will say, “Whoa, for that funds I could get an Audi A4 1.8T Quattro!” In truth, you could get 1 (with fewer options), and not like the Subaru, it would be offered with a handbook transmission. It would even dash to 60 mph and by way of the quarter-mile .6 2nd far more swiftly than the SUS’s 9.- and 16.9-2nd periods.

But the fun to be experienced at the helm of the Subaru is of a unique kind. You journey substantial in the saddle, commanding a perspective down as a result of the windshields of cars out entrance. Pavement pocks and gravel washboards that would induce the sports activities-sedan driver to cringe are taken effortlessly in stride by the SUS’s tall tire sidewalls and extended-vacation suspension. Driving to do the job, we found ourselves in search of out the less-traveled gravel routes. On a number of occasions we even flew our Subie in excess of some significant humps and have been impressed by how softly and silently the suspension behaved on takeoff and landing. The Audi A4 is not preferably suited for these obligation.

This acclimation to rally-fashion managing doesn’t compromise the SUS ‘s on-road conduct a lot. It clings to dry tarmac with .79 g of grip—0.01 g much better than the Audi—and it stops on a 183-foot-very long dime from 70 mph (the A4 stops seven ft shorter). The physique leans far more in turns, and the tires appear to get their established after the sus­pension has settled in a rapid sweeper, but this Sport Utility Sedan—like its Outback and Forester siblings—is far more pleasurable to travel than any other variation on the sport-utility theme. Funny, that seems a ton like the praise we heaped on the primary Eagle.

The SUS, like the Eagle sedan, appears to be fewer at ease in off-street garb than its wagon sibling does. Probably for this cause, Subaru only expects to sell 3600 SUSs for each yr (that is about how quite a few sedans Eagle marketed annually in the early ’80s), and most takers are envisioned to live where it snows (as did most Eagle pilots). All Legacy Activity Utility Sedans will be crafted in Lafayette, Indiana—179 miles southeast of the Eagle’s Kenosha, Wis­consin, birthplace.

With so several definitely striking sim­ilarities to the AMC Eagle, we’re put off by Subaru’s unjust assert that the Legacy SUS is “the world’s to start with activity-utility sedan.” We would be indignant, but we are however smiling from our rip-roarin’, rut-runnin’ trip in to perform this early morning.

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