From the June 1998 situation of Auto and Driver.
Aha! We understood it. The AMC Eagle was ahead of its time. Specifically 19 many years ahead, it looks. The Eagle line of four-wheel-travel coupes, sedans, and wagons, which we praised loudly for their peerless blend of on- and off-highway experience and dealing with, preceded the activity-ute increase by around a ten years.
Nowadays, practically just about every automaker is either comfortably seated on the SUV bandwagon or ready for immediate boarding. Several are checking out new niches with cars like the large-lux Lincoln Navigator, the butch Mazda MPV All-Sport minivan, the jacked-up Subaru Outback wagon, the Jeep Jeepster off-street coupe principle, and the hard-to-categorize Suzuki X-90.
Now Subaru has retraced AMC’s methods 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. Massive 15-inch aluminum wheels are shod with substantial-profile 205/70-sequence Michelin XW4 tires. Those people tires and a a little elevated suspension give the SUS 7.3 inches of ground clearance to go along with the off-roader seems (shallow technique and departure angles still restrict Subarus to gentle path managing, having said that). And, of class, the Legacy Sport Utility Sedan, like all Subarus, characteristics total-time 4-wheel travel.
Outdoorsy touches adorn the interior, much too, like a weather-band radio break up, folding rear seatbacks to accommodate skis and other equipment and heating for the entrance seats, the exterior mirrors, the backlight, and the windshield spot where the wipers park. The foundation Legacy SUS commences at $23,890. We opted for the Constrained design, which comes with leather, a glass sunroof, a CD participant, and other niceties for $26,090.
Right there, many of you will say, “Whoa, for that dollars I could get an Audi A4 1.8T Quattro!” In truth, you could get one particular (with fewer attributes), and unlike the Subaru, it would be accessible with a guide transmission. It would even sprint to 60 mph and through the quarter-mile .6 next extra immediately than the SUS’s 9.- and 16.9-next periods.
But the enjoyment to be had at the helm of the Subaru is of a distinct sort. You trip superior in the saddle, commanding a see down via the windshields of cars and trucks out entrance. Pavement pocks and gravel washboards that would cause the athletics-sedan driver to cringe are taken effortlessly in stride by the SUS’s tall tire sidewalls and extensive-travel suspension. Driving to function, we uncovered ourselves looking for out the significantly less-traveled gravel routes. On a few situations we even flew our Subie about some massive humps and ended up amazed by how softly and silently the suspension behaved on takeoff and landing. The Audi A4 is not preferably suited for this sort of obligation.
This acclimation to rally-model operating won’t compromise the SUS ‘s on-highway habits considerably. It clings to dry tarmac with .79 g of grip—0.01 g superior than the Audi—and it stops on a 183-foot-prolonged dime from 70 mph (the A4 stops seven toes shorter). The body leans more in turns, and the tires seem to consider their established immediately after the suspension has settled in a rapidly sweeper, but this Activity Utility Sedan—like its Outback and Forester siblings—is far more enjoyment to generate than any other variation on the sport-utility theme. Amusing, that sounds a large amount like the praise we heaped on the primary Eagle.
The SUS, like the Eagle sedan, seems less cozy in off-street garb than its wagon sibling does. Perhaps for this rationale, Subaru only expects to promote 3600 SUSs for each yr (that is about how a lot of sedans Eagle marketed per year in the early ’80s), and most takers are expected to dwell where by it snows (as did most Eagle pilots). All Legacy Sport Utility Sedans will be constructed in Lafayette, Indiana—179 miles southeast of the Eagle’s Kenosha, Wisconsin, birthplace.
With so numerous clearly striking similarities to the AMC Eagle, we’re put off by Subaru’s unjust assert that the Legacy SUS is “the world’s 1st sport-utility sedan.” We might be indignant, but we’re even now smiling from our rip-roarin’, rut-runnin’ experience in to perform this early morning.
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