Having owned this car for 5 years, I’m sold on Subaru. Adjusting from a powerful and comfortable BA Falcon, the Subaru felt entirely different – it actually gave me a sense of assurance on the road. It feels planted, grippy, and confident. The handling is beautiful, and the ride is not overly firm for my fortnightly drive to country Victoria. Several friends have commented on it’s smoothness and lack of body-roll around corners – and I agree, it’s a winner in this regard.
Compliments are also drawn on the quality of the interior. Everything is well put together, from the high-quality cloth seats which are perfectly bolstered and wonderfully supportive to the sports-orientated steering wheel which is a delight to grip. Even the sliding-cup holder cover feels solid.
The exterior is also pleasant. Whilst now it’s a little tame in comparison to the new competition, it doesn’t look like a car which is (almost) 2 generations old. It’s a timeless design that should age well.
What’s not so excellent is the engine/transmission combination and the fuel economy which results. It’s fine for day-to-day use. In suburban traffic with brief stints on the Ring Road, it averages 8.6 l/100km on 95 petrol. I do, however, drive with economy in mind. But the slight economy advantage compared to the Falcon does not make up for the power/drivability deficit. (The trip computer is also a highlight – I just wish it was located in the instrument cluster, not next to the clock on the dashboard.)
When you need power though, the Subaru doesn’t deliver. It revs easily, but it doesn’t do much to show for it. This is no doubt due the weight of the car and the spacing of the gears, both of which are not ideal for a mid-size car.
There are ways around this though – Using Sport-Shift is firstly recommended – the gear changes feel almost DSG like on the move but without the jerkiness at low speeds (I drive a Golf 118TSI around as a company car, so yes, I can compare them), and you can keep the car in the 3000-4000RPM power band where it actually feels alive and swift.
Left it’s own devices though, the transmission does smartly shift down gears during downhill descents to maintain it’s speed. Nice.
Ensuring that the car is properly serviced to Subaru’s specifications, a well cared for example will last for decades. It’s fun driving characteristics and AWD assurance make me smile every time I reach for my keys. It’s for this reason that I’ll purchase another Subaru when the time comes to upgrade.