2005 Subaru Legacy GT Four Seasons Test

Charles Best

Previously, Subaru was miles away from BMW not only in driving dynamics but also in the driver's environment. But this is another area where the new Legacy has made considerable strides. Our wagon's monochromatic black interior wasn't a design standout, but it worked well. Seating is comfortable, space is adequate, and switchgear is straightforward.

"Although the interior decor is plainish, it is nicely bolted together," noted Gillies. "I particularly like the rubberized grab handles, red-lit dials, and chrome rings around the radio and HVAC controls, which work with a kind of precision few automakers seem to be able to achieve." Production editor Jennifer Misaros added: "Great ergonomics, nice plastics, and sporty yet sophisticated red dash lighting all add up to a very pleasing environment." And contributor Ronald Ahrens summed up: "For a Subaru, this is one hell of a good interior."

For Subaru, this is also a pretty stylish exterior, at least compared with earlier Legacys. Opinions among the staff were about evenly split, with "Exterior styling unremarkable; it doesn't look particularly sporty" balanced against "Exterior styling is very pleasing, especially at the rear. Exterior and interior have moved up half a class in quality, both real and perceived."

But even some of the design's critics noted that the plain wrapper combined with the thrust of the turbo made our silver wagon something of a Q-ship. Said one: "This unassuming-looking GT is a true sleeper when it comes to performance."

Although it seems Subaru no longer wants to be known for economy, durability, and ruggedness, we are happy to report that the durability part still applies. "It seems impossible that this lovely car has more than 28,000 miles on it," gushed contributor Matt Phenix near the end of our test. "It's astonishingly pristine, inside and out."

While many of its far more expensive Four Seasons siblings lit up one dashboard warning light after another, demanding restorative visits to their dealer service departments, our Legacy stoically motored through its twelve months with barely a hiccup. We replaced one burned-out headlamp and a failed gearbox neutral safety switch, both under warranty. Not only did our Legacy's reliability surpass many of its luxury-brand Four Seasons brethren, but so did the dealer service at our Ann Arbor Subaru store.

There's nothing wrong with the honest charms on which Subaru built its initial success in America. But we have to admit that Subaru's newfound attributes of performance, comfort, and quality, as demonstrated in our Four Seasons Legacy GT Limited wagon, are ones to which, as driving enthusiasts, we're particularly receptive.

"Overall," wrote Gillies in the logbook, "my kind of car."

Our kind of car, actually.

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