Subaru is aiming its sixth-generation Legacy sedan partly at New Zealanders who have spent much of their driving lives behind the wheels of all-Australian metal, either a Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon.
Subaru NZ managing director Wallis Dumper is saying Kiwi drivers are facing a “challenge of change” as Holden and Ford prepare to close their manufacturing plants across the Tasman, Ford next year and Holden in 2017-18.
“We know there are many Kiwis facing the challenge in the next few years as they try to find an alternative to their large rear-wheel-drive Australian cars,” said Dumper.
“Our guess is that not all of them will want a truck or front-wheel-drive car, and this all-new Legacy may truly surprise many with its spaciousness, six-cylinder boxer engine and stylish design, all with the inbuilt practicality of our dependable all-wheel drive.”
The Australian-built Commodore and Falcon will soon no longer be part of the Downunder furniture. Holden has confirmed it will hold on to the Commodore name, but its replacement for the outgoing car is unknown. Talk is it will either be based on a German Opel or American Buick.
What Ford will replace the Falcon with is also unknown. Again there is much speculation, although it’s generally accepted the Falcon name is history.
Dumper believes the Legacy can easily slot into the multi-use role occupied for many years by the big Australian cars. “From the bach or the back blocks to a boat ramp, all are within reach in this Legacy,” he said. “Legacy looks very cool in the company car park, too.”
The new sedan goes on sale 26 years after the first-generation example landed in NZ. Two models are available, the four-cylinder 2.5i at $39,990 and the six-cylinder 3.6-litre RS at $49,990. Both engines are more fuel-efficient and cleaner burning than those in the outgoing four-door, says Subaru.
There is also more room for occupants and luggage. Boot capacity, for instance, has grown by 17 litres to 493 litres. “This biggest-ever Legacy is now a compelling technology package with a raft of safety and luxury features,” says Dumper.
Safety includes a maximum five-star crash rating and Subaru’s much-praised Eyesight technology, which can help avoid accidents or reduce the impact of a collision. The car’s infotainment system comes with speech recognition across a wide range of key functions.
The 3.6 RS also has satellite navigation and Traffic Information, with traffic updates and re-routing recommendations for the country’s major urban areas – Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.
“After 26 years Legacy is reinvigorated with technology that hadn’t even been thought of in 1989,” said Dumper. “Many European brand drivers who have discovered the true cost of ownership of older models may discover this new Legacy is a much better option than buying risky, second-hand cars. They will get to enjoy the invisible advantages of Subaru’s engineering.
“Overlay that with superb Japanese build quality and design, including premium soft-touch interior trim and new Legacy promises to shine bright as a star in the Subaru constellation.”