Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Used Car Review - Subaru Legacy (2006-2009)

It's the first day of 2013 and Myk Belmonte celebrates it by featuring a used car. Make that new year's resolution by buying yourself a new steed. Wait a minute, you do have a minimal budget and want more for less, here is one recommendation.

2006-2009 Subaru Legacy

They said that if you want to sell well, you must be unique and different. Let me give you an example in the field of beverages. For the beverage part, Milo and Ovaltine are nearly the same because they are marketed as energy drinks, but the truth is that, Milo is sold as a tonic food drink while Ovaltine is marketed as a nourishing bedtime drink. They're unique to one another but the green-packaged drink sold more due to the name recall. But the makers of Chocquick (whose name I forgot) wanted to get the slice of the market by copying Milo's packaging and logo and offering it at a lower price. That's being unique, but not good for others.

In the world of automobile marketing, being different to the market offerings is the order of the day. Subaru, in year 1989, decided to have its Legacy sedan and wagon to be different from other vehicles back in the day by offering standard all-wheel drive and the famed boxer engine. It was also unique in the market by offering three body styles which includes a sedan, a wagon, and a raised wagon known as the Outback (it became a standalone model in 2000, before it was a trim variant). Different it is, 3.6 million Legacies had been sold from launch to year 2008.

Being different in the Philippines became a disadvantage for the Subaru brand in the 90's, no thanks to its previous distributor in the name of Columbian Motors. It had a versatile body, but poor interior trim and a boxer engine that salespeople thought it was from Luisito Espinosa (he was popular back then, while Pacquiao is a beginner during that time). Times had changed especially with a well informed market and fast forward to 2006, Motor Image Philippines arrived and initially brought the Legacy sedan, with the wagon guise months later. This distributor did much better especially in the aspect of after sales. Sales ceased in 2009, with the BM and BR Legacy replacing it in October of that year.

Value and Costs
Being different while brand new does not equate in being different when it comes to used car pricing. And if want to stand out in the crowd and have a unique car than other competitors, you can own a BL sedan or BM wagon Legacy for just P560,000-P860,000. Interestingly enough, a Camry or an Accord of the same period can be yours at the same price but they do not offer all-wheel drive nor a boxer engine. Bad news is that, you will rarely see these in the online classified websites, which makes hunting fun.

Cost of maintenance is not far with other premium sedans from the Land of the Rising Sun, but having all-wheel drive, it would be better to replace all four tires at the same time. Having no turbo in the engine, you are spared from problems with broken turbochargers which the previous owner abused it. For vehicle parts, you may proceed to your nearest Motor Image dealer and purchase them inside, while prices are not that prohibitive though.

Exterior and Interior
If the previous generation wagon sold locally was plain looking (same goes with the sedan), the BL/BM Legacy looks sharp and ready for the open road. Chrome bits are nowhere to be found since you'll be using it for go, not for show. In fact, the wagon does not look like pang-matanda since sporty lines are there. Word of advise: if you own or planning to buy a Legacy, never ever make salpak chrome trims or it will ruin the car's aura.

The sporty theme continue inside the interior especially that black is the motif with some silver lining, and thankfully, faux wood pieces are nowhere to be found. One unique feature is the frameless doors, which contributes to the sporty ambiance of the Legacy. While the interior uses hard plastics, they are of high quality and won't break with the hard press of the finger. It may look compact outside but the occupants would have tons of room inside, and body roll is minimal thanks to the low center of gravity. If you decide to pick the wagon for the airport run, your three relatives from abroad would be happy to have their luggage (three can fit inside) fit in the cargo compartment. Loading bay is low than an SUV.

Only one engine that is deprived of turbocharging (there is a turbo option in the same displacement which we had) arrived in Philippine spec Legacies. The sole choice is a 1,994cc EJ20 H4 naturally aspirated with 165hp at  6,800rpm and 201Nm at 3,200rpm. These figures may seem conservative on paper but drive it on the twisted roads, you can feel the power. To people not familiar with a boxer engine, let me explain it. The engine is mounted low to the ground couple it with a low center of gravity, which makes cornering not alarming and the ride less floaty.

Driving Impressions
Sporty driving characteristics is what makes a Subaru unique, and handling one can mistake you for driving a huge car, wherein slotting in parking garages is a breeze. Thanks to the low center of gravity because of its boxer engine, it is well composed and behaved. Despite the presence of a 4-speed automatic transmission (the only choice), it feels responsive enough. They said that if a car is sporty, it must possess a firm ride that the passengers wouldn't like, but the Legacy does not have it.

Going against the flow has its advantages and disadvantages, but dealing with the former, the BL/BM Legacy  offers the driver and his family the best of both worlds. While the father is enjoying the drive to the beach or the vacation house, the mother need not to worry about the kids complaining about the harsh ride and they can sleep soundly. Now there are two questions, first is would you pick the sedan variant or the wagon version? And secondly, is it ok for me to wait to hunt for a good unit? Well, the choice is yours and happy shopping!

The Good:
  • Excellent driving characteristics
  • Available wagon that is versatile
  • Sporty looking than the previous model sold

The Bad:
  • No turbo option
  • Some hard plastics
  • Good luck in finding one
The Pick: Neither version is a bad pick, but the wagon would be great

Engine: 1,994cc EJ20 H4 gasoline
Power: 165hp @ 6,800rpm
Torque: 201Nm @ 3,200rpm
Fuel Consumption: 7-9km/L (city), 8-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear multi-link

Price (New): P1,495,000-P1,595,000
Price (Now): P560,000-P860,000
Rivals: Mazda 6, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Teana, BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes Benz C Class, Volvo S40, Hyundai Sonata (sedan); Volvo V50, Audi A4 Avant (wagon)
On Sale: 2006-2009


Subaru Greenhills - (02) 727-3687
Subaru Global City - (02) 822-4389
Subaru Alabang - (02) 519-7123

Photos from

No comments:

Post a Comment