Monday, March 15, 2010

The Unintended Test Drive - 2010 Subaru Legacy

Note: The pictures are NOT me driving. I just yanked them off google images. I dropped my Subaru Impreza off at the dealership today, remember a few weeks ago I took it in to get a fuel valve replaced under warranty? Well unfortunately at the first attempt they broke one of the mounting bolts for the fuel tank. And today they accidentally broke a piece inside the gas tank. I commend the dealership (Steele Subaru, Halifax) for doing the right thing and giving me a free loaner car. I honestly tried to get a WRX but all they had was the 2010 Subaru Legacy. The plus? It's an automatic, and the commute across the bridge was ridiculously slow. (Someone had gotten into an accident on the bridge. This totally fucks up the traffic queue).

First impressions are good. It's a bigger car than my subcompact Impreza. Much bigger. And heavier, too. Lots of damping for keeping the noises out of the cabin. The car drives very well - a bit SLOWER than my Impreza - remember, this car has the same 2.5 liter boxer engine as mine - but with a little less horsepower and a little bit more torque. It's the hefty weight that makes the difference. And the transmission. It is eager to jump from 1st to 4th gear, even in city traffic. I found myself hammering the gas pedal to get it to downshift. And then I noticed it had paddle shifts on the steering wheel. I decided to use them - and hey, they worked great! I could force the car into a lower gear - temporarily - until I let off the gas. 

Then it jumped right back into 4th again. The only solution would be to run the car in manual mode, but honestly, the car I was driving only had 333 kilometers on the clock, and with these cars, you MUST baby the engine for the first 2,000 kilometers or you could damage the engine. I drove it like it was grandma's car. Because I appreciate other people's things and I honestly felt nervous driving this car. Nervous because I wasn't USED to the automatic transmission. The brakes - being NEW, felt very grabby - normal with a new car. The seats were softer but more comfortable than my Impreza's. Side-bolstered and comfy, I felt very secure and loved the driving position. 

There are only two things I didn't like about this car: 1. The silver strip that Subaru placed on the dashboard and side doors are very distracting. In the sun it blazed into my eyes and caused distractions. Very annoying. 2. The center console seems a bit HIGH for my liking. Perhaps I need to adjust the seat height - that could be it. I didn't get a chance to hop in the rear seat yet, but they do look spacious. To sit in the back seat of my Impreza comfortably, you'd have to chop your legs off at the knees. Yes, it's a tight fit in the subcompact. 
 The radio and A/C controls are well placed - on the front console and on the steering wheel. The gauges are excellent. My only beef with the layout is the stupid ECO meter they placed on the car. You know those gauges that show you high fuel consumption to excellent consumption? A bit stupid really. While crawling around in traffic it stuck at the upper "Yellow" region. But in light driving (ie. soft on the gas pedal) the needle went straight down to "green". I think it's a gimmick. The side mirrors, rear mirror, and rear visibility are great. There's heated sets and automatic headlights. The center console has the ubiquitous Japanese center clock stack that's found on every Subaru to date. It's been jazzed up with a digital fuel range meter and a clock. I had to adjust the time by 1 hour as we just advanced to daylight savings time. It's 2010, do you think most car makers can design a vehicle that is smart enough to synchronize time from a radio source? 
 The big wheels and arches in the wheel wells give this car a muscle feel to it. The front design isn't really to my liking, but comparing it to the previous Legacy, it's a step in the right direction. I don't know how long I have this car for. The dealership said I might get my car back tomorrow, if they can "expedite" the parts. I'm not upset. Shit happens. If I have this car for a few big deal. I'll be sure to top up the gas when I return it. There's lots of space in the trunk... I could fit a lot of junk in there. Nevermind. I enjoy driving it. I still feel nervous because I'm not used to the car yet. I'm still testing the waters and driving as cautiously as I can. It's a nice new vehicle. It really stinks of new car. The power windows are very fast - they go up with a solid CLUNK as they hit the framed windows. The car also has satellite radio but it wasn't activated. (Honestly - who uses sat radio anyway when you have an ipod or mp3 jack?). The drivetrain whine is really diminished in this car. Compared to my Impreza, which sounds like a mini tractor when in 2nd gear, this car is a quiet limo. What a difference sound dampening can make! Good job Subaru, I enjoyed this car very much. I hope I get the chance to drive other cars - maybe the Legacy Spec. B? One can hope!

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