Crocodile Dundee, a.k.a. actor Paul Hogan, did such a good job touting the wonders of Subaru's Outback vehicles in TV ads that today, most Subaru wagons sold are Outback models.
But don't overlook the 2001 Subaru Legacy Wagons.
They're based on the same platform as the Outbacks, use the same four-cylinder engine and come standard with traction-enhancing all-wheel drive.
But where the tall, two-tone Outbacks look like sport utility crossover models, the Legacy Wagons sit lower and their monochrome exterior gives them a more traditional wagon-like appearance.
Value shoppers who don't mind ignoring today's rush to SUVs and SUV crossovers will find the Legacy wagons to be quiet and comfortable to ride in, with capable handling. Best of all, these wagons have starting prices that are lower than those for Outback wagons.
For example, the base 2001 Legacy Wagon, the L, has a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $20,490. The base 2001 Outback Wagon starts at $23,390.
The test car -- the mid-range 2001 Subaru Legacy GT Wagon -- had a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $24,290. This includes two moonroofs with sunshades, keyless remote entry, six-way, power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, halogen fog lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning and a host of power amenities.
Yet, this GT wagon was just $900 above the base Outback Wagon, which didn't include the two moonroofs or the leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The Outbacks include heavy-duty and raised four-wheel independent suspension, in case drivers need to go off road.
But the GT Wagon, accented by aerodynamic effects such as sporty rocker panels, is distinguished by its sport-tuned suspension and 60-series tires for strong road holding.
"The GT Wagons are for people who really enjoy driving and who also have additional cargo they want to carry with them," said Mike Whelan, spokesman for Subaru of America Inc.
What surprised me was how, for a model named GT, there was scarcely any engine sound. Even at startup, there was only a distant buzz from the four-cylinder engine.
The tester had the optional-for-$800 four-speed automatic. I felt shift points at times, but it worked nicely with the engine to get the GT Wagon up and running and merged into traffic.
In mountainous terrain at highway speeds, I did have to keep my foot in it to maintain momentum, but the Wagon responded and didn't feel like a laggard.
The front MacPherson strut suspension and rear multi-link suspension were tweaked for a slightly firm feel, but there was never any jarring of passengers. I felt as if I skimmed over most street bumps and passengers were decently isolated from them.
Even at that, however, I recognized that the GT Wagon maintained a solid, well-planted feel, even in windy mountain passes and on meandering curves.
Wind and road noise were pleasingly muted. An ever-so-slight rattling sound turned out to be coming from a suitcase in the cargo area and not from the Legacy Wagon's quiet interior.
You lower yourself a bit to get into the seats in the GT Wagon.
Seats were cushioned and supportive. I felt sort of like I sat on a firm sponge, and the lively GT-specific fabric added pizzazz inside. The grip of the fabric as well as the sizable dead pedal helped hold me in place during aggressive driving.
Watch the sizable bolsters in the front seats. They keep you in place during driving but also require that you slide over them as you get in and out of the vehicle. The back seat in the GT Wagon has a flatter cushion and is easier on entry and exit.
Door openings are OK in size, and doors on this wagon close with a solid-sounding thud. Rear windows go down just over halfway.
White-on-black gauges are nicely laid out, and the GT Wagon even includes an outdoor temperature monitor and two trip meters.
The two cupholders in front are in separate locations. One sits in the center console by the parking brake lever. The other pops out and unfolds from a slim cavity up near the top of the dashboard so drivers don't have to take their eyes off the road as much while reaching for that morning latte.
All five seats in the GT Wagon have head restraints and three-point safety belts. Other standard safety items include antilock brakes, daytime running lights and dual-stage frontal airbags.
Though the Legacy wagons are mid-size models, they come with a little-car, "beep-beep" horn.
Cargo room behind the rear seats totals 34.3 cubic feet, which is less than the 37 cubic feet available in the Volvo V70 as well as the Saab 9-5 Wagon. The Legacy wagon's maximum 68.6 cubic feet of cargo room also is less than the maximum 71-plus cubic feet in those two competitors.
But the Indiana-built Legacy is far less pricey than these two Swedish competitors. The starting MSRP, including destination charge, for a 2001 V70 with 168-horsepower five cylinder is $29,975, while the Saab 9-5 Wagon starts at $35,270 for a 185-horsepower, four-cylinder model.
Spokesman Whelan said only about 10 percent of Subaru's wagons are Legacy GTs.
Just over half the GT buyers are women, with college education, he said. The average age is about 50, and they are considered affluent buyers.
The Subaru Legacy is a recommended model at Consumer Reports with average reliability and above-average customer satisfaction ratings.
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