Avensis vs Legacy - ian
With the arrival of our new baby and the realisation that a 5 series saloon and a ti compact aren't particularly good family motors I'm looking at something spacious, japanese and cheap to run. The 98R 318ti se compact auto with leather to go privately...£6800 22k miles fsh???

The two options are a Legacy Estate 2.5 gx or an Avensis hatch/estate in 2.0 vvti form.

Does anyone have any experience of these cars particularly the subaru? Most of the subaru 2.5's are automatic does this go better with the 4 wheel drive system (less chance of the clutch being knackered)

My heart says subaru but my head says the avensis will be way ahead on fuel consumption and general reliability. Is there much difference in space between the avensis hatch and estate (swmbo likes the roof rails!) as the estate is not that common.

I've noticed that the subaru dealers seem to have them at high prices considering the trade rates them as big depreciators. is it the case they can command this kind of premium or are they just sat on them for months. Thanks for any advice.

p.s Accident update....the carina with stupidly no insurance hit outside my house. Insurance co. paid out £1300 for a 94L 110k miles carina, kept the wreck (bad rear quarter panel damage) sold it for £250. A result really I think.

Avensis vs Legacy - RichardW
Cannot comment on the Legacy, but I recently drove an Avensis D4D. Good power, and pretty comfortable and quiet, but the handling.... It could best be described as 'uninspiring (of confidence)' at worst down right scary on press-on driving on country roads.

Avensis vs Legacy - ian
That's interesting I understood the handling had been improved in the post 2000 models which I assume the D4D was? I'll arrange a test drive asap.
Avensis vs Legacy - Stargazer {P}
Had a 2.5l manual Legacy Outback for 3 years, fantastic car, but with pros and cons for the UK market (I was Oz based at the time).

Pros, 1. Great handling and road holding
2. Good size boot (we had a new baby plus all usual junk)
3. Very comfortable tourer (touring = australian type distances of 6000km)
4. Very reliable
5. generally well equiped.
6. not as common as a Toyota!

Cons 1. Higher fuel consumption
2. UK insurers rate them very high group
3. not many dealers
4. forget the parkers prices...sourcing a good second hand one can be difficult hence pricey, once you have had one you are converted and keep them forever!
5 required oil changes every 6 months...alloy engine doesnt like old oil and sludges up quickly

The manual is 50:50 fwd/rwd and has dual range (Outback at least)
the automatic is electronically variable 95:5 up to 50:50 depending on grip, this makes the auto very slightly more economical but exposes it to the bugbear of FWD cars ie front tyre wear, my manual used tyres very evenly all round with a full set lasting 3-4 years but friends with autos reported the fronts wearing more quickly.

any more questions please ask

Ian L.

Avensis vs Legacy - bazza
>>>>>My heart says subaru but my head says the avensis will be way ahead on fuel consumption and general reliability>>>>

Fuel consumption - yes - but I don't believe the Avensis will be any more reliable than the Subaru, both are excellent. This decision comes down to simple personal preference. The Subaru is the driver's car here but the Avensis will be cheaper on fuel and insurance. If you can afford it and you enjoy your driving, go for the Subaru as the more interesting car.

Avensis vs Legacy - nick
I'd say Legacy too. I have a 00W saloon and a friend has an older estate. Bullet-proof reliability so far and the saloon is a brilliant drive, superb handling. I can't comment on the estate other than my friend has 3 young kids and highly rates it. He drove 150k mile and 50k mile examples and said there seemed no difference.
I tried the Avensis and Primera before settling on the Legacy. It was streets ahead on ride and handling in my opinion.
Also agree that guide prices can be way out. Most are privately bought and people hang on to them because they are so good. If it has been serviced regularly you should have no worries, so don't worry about above average mileage.
Let us know what you decide upon.
Good luck.
Avensis vs Legacy - jd

I've had three Legacy estates and one saloon (plus an Impreza Turbo and 2 Foresters)

From a UK perspective I think they are great cars, reliable, sporty to drive, great feel to them BUT..... and this is my great bugbear about Subaru's..... the insurance and fuel consumption was, for me at least, a crippler.

I owned them privately and spirited driving produced little more than 200 miles per tank. I am talking about a 2.5 4-cam, 2,0 lt turbo and 2.5 GX. A friend who came to Scotland with me once could not believe how much fuel we went through getting from Lancashire to Edinburgh and back.

If you are funding this youself, believe me, it ranckles a lot after a while irrespective of how well they drive.

As for the insurance, Group 15, 16 and 17 for the models above is ridiculous and I could never get my head round this.

After running a Passat tdi for a couple of years it has made me think carefully about petrol cars, no matter how good they are and how long they last, because the bottom line is they still cost a lot to run week in week out.....

Avensis vs Legacy - nick
My Legacy is a 2.2GL saloon, manual, 2000 W reg. I get around 33-35 mpg on mainly motorway driving and some town/rural roads. Not brilliant, but not bad for the performance. I know I could get a lot more with an oil burner but I have to let my heart rule my head sometimes!
Avensis vs Legacy - Stargazer {P}
With the newer 2.5 litre engine (one cam per side) the fuel economy is slightly better, I used to get 35mpg on long runs at 100-130kmh
(60-80mph) and 25mpg around country towns and short drives in mountainous country. I didnt do any city type commuting. I used to reckon with a 65l tank getting 650+ km (over 400miles) before the fuel warning light came on.

I really dont understand the insurance groups, these are low-middle group insurance in Oz, but I think the spares/repairs situation is better there being part of the asia-pacific region. The Outback was even the best rated SUV for cost of repair for a low speed smash.
I think it must be based on rarity and cost of repairs.

One thing I have noticed is that wherever there is a good subaru dealer the number of subaru's on the road increases astronomically!

Ian L.
Avensis vs Legacy - Martin Wall
I had an Avensis about 18 months ago as a hire car for a week - absolutely horrible to be honest - worse than the car it replaced (Carina E) in my opinion. Quite cramped and with a horrible gearbox and lifeless steering. I'm sure it'll be reliable but you can do better than this. A Honda Accord would be a better bet IMHO - especially given the new model depressing values of the previous version.
Avensis vs Legacy - Martin Wall
I meant to say: if you do get a Subaru make sure you have a Subaru dealer nearby that you can use for servicing as there aren't many dealers and they aren't always in easy to reac locations.
Avensis vs Legacy - CM
Having had to change my car 18 months ago for the same reason (a 3 series) I do not think that it is totally necessary to change your 5 series, or is this not your first kid?

If this is your first then it is only really the pram that is going to be the problem. I used to pile the back seat up and fill the boot of my E36 (which is much smaller than a 5) and could probably have got away with buying a roof box for the occassions when I needed a lot more space.

What's the 5 series saloon boot? 500 litres or near? Buy a big roof box that can take a similar quantity and you have a 900/1000 litre capacity for £300 rather than changing your cars.

Even with 2 kids, 1000 litres is probably enough and more than an estate (without a 'box) as you have to have the back seats up for the chairs.

Me, I have an estate and will be getting a box shortly to fit in number 2 when she arrives as well as all the rubbish SWMBO thinks is vital and then never uses!! so will have the best of both worlds.
Avensis vs Legacy - DavidHM
I'm not sure I have a useful opinion on this one - my heart says Legacy, but maybe it's saying anything but Avensis.

I have just discovered that an old friend of mine (whom I never see but am often in contact with) has one of the last old shape Avensiseseseses. I can ask for her opinion if you like.

In any case, how much are you looking to spend, and how new/low mileage would be the minimum you'd consider? Is it just a straight swap for the BMW, or would you be willing to put more money towards it? For an extra £7k you could look at a Mazda6, but I suspect that's too much.
Avensis vs Legacy - ian
Well thanks for the (as usual) wide ranging and informative replies. The subaru comments confirm my worst fears about ownership namely 27mpg at best and realistically £300 more on insurance. Much as I love the solid, rally inspired engineering of the subaru I can't escape the economics of ownership and as jd commented it does start to wear you down at the pumps! The 528 does around 24mpg when cruising around urban roads (30mpg in mixed running), great car, great drive but I couldn't handle two petrolholics in the house.

With the avensis 2.0 vvti in say CDX form I gain a state of the art petrol engine which will probably return 35mpg. it also has the full range of electronic brake and handling systems including stability control. Will probably cost £600 p.a less to insure and fuel than the subaru. Plus easier to find in the right colour and spec. I'll check the ride and handling on a test drive. I have read several reviews where the handling is described as competent and underrated so I'll see.

The legacy saloon is an excellent car depreciates mcuh faster than the estate, had an unaccompanied test drive(!) in one a while back, badge snobbery aside and as a drive no less entertaining than the 5 series for 60% of the cost.

Take the comment about the roof box idea but it is more a case of load length than out and out litres. I doubt the pram will even fit in the bmw compact and in the 5 series it needs to come apart whereas the carina hatch just swallowed it!

I'm really looking to sell the compact may be add up a grand and get an x or y avensis cdx hatch with 40k miles. The equivalent legacy 5dr would seem to be a 99v with 70k miles. So the toyota is younger, better equipped, better built? cheaper to run and more widely available...should be a no brainer. I'll let you know how I get on!
Avensis vs Legacy - MB
I run an Avensis estate and it's been V good. bought with 80K on the clock and it has not missed a beat in 20K. Handling is not fantastic but I rarely go on country roads. Great economy, sits a 90 on motorway very hapilly and does close to 40mpg. Cheap to run and it always starts...
Only downside in not a huge boot - there are much bigger estates.
You can't beat it for the money
Avensis vs Legacy - Martin Wall
Actually - if you want a good value Japanese estate what about the last of the Mazda 626s in estate form - not exactly exciting but likely to be very reliable. Fords of Winsford www.fow.co.uk had a few when I last looked on their web site...

inserting brackets around the URL link stops it becoming a clickable link. DD.

Value my car