Subaru estate car - Pancholi
I am thinking of buying a Subaru estate car. It would be either a Legacy estate or a Forester estate, about 2003 version for about £9000. Can anyone say much about the difference between these two cars and which would be best. I have three teenage children so I need room in the back.
Subaru estate car - Wilco {P}
Transmission tunnel makes 3 a bit of a squeeze in the back of my 05 Legacy Tourer. Forester might be better in this respect.

Otherwise fundamentally the same car (depending on which engine choices you are considering) - same transmission with a different body on top.

Espada on here had a Forester until recently, he now has a Leggy, so might be able to provide a direct comparison size wise?

Subaru estate car - archcarman
Can't speak too highly of Forester. 30k of intensive motoring, and no faults, not even a set of tyres needed. Normally aspirated version is a bit flat at bottom end but quite frisky once you get going. Turbo would be better if you have a penchant for speedy driving.
Good handling, brakes, steering. Quite good ground clearance and a worthy alternative to a Freelander, especially manual non turbo version which has low transfer gears. Excellent for lugging a caravan off a muddy field or a boat trailer up a slipway. Good over speed bumps too.
Inside, comfy seats/ good flat luggage space. Not vast in back seat, but okay. Depends how big driver is. I managed (at 6' 5") to get teenage daughters in behind me, but was a little tight.
Downsides?
Fuel consumption average and no diesels in range (same goes for Legacy). Dealer network a bit thin on ground in some parts of country (check Subaru website).

Tried Legacy when buying Forester. Slightly put off by narrow footwell and found that since handbrake is on right hand side of transmission tunnel, it could dig into your leg. Probably wouldn't matter if you were driving automatic.
Subaru estate car - Nsar
On the Legacy are you talking pre or post facelift /new interior which took place around then? I think there's a big difference I believe and with a further minor facelift since I think it would be worth making sure you're not buying a car that will be harder to sell-on

I have an 04 Legacy which has been fault free over 16k miles in 9 months. I put 4 new tyres on at 32k and just put new pads on at 34k.

I've had a very bad back which I am beginning to think has been aggravated by the car in that it got worse during 2000 miles of hols driving and since using a lumbar support I have seen a major improvement.

It is sports tourer so I'd imagine that true estates will give you more rear room. My kids are younger than yours so it's not an issue - yet
Subaru estate car - Happy Blue!
I have just come out of a Forester and gone into an Outback (Legacy Sports Tourer on stilts!). The wheelbase of the Legacy is longer than the Forester, (2525mm vs 2670mm) but is lower (1585mm vs 1545mm) so the rear legroom does not appear to be hugely greater than the Forester. The boot is much longer though.

I had a Forester XT Auto and was delighted with it and would have kept had my father not 'stolen' it from me - I just 'had' to buy a new car - sigh.

Not sure either car is ideal for three adult size children in the back although three young children on booster seats was fine in the Forester and would be more than fine in the Legacy.

The Legacy is a more refined car than a Forester, but I'd happily drive either.
Subaru estate car - hillman
A salesman showed me over a Forester and was I quite tempted until I tried to get into the back seat. I only take size ten shoes, but I got tangled up between the back seat cushion and the door pillar. At the time I was giving lifts to a couple of old ladies, sadly now deceased. I couldn?t imagine getting them in and out easily. If your family are growing you had better go for a Legacy. Much more space for sports kit in the back.

I have a Legacy now, and I'm hoping to trade for an Outback shortly.
Subaru estate car - Marc
"Not sure either car is ideal for three adult size children in the back although three young children on booster seats was fine in the Forester and would be more than fine in the Legacy."

Espada - does the pre facelift (ie 05/55 plate) Forester have three proper belts in the back or is the centre a lap belt? Do you reckon you would be able to get two child seats and a booster in the rear OK? Do you have any experience of the auto versions of these, both standard and turbo?

Reason I ask is that we have been considering a Forester but not yet been able to get to a dealer to check it out (non local) The other car we're looking at is a CRV 2.0 auto

Thanks
Subaru estate car - Nsar
FWIW, my 04 Legacy has 3 x 3 point belts in the back, so I'd guess the newer Forester has too.
Subaru estate car - Happy Blue!
Sorry for the delay in replying.

My old Forester (03 53 XT auto) had three full belts in the rear. Two child seats and a booster is just possible I think. Certainly had two boosters and a car seat in the back once.

I loved my Forester and Dad had a non-turbo Forester auto which we traded in for my Outback. The non-turbo was more than satisfactory in terms of torque and power and the newer Foresters have a new 163bhp NA engine which makes the old (mine) 2.0XT pointless.

As I have said before, I would have been very happy to keep my Forester and considered buying a new Forester auto without turbo, but the Ouback was such good value!

The Forester is a far superior drive in every way to a CRV (and I like Hondas). It is an Imprezza jacked up by two inches so is far more car like to drive, than a purpose built softroader.
Subaru estate car - AlastairM
I had a test drive in a 2004 Forrester 2.00Xt on Saturday and that had 3 3-point seatbelts in the back. I found it quite roomy but have been driving a BMW convertible for a while and no doubt that coloured my judgement. Excellent to drive also, very well put together, solid and secure on the road.
Subaru estate car - Marc
Thanks for the replies, will have to get round to going to the dealer. I would like the Forester to be more suitable than the CRV (and convince SWMBO) as I get the impression they're a superbly engineered machine, plus there's more rarity. CRVs are very common on the roads.

Only drawback is that main dealers are thin on the ground - but they do seem to be independently owned outfits with enthusiasm for the marque as opposed to large multi-nationals
Subaru estate car - Aprilia
Bear in mind that any 4x4 estate car (like Forester/Outback) will be a bit less space efficient than a FWD estate car like an Avensis or Mazda6. The 4x4 drivetrain takes up some room and also reduces the mechanical efficiency and adds weight. If you're really after rear space then a conventional FWD car might be a better bet.
Subaru estate car - Marc
Aprilia, I wish. SWMBO and the kids are so used to the raised ride height of various 4x4s that they don't want to go in my Vectra (SRi granted) at all anymore. Too low, too bumpy, claustrophobic, "I feel sick" etc.

I don't want an all out off roader for economy reasons and don't want to go down the MPV route so the CRV or Forester are the cars I've narrowed it down to. I'm not in a rush to change mind you as I really rate my Vectra. The Forester appeals because it should be a good driver and it is the most car-like of the two. I seem to recall that you also rate Subarus IIRC.
Subaru estate car - Ed V
HJ has reported that the Legacy is the best buy, for a large Estate! Their reputation means you can easily go back a couple of years on the 'competition' and get a much lower price than if buying a Volvo for example. The Forester is effectively a 4x4 Focus, size-wise, whereas the Legacy is a big vehicle.
The 2.5 is ample power, unless you're a lights-racer, especially on a manual box. There will be cheaper cars to run but over 3 years, who's counting the odd £1,500 more than a Mondeo TDCi?
I have an Outback and love it - money is only spent on essentials with Subaru and there's no 'badge' premium.
The 'Luxury' pack versons, with climate control, leather etc., on an '03 plate will be a great buy now, as the new shapes came out in '04 - and anyway look a little prissy for my liking. No need to worry about mileage - 250,000 is easy for Scoobies. Their boxer engines are smooth as silk.
Subaru estate car - hillman
I have recently changed from a Legacy 2.0L auto to an Outback 2.5L auto. The different revolutions / torque characteristic of the 2.5L engine make it a much easier task to reverse up my garden path. The path is steep and narrow, with the house wall on the driver's side and a low wall over a drop on the other; very unforgiving if you get it wrong. The Legacy needed very careful throttle, and even then was jerky because the slope varies. The Outback is much closer in performance to my 3 litre Wolseley, which does it a smoothly as silk.
Now that I can do it in daylight I will fit additional reversing lights so that I feel safer in the dark. The existing reversing light, only one, is too high, unfocussed, and shines everywhere but where it is needed.
 

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