Some car makers have even christened their load luggers with individual names, the likes of BMW, Audi, Alfa Romeo and Renault neatly side-stepping the use of station wagon and shooting brake for Touring, Avant, Sportwagon and Sport Tourer respectively.
While Subaru??ôs Legacy has been carrying the estate car tag for more than 15 years, recent times have seen the Legacy??ôs wagon derivative referred to as Sports Tourer, perhaps a title a little more in keeping with the smart good looks of its stablemate saloon.
In either saloon or estate guise, the Legacy has been a particularly familiar part of the country scene, the permanent four-wheel-drive set-up making it very much a car for all seasons and surfaces.
Subaru's flagship estate is the Legacy 3.0R SpecB Sports Tourer which features a much crisper, sleeker appearance than its predecessor with a deep grille, flanked by attractive-looking projector headlights, leading the way.
Strong bonnet crease lines swooping down to the front bumper combine with wider tracking, which fleshes out the wheel arches, to give the car a positive, muscular stance.
Further new styling cues also include more curvy front wings, side indicators built into the door mirrors, plus a less fussy rear tail lamp set-up.
Kit levels are hugely generous on board with cruise control, electric windows all round, powered and folding door mirrors, dual zone climate control, dual electric sunroof, front windscreen wiper de-icers, front fogs and six-speaker sound system with six-stacker CD including the audio controls on the steering wheel which is always a boon to driver safety.
Also coming as standard is a user-friendly satellite navigation system while there are six airbags, three-point seat belts for all occupants, active front head restraints and seat belt pretensioners for passive safety.
Never a disappointment in the previous Legacy range, interior space has been further increased with an extra half-inch of shoulder room and front seats which slide even further fore and aft in a cabin which is extremely well set out.
This very accommodating estate also boasts a large load bay, providing 459-litres of stowage space with all seats taken and 1,628-litres with the easy to fold 60/40 rear seats down, high opening tailgate and user-friendly wide loading entrance.
New, serviceable fabrics have been introduced to dress the facia, grab handles and roof lining. Surfaces are now quite soft to the touch and while there is a distinctly quality feel to the nicely damped indicator and wiper stalks.
Electro luminescent instruments on the dash combine with aluminium-effect strips to add a sporty touch to the SpecB Sports Tourer.
Before moving off it is worth lowering the window and tuning in to the quite soothing burbling sound emitted by the twin exhaust pipes, provided by the flat six punchy three-litre boxer petrol engine.
Fitted as standard is SI Drive (Subaru Intelligent Drive) system which allows the driver to painlessly select three completely different engine-response programmes to derive the benefits of Intelligent (urban driving and long haul cruising), Sport or Sport Sharp modes.
You??ôre very quickly made aware that stacks of power lurk beneath your right foot as, paired with a five-slot automatic gearbox with paddle-shift controls, the 245bhp 24-valve engine kicks in. The 0 to 60mph time is eight seconds, en route to a maximum speed of 147mph.
The gutsy three-litreR SpecB engine promises 28.5mpg over the combined driving cycle with a CO2 emissions level of 231g/km while the ride in all parts is generally firm but certainly not unforgiving.
The Legacy 3.0R SpecB Sports Tourer is definitely a car for all seasons, permanent all-wheel-drive providing sure-footed grip whatever the conditions.
Overall, the Subaru Legacy 3.0R SpecB Sports Tourer is a powerful, capable, useful, good-looking family wagon with quality sporting pretensions. But, while it boasts a competitive starting price, when weighed up against some of its rivals, running costs may prove a little high - and there is no diesel option.
Subaru Legacy 3.0R spec B Auto Sports Tourer
Price : ??29,495
Mechanical : 245bhp, 3,000cc, 6cyl petrol engine driving all four wheels via 5spd automatic gearbox
Max speed : 147mph
0-62mph : 8 secs
Combined mpg : 28.5
Insurance group : 16
CO2 emissions : 231g/km
BiK rating : 33%
Warranty : 3yrs/ 60,000 miles, 3yrs paint, 12yrs anti-rust