Driving through downtown Anchorage a couple of years ago I came to the conclusion that the state car of Alaska must be the Subaru.
You??™d expect to see Jeeps and Hummers in a land where the sun only comes out five hours a day in the winter, and there are a few. But in the few cities of Alaska, the streets pretty much stay plowed in the winter, so what people really value is impeccable traction and bullet-proof reliability.
That, my friends, is what Subaru is all about. They may not always be real pretty, but Subarus run seemingly forever and grip the road like a hungry python latching onto its first meal in a month.
These are comfortable, safe, refined, but affordable cars.
I was reminded of this when I spent the week in the pleasant company of a 2007 Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B. Despite a name that sounds more like the title of a file in the engineering department, the car is a quite competent European style performance sedan selling for around $34,000.
The 2.5 GT spec.B spearheads the sporty Legacy line. It combines a 243-horsepower turbo/intercooled engine with Subaru??™s Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) that allows the driver to select from among three levels of engine performance.
Introduced in 2006, the 2.5 GT spec.B is a major evolution over the 2006 model, gaining a number of significant enhancements, including: a modified version of the 6-speed manual transmission from the Impreza WRX STI; the advanced Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability and traction control system; a TORSEN limited-slip rear differential; a new interior design, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Carried forward on the model is a Bilstein suspension with inverted front struts, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and high-performance tires. The 6-speed transmission is tailored to suit the spec.B??™s refined driving characteristics and features unique gear ratios and smoother shifting operation than the version used in the WRX STI.
Don??™t let all the performance goodies trick you into thinking this is some sort of race-track bouncy muscle car. The car has a smooth ride and is quiet. The cabin is as refined as one might expect in this price range. Seating was ample and attractively trimmed in two-tone leather.
The Legacy has been recognized as a safety leader, garnering the highest award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety??”???Top Safety Pick, Gold?????”in the midsize car segment, and achieving the highest rating in frontal offset, side and rear impact tests. Legacy has also received 5-star ratings for driver and front passenger in the NHTSA??™s frontal impact tests.