My Subaru Legacy B4 is just as good as, if not better, than the Subaru STi

Dear Baraza,

I am in the automotive trade and thus follow your column quite religiously. However, I beg to differ with your opinion on the Subaru Legacy Vs Subaru Forester discussion.

Having driven quite a number cars — starting from a Ford Escort at the age of seven — I settled on the Subaru Legacy BP5 B4 after going through the whole lot of Subarus. At first, comfortable seats drew me to Subaru’s because I have a bad back but now, I believe I am hooked onto Subaru for foreseeable future.

The Legacy B4 in its performance and acceleration is almost comparable with any Subaru STi. I had the opportunity to meet up with fellow Subaru enthusiasts on Mombasa road and I must say I gave them a run for their money for trying to undermine my grey beard and grey Legacy B4.

I do believe Legacy has better road grip and handling than all of them. The adoptive driving on the car will take some getting used to in normal mode but the beast emerges when you turn to sports mode.

I would ask you to drive one for a few days and then we can have a chat. I also have a lot of experience and do extensive reading on the automotive industry, please don’t hesitate to contact me for any assistance.

Idris Jiwaji.

Hello,

“The Legacy B4 in its performance and acceleration is almost comparable with any STi…”

Really? Unless you mean “unfavourably comparable”, what is the point of Subaru Tecnica International if the boggo Scoobies are in the same league as the skunkworks cars?

How much power does a B4 have; what, about 230hp? Even the little-known but much “feared” B4 RSK has to make do with 280hp.

This is the same output in the smaller, lighter, nimbler and rally-bred Impreza STi. The bus-like dimensions and sheer heft of the Legacy means it will not be seeing any Imprezas when the going gets industrial.

And then there is the Forester STi. The Forester was based on the Impreza floorpan, so in essence it is a slightly bigger Impreza with all the agility and handling to boot. The bonus is you have a school bus with which to ferry children at some speed.

Your “fellow Subaru enthusiasts” are the exact same clique that came after me with torches and pitchforks the day I presented them with the results of a showdown between a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI Extreme Edition and a Stage 2-tuned N10-spec Subaru Impreza WRX STi.

NOTHING TO LIKE

I think their thought processes rarely venture beyond the world of flat-four rumbles and symmetrical AWD.

If they told you your Legacy is faster than their Impreza STis then they most probably didn’t want you to leave early by telling you the actual truth. Sometimes we tell little fibs to avoid hurting other people’s feelings.

Do not expect that kind of treatment from Car Clinic. Around here, we state things as we have observed them, away from the jaundiced eye that is occasioned by the status of ownership.

You “do believe Legacy has better road grip and handling than all of them “, don’t you? I beg to differ.

That honour goes to the original Imprezas, the first-generation GC8/GF8 platforms.

They were small enough and light enough to worry Mitsubishi into turbocharging, intercooling and four-wheel-driving the Lancer thus creating the Evolution to try and balance out the rally playing field, otherwise Subaru would have had the entire championship entry list for lunch.

This is not easy to say but the early Evos were not as good as the Imprezas. That changed, though, when the Evo IV came out….

I have driven various shapes of Subarus in various states of tune and I must say nowhere did the Legacy stand out.

I did not like its comfort levels, I did not like its fuel consumption, the reliability of the GT is wanting, the naturally aspirated car is weak and that long wheelbase makes things tense when taking corners speedily. Agility is not exactly a plus point. Practicality is, though.

And that, sir, is why the Legacy was retired from rallying. It just couldn’t cut it.

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Dear Baraza,

Thank you for your informative column every Wednesday. I have a few questions that I hope you can answer. Some of the them will touch on the trending battle between Subaru guys and ignorant Mitsubishi Evolution guys like you.

1. What is the weight of the new model Toyota Premio and what is the weight difference between a 1500cc and the 1800cc of the same?

2. Which is the most stable SUV on Kenyan roads amongst the following: Range Rover Sport, BMW X6, Toyota Land Cruiser VX V8, BMW X5, Escalade, Range Rover Evoque?

I have seen the resilience of Subaru fans in a verbal competition against the ignorant Mitsubishi Evolution guys. First and foremost, the Evolution can never hit its exaggerated top speed on its odometer and second the Subaru Impreza WRX Sti is better in handling at high speed than the evolution.

Have you seen the Subaru WRX STi sedan 2013? Finally, let me refer you to another car that can show you dust while racing in your favourite Evolution — the Aston Martin. It’s a beast on the road and can beat the Evolution by far. It’s a beast if not a horse on the road.

Wainaina

The Range Rover Evoque is the most stable SUV on Kenyan roads amongst the following: Range Rover Sport, BMW X6, Toyota Land Cruiser VX V8, BMW X5 and the Escalade. PHOTO | FILE

The Range Rover Evoque is the most stable SUV on Kenyan roads amongst the following: Range Rover Sport, BMW X6, Toyota Land Cruiser VX V8, BMW X5 and the Escalade. PHOTO | FILE

“Ignorant,” he said. That is very brave of you, and also not very wise. Care to step outside?

1. The new Premio weighs around 1200kg. The weight difference between the 1.5 and the 1.8 is about 30kg (the 1.8 weighing in at 1230kg), but then again this depends on spec levels and whether or not the car has 4WD. There is the 1.8X L package ZRT model that weighs an extra 100kg (it’s at 1330kg) for reasons that are not immediately clear. Next time try and use the internet to get that information, because I just did.

2. Of the lot you mention, the Evoque is the most stable, especially around corners. There are others you have not listed, such as Porsche’s Cayenne and Macan… these are fearsome road-going SUVs that could easily out-run and out-handle any focused hatchback.

Interesting comment you have made there, and an extremely ignorant one too, to use your own terminology.

Where is all this coming from? What exaggerated top speed are you referring to? JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) Evos experience fuel cut at 180km/h, BUT SO DO THE IMPREZAS! This is following the gentleman’s agreement between car manufacturers not to allow speeds beyond 180km/h on the cars they make.

The fuel cut is a situation easily circumvented by removing the speed limiter, so you haven’t really made a point there.

COPY-PASTE JOB

The UK-spec Evolution cars are unlimited and will therefore top out between 260 and 270km/h; and yes, they WILL clock this speed.

Again this also applies to the Impreza; though for some reason, past UK-spec STis were slightly detuned to 265hp, down from 280, so 240km/h was the best they could hope for.

*Nota bene: speeds are read from the speedometer, not the odometer.

The Impreza does NOT handle better at high speed than the Evo. The use of mechanical diffs proved to be its undoing; and the much-vaunted symmetrical AWD and straight-line drivetrain looked good on paper but was rubbish at crunch time.

Which brings us neatly to your darling 2013 Impreza: the 2013 was just a saloon version of the visually unappealing and woefully undriveable N14 hatchback. Let us instead look at the newest one, the 2014 car.

What they have done is build an Evo and paste a Subaru badge on it…. and one oversize rear wing. Fuji Heavy Industries were forced to capitulate; conceding that electronic torque-vectoring diffs were the bees’ knees; and the only way to stop yobs from understeering into their neighbours’ back yards was to ditch the mechanical units.

Just to be sure, Subaru went ahead and photocopied the design of the Evo X too. The result is the newest WRX STi looks like the Chinese version of the car it is afraid of.

Your inclusion of an Aston Martin in this conversation suggests to me that you may be getting your information from a gaming console. How about we step back into the real world, eh?

___________

Hi Baraza,

I am always impressed by your exciting topics on Car Clinic.

I own a Subaru Legacy Lancaster 6, early last year the steering became stiff while negotiating a corner. When its stationed with engine still running and you try turn the steering to the end, it makes a funny sound from the engine. I have thoroughly cleaned the steering system and fluid.

Shady Oty

Check your fan belt. It must be slipping on the power steering pump pulley.

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Hi Baraza,

I recently bought a 1982 Mercedes W123. Kindly let me know what I am getting into in terms of ;

1. Speed (it’s a four-speed manual)

2. Spares

3. Comfort

Victor

Hello Victor,

This is what you are getting:

1. Speed: not much, especially by today’s standards. Even with the bigger engines, you still don’t get any bragging rights as far as outright speed is concerned.

2. Spares: what spares? The car is built out of a toxic mix of volcanic rock and German fastidiousness, it won’t break. Just try not to hit anything and you will be fine. That being said, parts will not be as common as you’d think; however, membership in an owners’ club should provide the necessary inside information on where to source for sundries.

3. Comfort: Neither here nor there. It will ride better than a lot of cars but do not expect anything ground-breaking or particularly special. It is an old car.

_________

Hi Barasa,

I am an ardent reader of your ‘Car Clinic’.

In reference to your article on March 11, just want to enlighten Patrick on the legal requirements needed for his vehicle .

First, the log book dictates it all. Type of vehicle — commercial. That is then taken up as a commercial vehicle and the insurers will always give you a commercial sticker. It is therefore prone to inspection. We call it class B in insurance.

Ask your insurance company to add in the number of passengers that can be conveyed in the vehicle since our “dear friends” will always corner you on that and also remember to put a big ugly “PRIVATE” in front of the vehicle. Please Ask Mr Patrick to contact me on this email for proper directive.

Andrew Denis

Mr. Patrick, I hope you are reading this. The email address in question is andysmithke@yahoo.com
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Hi,

Recently I parked my car on a downward facing slope.

The car was in (P) parking and the handbrake up. While leaving, I shifted to drive mode and put the handbrake down but heard a loud bang like my gearbox was about to collapse— I drive a VW and the common myth is that VW’s have gearbox issues.

My question is, in 2015, do we still need the handbrake? Since we have (P) Parking, which has the same function. what is the the use of a handbrake?

Alfred Fernandes

1. If your gearbox is broken and won’t go into P, how do you hold the car on a slope?

2. If for some reason you have children in the car and they manage to wiggle the gear lever into N (Neutral) or D (Drive), what will prevent them from unwittingly driving off?

3. P might make sense in automatic cars. What about those with manual transmissions?

4. How will we petrolheads perform handbrake turns?

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Baraza Jim,

Per your past articles, you confirmed that the KRA did not consider double cab pick-ups with canopies to be commercial vehicles. Do you have a regulation or documentation that I can reference.

Bill

That piece of information may or may not be formally gazetted. My statement was anecdotal and was sourced from experience at a police roadblock.

Police roadblocks do not issue regulations or documentation, and in some instances, when one is subjected to a routine traffic stop, anything goes.

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Baraza,

I believe you are biased in your stand against Matatus (they are still cars) but anyway, that is not my point.

I have been using Total Rubia G 6200 for a very long time on my matatus without any problems but recently a friend introduced me to a cheaper oil called DELO 6300 which he claimed was an upgrade of Rubia G 6200 equivalent called Delo 6200.

For the last one month I have noted an increase in the oil consumption in some of the matatus that are using what my friend claimed was an upgrade. This is clearly a downgrade for me.

Please help me Baraza, is it really an upgrade? Are the ‘’smart’’ sellers of this engine oil taking advantage of numerical ascendancy to hoodwink helpless buyers like me? Has anyone using the same oil noted this anomaly?

I am thinking of severing our friendship.

Martin

I rarely discuss matatus because 1. Nobody ever asks about them

2. Taking one on a road test just attracts the unwelcome eye of the law (and I do not, for one, have a PSV license) and

3. How many different models are there anyway? The few that operate currently are generally similar save for the badges and headlamps and have long model life spans (new models appear after a very long time).

Find out where the oil consumption is coming from. Make sure there isn’t increased blow-by, the valve seals are intact and the piston rings are in good shape.

Make sure there isn’t a leak anywhere. After confirming this, you can now find your friend and grab him by the neck. Is the 6300 from the same people who make the Delo 6200, or is it stuff from inside the sleeves of a snake oil merchant?

Those numbers are just fancy labels; what are the actual viscosity ratings and SAE numbers of these oils?

These are what will determine which oil to go for, rather than flashy nomenclature. If I was to come up with “Delo Rubia G 9000” tomorrow, would you buy it?

For the time being, go back to what you were using before. As they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

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