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Old 10-05-2004, 10:14 AM   #1
Jon [in CT]
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Default Consumer Reports Will "Recommend" Legacy GT in Nov Issue

Consumer Reports issued a press release yesterday about the results of tests on four "sporty midsized sedans" at http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=37454.
Quote:
Consumer Reports Rates Acura TSX Best Overall in Tests of 4 Sporty Sedans;
Audi A4, Subaru Legacy GT Finish Close Behind with 'Very Good' Ratings;
Volvo S40 Distant 4th with 'Good' Rating


10/4/2004 10:01:00 PM


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To: National Desk, Consumer Reporter

Contact: Douglas Love of Consumer Reports, 914-378-2437, dlove@consumer.org

YONKERS, N.Y., Oct. 4 /U.S. Newswire/ -- By a slim margin, Consumer Reports rated the Acura TSX best overall in tests of four sporty, midsized sedans for the November issue. The TSX was one of three cars in the group to achieve a "Very Good" overall rating. The others were the Audi A4 and the Subaru Legacy GT. The Volvo S40 finished with a "Good" rating.

Three of the cars tested, the TSX, A4, and Legacy GT, are powered by four-cylinder engines; the S40 has a five-cylinder powerplant. The TSX, A4, and S40 are all front-wheel-drive vehicles, while the Legacy GT has all-wheel drive. As-tested prices for this group range from $28,600 for the Volvo to $30,900 for the Audi.

"The Acura TSX and Subaru Legacy GT provide the best balance between sportiness and roominess," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test center in East Haddam, Connecticut. "The Audi A4 and Volvo S40 are pleasant to drive, but aren't very sporty and have very tight rear seats."

Full tests and ratings of the four sporty sedans appear in the November issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale October 5. The complete report is also available to subscribers of http://www.ConsumerReports.org. The issue also includes an Auto Test Extra report on the new diesel-powered Volkswagen Passat TDI.

Consumer Reports is recommending two of the four vehicles in this test group, the TSX and the Legacy. CR will only recommend vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average reliability based on CR's surveys of its subscribers, and have performed adequately if crash tested or included in government rollover tests. The A4 has subpar reliability; CR does not have sufficient reliability information on the new S40.

Acura's TSX combines a very smooth powertrain with nimble handling, reasonable fuel economy, and a well-appointed interior. It's more agile and fun to drive than its corporate cousin, the Honda Accord. But it isn't as roomy and rides more stiffly. The TSX ($29,035 as tested) is powered by a 200-hp, 2.4-liter four- cylinder engine that revs smoothly and provides adequate performance. Its five-speed automatic transmission shifts very smoothly. Braking performance is very good overall. Reliability for the TSX is likely to be very good.

The A4 is a capable, well-finished car that's pleasant to drive. Its interior has exceptional fit and finish, but a very tight rear seat. Handling is fairly nimble, but the ride is stiff at low speed. The A4 1.8T ($30,945 as tested) came with a turbocharged, 170-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers good performance. Its continuously variable transmission (CVT) is one of the best ever tested by CR. Braking performance was very good. Reliability for the A4 has been worse than average in CR's subscriber surveys.

Redesigned for 2005, the Legacy GT combines a powerful turbocharged engine with sports-car-like agility and a comfortable ride. It's the sportiest and most fun-to-drive car in this group. The Legacy GT Limited ($30,797 as tested) is powered by a 2.5 liter, 250-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers the quickest acceleration of the four cars in this test group. The five-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. The brakes performed well overall. Reliability for the Legacy GT is likely to be average.

The Volvo S40 was redesigned and much improved for 2004. Handling is fairly nimble and the interior ergonomics are well- designed. But the S40's ride is stiff, its engine is the slowest of those in this test group, and its rear seat is very cramped. The S40 2.4i ($28,605 as tested) is powered by a 168-hp, 2.4- liter five-cylinder engine that produced a 0-60 mph time of 9.4 seconds. It's also noisy. The five-speed transmission is smooth. Braking performance is very good overall. CR doesn't have reliability data on this new model yet.

Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. CR has the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication; CR's auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To subscribe to Consumer Reports, call 1- 800-234-1645. Information and articles from Consumer Reports can be accessed online at http://www.ConsumerReports.org.
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Old 10-05-2004, 10:53 AM   #2
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Ya I bought it yesterday, they said the LGT was the best ride of the bunch, sportiest, and most "fun" to drive. And that if it weren't for the less than stellar fuel mileage they would have ranked it even higher.

Overall, I'm still very proud of the car.
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Old 10-05-2004, 12:09 PM   #3
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I read that issue today. Overall they really liked it and even said it compared favorably to a 40k BWM 530i (I think).

Aside from the mileage, they also complained that the rear end slid around if they went into a corner too fast and suddenly lifted the throttle. Well, duh! All that means is that the car understeers less than most, which is good if you have some clue how to drive.

That press release is a little misleading btw. The TSX won that comparo but is not the best in the whole category.

CR also lists the ground clearance as only 4.2 inches. Is that right?? The WRX has 6.1
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Old 10-05-2004, 12:53 PM   #4
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Of course, no mention of the Legacy's All-Wheel-Drive system.
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Old 10-05-2004, 01:12 PM   #5
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Funny how people always compare Subaru's to car that shouldn't be compared. In this case it looks like price was the factor, which atleast is one thing to look at. I'm reminded of the Crossfire forum that I stumbled upon where they were comparing the slow Crossfire to the faster Forester XT. Absolutely nothing was similar.

I've seen that 4.2 inch clearance somewhere else too. Maybe they measure from the base of the mudflap? It should be 5.9" Also any car test where you want to test the cars should all be done on the same tires. I didn't buy my Legacy with the supplied RE92's I requested and received at no cost Blizzaks (5 of them).
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Old 10-05-2004, 03:52 PM   #6
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What would you compare it to?

It seems the market considers it a sport sedan, which is fair enough.

The tire issue has come up before. Most people don't swap out tires on new cars; they are part of the car as sold, just like the engine, tranny, etc.
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Old 10-05-2004, 04:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoDM
Of course, no mention of the Legacy's All-Wheel-Drive system.
Seeing on how it's Consumer Reports, I think that's accurate.

Most buyers don't give the slightest consideration to the drivetrain layout when purchasing a car.
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Old 10-05-2004, 05:50 PM   #8
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Exactly. CR is not by any means a magazine geared towards enthusiasts of anything. The fun to drive factor is what matters to most. Start rattling off stuff about the benefits of all wheel drive vs. FWD and you're going to confuse a lot of the buying public that relies on CR for information like this.
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Old 10-05-2004, 05:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoDM
Of course, no mention of the Legacy's All-Wheel-Drive system.
From the article:
"The TSX, A4, and S40 are all front-wheel-drive vehicles, while the Legacy GT has all-wheel drive."
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Old 10-06-2004, 02:05 AM   #10
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Some items from the article interesting to me:
  • 60-0 for the Legacy was 140 ft (the others ranged from 132-136 feet).
  • 0-60 for the auto Legacy was 7.5 seconds (the others ranged from 8.8-9.4 seconds).
  • Gas mileage was 18 mpg overall--11/27 city/highway (the others were 23-24 overall and 14-16/34-36 city/highway).
  • All headlamps were "good" except the TSX's that were "poor"!
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Old 10-06-2004, 02:46 AM   #11
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Compare it to other AWD cars.

say the G35x, the Passat, A4 AWD, S60 2.5T
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Old 10-06-2004, 04:34 AM   #12
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Of the four cars tested (TSX, S40, Legacy GT Ltd, A4 1.8T fwd), only two of the cars got the "CR Recommended" checkmark -- the TSX and the Legacy.

AWD is mentioned in several places, but not in the article describing the Legacy on page 68.


Here are some quotes from the magazine for those that haven't read it yet:


"The GT [Legacy] provides the most exciting driving experience of the group. It offers punchy acceleration, agile handling in routine driving, and a very nicely finished interior. It also has the most comfortable ride in this group. The GT would have scored higher in our Ratings except for its unimpressive 18-mpg fuel economy and a tendancy for the rear end to slide if a driver charges into a corner too quickly and suddenly lets up on the accelerator."
(quote from page 65).


"The Acura, Audi, and Subaru also require premium fuel, a concern with today's high gasoline prices."
(quote from page 64).


"The Acura TSX and Subaru Legacy GT provide the best balance between sportiness and roominess."
(quote from page 64).


"The Acura TSX and Subaru Legacy GT are better overall thanthe $35,000 Saab 9-3 and Jaguar X-Type, and the Legacy GT's driving experience is close to that of a $40,000 BMW 330i."
(quote from page 65).


"Most drivers found a comfortable seating position behind the tilt steering wheel, but there is no telescopic adjustment."
(quote from page 68, describing the Legacy).


"Head, knee, and foot room are adequate, but the low seat cushion lacks thigh support."
(quote from page 68, describing the Legacy).
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Old 10-06-2004, 08:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
The Acura TSX and Subaru Legacy GT are better overall thanthe $35,000 Saab 9-3 and Jaguar X-Type, and the Legacy GT's driving experience is close to that of a $40,000 BMW 330i.
Congrats Subaru.... that's the exact target you were aiming for, and it seems you hit the bullseye.
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Old 10-06-2004, 09:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubieStu
All headlamps were "good" except the TSX's that were "poor!"
I find that one hard to believe. The TSX projectors are considered one of the better ones in the industry rightnow - very nice cutoff and good light output (head over to the HID Forums and the lighting gurus there will tell you why) and it has HIDs, which of course some will debate back and forth on the functionality of them. I'd like to hear their reasoning for this statement. Maybe they were talking about the quality of the entire assembly? The Legacy ones from what I can tell and have read are very good halogen projectors. I'm waiting for them to come in HIDs myself
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Old 10-06-2004, 09:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diabolical1 CC
Compare it to other AWD cars.

say the G35x, the Passat, A4 AWD, S60 2.5T
The problem is that the reviewers seem to see the LGT as just a sporty car, not an AWD sporty car. This may be good, since Subaru wants to expand sales outside the snow belt. OTOH, a winter comparo of AWD sporty cars would be a much smaller field and one in which the LGT would do very well and definitely be the leader in value for money.
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Old 10-06-2004, 09:58 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diabolical1 CC
Compare it to other AWD cars.

say the G35x, the Passat, A4 AWD, S60 2.5T

Why? What's the point? How would the A4 AWD have differed so much from the A4 FWD that they tested with?

People don't say "I'm going to go buy a car today and it must have AWD." They say, "I'm going to go buy a midsidzed sedan today under $30k." AWD is nothing more than a feature on the window sticker that may not play much importance at all in the buying decision.
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Old 10-06-2004, 11:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank3
I find that one hard to believe. The TSX projectors are considered one of the better ones in the industry rightnow - very nice cutoff and good light output (head over to the HID Forums and the lighting gurus there will tell you why) and it has HIDs, which of course some will debate back and forth on the functionality of them. I'd like to hear their reasoning for this statement. Maybe they were talking about the quality of the entire assembly? The Legacy ones from what I can tell and have read are very good halogen projectors. I'm waiting for them to come in HIDs myself
Consumer Reports is scrupulous about setting up and testing their cars. They also purchase them, which makes them just like the real world, rather than getting a tester that might be goosed or wrung out, dependent upon where a magazine sits in the reviewing stratosphere.

Generally, if CR says that something like that sucks, then it does...to them. It's also a question of template. I recall back when I was reviewing concerts, a guy asked me how I thought a show was going to be. I didn't know, I replied, but based on the band's past shows and latest CD, I wasn't optimistic. He argued, and I asked him how many shows he'd been to that year. His answer was eight. That night's show was going to be my 250th or some such set seen by a band. The point was a finer filter for assessing a performance. Most people have driven a few cars. CR drives darn near everything, and they are trusted for good reason. Many people disagree with them, however, which is their right.

Kevin
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Old 10-06-2004, 11:34 AM   #18
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Dave G's excerpts are also interesting, particularly the lift-throttle oversteer, a distressing tendency for the uninitiated, or those coming from FWD, which teaches people, when they get into trouble, to get out of the throttle.

Also, there was only a four-foot difference in the Legacy and the other cars, which I think is more in line with real-world braking performance than the Car & Driver test, which had the GT with a frightening braking distance, compared to the other cars.

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Old 10-06-2004, 12:34 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bull3964

People don't say "I'm going to go buy a car today and it must have AWD." They say, "I'm going to go buy a midsidzed sedan today under $30k." AWD is nothing more than a feature on the window sticker that may not play much importance at all in the buying decision.
That depends where you live. In the snow belt its pretty important. otherwise it may not be. I'm curious to see how the LGT does outside the snow belt i.e. whether people will buy it purely as a sporty sedan without caring much about AWD.
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Old 10-06-2004, 12:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wevrick
That depends where you live. In the snow belt its pretty important. otherwise it may not be. I'm curious to see how the LGT does outside the snow belt i.e. whether people will buy it purely as a sporty sedan without caring much about AWD.
Unless their marketing can persuade consumers into doing so, I don't see that happening. They have to be able to identify that it's not just for areas of snow but for 'all weather' traction or control...

People see this:

AWD=Snow [nothing more, nothing less].

That 'image' has to change in order for Subaru to sell well in other non-snow belt regions.
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Old 10-06-2004, 02:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigElm
Unless their marketing can persuade consumers into doing so, I don't see that happening. They have to be able to identify that it's not just for areas of snow but for 'all weather' traction or control...

People see this:

AWD=Snow [nothing more, nothing less].

That 'image' has to change in order for Subaru to sell well in other non-snow belt regions.
Agreed, but AWD is Subaru's core competitive advantage in the marketplace. Problem is, there are other priorities out there, and vast parts of the auto market, including the West, SWest and South and SEast probably don't "have" to have AWD, even in the higher end luxury market. Heck if they did, you'd see the AWD 3 series and G35 outselling their FWD cousins. And I'm sure at $2.00 a gallon, 25mpg in the city is a lot more attractive than 18mpg, especially when most if not all (depending on which part of those markets) of that mileage is on dry pavement, and people attribute AWD to poor gas mileage.
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Old 10-06-2004, 03:14 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wevrick
That depends where you live. In the snow belt its pretty important. otherwise it may not be. I'm curious to see how the LGT does outside the snow belt i.e. whether people will buy it purely as a sporty sedan without caring much about AWD.

I live in what can be considered the snow belt (or pretty damn near it) and I can tell you that AWD is not necessarly a consideration when I buy a car nor has it been for anyone else really that I've talked to.

My dad has been driving RWD vans since the dawn of time. I learned on a RWD van and FWD car. I have a coworker that's considering buying a new mustang for a daily driver. My friend bought a BMW 5 series as his primary car. His family is probably going to buy a new accord within the next year (they looked at the LGT but didn't like the amount of rear room it offered). Another coworker is going to be buying a FWD van.

This is the stance of most people I know "AWD would be nice, but it's really not necessary." Consider that a stability control system is more important to driver in most cases than AWD since roads are going to be plowed most of the time. Getting going usually isn't a problem, it's stoping and getting the car going in the direction you want that are the hard things. Really, the WRX can be a handful to control BECAUSE of the AWD in the snow. Sure, I can get it moving in almost any condition, but you feather that throttle a little wrong going around a corner and you are going to end up in a ditch on the side of the road.
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Old 10-06-2004, 04:07 PM   #23
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Where is the snow belt btw? Up here in Canada it snows everyday, not in the same place and for some area's it almost never snows, but somewhere it is snowing in Canada today.

AWD should be advertised by Subaru as being All Weather Drive. Show cars in the rain or snow or on gravel and dirt roads. This should and has been done by Subaru to some extent. I would like to see a car test done in real world conditions for a change, rather then postponed until the weather clears up. This is partly the reason I test drove an Impreza and Legacy in the rain this summer.

As for your friend who bought a Mustang as a daily driver, well he will love it as long as it is dry. And when it's wet or snowy, he will hate it as much as I did when I had my Mustang Cobra. I bought a Subaru because of AWD, 4 doors and price. Safety also had something to do with it.

Subaru need to advertise the Off road ability where it nevers snows. They do a good job in Australia perhaps they need to import some idea's from down under.
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Old 10-06-2004, 04:57 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diabolical1 CC
Where is the snow belt btw? Up here in Canada it snows everyday, not in the same place and for some area's it almost never snows, but somewhere it is snowing in Canada today.
Western PA. During the winter months, it pretty much snows every day. We get tons of rain here too all year long. The 'offical' snow belt doesn't start until I-80 which I am just south of, but we still get plenty of snow and ice.

I see plenty of mustangs and f-bodies running around year round without much issue, ditto with RWD pickups. No offense, but if you have trouble driving a RWD car when it's even wet out (especially something as heavy as a Mustang) then someone needs to learn how to treat the throttle as something other than an on/off switch.
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Old 10-06-2004, 05:07 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bull3964
I see plenty of mustangs and f-bodies running around year round without much issue, ditto with RWD pickups. No offense, but if you have trouble driving a RWD car when it's even wet out (especially something as heavy as a Mustang) then someone needs to learn how to treat the throttle as something other than an on/off switch.
Shhhh.. don't mention anything here unless it's that AWD is the end-all be-all of automobiledom.
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