WHAT AN ATTITUDE
IT HAS been something of a Subaru-bonanza in the Road Rave offices these past few weeks.
With back-to-back test drives of three different models, it has given us an ideal opportunity to line them up against each other and test their capabilities in conditions for which they are designed.
All three are totally different beasts and while the Subaru is gaining in popularity with the mainstream motoring genre and remains a legend in rallying circles, it's still largely a brand that remains on the outer edge of so-called "acceptability."
And long may it remain like that.
So take a seat, strap yourself in and enjoy the ride while we take a look at this iconic range of vehicles.
THE SUBARU IMPREZA RS
This is really the "baby" of the family ... if you can call a 2.0 litre engine producing 110kW of power a "baby".
Mind you, up against the more renowned and recognisable WRX, it is.
Re-launched mid-2009, it is your introduction to the Subaru family and gives you a taste of what it's all about.
Power her up and unfortunately that growl you associate with Subaru is missing, but don't despair, she will still misbehave if you want her to.
Like all three vehicles looked at here, the shell comprises four different types of steel, which is combined as a safety feature in the event of an accident. Basically, what it does is help spread impact throughout the vehicle so that it is not absorbed in one particular spot.
If space is a requirement, then the Impreza doesn't disappoint. A comfortable five-seater and an enormous boot should keep an average-sized family more than happy.
At R269000 it is good value for money. Cabin features include cup holders, a sunglass console and a CD player with four speakers.
Colour coded door handles and mirrors and 17-inch alloy wheels add to the look and safety-wise you have the usual ABS, airbags and hill assist.
Conclusion: An ideal way to join the Scoobie family. Affordable, different and still dishing out a dollop of attitude.
THE SUBARU LEGACY
Here we had the 2.5 litre GT, which is without doubt the King Kong of the Legacy range. With its engine coughing up a whopping 195kW and 350Nm of torque, there was only one place to enjoy its pleasures and that's the twisty-windy roads of Mpumalanga. So that's where I headed.
Activating the cruise control and the Legacy ate up those kilometres of the N4 with joy.
The vehicle possesses that Subaru grunt we are more familiar with and the AWD (all wheel drive) ensures the wheels can use the torque best for maximum traction - both on tar and on gravel.
A feature of this vehicle is the position of the engine, which is angled so that in the event of an accident, it is pushed under the car rather than back into the cabin.
Before that happens though, hopefully the seven airbags - front, side and curtain - would have been activated and the three passengers in the back would have been wearing their 3-point seatbelts.
In fact, the Legacy has such high safety features that it has earned the valued 5-Star Euro NCap safety rating.
No it's not cheap at R439000, but you are getting a lot of car for your outlay.
The ride is superb and the leather seats make a long journey enjoyable.
Electric parking brake, dual zone climate control and a superb 5-speed SportShift automatic gearbox are just a couple of features you will find on this luxury sedan.
Conclusion: Will give some of your more fancied German brands a run for their money in the mid-range luxury car stakes. Power and looks combine for a - excuse the pun - a deadly ride.