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1999 Subaru Legacy
A sporty sedan that can handle the backcountry makes a lot of sense, especially for Subaru. To create this new Legacy Sport Utility Sedan, Subaru started with the all-wheel-drive Legacy sedan, raised it off the ground a bit, modified the suspension, and added visual cues to give it an outdoorsy image. More than the sum of its parts, it’s a roomy sedan that’s enjoyable to drive and capable of taking on the worst roads in the world.
This rugged new sedan is based on Subaru’s big success with the Legacy Outback wagon. The Outback is simply a Legacy wagon pumped up a bit to better handle rugged terrain. It does the job magnificently and people have been snapping them up. Subaru’s sales soared after launching the Legacy Outback as “the world’s first sport utility wagon” back in 1996. In fact, few people buy the standard Legacy wagon anymore — most buy the Outback. For the past few years, Subaru has focused its efforts on hybrid vehicles and its Outback, Outback Sport and Forester have been hugely successful. So it was only natural that it introduce this Legacy SUS and call it “the world’s first sport utility sedan.”
There’s always the threat a new hybrid could become a marketing mongrel. But the success of the Outback and Forester indicate that there are plenty of folks out there who need to get down nasty roads or through deep snow and don’t want to drive a big, ill-handling, unwieldy trucks every day.