Remember, remember, remember "that" day? The day Subaru became legendary as one of its cars - Colin McRae's Impreza - claimed the World Rally Champion of 1995. All of a sudden everyone wanted a slice of the action - and they could have it. Why? Because there was a production version that was relatively affordable and practical considering its performance. This evolved via new models in 2000, 2005 and 2007 some of which were also available in estate guise. The hatchback model followed in 2008. Now, rally fans argue over which is "best", but whatever version a second-hand buyer favours there is one issue to remember. Cars of this nature tend to be prized by boy racers that thrash their toys via hard cornering, late braking, and high engine revolutions. Bad news for the next owner. Warning signs include excessive wear on the outside of the tyres and countless invoices for new brake pads, etc. If the motorist is buying privately, the seller's attitude can also indicate how the vehicle has been driven. Furthermore, some have been modified with various "enhancements" that can - if not suitable or fitted properly - cause reliability issues and make the car look silly. So, best treat a potential purchase with extreme caution. If there was ever a vehicle to have checked by an independent specialist, this is it.
Remember, remember, remember that there is more to this manufacturer than fast cars for boy racers. The 2003 to 2009 Subaru Legacy Sports Tourer, for starters, is a spacious load-lugger that has standard-fit four-wheel-drive. Very nice too. So, whereas it is not a hard-core mud-plunger it is more capable than most estate cars when the road turns to slush. Furthermore, thanks to its comparative rarity it suits those that want something reasonably exclusive. The Legacy is also nice to drive, luxurious, beautifully equipped and built to last - plus its badge is respected by those "in the know". Such qualities are reflected in the second-hand values so expect to cough-up a fair pile of cash. The 2010 version is pricer still, but there is a pre-2003 model for those on a tight budget. The Subaru Legacy complements the 2008 to 2012 Subaru Forester which is a traditional looking, four-wheel-drive, off-road vehicle. This workhorse is capable over the rough stuff and reasonably comfortable on the road. The 2013 version is better still and looks more modern and stylish. It has a nicer interior too. And remember, used buyers should check for signs of an extreme off-road life such as underfloor damage, special tyres and a winch.