To many folks, the voice of the small import automaker, Subaru, carries with it an Australian accent. That’s courtesy of actor Paul Hogan, aka Crocodile Dundee, who became synonymous with Subaru and its line-up of sport-utility vehicles, dubbed Outback, when they were launched a couple decades back. The utes – and the memorable ad campaign – helped revive the then-foundering brand, but also shifted Subaru’s focus from mainstream sedans and coupes to SUVs and ute-like crossovers.
With the launch of the 2010 Subaru Legacy a midsize four-door, the Japanese-based maker is circling back on itself. It’s by no means walking away from the truck-like products that have proved its salvation – indeed, helped it maintain nearly flat sales in a market where even Toyota is down, for the year, by more than 30%. But with its market share at record levels, and brand awareness booming, as well, Subaru is betting a better-equipped and more stylish sedan can gain traction against more mainstream marques, like Nissan and Volkswagen.
TheDetroitBureau.com headed for the Pacific Northwest to get some stick time in the 2010 Legacy, which had made a semi-official first appearance as a “concept” car, at the Detroit Auto Show, last January, and then reappeared in full production trim at February’s Chicago Auto Show.