Subaru calls its lineup of 1994 Legacy station wagons "active-lifestyle" vehicles, and there is evidence that the description is an apt one. Our test vehicle, the '94 Subaru Legacy Outdoor TI Wagon Limited Edition, sported a luggage rack with both ski and bicycle attachments, flexible rear-seat storage, front and rear mud flaps and a removable cargo net. To further set the mood for traversing into the great outdoors, there's even a decal on the side of the vehicle featuring pine-tree graphics.
And it's all reasonably priced. Our Legacy Outdoor Wagon's MSRP was $18,750. For another $2,250, we got an option package that included air suspension, a rear stabilizer bar and the aforementioned luggage rack. Subtract the factory savings and we ended up with a final price of $19,445.
Upon first inspection, we found a vehicle that was built for people on the go. But would the vehicle itself go-in terms of acceleration? Not really, especially when it came to highway passing. And while we could perhaps forgive the lack of zip-it's a station wagon, after all-there were other areas that couldn't be as easily dismissed, most notably a cumbersome steering wheel assembly and limited entry through all four doors.
Our Legacy Outdoor Wagon was powered by a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine that moved us from 0 to 45 mph quickly. This hinted at the possibility of some truly responsive highway passing, but unfortunately that extra oomph never quite materialized.
Going down expressway ramps, we tried merging across two lanes and experienced only slight acceleration. And at 60 mph in fourth gear, our driver had his foot to the floor. Responsiveness was much better in lower gears, though: We quickly darted around a stalled car while in second gear.
Despite this wagon's lack of overall power, our drive was quiet and pleasing. The Legacy Outdoor Wagon's five-speed manual transmission shifted smooth and the four-wheel independent suspension provided a firm, sure ride. Our test vehicle came with an adjustable air suspension feature. We used it, along with the standard four-wheel drive, to successfully tackle snowy terrain.
Our Legacy Outdoor Wagon was touted as a sporty vehicle, and its impressively small turning diameter gave proof to that claim. Our driver used just one finger to turn the vehicle in a relatively tight circle.
Visibility on the whole was good, but because the passenger-side windshield wiper extended so far onto the driver's side, we think there could be problems due to streaking if the wipers ever got excessively dirty.
Our '94 Subaru Legacy Outdoor Wagon was certainly geared toward active people. Thanks to the flexible luggage rack and the roomy, well-detailed cargo area, this vehicle could accommodate you and all your gear.
Unfortunately, other areas were lacking. Entering the vehicle was a bit of a struggle, and adjusting the steering wheel simply involved too much jockeying. The engine didn't boast much acceleration on the highway, often requiring far more rpms than should have been necessary. If Subaru would smooth out these kinks, it would be easier for us to recommend this otherwise well-outfitted sport wagon.