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by Ted Grozier
or the 2000 model year, Subaru has completely redesigned the Legacy/Outback range. The car has grown slightly, received an excellent new interior, and been given a modest power increase.
It continues to be sold in Legacy form under the Brighton, L, and GT trim levels; the previous Sport Utility Sedan moniker has been dropped in favor of "Outback Limited Sedan." Outback and Outback Limited wagons are again available and are expected to remain the most popular models.
Styling changes are best appreciated in the sedan; it in particular is vastly more attractive than its predecessor. Fashionable jeweled headlamps and an enlarged grill opening have been added to all models, while the car's lines have been strengthened throughout. The controversial hood scoops on Outback models have been deleted.
Not just a pretty face
Improvements to the unibody go beyond vanity, though. The new structure is greatly stiffer, offering twice the longitudinal bending resistance and 20 percent greater torsional strength than the outgoing model. We noticed a more composed ride over rough surfaces and a near absence of shakes and rattles, even on our pre-production test car. What we thankfully did have occasion to experience is the claim of increased crashworthiness, although we will take Subaru's word for it.
2000 legacy wagon
Subaru’s 2000 Legacy Wagon.
The wheelbase has grown almost an inch to 104.3, while overall length is up just shy of three inches to 184.4 and 187.4 for the sedan and wagon, respectively. Both increases provide more passenger and cargo space, but the biggest improvement in roominess comes from the new multi-link rear suspension. It frees five additional inches between the rear wheelhouses yet retains the same wheel travel of the previous strut design. In the wagon, three large suitcases will now fit standing upright.