Since it was raining for most of the day it seemed the AWD vehicles would be the only ones to get a real thorough test. Everyone who got in the new Corvette and Mustang were left knowing they couldn't' fully feel what those bad boys could do on a dry day.

One of the vehicles I was already interested in, and that happened to have AWD, was the new Subaru Legacy GT.

I hopped in the Regal Blue Pearl sedan and was off. The interior of the car was very nice, especially for a Subaru. Materials were solid to the touch and even the faux wood had a nice feel that was flat instead of the normal heavy plastic lacquer in most cars. The brushed steel look was also a winner. There might have been a bit too many contrasting colors and materials in this version but hopefully there are options for every taste.

The drive was exhilarating for what is supposed to be a family sedan. The gear box is so smooth and quick you?d think this was a sports car. A light clutch only assists the driver in getting the most out of the turbocharged 250 horsepower engine that has almost no noticeable lag. That alone was a huge surprise compared to the WRX STi and Saab 9-2x I drove later on. And there seems to be plenty of power on tap. Compared to a standard WRX or Saab 9-2X I?d actually choose the Legacy GT.

On the road the Legacy was quiet and responsive. Leather seats held me firmly in place while the Momo leather steering wheel felt great in my hands. There was absolutely no slippage on the wet blacktop thanks to the AWD. In the end it was the manual transmission that would be the essential option if I was purchasing this car. It was so silky that there could be no reason to go with an automatic.

Compared to the Legacy, the Saab 9-2x was a disappointment. Despite all I?ve heard about improved sound deadening materials the 9-2x seems as loud as any Subaru WRX I?ve driven. There was absolutely nothing remarkably different when compared to the WRX besides the exterior looks and the nice two-tone leather seats.

The 2005 WRX STi on the other hand might have been as loud as the Saab, but it had that added boost to 300 horsepower and lots of rally goodness to it too. I was very impressed by how fast this car really is, even if the turbo boost comes a bit late. The black color was a winner as well and a nice diversion from the blue shade every STi seems to sport. As I was headed back to the rally on the ?scenic route? I came up behind the Saab cousin at a light and notice the family resemblance as I looked over the huge hood scoop. But both seemed to be aging in the design arena and there is definite need for the Impreza to get a complete overhaul a la the Legacy.




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