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Legacy V Impreza roadholding ability


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7 replies to this topic

#1 urabus1995

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 09:58 AM

I was wondering if any of you have driven an Impreza on very winding roads. I have a few friends who drive them, and they all say that the cornering ability of them is truly outstanding.
How does a Legacy compare in this dept.?
I drive to work on very twisty roads, and so far , even at fair speeds, I have never felt it loose traction. I have not pushed it too far though, because the consequences of leaving that road would be horrific.
I have never been on a track , or even a wide open space, to try to get it to slide, so I have no idea how far I can push it.
As far as I know, my TS type R Legacy, has race suspension etc., but I dont know if it compares to WRX for handling. I would love to know if anyone has had a decent drive in both ?
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#2 Setright

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 05:45 PM

I have owned a 1990 Legacy, and now own a 2000 Impreza. Even though my Legacy had softer suspension it actually had far better handling, not to mention steering feel. Also, a more solid brake pedal.

I have discovered that my non-turbo Impreza does not have a rear anti-roll bar, and I blame this omission for the less adjustable, more understeer-prone handling. I will be mounting one myself as soon as possible!

The two car's share the same suspension components and basic chassis, only he Legacy is slightly longer. Therefore the Impreza should be more responsive, and slightly less stable. The lower weight of the Impreza should mean higher cornering speed limits, but ultimately I think the Legacy's added stability will help inspire more confindence in normal drivers like us, and allow similar speeds.

Don't be fooled by Impreza drivers, we think we are going faster cause our cheaper cars are more noisy !

#3 urabus1995

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Posted 01 July 2004 - 03:45 AM

Thanks Setright. This is what I also thought. My girlfriends son, Andrew, imports Japanese sports cars for a living, here in Scotland. (he even sells them in Denmark and Sweden!).
He was the one who found me my Legacy in Japan. However, it is not the type of car he normally deals in, I think this is the only Legacy that he has imported so far. All of the Impreza's and Skylines and Supras etc that he deals in are all heavily modified.
What he did say, when I was looking for a car, was that he considered the wagon version of the Impreza to have even better handling than the sedan. He put that down to its slightly longer wheelbase. I never really agreed with that,-------------it did not seem to make sense to me. However, the wagon version he was talking about was a very special machine, STI version with a lot of modifications to suspension and engine and brakes. As you rightly say, having the necessary components, like a roll bar, or stiffer components all round, probably has a greater effect than the AWD layout that both cars share.
I do like the way mine handles, the steering is the best I have "felt" in any car I have had. It feels great when accelerating through sharp bends at slowish speeds (LOL) and inspires confidence. I dont experience understeer or oversteer at all, it just seems to go where it is told! I think the driving technique is quite different from a FWD car and once you adjust to that it really does perform well. Tyres and Rims also affect cornering obviously, but I am running on factory rims and pretty normal, new tyres.
I would still like to hear anyone elses views on this comparison.
For some reason, every second car around here seems to be an Impreza WRX, with Legacy's tending to be very uncommon, and usually belong to farmers or older people. None of the boy racers would even consider one!!
As you say , they go for noise and spoilers and skirts etc. pity they are missing out on the quality. I think.

#4 Setright

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Posted 01 July 2004 - 04:05 PM

The ultimate cornering speed is not related to how many, or which wheels are driving the car.
The collossal advantage offered by full-time AWD is a more progressive handling response during throttle position changes. You can be far more abrupt with the throttle and not end up punching holes in hedges...backwards! My Legacy has forgiven me a number of things through the years!

Still, as you mention, a lot relies on the driver. Smooth braking, turning in as you release the brake, not afterward, will do a lot to quell understeer. Presently, my roll-bar-deprived Imp requires a lot of this to avoid running wide!

#5 urabus1995

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 03:41 AM

Yeh Setright, I agree entirely with you about all of that. The question was really posed to try to settle an ongoing "discussion/arguement" about these two Subaru models. None of the boy racers here drive Legacy's, infact they are quite rare, and limited to older people who tend to be rural/farmer types who need the 4WD and lots of carrying space.
Impreza's on the other hand are very very popular, especially with the 20-30 yr olds. Our local dealer must have made a fortune out of that car!!
I suppose having McRaes rally car sittin in his forecourt for a long time started the whole thing off. The young guys just laugh at me when I say that the Legacy is a "better" car. I ignore their suggestions to test this out on the road, -------I am a bit older and probably have more sense than them.
I would still like to hear anyone elses opinions on the repective handling, if they have had experience of both ,like you have.

One other thing I would like to have opinions on:- wet and dry conditions ?

I am probably a bit overcautious when its wet, because I still cant believe that AWD has any ability to stop you sliding sideways on a wet surface, whatever Subaru claim in thier adverts/technical explanations of the system. Maybe others would disagree with me on that!!
I feel that once traction is lost in that direction, the whole car will slip until friction stops it again. If two wheels on one side lose grip, then the other two have to follow? they are joined together after all?
I can only see AWD having a counter effect to this if you are actually accelerating in a forward direction during a slip sideways, as you are putting a lot of force back on the road. I dont think it will prevent the sideways loss of traction at all. Does anyone disagree??

#6 Setright

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 10:57 AM

Me again!

I also tend to take it easy in the wet, mainly because the AWD allows you to gain speed so easily, and fools you into thinking that anything is possible. Keep in mind that we cant stop faster than any of the 2wd's around us!

AWD can help catch slides in the wet, more so than a 2wd. Neutral throttle, the back end starts to slide....accelerate! This presses the rear wheels down and will help them regain grip. Doing this in a FWD will almost certainly result in a four wheel drift, because the fronts have to put down all the power, and simply join in the slide.
A RWD would require even more care, because you risk spinning the rear wheels and pirouetting off the road.

A tyre can "generate" only so much grip, for a given weight pushing down on it. Forget the old adage about not being able to turn and brake at the same time, it's not true. The TRUTH is that you cannot generate maximum cornering force at the same time as generating maximum acceleration or de-celeration. However, half of both is perfectly possible, and perhaps you only need 10% of one, and 70% of the other. Braking whilst turning into a bend is good thing, because the car leans forward and pushes the tyres into the road, and help generate more lateral grip. Of course it just wont work during the stage where you are braking as hard you can.
So, correcting a front wheel slide, will actually require a small amount of pressure on the brake pedal...

Legacy and Impreza are equals, it is just that Imprezas tend to have more power and more sports oriented suspension.

Although as Leonard Setright once wrote in CAR Magazine: If done properly, what is good for grip, will also be good for ride.

#7 cookie

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 12:02 PM

but I have found driving a legacy wagon on winding New Zealand roads to be a very good experience. I usually have a couple of people in the car and want to make time without making them uncomfortable. The legacy does this quite well. The WRX is a boy racer that will flog most classic sports cars. Everything is very different and I don't feel the comfort and ability to relax I get in a Legacy. Both cars are fun, but are built for different purposes.
My Forester handled very poorly before I added the 15% stiffer struts and the WRX rear bar. Now it is nicely balanced in a corner and drifts evenly with both ends.
I am sorry to say that these are the only models I have driven, the several Legacys have been my choice as best handling for an everyday driver.
I have the Forester since it fits the things I like to haul and fits better in my second car space than a Legacy.

#8 s'ko

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 01:50 PM

I have an 2k OBS and my buddy has a 1996 OBW. Now comparing the two cars is apples and oranges b/c I have a 20mm rear anti-sway bar and front strut bar, but I think that in stock form I would have been able to out drive his wagon.

I drove with him in the local mountains and I felt the car steered a bit heavy compared to my OBS.

But then again he has tons more room than I do.

I am sure that a lowered OBW w/suspension mods could hang w/a stock WRX.

BW




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