HOW do you trade up from the storming Impreza WRX, you might wonder? But Subaru has a solution - the completely new Legacy saloons, Sports Tourers and crossover Outbacks.

On sale from November, the robust and efficient all-wheel-drive Legacy range starts at £15,750 on-the-road - identical to the price of the previous 2.0i saloon.

But other models show savings of up to £1,250 in the case of the Outback 2.5i (now £20,000), while the range-topping Legacy 3.0R starts at £24,250 for the saloon version.

Styling for the new Outback and Legacy is more European, yet sleekly distinctive, and the interior ambience matches the best in the sporting executive sector.

While the saloon and Sports Tourer models are principally for the road, the Outback is honed for more challenging terrain and conditions - ideal for those whose work or leisure takes them into twisting lanes and the wilds as well as town and motorway.

The symmetrical all-wheel-drive driving dynamics are even more involving, with the horizontally-opposed "boxer" engines and transmissions lowered and chassis and steering thoroughly revised for outstanding ride and handling.

These are no grumbling mud-pluggers - a new 245PS flat-six engine is fitted to the flagships giving 147mph potential in the Legacy 3.0R saloon and Sports Tourer (estate), 139mph in the Outback 3.0R.

These performance models have a slick new five-speed automatic transmission with sequential manual selection and are intended as a tempting trade-up for Impreza WRX owners seeking more space, refinement and even pace.

Not to be outdone, the two-litre and 2.5-litre both have more power - now 138 and 165PS - giving higher top speeds, yet are considerably more economical with figures similar to many two-wheel-drive rivals.

For example, the Legacy 2.5i automatic saloon is 7.1mpg better on the extra urban cycle at 46.3mpg.

Equally impressive is the Legacy 2.0i manual Sports Tourer which records 36.7mpg on the combined cycle - up by 5.7mpg.

Exhaust emissions show a spectacular reduction, meaning big savings for company car drivers.

The Subaru Legacy manual 2.0i Sports Tourer is rated at 20 per cent - seven per cent down on the old model.

The reasons for such running cost improvements are better aerodynamics and a typical weight reduction of 55kg.

Also helping are many low-friction improvements to the engine and AWD transmission. A new "constant pulsation" exhaust system, for example, provides more power and economy back-pressure. It also produces a new, sweeter-sounding boxer "burble".

Safety enhancements include active front head-restraints which reduce whiplash injuries during rear-end shunts, dual-mode front airbags which inflate according to the severity of the accident and brake and clutch pedals which effectively snap away under severe impact, protecting the driver's lower limbs.

All Legacy and Outback models also have side airbags large enough to protect the head and chest and anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution.

Curtain airbags are either standard or optional on many models.

In the rear, two outer Isofix standard locking devices allow the easy fitment of a child safety seat.

Security measures range from deadlocks, keyless entry and shielded door locks to a sophisticated Thatcham category one alarm and immobiliser.

For more information, call Mill Lane Subaru on 01256 780790.