Function comes in economy-size packages, too. The Subaru Legacy Brighton station wagon does just about everything the Suburban can do-except hold sevento nine people, tow a 10,000-pound boat and offer ABS.Hmm. Those are rather significant limitations even if the Legacy is a subcompact wagon (103-inch wheelbase, 184 inches overall length) that probablycould slip inside the Suburban-just to have something to run to the store in after the Suburban gets you to your remote vacation villa. Brighton is Subaru's value package model, which means a lot was left out tokeep the sticker at $15,999. Though you can't expect a subcompact to tote nineand/or a boat, it doesn't seem out of line to want ABS. For that, you must move up to a Subaru Legacy L wagon and pay $1,500 for ABS and all-wheel-drive. Keep in mind that most insurers offer a premium discount to those driving cars with such safety systems as ABS. You won't get that discount in a Brighton wagon. So where's the value? Brighton offers what Subaru considers the essentials-all-wheel-drive, powerbrakes and steering, air conditioning and AM/FM radio-as standard. About the only significant factory option is automatic transmission for a rather hefty $800. On the plus side, dual air bags are standard. If you want to add some cargocapacity, you can get a roof rack as a dealer installed option for $277, and if you want to protect your investment, you can get floor mats for $74 and splash guards for $78. The bulk of Subaru sales are all-wheel-drive models. The Japanese automakerhopes its front-wheel-drive versions would gain some momentum. To help, it nowoffers traction control as an option in front-wheel-drive models. You may needtraction control to keep from falling out of your chair and ABS to keep from striking the ground when the salesman tells you the system runs $1,000. The Legacy Brighton wagon we tested is a functional here-to-there-without-burning-up-a-lot-of-fuel (21 m.p.g. city/28 m.p.g. highway from its 2.2-liter, 135 h.p., 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine) vehicle. Expect no pretenses because none is given. Styling is a yawner, but then, it is a wagon and eye-popping sheetmetal hasnever been any wagon's strong suit. Of course, being a wagon isn't a strong suit, either.
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