"You could buy a car for that!"

One of the most popular phrases uttered by friends and family on learning of your new bike purchase usually involves a direct comparison to the cost of motoring. And for good reason. while a monthly-ticket on Southern Rail or 100 journeys by Mega Bus may have the same final figure, neither conjure thoughts of freedom and the open road like a car.

But that's the Santa Cruz end of the market, and the type of car available for Halfords money is usually a little less inspiring. So imagine my surprise when this beauty turned up for the price of a hardtail with Deore gears and Tectro brakes!


Mid-Wales had been a Subaru stronghold long before McRea and co bought the brand out of the forests and into the palms of Generation Playstation. With the cars' legendary reliability, there are many 15-year-old-plus Legacies and Foresters still burbling about with straw and collies in the back. Used prices are strong, so when I saw this 2-owner non-turbo at Mantles' Garage, I had to take a closer look.

A brief chat with garage owner Sue revealed they had supplied the car new, and its second owner had cared for it well despite not having driven much for several years before his passing. When I asked if they had any paperwork, she said "oh, I should think so" before returning with a file thick with every job card from initial inspection to the latest service. And a cup of tea for me while I looked through it all! After two sips I'd seen enough, and after a quick spin the deal was done.


Since May 17 we've spent 6000 miles together, exploring lanes, bashing through snow and generally having a great time. It's easy to see why Subarus are so popular in rural areas - the torquey engine and tight handling and perfect for twisty lane, and we've not yet got stuck! The legendary Subaru reliability has been present and correct, and other than clutch and tyres (both to be expected at 160k miles!), the car's needed nothing. Even the aircon works!


Life, of course, isn't perfect. She likes a drink and rust is taking hold on the inner rear arches. Both things I knew about before buying, and it would be churlish to complain about after the winter we've had (and are still having some days!).


As a car and tool, it's been worth every penny. As an advertising tool, she's worth many more. Formation Creative's graphics really look the part and people come and chat when I'm parked up. If you see us, please smile and wave!