David DewhurstCar and Driver
The Subaru GL 4WD wagon with the “Turbo-Traction” powertrain gets fuel injection and a turbocharger, raising output from 71 horsepower to 95 horsepower. With a three-speed automatic transmission (the only option) 0-60 drops to 13.7 seconds. Which won’t threaten any Audi Quattros, but the Subaru also costs a lot less. And it’s still quicker than its main rival, the 4WD Toyota Tercel wagon.
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As the mud flaps tell you, the GL Turbo is four-wheel-drive.
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Behind the Subaru logo on the grille is a hidden fifth headlight behind a power-operated door.
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The white steel wheels and raised white-letter tires look like they belong on a truck rather than a family wagon.
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Our test car was fortunately free of the US Ski Team livery.
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The “Turbo-Traction” powertrain raises the 1.8-liter flat four’s output from 71 horsepower and 93 pound-feet of torque to 95 horsepower and 123 pound-feet.
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The Turbo’s 50-70 mpg time is 11.6 seconds, which is quick compared to the Toyota Tercel 4WD wagon’s 28.8 seconds.
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The 185/70/13 Bridgestone mud and snow tires are happier on dirt than on pavement.
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Four-wheel-drive is engaged with a button rather than the lever found on manual models (which also feature low range).
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Doing 0-60 mph in 13.7 seconds isn’t quick, but it’s a big improvement over the naturally aspirated car’s 17 second or so time.
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Peak boost is a modest seven psi.
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The GL Turbo actually has the power to haul extra cargo.
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Lighter alloy wheels are optional.
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The GL Turbo earns an EPA rating of 24 mpg city, and 30 mpg highway.
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In case you were wondering, this is the Turbo.
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A digital dash seems out of place in an otherwise unpretentious interior.
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The flat four is compact enough to allow spare tire storage under the hood.
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The turbo is only available with a three-speed automatic.
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The rear seat folds forward to extend the cargo bay.
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A button on the shifter engages four-wheel-drive.
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