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Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
The standard features of the Subaru Legacy 2.5i include 2.5L H-4 175hp engine, 6-speed Lineartronic CVT transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, airbag occupancy sensor, air conditioning, 17" steel wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, all-wheel drive.
Starting at: $21,995
|2.5i Search New||$21,995||175-hp 2.5L 4-cyl||continuously variable auto||25 / 34|
|2.5i Premium with Starlink Search New||$23,995||175-hp 2.5L 4-cyl||continuously variable auto||25 / 34|
|2.5i Sport with Starlink Search New||$25,995||175-hp 2.5L 4-cyl||continuously variable auto||25 / 34|
|2.5i Limited with Starlink Search New||$28,840||175-hp 2.5L 4-cyl||continuously variable auto||25 / 34|
|3.6R Limited with Starlink Search New||$31,640||256-hp 3.6L 6-cyl||continuously variable auto||20 / 28|
Besides Subaru, only Porsche uses the horizontally opposed engine design, and Subaru has been doing it for 50 years. With the cylinders in a horizontal position the engine is more compact, and fits lower in the chassis, for a lower center of gravity and better handing. The disadvantage is fuel consumption, because the package, also called boxer or flat, is a bit more complex than an inline or vee layout.
The 2.5-liter flat-four makes 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque, while the 3.6-liter boxer-six makes 256 hp and 247 lb-ft. The smaller engine gasps for power, and the torque in the bigger engine isn’t fully available at a low rpm range, so it accelerates at a leisurely pace.
Our best solution is to go with the 2.5-liter engine and work the paddle shifters of the excellent CVT that feels like a six-speed automatic. But it still takes at least a couple downshift clicks to make the acceleration interesting. Unfortunately, unlike with the Forester or Outback, Subaru doesn’t offer its SI-Drive in the Legacy to punch up the throttle response, a give the CVT eight steps.
We like the feel of the electric power steering, which increases its weight as you turn. The Legacy tracks well, drives easy, and unwinds smartly from tight corners.
Subaru Legacy’s sheet metal is conservative and subtle. It’s only daring at the steeply raked windshield and the mildly sculpted fenders and lower bodywork. You can’t see the aluminum hood, but it’s nice to know it’s there, and it saves weight.
The new Sport package adds some style, with 18-inch wheels and a gray grille with chrome accents.
The grille has six sides, and, because it’s tall and the nose is blunt it visually fits the Outback SUV better than it does the Legacy sedan. It doesn’t clash with the sides, which are nicely proportioned, even a bit elegant.
The Legacy is roomy and well appointed, with a 6.2- or 7.0-inch touchscreen, or metallic or wood trim, depending on the model. The instrument panel is clean, the gauges lit in cool blue, the knobs and switches metallic, the vents stacked near the top of the dash. The packaging is good, with big cupholders and a shallow covered bin containing a power outlet and two USB chargers. The console can hold an iPad.
The optional leather is excellent, but the bolstering in the seats is maybe only a bit better than average. The Nissan Altima front seats are way better (but not the rears). Legacy beats the Ford Fusion in the rear, where the legroom is a respectable 38.1 inches, same as the Malibu with its three-inch longer wheelbase, but a bit less than the Accord, Camry, and Passat. The Legacy’s rear seat splits 60/40 and folds, something that can’t be said about the base Accord.
With the rear seat down, there’s a cutout that expands the trunk’s 15.0 cubic feet. The trunk lid itself is wide and square, making it easy to load big things.
Thanks to a new acoustic windshield, thicker windows, more insulation in the floor, and liquid-filled engine mounts, the Legacy’s cabin is very quiet, and the visibility is great, thanks to slim roof pillars.
Subaru Legacy has many virtues, including base price, fuel mileage, interior room, likeable CVT, safety, and all-wheel drive. But acceleration isn’t one of them, and that might be a dealbreaker for some. All-wheel drive is the best reason to choose the Legacy.
Sam Moses contributed to this review, with driving impressions by The Car Connection.
The 2017 Subaru Legacy ($21,995) comes with cloth upholstery, manual air conditioning, rearview camera, 6.2-inch touchscreen with infotainment and internet streaming.
Legacy Premium ($23,995) upgrades the seats, automatic climate control and other features. Legacy Limited gets leather upholstery and upgraded suspension.
Legacy 3.6R Limited ($31,640) features the six-cylinder engine.