Auto Review: Improving the Legacy
By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Thu., Mar. 21, 2013
One of Subaru’s great attributes is the fact that the company has no problems going its own way, and as a result it’s become a very unique nameplate. For example, after years of selling front-drive and all-wheel-drive cars in the U.S., they decided every Subaru would be equipped with the latter, regardless of model. This has been their plan until this model year, as they now have a rear-drive sports coupe (the BRZ) that we shall tackle on another day. But the rest of the line is all-wheel-drive, and considering the kind of winter we’ve had, this has been a very welcome feature. The Legacy remains Subaru’s midsized sedan and this handsome, unusual four-door has some important tweaks for the 2013 model year that are not just aimed at improving the car as a whole, but especially focused on increasing safety and fuel efficiency.
I said the Legacy is unusual, for like all Subarus (including the hot-rod BRZ) the car is propelled by a horizontally-opposed “Boxer” engine with either four or six cylinders, depending on the model.
Our test model was a 2.5i Limited, which comes with a 2.5-liter Boxer that develops 173 horsepower, and this, in turn, was mated to a Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). This latest automatic gearbox proved a good fit with this engine, and was reasonably quiet and responsive (60 mph arrived in an average of 7.72 seconds). With the 2.5i Limited, power gets to all four wheels via Active Torque Split AWD that instantly alters power distribution in response to road conditions. This means the drive system requires no intervention from the driver when things get slippery, for the software itself delivers traction to the wheels that have best traction. The rest of the Legacy’s driving dynamics are satisfying in terms of handling and control, with a firm but not harsh ride quality. Overall, the Legacy is enjoyable to drive, especially in tight turns on traction-compromised situations when the all-wheel-drive can practice its art.
The interior of the Limited model almost has a European feel to it, and the control layout is logical and familiar, except the central control knob on the excellent harman/kardon sound system (this would probably be better served with a pair of conventional knobs). The front buckets are roomy and supportive, and we were pleasantly surprised by the generous rear seat room, considering the sedan’s modest exterior dimensions. Another interesting feature was the optional EyeSight driver assist package, which includes Pre-Collision Braking, Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure/Sway Warning and Adaptive Cruise Control. These features are largely dependent on a twin camera system mounted by the rear view mirror, and all are designed to enhance driver (and passenger and pedestrian) safety through both information and intervention. Every year, we see these sophisticated features on more and more cars, especially those more of us can afford.
The 2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited is EPA rated 24 MPG city/32 highway and has a base price of $26,195. With options, the MSRP was $30,977. www.subaru.com