Rave review first-drive here on the new Subaru Legacy! Along with three dozen all-new photos of this newly-competitive mid-size car. It looks like the drive video we shot did not survive its GoPro upload to the computer, so we will write this one up the old-fashioned way!
The new Legacy's design is shown in its best light with the 2.5i Limited, which wears the latest LED accents and projector-beam lighting from the 3.6R top-line model. As equipped, this 2.5i is actually very handsome and premium.
Why the surprise? Well, let's face it: the base Legacy has been seriously nerdy in its previous generation. We were huge admirers of the 2005-2009 bodystyle, and own a 2.5GT wagon as a daily driver. But even all this fondness could not overcome how lame the old base Legacies looked.
The major changes that make this new model so handsome are a more sculpted and expressive grille, handsome proportions with a short front overhand, and slimmer and horizontally-oriented lamps versus the old tallboys.
In the flesh, there is no escaping how premium and luxurious the new Legacy is. The car feels extremely wide and looks very butch and premium from the back. The old tall-roof feel of the Legacy sedan seems to be banished from the latest roofline, while dark wheels nicely frame the design with a modern touch.
The only iffy areas of the Legacy's new style are:
-- the DRL is still a dimmed high-beam, and the LED light accent only illuminates as the parking light or low-beam accent. It would be nice if the LED were bright enough to be the DRL itself, but that is not the case. At any rate, the DRL can be disabled on the stalk controls in favor of low-beams or no lights at all, as needed.
-- Out back, the LED brake lights form a nice C-shape in the corners of the trunklid. But on that lid are four giant badges -- overwhelming the tail section with a plethora of clutter like the PZEV and AWD badges. Seems like overkill.
Here is where things are start to feel like a true luxury Subaru.
Once a firm oxymoron, the new Legacy is seriously comfortable and quiet on the move.
The new infotainment system is very tasteful - with a premium and solid glass faceplate for the entire front screen, with recessed knobs and buttons to control HVAC and tuning quickly. The glass surface of the Legacy's dash is unique versus the Camry's plastic-edged screen + buttons + knobs combination, and the Accord's numerous screens + multi-knob controls.
We did not have enough time with the Legacy to know if the system if truly effective with this clean-sheet design, but Subaru now boasts Bluetooth connectivity and other functions only dreamed of until recently.
The seats feel outstanding in that overstuffed and firm way, and are power-adjusted across a huge rage of possible driver sizes. The wheel actually telescopes and tilts a much greater range as well - which is very handy for long-term car comfort.
The doors feel light and the engine is a bit snortier than the benchmark Mazda6 -- which is seriously creepy in how smooth and silent it is at speed.
Overall, the Subaru strikes a nice balance between the Camry and the Mazda6 in refinement versus handling verve.
Is it quick? Yes, at first. The Subaru Legacy 2.5i has really solid low-range torque with the new engine, plus a more-defined shift pattern for the lineartronic CVT that is standard across the board.
The Legacy runs out of urgency up toward the top of the rev range, where it also is a bit vocal and harsh versus the Hyundai Sonata 2.4-liter (base) engine or the smooth-but-gutless engine standard on cars like the base Accord and Camry.
The AWD feel of the Legacy is very subtle but provides an unflappable sense of poise in fast corners versus the front-drive standard. The latest Legacy touts efficiency stats that are up by ~5 and ~8 MPG for city and highway respectively, which is an amazing achievement.
The key option in the loaded 2.5i Limited is the navigation package or the full-bore nav plus EyeSight safety kit. The latest Subaru EyeSight active safety option is very affordable with about a $1000 premium versus the old pricetag of about triple that. Worthwhile and helpful for city driving.
Choose a Legacy
2.5i 2.5-liter 175-hp
The luxury Subaru indeed. The latest cabin redesign, planted handling feel and tasteful new exterior are a mean combination. The Legacy 2.5i Limited is now in our top-three mid-size sedans to recommend for 2015 -- well ahead of the Accord, Malibu, Fusion and Sonata -- and neck and neck with the class-leading Camry and Mazda6.
Subaru's current sales explosion is sure to gain steam with cars as good as this new Legacy on the lot. Very solid marks and handsome style from Subaru in such a humdrum segment!
2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited