If our recent comparison test of the most popular midsize sedans included a category for most improved, the Subaru Legacy would claim top honors. Besides being the only 2015 model in our test pool, the Legacy was also the only participant equipped with all-wheel-drive. The latter coupled with a low center of gravity made for some of the best driving dynamics in the group, particularly when the skies opened up during our drive on the sweeping mountain roads of Highway 33.
We were equally impressed with the Legacy's newfound sense of midsize-sedan refinement, as evidenced by a generous helping of soft-touch materials and, at long last, a wholly revamped infotainment platform. The optional navigation system in our test car represented a monumental improvement over the previous interface in both usability and feature content thanks to its user-friendly home screen, large icons, smartphone integration, and high-resolution display. The instrument cluster's standard multi-information display was a nice touch as well, incorporating a number of trip-and vehicle-related data as well as a digital speedometer -- a favorite among KBB editors. In terms of comfort, the back seats provided ample legroom and headroom for most body types, but those living in warm climates will rue the lack of standard rear air vents. Up front, the seating situation elicited polarizing responses, with some of us preferring the firm padding and ever-present lumbar support while others complained of back pain within the first 45 minutes of driving. Given this outcome, we suggest interested parties schedule a lengthy test drive before signing on the dotted line.
Checking in at roughly $27,500, our Legacy Premium 2.5i came fitted with navigation, a moonroof, automatic headlight control, a power driver's seat, Subaru's EyeSight adaptive safety system, and heated front seats. For the uninitiated, such a roster of equipment is a relative midsize-sedan bargain at this price point. What's more, opting for the upper-crust Limited trim lands you leather upholstery, a 10-way driver's seat with memory settings, heated rear seats, 18-inch wheels, and a premium audio system by harman/kardon for right around $30,000.
There are, however, a notable list of shortcomings, which consist of an abrupt throttle tip-in (the manner in which power is delivered upon depressing the gas pedal), an excessive amount of road and wind noise at highway speeds, and a slightly smaller trunk than the rest of the midsize sedans in our field. In essence, the Subaru Legacy is a give-and-take proposition. Although not without its faults, the 2015 Legacy remains the only vehicle in the segment to offer standard all-wheel-drive while still returning up to 36 mpg on the highway (on par with most front-wheel-drive competitors). This unique powertrain story coupled with a higher-quality interior, attractive pricing, and relevant in-vehicle electronics have elevated the Subaru Legacy into a genuine competitive posture with entrenched nameplates like Camry, Accord and Altima.
If you're still looking around, check out the other seven cars included in our 2014 Midsize Sedan Comparison Test.