By KBB.com Editors
The 2008 Subaru Legacy offers buyers all the comforts of the finest sports sedan coupled with the sure-footedness afforded by Subaru's standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. No longer associated mainly with snowbound Vermont drivers and die-hard ski fans, the Legacy has blossomed into a handsome and sporty mainstream vehicle, offering top-notch ratings in the areas of safety, comfort and resale value. The Legacy's horizontally-opposed engines provide good power and decent fuel economy, and the GT features a turbocharged version that cranks out an impressive 243 horsepower. While not as smooth or refined as the engines offered by Honda and Toyota, the Legacy's drivetrain is every bit as reliable and its low-slung design helps reduce the height of the Legacy's center of gravity.
The 2008 Subaru Legacy occupies the sparsely-populated space between high-value family sedans and premium sports sedans, offering some of the best characteristics of both.
If you don't live in an area where slick roads are a regular concern, the premium price of all-wheel drive might seem unwarranted. Conversely, if you want the added peace of mind brought by traction and/or stability control, you may be disappointed to learn neither is available on the base 2.5i.
All Legacy models receive a modest exterior freshening, while the wagon models are renamed Outback, leaving only the sedans to carry the Legacy nameplate. A new trim, the 3.0 R Limited, becomes the top-of-the-line offering and features a 245-horsepower six-cylinder engine. New standard features for all Legacy models include remote keyless entry, revised dash and seat fabrics and a tilt/telescopic steering wheel.
Driving Impressions We drove the turbocharged 2.5 GT Limited sedan with a five-speed manual transmission and enjoyed it very much. The engine's turbocharger comes on quickly, strongly and smoothly, the steering is...also responsive and handling limits are high enough to promote outbursts of enthusiasm. Still, when driven at an everyday pace, the Legacy behaves not unlike its less-athletic competitors. With a light steering effort and small turning circle, the Legacy is pleasant around town and in a parking lot. Likewise, highway ride is well within the range of comfortable. We'd expect similar ride and handling from the less-powerful 2.5i models. For even sharper handling and sportier accessories, check out the limited-edition 2.5 GT spec.B and the 3.0 R Limited.
Manual Shift Buttons
Steering wheel-mounted shift buttons provide handy manual control of the Legacy GT Limited's optional five-speed automatic transmission.
The Legacy's AM/FM/CD sound system moves from station to station with minimal delay, so you can find something you want to hear more quickly.
Inside the Legacy, a decidedly sporty three-spoke steering wheel sets an athletic tone enhanced by supportive seats, straightforward gauges, metallic trim and crisp, contemporary styling. Combined with the liberal use of quality materials, the Legacy's passenger cabin conveys a solid sense of refinement. While it isn't the biggest midsize sedan out there, most backseat passengers should find the Legacy plenty accommodating for trips across town and beyond. Notable standard safety features include front side-impact airbags and front and rear side-curtain airbags.Exterior
Despite an aging platform, the Legacy is still fresh enough to compete with newer designs from Honda and Toyota, avoiding the trapezoidal grille and awkward styling that permeated much of the Subaru line over the last few years. We did notice the Legacy's frameless doors make it difficult to open or hold a door without touching the window. The turbocharged 2.5 GT Limited model is identifiable by a functional hood scoop and exterior mirror-integrated turn indicators, while all Legacy models sport the same 17-inch wheels.
The base Legacy sedan and wagon include a 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, all-wheel drive, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, AM/FM/CD sound system, cruise control, trip computer, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, cloth seating and 17-inch alloy wheels. Standard safety equipment includes front, front-side and two-row side-curtain airbags, active front head restraints and anti-lock brakes (ABS).
Trim-level, package and stand-alone options include a 243-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, four- and five-speed manually-selectable automatic transmissions, a six-speed manual (Spec.B only) DVD touch-screen navigation system, in-dash six-CD changer, power glass moonroof, leather seating, power driver's seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, fog lights, heated side mirrors, wiper de-icer, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, wood-look trim and front sport seats. The 3.0 R Limited includes a 245-horsepower 3.0-liter engine, 18-inch wheels and touch-screen navigation.
Both turbo and non-turbo Legacy models feature a four-cylinder "boxer" engine in which the cylinders and pistons are arranged horizontally, with the two on one side opposing the two on the other side (thus, an "opposed" engine design), rather than being positioned vertically or in a "V" angle. One of the boxer's advantages is its lower center of gravity that promotes better handling. Depending on the model's engine/transmission configuration, each Legacy features one of three distinct all-wheel-drive systems designed to match the characteristics of the powertrain. The new 3.0 R Limited differs from the four-cylinder models, with a non-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine good for 245 horsepower.
170 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (manual), 20/27 (automatic)
2.5-liter Boxer-4 Turbocharged
243 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
241 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24 (manual), 18/24 (automatic)
245 horsepower @ 6600 rpm
215 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24
By chfdolphin on Sunday, January 18, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Overall excellent car, just change oil ,brakes and tires plus scheduled maintenance for five years no problems. So far 100% reliable."
8 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Nico on Monday, January 12, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "Stick shift not for older people in traffic."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Very reliable and hysterically powerful, fast and sporty. Handles like it's on rails and can accelerate like a rocket ship. Very handsome style and beautiful color. A great ride."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Babs on Friday, December 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfortable drive and ride"
Cons: "miss the hatchback, some blind spots"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This is my third subaru, but my first sedan. The trunk is roomy and the back seats go down, but I cannot transport things like in my old smaller impreza. Other than that, I am very happy with this car...the ride, the size, the engine. I would love higher gas mileage, but love the 4 wheel drive. so its a trade off. My only complaint is that there are blind spots when I am making a left turn."
5 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Naanu on Monday, November 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Flawless technology"
Cons: "Therte isn't any."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I am the second owner of this car. I have been driving it for the past 3 years. I have not been stranded even once due to mechanical breakdown or any other problem during the entire period I own this vehicle. Fuel consumption is 20 mpg which is good for an 8 year old car. Driving comfort, in-cabin convenience is very good. The machine is superior Japanese technology. I am so happy with my Subaru Legacy that I am going to buy a new Subaru when I sell this one."
9 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By CdACanuck on Friday, November 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, comfort, handling,"
Cons: "Wind and road noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This vehicle handles like a sports car. It has a very low center of gravity. Gas mileage on the highway is usually between 28 and 30 mpg. The only gripe we have is the interior is a little noisier than we would like."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Fitdad on Friday, October 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "AWD, comfortable"
Cons: "quality,ergonomics (rear child seat anchor access)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I have 87000 miles on this Legacy sedan. Some of the repairs and issues that this car has had surprise me. I have had several Subarus over the years and have found that they are bomb proof. Not so with this one. I previously owned a 2005 Legacy wagon 60k, and had some issues with that as well. Both have had wheel bearings, brake issues, electrical, and other inconveniences. Most other Subarus I have had in the past had no issues until well after 100k miles. Don't know if this if it is just this generation of Legacy."
6 people out of 14 found this review helpful