By KBB.com Editors
Subaru has established itself as a leader in all-wheel-drive technology. Its wagons and SUVs have a cult-like following that is every manufacturer's dream. But its mainstream sedan, the Legacy, has not caught on in the same way. Competing against such heavy hitters as the Accord, Camry, Malibu and Fusion, the 2009 Legacy suffered from a case of the "too littles." Unable to compete in the areas of interior room, cargo volume, fuel economy and competitive pricing, the Legacy was overdue for a complete makeover and that's just what Subaru has given the 2010 model. Although roughly the same length as the outgoing car, the new Legacy is wider, taller and has considerably more interior room than its predecessor; it also offers a marked improvement in power and fuel economy, as well as its standard content level. Best of all, consumers can now pick up an all-wheel-drive sedan for less money than a comparably-equipped front-drive competitor.
If you need a roomy, comfortable sedan with the best possible ability to navigate through winter's worst, the new Legacy is well worth a look. Wide front seats, incredibly useful lumbar support and a cavernous trunk mark the big changes for 2010, as does a long list of standard creature comforts.
If you're looking for a smooth-as-silk six-cylinder sedan, the Legacy's boxer engine is nowhere near as refined as the traditional engines found in the Accord or Camry. Four-cylinder models feel a bit sluggish under hard acceleration and fans of the turbocharged GT will have to be happy with a manual transmission, because that's the only choice.
New from the ground up, the 2010 Subaru Legacy gains more than three inches in width and height but only one inch in length. Subaru adds a new six-speed manual to four-cylinder models with a new CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) as an option. New features include a navigation system with rear backup camera and streaming Bluetooth capability, an electronic parking brake with a hill-holder feature and standard stability and traction control.
Driving Impressions Although choosing from among three engines will change the rate at which you can reach 60 miles per hour, the 2010 Subaru Legacy 2.5i, GT and R all share the...same suspension set-up, so ride, handling and interior noise levels are pretty consistent across the board. Ride quality is greatly improved, with a quieter cabin, better steering and brake feel and minimal body roll and lean. The 2.5-liter engine gets a bump in horsepower to 170 and provides adequate acceleration and passing power, but nothing spectacular. The optional Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) works well and features a set of paddle shifters that allow for manual gear changes. Fuel economy with the CVT is actually better than with the six-speed manual, estimated at 23 city and 31 highway. The 3.6R is much better at moving the heavy Legacy, and while its performance feels fine in motion, we did observe an unusual amount of vibration at idle. The real meat and potatoes for the Legacy are found in the GT trims, which are powered by a 265-horsepower turbocharged engine. Improvements to the turbo eliminate lag and provide a nice flat torque curve conducive to performance driving. Unfortunately, there is no automatic transmission option for the GT, a strange decision that will force many buyers into the 3.6R or off to look elsewhere.
Voice-Activated Navigation System
Available only on Limited trims, Subaru's new voice-activated navigation system offers a big eight-inch view screen, a rear backup camera and Bluetooth hands-free phone and streaming music capability. The system also includes a harman-kardon 440-watt sound system, single-disc CD/DVD player, USB auxiliary audio input and iPod control capability.
Electronic Parking Brake with Hill-Holder Function
The traditional parking brake handle is replaced by a push/pull switch mounted on the dash. The electronic brake system includes a hill-hold feature that keeps the car from rolling forward or backward on inclines greater than five degrees.
The new Legacy touts an interior superior to its predecessor in every way. The front seats are supremely comfortable, with the driver's-side lumbar support among the best we've tested. There's plenty of legroom for tall passengers both front and rear, and the front passenger now enjoys the same length foot well as the driver. A new three-spoke steering wheel has controls for the cruise/audio features as well as a nice, thick rim. Instruments are larger, and the new electronic parking brake placed on the dash frees up additional storage space in the center console area. The rear seats are divided into a 60/40-split configuration and fold flat to create an enormous cargo area. Of special note is the optional navigation system which offers a large screen, voice activation and the ability to stream music through a Bluetooth-enabled device. Other nice touches include sun-visor extensions for both driver and passenger and a remote trunk release cutoff switch in the lockable glove box.Exterior
The 2010 Subaru Legacy's exterior is stylish and sleek, but breaks no new ground in areas of excitement or innovation. Aside from its larger wheels and subtle hood scoop, there isn't much to distinguish the hot-rod GT model from the 2.5i Limited, a bit of a mystery from the company that knows how to turn a boring Impreza into a stunning WRX STI. Still, looks aside, the Legacy has much to offer. Larger rear doors provide improved ease of entry, and the previous model's frameless windows are now a thing of the past, a change that contributes to the new car's low interior noise levels. The wheelbase is up three inches from last year's version but, with shorter overhangs, the car gains only 1.4 inches in length. All but the base models feature handsome alloy wheels and a new double-wishbone rear suspension helps improve ride quality and create more trunk capacity.
The 2010 Legacy 2.5i Sedan features a six-speed manual transmission, 16-inch wheels, four-wheel ABS disc brakes, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, AM/FM stereo with auxiliary-input jack and single CD player, manual air conditioning, power windows and locks, height-adjustable driver's seat, front side and side-curtain airbags, keyless entry, tilt/telescoping steering wheel and Vehicle Dynamic Control with traction control. The Premium trim adds a 10-way power driver's seat, 16-inch alloy wheels, driver's auto up/down power window and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Limited trims gain a four-way power passenger seat, wood trim, 17-inch wheels, the All-Weather Package (heated mirrors, seats and windshield wiper de-icers), Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), dual-zone automatic climate control, harman-kardon 440-watt premium sound system with six-disc CD changer and leather seating. The GT adds 18-inch wheels, a 265-horsepower turbocharged engine, hood scoop and dual chrome exhaust tips.
Options are clustered according to trim. Base models offer only the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), while Premium trims offer the harman-kardon 440-watt audio system, the All Weather Package and a power moonroof. Limited trims offer voice-activated GPS navigation with backup camera and Bluetooth capability for both phone and streaming music.
Subaru offers three horizontally-opposed boxer engines in the 2010 Legacy. The new 2.5-liter four-cylinder delivers 170 horsepower, which may not be best in class but does generate enough muscle to provide satisfactory performance. Equipping this engine with the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) will produce the best fuel economy, but the six-speed manual is a better choice from a performance standpoint. A turbocharged version of the same engine bumps output to 265 horsepower and is recommended for enthusiast drivers. The best choice for the Legacy is the six-cylinder, which offers much better acceleration and passing power than the four while delivering slightly worse fuel economy (18/25 vs. 23/31).
2.5-liter Boxer four
170 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (manual), 23/31 (automatic)
2.5-liter Boxer four turbocharged
265 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2000-5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25
3.6-liter Boxer six
256 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
247 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25
By Doc on Sunday, January 18, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Performance, ride, purchase cost"
Cons: "Doors feel hollow. I dislike the Subaru logo"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I traded in a 2006 Infiniti M35x for this Subaru Legacy. I loved my M35x but it was nearly 10 years old and had over 100K miles on it. I wanted to sell it while it still held resale value. Unfortunately I couldn't find a new comparable Infiniti M series for less than $35K, so I chose the Legacy Limited with the 6 cylinder engine. For about half the price of an Infinit M, it is a great ride... The 6 cylinder engine is quicker than the Infiniti's engine... just not as "stately" in ride. If money was not an object, both in gas and purchase price, I would probably be driving a new Infiniti M45. But since I am cursed to be middle-class until my last breath, I will make do with an excellent alternative - the Subaru Legacy Limited."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By C.C.Crowe on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,500overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty ride, spacious back seat, large trunk"
Cons: "Transmission dynamics and reliability"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Great interior design, comfortable, practical, fast enough to be fun without being scary to drive, great handling in snow and bad weather conditions. Very good stereo (if you get the premium Harmann system). You can comfortably fit a baby and 2 adults in the back seat and fit a truckload of groceries in the trunk. The finishing details seem to have been done by a 5 year old though, fit and finish of the interior and sunroof is sub-par. Fuel economy is OK when driven conservatively, had to replace a windshield and side mirror after a -8 F deep freeze night because these shattered as soon as I turned the engine on, also the transmission after 15K miles because it just stopped shifting and started slipping bad. Service has been excellent though, I may have had the one in 1 million bad transmissions?"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Jess on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "safe, weatherization package, gas mileage, & looks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I live in Hamburg, NY (south of Buffalo, NY) and we have had some crazy snow this year!!! On Friday there was a foot of snow on the road and the car was fantastic! I made it home safe, while other cars were stuck not in the ditch, but just stuck on the road! I am so fortunate to be able to afford such a safe and efficient car. If you can pay a little more for this car you will not regret it! This is my 3rd Subaru, my mom, sister, and husband all have Subaru and we will NEVER get another brand!"
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Jim Jimbob on Thursday, December 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "I'm bad, but love to pass other cars stuck in snow"
Cons: "Some sun glare on Data display."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"1st item: I do not understand why anyone would buy a 1/2 traction car when Subaru has 4 wheel drive on their cars. It not only is far superior in snow and ice, but is also better on dry, sandy, or bad roads as well.The braking is better as well as acceleration. My gasoline milage is consistently above 32-33 MPG. Absolutely no repairs in 30,000 miles. 2nd item: I love this car?"
12 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By pon on Monday, December 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "THE SAFEST CAR IN THE WORLD!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"THIS CAR BEATS ALL OTHER CAR MAKERS HANDS DOWN. THE ONLY THING YOU WILL FIND IN ANOTHER CAR WILL BE BETTER GAS MILAGE. BUT THE DIFFERENCE ISN'T THAT MUCH. THIS CAR IS HAS ALL WHEEL DRIVE. YES OTHER CAR MAKERS DO TOO, BUT SUBURU INVENTED IT, AND HAS THE BEST ALL WHEEL DRIVE AVAILABLE. THIS CAR IS INCREDIBLE ON THE SNOW AND ICE. IT'S LIKE A TANK, AND GOES THROUGH EVERYTHING. IN THE WINTER, I ONLY DRIVE THE SUBURU. ALSO, THE BOXER ENGINE GOES U N D E R THE CAR IN THE EVENT OF A COLLISION. NOT THROUGH THE FRONT WINDSHIELD LIKE THE REST. THE WINDSHIELD ON THE SUBURU, IS MADE TO FLY A W A Y FROM YOU IN THE EVENT OF A COLLISION. THE DOORS ARE REINFORCED WITH 3 LAYERS OF STEEL, AND DESIGNED SO YOU D O N' T NEED THE JAWS OF LIFE TO GET YOU OUT. I'M NOT EVEN TALKING ABOUT ALL THE AIR BAGS IT COMES WITH, EITHER. FRONT,SIDE, TOP, AND KNEE. THE REAR OF THE CAR IS COLLAPASIBLE UPON IMPACT, KEEPING YOU UNHARMED. YES, YOU CAN GET A CHEAPER CAR, BUT THIS ONE IS WORTH SPENDING A FEW MORE DOLLARS. IN THE EVENT OF AN ACCIDENT, YOU HAVE A VERY GOOD CHANCE OF SURVIVING. WITH THE OTHER CARS YOU HAVE A VERY GOOD CHANCE OF DYING. SUBURU DOESN'T FOOL AROUND. CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF, AND YOU WILL SEE THEY HAVE A VERY LOW DEATH/INJURY RATE FROM ACCIDENTS. THE OTHER CARS ARE J U N K COMPARED TO A SUBURU. I WENT TO ABOUT 10 DEALERSHIPS, AND WALKED OUT OF THEM ALL, BUT WHEN I WENT TO SUBURU, THEY GOT MY MONEY IN 15 MINUTES, ONCE I SAW HOW MUCH S U P E R I O R THIER CAR IS. I FORBID MY WIFE TO DRIVE A N Y T H I N G ELSE, AND WILL ONLY BUY SUBURU FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES. THANK GOD FOR SUBURU!!!! JOHN G. CT"
13 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By jordan on Friday, November 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautiful on the outside, all wheel drive"
Cons: "Poor gas milage, interior not wearing well"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Original owners. The outside has very nice styling. Wish it had better gas milage and better interior quality. With only 75,000 miles...very disappointed with Subaru’s interior. Quality of fabrics and carpet are poor. Husband wore a hole in the carpet at the gas peddle. Seats are showing wear and there is NO stain resistance. Light colored interior shows dirt and its hard to clean. I’ve been driving a Toyota prius for 6 years with double the miles and it still looks new...compared to this car looking like we need seat covers as constant attempts to clean spots leaves water marks and stains. I inherited this from my husband and am totally disappointed with the the condition at half the miles of my Prius especially since I am much more of a slob then him. For a car only 3 years old it should be in much better shape. Goal is to pay this off...park in the drive for winter and go buy another Prius. Subaru needs to improve the quality of their interiors."
8 people out of 18 found this review helpful