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 Captdan (OH) on Thursday, June 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,200overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good in the snow"
Cons: "Sluggish and poor premium sound system."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car in December and at first I was quite impressed with the performance. It's abilities in the snow are its only true plus. I have to let it warm up for five minutes before going down the road or it is very sluggish ... My god this is a brand new car!!! It is very noisy on the open road. I got the decked out one and I haven't figured out the stereo yet.. The quality of this system is no way comparable to my last car ( 2010 ford fusion). The gas milage is subpar to say the least"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Joe (NY) on Sunday, April 28, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I average 100,000 miles every three years on my vehicles. I travel the northeast from Queens to Quebec for work, and demand my vehicle be AWD, fuel efficient, fantastic in the snow, comfortable for 400 mile rides frequently, be ultra reliable, and have some creature comforts. My last car was a Rav-4, and got 200k out of her in 5 years. The ride was choppy, the cargo space was minimal, but is was a gas sipper, and never left me stranded even in the worst blizzards. To replace the Rav-4 I purchased the Subaru for all the reasons I mentioned previously, but wanted a smother highway ride and went with the limited because it was loaded, and priced considerably less than its other AWD sedan counterparts(Audi,BMW,Volvo). Loaded with heated leather, moon-roof, Harmon stereo, nicer wheels, etc. THE BAD: The initial fit and finish was somewhat poor, with leaks in the moon-roof, high wind noise at highway speed, the steering wheel mounted controls for blue tooth, stereo and cruise stopped working in the first month, and it had multiple recalls. All of which, are not examples of what I had in mind when I thought of what quality stood for. Having previously owned other vehicles that cost far less, and came with much better attention to detail. THE GOOD: I installed a set of Cooper Snows for winter and the car was unstoppable in the snow. The engine is actually very well balanced for the size of the car, as only being the 4 Cyl, but the reward is better than average highway MPG. Personal best was 33MPG, but average is around 29-30 highway with Summer tires, which again is very good for a AWD sedan this size. The power comes on smooth with the CV Transmission, and can be very potent when so needed, at on ramps, toll booths, and will trounce some unsuspecting sedans and coupes at the red lights if so inclined. THE BAD: While on a long distance drive, far away from home, the CV transmission just disintegrated, and left me stranded on the side of the highway. Dealer came and got the vehicle, which upon inspection, informed me that the transmission was completely destroyed, not just a part of it, but all of it. I was faced with a $9,000 repair bill, on a vehicle that I paid $28,000 just two years earlier, as i was also informed that the warranty had expired. Subaru basically said oh well. My gripe is that had this been a KIA or Hyundai, even a Suzuki, which would have cost far less, the repair would have been covered under warranty. Prior to this I considered Subaru to be a quality manufacturer, but after this experience, I would seriously question purchasing another vehicle from them. I think Subaru was in a rush to get a CVT into the market in order to compete with the Federal Mandates and other competition for better gas consuming vehicles, that they put this model CVT into the Legacy before making it reliable, and ultimately stuck it to the consumer. I have long heard stories of Subaru's lasting into infinity, and hoped mine would be the same, but this Subaru... Not so much. If your still interested in this model, I would shy away from the 2011 LEGACY with a CVT, as it is the first generation and proven itself to be unreliable. Or keep an extra $9,000 in the piggybank to replace a blown transmission"
10 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By jazzfocus1 (NJ) on Tuesday, April 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, nice handling and road feel"
Cons: "A little sensitive to strong winds"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I got my first Subaru in 1978. One of the first front wheel drive cars around and I loved driving it (in the snow, especially). Then, I inherited my dad's 97 legacy wagon and got tired of it at 230k. I must say, this 2013 is not my father's Subaru. It's the nicest iteration of the line to date. Subaru's drive train and engine here is fantastic. Handling is precise and quick, car is glued to road. High winds can push the car around a bit but not scary. (My Mazda 6 does better in high wind situations). Subaru listened to customers like me and made many of the improvements we've been asking for. Better and bigger seats, more rear leg room, nicer handling, improve stereo.They did it all. I have the Premium cvt for 8 months . Great family car too. We have 4 cars (3 Mazdas). I like all of them but the Subaru really shines and the mileage is very good for an awd. Average 26mpg in mostly local driving. Highway does very well if you don't speed but the car loves to move so it's hard to resist those 75 to 80 mph jaunts. It seems like there is a disconnect between the consumers that own this and the "professional reviewers". Many of them don't seem to "get it". They don't understand the level of quality Subaru builds into these cars and they get better with age. I agree with the consumer reviews as opposed to some of the pro reviews by people who barely drove the car."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Louie (NJ) on Thursday, March 14, 2013
I want this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling, AWD, overall quality."
Cons: "No hard drive or interior color choice."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I test drove the 2013 3.6R Limited the other day and I loved just about everything about it. It hugged the road, handled well and was extremely smooth. I liked it better than the 2013 Acura TSX because of the V6 engine and the heavier feel of the car. To me the TSX felt like it would be blown all over the road in high winds. Unlike the TSX, the Legacy has AWD. On the other hand, if you're looking for amenities the TSX is the way to go. Although extremely comfortable, the Legacy's leather interior feels and looks cheesy compared to the TSX. The TSX also comes with a 16gb hard drive to record your favorites; the Legacy comes with a memory card. When I asked the salesman why there was no hard drive he replied that "most companies stopped using them because they skipped whenever you went over a bump." Huh? That was news to me. He said I should plug my iPod into the port instead. There's one other annoying thing about the Legacy; the color choices. Why must Subaru decide what color interior I want in my car? Why can't I get the Dark Indigo exterior with a black interior? Why must I be stuck with the ivory interior? (IMO, the ivory leather looks even cheesier than the black leather.) Subaru needs to give their customers a choice of interior color; most of the other companies do. They don't even give you a choice of interiors on the Tribeca. ($40K and you can't pick your interior. Totally unacceptable.) Overall the Legacy is a great car, but a little tweaking e.g. hard drive, better quality leather, and a choice of interior color, would make it an even better car."
By Bandit (WA) on Friday, January 11, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,033overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "solid comfortable quite ride"
Cons: "temp guage is light, heat slow on feet"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have the 2013 legacy premium with all weather package and added fog lights which I would highly recommend. This car is super comfortable and quiet. The seats are deluxe and with heated option can't be beat. The car drives super quiet on the road. Standard stereo is great and you can adjust where you want the sound to be. Only minuses are: 1. No temp guage just a blue light for cold and red light for hot. 2. Once warmed up it still takes 10-15 minutes to put out heat on your feet."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Gordie (OH) on Tuesday, January 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Car compares well to others that cost $10K more."
Cons: "HVAC controls need simplification - not intuitive."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"So many cars; so little time. I've owned many different brands but the Legacy might be the one I stick with. Mine is a 2010, 76K, and adding 2K per month. Symetrical AWD is tops -- always on, no doubts about grip. I average 32mpg on summer blends and 29+ on winter blends. Large, comfortable, fairly quiet inside at speed and definitely reliable. Only non-routine service points have been headlight bulb replacements. They are owner-serviceable but it's well worth the few bucks the dealer charges. My OEM tires lasted 65K before I replaced them -- unbelieveable. CVT with paddles is sufficiently engaging. No race car, but I get a lot out of the combination when I want to play. Really nice build quality and quite decent interior materials. Overall styling could be better but that is subjective. No hesitation to take clients and customers out in this car. The car always elicits compliments."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful