By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.2
Thanks to a full redesign in 2010, the larger and more stylish Subaru Legacy is a more viable alternative than ever to category stalwarts like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Judging by 2010's sales figures, it appears the redesign has paid off: Both the Legacy and its wagon counterpart, the Outback, have caught on big with the public. Combining good fuel economy, top safety ratings and the sure-footed traction provided by its standard Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive, the Legacy is an extremely attractive family sedan, especially when one considers the base model's sub-$21,000 starting price.
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 are among the Legacy's most laudable offerings, as are 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.
For 2011, all Legacy models are equipped with folding side mirrors, while XM satellite radio is now standard with the available harman/kardon audio system. The 2.5 GT Limited becomes the sole turbocharged model and gains a power moonroof and fog lights as standard equipment.
Driving Impressions Although choosing from among three engines will change the rate at which you can reach 60 miles per hour, the 2011 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 among the best in this class, with a quiet cabin, responsive steering and brake feel and minimal body roll and lean. The 2.5-liter engine's 170 horsepower provides adequate acceleration and passing power, but is nothing spectacular. The optional 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 a slight amount of vibration at idle. The real meat and potatoes for the Legacy can be found in the GT trim, which is 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 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, XM Satellite Radio 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 newest Legacy touts an interior that is elegant, spacious and above all, functional. The front seats are supremely comfortable, with the driver's-side lumbar support among the best we've tested, and there's plenty of legroom for tall passengers both front and rear. A thick-grip three-spoke steering wheel has controls for the cruise/audio features, as well as Bluetooth on cars so equipped. The instrument cluster features gauges that are large and legible, but the radio and heating control buttons are rather small and hard to read at night. Subaru has replaced the traditional hand brake with a dash-mounted electronic parking brake freeing 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 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. Large rear doors provide ease of entry, and the previous generation's frameless windows are now a thing of the past, a change that contributes to the current Legacy's low interior noise levels. Owners of 2009 and earlier models will think the new car is vastly larger, and they would be partially correct. While the newest Legacy's wheelbase is up three inches compared with the 2009 model, it features shorter overhangs, and the car's overall length has increased by a mere 1.4 inches. All but the base models feature handsome alloy wheels and a sophisticated double-wishbone rear suspension helps improve ride quality and create a large, flat trunk floor.
The 2011 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), CVT automatic transmission, 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, power moonroof, fog lights and dual chrome exhaust tips.
Options are clustered according to trim. Base models offer only the CVT automatic, 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. Dealer-installed options include auto-dimming rear view mirror, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and a Media Hub for connecting and controlling portable MP3 devices.
Subaru offers three horizontally-opposed boxer engines in the 2011 Legacy. The 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 CVT automatic 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).
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-4 turbocharged
265 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2000-5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25
256 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
247 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25
By T-Rick on Thursday, March 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "AWD, value, reliability"
Cons: "Put dual exhaust on the 4-cylinder Legacy's again."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After numerous new cars, this will be the one that sits in my driveway for a very long time. The value of getting an AWD Legacy loaded with options right under 30K, getting over 30 mpg combined city/highway rivals any other vehicle in this class. The handling and stability when driving in sunshine, rain or snow/ice is superior to any other vehicle, bar none. In the market for a new car, go see your Subaru dealer and take a test drive. I guarantee, with little exception, you will drive away with the Subaru."
By cms on Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "safety and dependability. sporty"
Cons: "rough on bumpy roads.....expensive satellite radio"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I feel the road bumps more than I expected. I hear the 2014 has improved on this . Light Colored fabric seats get dirty quickly. I often have to get interior detailed. Plan on putting on seat covers. Listing on car said satellite "ready"....service dept quoted over $400 to install satellite radio. For my other non Subaru vehicles the satellite costs less than $50 and way less than $400 to install. To get off Subaru satellite installed other places said I would have to replace my Subaru radio first??!! Car sits too low..bottom panels on front and rear and sides of car frame catch on everything. Car handles really well on curves..very responsive steering. handles like a sports car. I get 25.5 mpg on mixed city and lesser amt of highway driving. My next car will probably be a Forester or Outback. Love the Subaru safety and dependability ratings but I think I need to be in one of their vehicles that sits high and has better suspension."
By L squared on Friday, February 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfort, handling, many cup holders, bluetooth"
Cons: "Speakers rattle"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My 2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium handles so well in all weather, including rain, slush, and snow. The driver's seat is very comfortable. I drive about 1,000 miles per week, and other cars made my back hurt, but not this Subaru. I feel great! The kids (teenagers) even say the back seat is comfortable. The only things I wish for are faster automatic acceleration and better speakers. Maybe I'll get that with the 2014 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium I just ordered. LOVE this car."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Tom on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drives great in any conditions, especially snow"
Cons: "power chargers don't work when ignition is off"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love this car. Drives great in any conditions, including snow and slush. Very comfortable interior. Great bluetooth phone and sound system. The only drawbacks are: power chargers don't work when ignition is off; and when in auto-transmission there is slight delay when you hit the accelerator. When using the manual paddle shifters it pops just fine."
By Michelle on Wednesday, January 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "The cons overshadow any pros"
Cons: "Car randomly does not start"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought a new 2014 Subaru Legacy 2.5i 4 Cyl, 2.5 L Automatic about 2 months ago. The car randomly does not start. Will crank but not start for about 20-30 minutes. This has happened three times so far at different times of the day, different temperatures, completely random. I drove it to the dealer the second time and they told me they contacted Subaru and others have had this issue. They did a "relearn" for the idle. I had it towed to the dealer the third time. They said it seemed like the engine was flooded and repeatedly asked me if I pressed the gas pedal while starting the car, which I did not. The service department is now denying that others have had this issue and are not finding any solutions. It's only a matter of time before I'm stranded by this car again. I bought a Subaru because I needed a reliable car...DISAPPOINTING."
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By rubberducky1465 on Monday, December 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "good gas mileage, full size car, awd"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I went from a Prius to an AWD vehicle after moving back to the snow belt in 2011. I always dream t of having a subaru and decided to buy the legacy. I have absolutely no complaints. I am on the road a lot for work and this car gets 33-35 mpg easily; winter about 30mpg with winter tires. I am planning on driving this car to the ground with the mileage I put on it each year. However, subaru has sold me to be a buyer for life. My next vehicle will be either the outback or the forester. I would like a bigger vehicle. But that will happen in a few years."