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2012 Subaru Legacy

Overview
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2012 Subaru Legacy Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

Now in its third year since a total redesign, the 2012 Subaru Legacy remains an appealing alternative to category stalwarts like the Accord and Camry. And buyers have taken note, with significantly increased sales year over year. Combining good fuel economy, top safety ratings and the sure-footed traction provided by its standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD), the Legacy is an extremely attractive family sedan, especially when one considers the base model's sub-$20,000 starting price. For added versatility, the Legacy's sister model, the Outback, provides similar virtues in a wagon body style.

You'll Like This Car If...

Whether you appreciate the handling virtues of all-wheel drive or need to navigate winter's worst, you'll find the 2012 Subaru Legacy to be a roomy, comfortable sedan with an edge in confidence over its front-wheel-drive competition. Wide front seats and a cavernous trunk are standouts, and the Legacy combines top-rated safety with a generous list of features.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a silky-smooth 6-cylinder sedan, the Legacy's boxer engine feels less refined than the traditional V-6 Camry and Accord offerings. The boxer 4-cylinder can feel slightly sluggish under hard acceleration, and the Lineartronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is not to everyone's liking. The sole turbo model, the GT, is manual-only.

What's New for 2012

Subaru's penchant for an abundance of trim levels continues, with seven 2012 Legacy models in total. The popular mid-level Premium models add an improved 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth phone and wireless audio streaming plus an iPod connection. Top-tier Limited models now have standard foglights

Driving the Legacy

Driving Impressions While the three engine choices offer differing acceleration, the Legacy 2.5i, 2.5GT and 3.6R all share the same suspension, so ride and handling are consistent across the lineup. Ride quality...

is among the best in class, aided by the quiet cabin. Along with responsive steering and brakes, the low center of gravity of its boxer engine and all-wheel drive make handling stable and sporty. The 2.5-liter engine's 170 horsepower provides adequate though unspectacular acceleration and passing. The optional CVT works better than most and features a set of paddle shifters that allow manual-style gear changes. Fuel economy with the CVT is actually quite better than with manual, estimated at 23/31 city/highway. The 3.6R is, as expected, better at moving the Legacy, though there's a hint of vibration at idle. The 265-horsepower turbocharged Legacy 2.5GT is the real performer, with minimal turbo lag and a nice flat torque curve. But buyers who want an automatic transmission will have to choose the 3.6R or shop elsewhere.

Voice-Activated Navigation System
Available only on Limited trims, Subaru's voice-activated navigation system offers a big 8-inch high-resolution screen, a rearview camera and Bluetooth hands-free phone and streaming music capability. The system also includes a 440-watt harman/kardon sound system, single-disc CD/DVD player, USB auxiliary audio input, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and iPod integration.

Electronic Parking Brake with Hill-Holder Function
The traditional parking brake handle is replaced by a soft-touch push/pull switch on the dash. The electronic brake system includes a feature that holds the brakes for a moment on inclines greater than 5 degrees, for easier takeoffs without unwanted rollback.

2012 Subaru Legacy Details
Interior

The spacious interior is elegant in both its design and function. Front seats are superbly comfortable, with most models including one of the best driver-seat lumbar supports we've tested. Legroom and headroom are excellent front and rear, and split-folding rear seats expand the cargo space from large to huge. The thick tilt/telescoping steering wheel includes controls for audio and cruise, as well as Bluetooth on all but the base models. Gauges are stylish, legible and include a trip computer and fuel-economy gauge. An electronic parking brake frees up the console for added storage and generous cup holders. Large windows with low sills offer excellent views out.

Exterior

The Legacy's styling became more modern with the 2010 redesign but not necessarily more exciting, though few sedans in this category raise one's pulse. Still, the clean design remains fresh in its third year. Other than wheels, foglights and, on all but the base model, color-keyed mirrors, there is little to distinguish the seven trim levels. Even the hot-rod GT model is set apart only by its wheels and functional hood scoop, a disappointing degree of subtlety from the makers of the aggressively sporty WRX STI. The previous generation's frameless door windows have been banished in favor of a quieter cabin.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base Legacy 2.5i Sedan features all-wheel drive, a 6-speed manual transmission, 16-inch wheels, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, AM/FM/CD audio with auxiliary jack, manual air conditioning, power windows/locks, height-adjustable driver's seat, front side and side-curtain airbags, keyless entry and stability control. A 6-cylinder 3.6R version is similar, though with a 5-speed automatic and 17-inch alloy wheels. The 2.5i Premium adds an automatic transmission and 17-inch wheels, while both 2.5i and 3.6R Premium models include a 10-way power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and 6-speaker audio with Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity. The 2.5i and 3.6R Limited trims add a power passenger seat, dual-zone climate control and All-Weather Package (heated front seats, mirrors and windshield wiper de-icers). Limited models add leather and 440-watt harman/kardon premium sound. The turbocharged 2.5GT Limited adds 18-inch wheels, power moonroof, leather and sportier trim.

Optional Equipment

2012 Subaru Legacy options are clustered according to trim. The base 2.5i offers only the CVT automatic, plus the All-Weather Package (heated seats, mirrors and windshield wiper de-icers) and an alloy wheels/foglight package. The 3.6R base trim offers no options, not even heated seats (all 3.6R trims come with a 5-speed conventional automatic). Premium trims with either engine offer the Harman/Kardon audio, moonroof and All-Weather Package. Limited trims offer voice-activated navigation with rearview camera and auto-dimming mirrors. Subaru dealers also offer a relatively wide array of accessories, from auto-dimming mirrors to SiriusXM satellite radio, to a Media hub for connecting MP3 devices.

Under the Hood

Subaru offers three boxer engines in the 2012 Legacy, a low-profile and naturally balanced design in which the pistons lay flat in a horizontally opposed configuration. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder delivers 170 horsepower, which is not best in class but does provide satisfactory performance. Equipping this engine with the literally seamless CVT automatic will produce the best fuel economy (23/31 mpg city/highway), but the 6-speed manual is a better choice if performance and fun are priorities. The turbocharged version of the same engine bumps output to 265 horsepower and is recommended for enthusiast drivers. The most refined choice for the Legacy is the 6-cylinder, which offers strong acceleration and passing power, but fuel efficiency drops to an estimated 18/25 mpg city/highway, the same as the turbo.

2.5-liter boxer-4
170 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (manual), 23/31 (CVT automatic)

2.5-liter turbocharged boxer-4
265 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25

3.6-liter boxer-6
256 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
247 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25

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2012 Subaru Legacy Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 236 Ratings for the 2010 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Great car

By on Monday, March 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,800

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"No problems and it performs well. Gas mileage is low, but it is not broke in yet and all my cars are low for WV driving and my habits."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

2014 Subary Legacy 2.5i Premium

By on Tuesday, March 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "AWD, seat comfort, visability"

Cons: "No standard rear view camera"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Purchased this 2014 Subaru Legacy after driving a Subaru Forester and found it was amazing in the snow. I previously owned a Honda Accord which was extremely reliable but not comfortable. I looked at and drove the Camry, Sonata, Accord, Altima and Legacy. Overall it was the AWD that sold me dealing with winters/rain in the Northeast. The Premium comes with heated mirrors, wipers and seats which is a must in the winter. The cloth seats are much more comfortable to me then the leather, which are hot in summer and cold in the winter. The first snowstorm we got I realized how amzaing the AWD is when cars and trucks were getting stuck and I had no issues at all. There were SUV's getting stuck going up a hill, and I literally just drove right around them with no problem. The seats are extremely comfortable(much better than the Accord), the CVT is smooth, and the car offers great visability with lots of glass. I get around 25-27 mixed driving MPG(I only got 26 MPG in my Accord), and get up to 33 MPG on highway. This is my first Subaru but the AWD system has sold me on their product."

Favorite Car in Our Garage

By on Sunday, March 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Mileage, interior,, winter handling, stereo, trunk"

Cons: "No temp gauge, noisy CVT"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought this car for my 16 year old who has to drive a distance to high school. It has been a great winter car, and overall mileage even with awd has been 27 over three years. When we road trip it's our car of choice for comfort, rear legroom, mileage, trunk space and stereo. On the highway mileage north of 30 mpg even loaded down. Not one issue over three years. We love this sedan. A perfect starter car."

Fast, fun to drive, stylish, and dependable

By on Friday, February 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "handling, acceleration, steering, leg room f/r"

Cons: "Got in NE, the GT avail only w/summer tires"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

Day 1 in the driveway

"Have my 2nd Legacy GT(turbo) and they've both been a rocket on 4 wheels with great handling characteristics. The '11 is roomy inside and the trunk is cavernous. And the car doesn't seem particularly long for all that room. The added power with the turbo makes if effortless to accelerate anywhere anytime with ease. And it was awesome to find a midsize sports sedan with a manual transmission. But Subaru has stopped making the Legacy GT, so I'll have to look at something else for my next car."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Day 1 in the driveway

Excellent car for the money

By on Saturday, February 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Affordable AWD vehicle for snow belt"

Cons: "MPG only so-so for a 4 cylinder"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"You get a lot of car for a reasonable price: AWD, heated seats/mirrors, XM radio, very good CVT, decent mileage for AWD, nice looking alloys..."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

A very good car - not snobby, but a nice ride

By on Sunday, January 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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."

19 people out of 36 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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