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2012 Subaru Legacy

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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 250 Ratings for the 2010 - 2014 models.

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

Saw this car and had to have it...

By on Friday, June 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive for sure, Sticks to the road"

Cons: "Gas Mileage"

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

"I own a Mitsubishi Outlander and test drove the new Lancer, but it was exactly the same as the Outlander except a car. I had to learn to drive standard in this used Subaru Legacy. I must say its been quite smooth and drives amazing it sticks to the road. I cant wait to drive it in the winter and western NY winters can get nasty. My Outlander failed to get me to work a couple times last year. I have no doubt that this car will own the winter this year. No complaints though yet this car is built to last top to bottom. The one thing is my Outlander beats it on gas mileage."

Love my Subaru

By on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Reasonable price for AWD. Easy to handle and park"

Cons: "Seats could use more padding."

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

"This is my first AWD and it has certainly made my life easier in NW PA. I also live at the top of a steep hill and it has never let me down on the snowiest days. The only money I have had to put in it is new tires, brakes replaced 6 months ago and regular oil changes. The dealer even put on new windshield wipers for free when I got the new brakes. Only complaint is the seats are not heavily padded and become uncomfortable on a long trip."

10 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Very comfortable

By on Friday, March 4, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great price, drives very smooth and comfortable"

Cons: "horrible radio signal for standard version"

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

"I am very pleased with the car overall. It drives very smooth and very comfortable. I have a bad back and the comfort is the best I have felt. The only downside is the radio is horrible for the standard."

Has served me well! Just want a SUV style now.

By on Friday, January 29, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,900

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"great dependability! Has been a great car. Just miss my SUV after driving kids for so many years. Changing for another Subaru!"

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

2011 Subaru Legacy Premium 4 Door

By on Friday, December 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

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: "Great driver! Fuel mileage in the 32-34 range"

Cons: "Data center unreadable in sunlight"

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

"This vehicle has been the absolute best new car I've ever owned. And that's many. In 55000 miles there have been absolutely no expense other than regular maintenance. (Site will not update mileage) It rides and drives like new and the original tires still have another 10-20,000 miles left. The paint is still like new with it's annual detail. The only complaint I have, and it's minor, is that the info (data) display in the center of the dash is unreadable when the sun hits the dash area. And that is frequent. Love my Subaru!"

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Near luxury for an economy price

By on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Classy Roomy Reliable Economical All-weather use"

Cons: "2.5l 4-cyl Lacks power of larger engines"

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

Love looking at my 2010 Legacy!

"Bought this Legacy used with 18K miles in November 2011. It's been dependable and economical since. Very happy with it. Also like the "exclusivity" of the Legacy since most buyers choose the Outback (also excellent) or another brand. Looks classy and contemporary. Expect years more of reliable service from this 2010 Legacy."

26 people out of 36 found this review helpful

Love looking at my 2010 Legacy!

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