2013 Subaru Legacy Review
By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
What's New for 2013
For 2013, Subaru's Legacy sedan continues to win consumers with its pleasant styling, roomy rear seat and unbeatable all-wheel-drive (AWD) setup. Despite the AWD's added weight and power demands, the 4-cylinder Legacy manages very respectable fuel economy ratings of 24-mpg city and 34-mpg highway, when equipped with continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Add to this class-leading safety and resale ratings, and it becomes nearly impossible to argue against buying a Legacy. One deterrent might reside with the Legacy's rather basic audio systems, which while equipped with Bluetooth phone connectivity and streaming audio, are a far cry from the latest in high-tech infotainment. If you're seeking touch-screen radios that not only allow voice control of the iPod, but popular apps as well, you'll be happier in a sedan from Ford, GM or Hyundai.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a sedan as well regarded for its safety as its comfort, the 2013 Subaru Legacy deserves a long look. A huge back seat and cavernous trunk are definite pluses, but it's the Legacy's sure-footed standard AWD, impressive crash test ratings and excellent fuel economy that we love.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a sportier sedan, even the 6-cylinder Legacy isn't as much fun to drive as a turbocharged Hyundai Sonata or VW Passat. The 2.5i's rubbery manual transmission won't impress enthusiast drivers, and the lack of a touch-screen infotainment system may turn off younger buyers.
For 2013, the Legacy sedan gets a minor facelift, a stiffer suspension and upgraded radios with Bluetooth. The Limited can be equipped with Subaru's EyeSight driver assist (Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning), as well as a new navigation system. Lastly, a new 2.5i Sport trim level supplants last year's 2.5GT variant.
Driving the Legacy
While the 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines in the 2013 Subaru Legacy offer differing acceleration, the Legacy 2.5i, and 3.6R share the same suspension, meaning the ride and handling are fairly...
consistent regardless of model. We found the Legacy's ride to be exceptionally smooth and its cabin sufficiently quiet. The boxer engine's low center of gravity coupled with all-wheel drive make for stable handling with a slightly sporty edge. The newly improved 2.5-liter engine's 173 horsepower provides adequate though unspectacular acceleration and passing, though its 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 a bit better than with manual, and you'll get a more sophisticated AWD setup to boot. The 3.6R is, as expected, better at moving the Legacy, but with a sizeable penalty in fuel economy (18/25 vs. 24/32).
NEW VOICE ACTIVATED NAVIGATION UNIT
Available only on Limited trims, Subaru's new voice-activated navigation system includes a 7-inch high-resolution screen, 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 player, HD radio, USB auxiliary audio input, XM Satellite with NavTraffic and iPod integration.
EYESIGHT DRIVER ASSIST SYSTEM
Available on the Limited trim, the Subaru's EyeSight system includes Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure and Sway warning, and a pedestrian-detection system.
2013 Subaru Legacy Details
The spacious interior in the 2013 Subaru Legacy is elegant in both its design and function. The front seats are superbly comfortable and, on all but the base model, include 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. Gauges are stylish, legible and include a trip computer and fuel-economy gauge; Limited trims have an electroluminescent cluster with a proper temperature gauge.
For 2013, the Subaru Legacy's styling gets a bit sportier, touting a newly designed grille, wheels and front bumper. Other than wheels, foglights and, on all but the base model, color-keyed mirrors, there is little to distinguish the five trim levels. Unlike its Outback cousin, the Legacy sits low to the ground-a design that permits it to appear like any other family sedan but also somewhat limits its ability to engage in deep snow. However, features like the available windshield wiper de-icer solidify the Legacy's winter warrior credentials.
Features on the 2013 Legacy 2.5i sedan include all-wheel drive, a 6-speed manual transmission, 16-inch wheels, USB/iPod control and Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming. A 6-cylinder 3.6R version is similar, though with a 5-speed automatic and 17-inch alloy wheels. The 2.5i Premium models include the CVT transmission, a 10-way power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and 6-speaker audio. The 2.5i and 3.6R Limited trims add a power passenger seat, dual-zone climate control, the All-Weather Package (heated front seats, mirrors and windshield wiper de-icers), leather seats, a 440-watt harman/kardon premium sound system, rear A/C vents, and an electroluminescent gauge cluster with 3.5-inch LCD information display.
2013 Subaru Legacy options are clustered according to trim. The base 2.5i offers only the CVT automatic, while the Premium trim can be equipped with the All-Weather Package, 440-watt harman/kardon audio system, a power moonroof and rearview camera package. Limited trims offer voice-activated navigation with rearview camera, as well as the EyeSight system and a power moonroof. Subaru dealers also offer a relatively wide array of accessories including an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a remote starter, all-weather floor mats, puddle lights and a roof rack system with numerous attachment options.
Under the Hood
For 2013, the Legacy's 2.5-liter boxer engine is upgraded with Dual Active Valve Control driven by a timing chain (as opposed to a rubber belt). The result is a few more horsepower and better low-end torque response, as well as quieter operation. Equipping this engine with the literally seamless CVT automatic will produce the best fuel economy (24/32 mpg city/highway), but the 6-speed manual is a better choice if saving money is a bigger priority. The most refined engine choice for the Legacy is the 3.6-liter 6-cylinder, which offers strong acceleration and passing power, but with a bit less fuel efficiency. Manual-equipped cars feature a mechanical viscous coupling center differential that splits torque in a constant 50/50 front-to-rear configuration. Legacys equipped with an automatic transmission use a more sophisticated electronic setup that, on the 3.6R, can even vary the torque split according to need.
173 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
174 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 mpg (manual), 24/32 mpg (automatic)
256 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
247 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg
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