By KBB.com Editors
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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.
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.
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 Impressions 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.
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.
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
The 2013 Subaru Legacy has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $21,000 for the 2.5i with the manual transmission, with the Premium model adding $2,300 to that. The 2.5 Limited starts around $26,750. The base 6-cylinder 3.6R has an MSRP of just over $26,000, rising to nearly $30,000 in Limited trim. Sliding between the Premium and Limited grades is the new 2.5i Sport, which begins just north of $25,000. A similarly priced Honda Accord or Toyota Camry can't match the Legacy's standard content list nor do they offer the option of all-wheel drive. Before heading to the dealership, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price, which shows what others in your area are paying for 2013 Subaru Legacy. Over a 5-year period, the Legacy is expected to retain excellent resale values, with the 3.6R models besting the 2.5i. by a few percentage points.
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"
5 people out of 5 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
By terry (OH) on Monday, November 12, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great in snow, great on gas"
Cons: "cloth interior prone to tearing at seams"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My second Subaru, only complaint is I had a cloth interior which is already ripping at the seam on the drivers side. Dealer told me that it is due to design. I am buying a 2013 with leather which has a lifetime guarantee. No better vehicle in snow. 30 mpg consistantly."
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful