By Matt Degen
The Subaru Legacy has always stood out with its traction-enhancing all-wheel drive, yet in the face of rivals with household names like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, Subaru's midsize sedan received only marginal attention. But with a total revamp for 2015, the Subaru Legacy deserves real consideration. With a more appealing design, far better technology and improved fuel efficiency, the new Legacy is a legitimate contender among family sedans. Available with a 4-cylinder engine rated up to 36 mpg or a strong and smooth 6-cylinder that makes passing a breeze, the Legacy ranges from a roughly $22,500 deal to a $30,000-plus leather-laden sedan filled with creature comforts. All-wheel drive (AWD) remains standard, but with its rebirth for 2015, it's not the Legacy's only highlight.
If you live where it snows, the 2015 Subaru Legacy should be at the top of your midsize sedan shopping list. True, it's now not the only one to offer AWD, but it remains the best and the most affordable. Other positives are the Legacy's history of reliability and strong resale value.
Desire a diesel engine, hybrid powertrain or manual transmission in your family sedan? You won't find any of those in the 2015 Subaru Legacy. And while the new Legacy looks sleeker than past models, it remains conservative compared to some design-focused rivals.
The Subaru Legacy enters is sixth generation in all-new form for 2015 with fresh looks inside and out, new technology and better fuel efficiency. The same 4- and 6-cylinder engine choices remain, but even they have been heavily revamped. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) becomes standard across the board.
Driving Impressions Both the 2.5i 4-cylinder Legacy and the 3.6R 6-cylinder model feel planted on the road thanks to their engine design. Because the Legacy's engine sits deeper, the car itself has...... a lower center of gravity. This translates to a grounded feeling and, combined with Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, instills driver confidence in foul weather and on twisty roads. With 175 horsepower, 4-cylinder models have adequate acceleration, but you'll need quite a bit of space for high-speed passing. Six-cylinder models, with a robust 256 horsepower, are smooth, strong, and the ideal choice for drivers more interested in power than the best fuel economy. On tight, winding roads the steering feel could benefit from increased firmness, but it is laudable in just about every other driving situation. The new Legacy also mostly rectifies a past wrong regarding throttle tip in. Thanks to a reprogrammed CVT, the car doesn't lurch from a stop.
ALL-WHEEL DRIVE AND UP TO 36 MPG
The 2015 Subaru Legacy has made appreciable gains in fuel efficiency thanks to improved engine operation and features like a grille that automatically closes for better aerodynamics. The result is a 36 mpg/highway fuel-economy figure in 4-cylinder models, all the more impressive considering all four wheels power this sedan.
LEAD VEHICLE ALERT
It's happened to us all: The light turns green, the traffic around us moves on, and we're at a standstill daydreaming or searching for that particular song. Lead Vehicle Alert aims to prevent honking and embarrassment via an alert that the car ahead has moved forward, so you should too.
The 2015 Legacy's 5-passenger cabin is now more contemporary, useful and entertaining. Changes from the previous version are most noticeable in the center stack, where even a base model is minted with a 6.2-inch touch-screen infotainment system with standard backup camera. Passenger space has been improved, as has trunk capacity that's now 15.0 cubic feet. Most controls are intuitive, and the upgraded command screen features multi-touch and swipe technology, like a tablet. Phone-pairing is easy. The driver's seat has good lumbar support, but even at its lowest setting may be too much for some people. Rear-seat legroom is generous.Exterior
In the past few years, the midsize sedan segment has started to look like a beauty pageant, with automakers vying to one-up each other with style and pizzazz. In this contest, the Subaru Legacy earns the title of Miss Congeniality – or perhaps Mr. Conservative. In that, Subaru's latest Legacy remains handsome but not flashy. If there's a trend it follows, it's that of a big, trapezoidal grille. In back, 6-cylinder models are distinguished by dual stainless steel exhaust outlets. All Legacy models have good visibility thanks to thoughtful details like a small window below the A-pillar.
The 2015 Legacy comes in four trims: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited. Spend the least on a 2.5i, and you'll still get a well-equipped sedan with CVT automatic transmission with paddle shifters, a 6.2-inch infotainment system with AM/FM/CD/HD Radio, Bluetooth streaming and USB/auxiliary inputs, backup camera and 17-inch wheels. Premium models add a 10-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, upgraded infotainment with a 7-inch screen and two USB ports, dual-zone climate control, and faux wood trim. Limited trims have a 576-watt harman/kardon audio system, blind-spot and lane-departure warning, and leather. Top-line 3.6R models come with the 6-cylinder engine and HID headlights.
Most of the Legacy's options are bundled into packages and include a power moonroof, navigation, a rear-vehicle detection system with cross-traffic alert, keyless access, and push-button start. Subaru's EyeSight driver-assist system offers adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane-departure warning, and Lead Vehicle Alert. One particularly interesting option, called PIN Code Access, allows you to leave the keys in the parked car and lock and unlock the vehicle with a code via a button near the trunk. The feature is aimed at runners, swimmers and others who don't want to carry keys with them.
Two engine choices are available in the 2015 Subaru Legacy: a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or 3.6-liter 6-cylinder. Both engines have a horizontal or "boxer" configuration. It's called the latter because with engine's horizontal position, the pistons move sideways in and out, similar to a boxer's fists. This configuration reduces vehicle vibration and lowers the Subaru's center of gravity for a stable feel. All Legacy models now use the CVT, which has been refined to feel more like a regular automatic transmission. Fuel economy has been improved in both engines for this new model year, and both can run on regular 87-octane gasoline.
175 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
174 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/36 mpg (estimated)
256 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
247 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg (estimated)
The all-new 2015 Subaru Legacy has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $22,490 for a base 2.5i model. At the other end of the spectrum is the 3.6R Limited model that starts at $30,390 and can reach the mid-$30k mark with options. The Legacy's prices are in line with competitors such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion. The Legacy's real value differentiator is the fact that all models come with all-wheel drive. Only two other rivals even offer it – the Ford Fusion and revamped Chrysler 200 – and equipping them with the feature costs significantly more. An AWD Fusion begins around $27,000, while an AWD Chrysler 200 begins at nearly $30,000. Before buying your 2015 Legacy, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. In the long-run, the Legacy has a history of high resale value.
By DaveL on Friday, February 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Solid, reliable, great value."
Cons: "CVT only, not as quick as my '06 Legacy."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Paid $22,000 for the Premium with heated seats, and 7" entertainment. Mileage so far has been outstanding - over 500 miles on my first tank of gas, 400 of which were local/non-highway driving! Surefooted, a little 'laggy' if you like quick cars, but I'll take that."
1 person out of 4 found this review helpful
By stacybear on Wednesday, February 11, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,456overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looking car, great in snow"
Cons: "Wind noise, overstated MPG, customer service"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Car looks great inside and out. Many features top all other cars in this class. Great in snow. Wind noise in front a-pillar is awful. MPG is way overstated - count on 26 max and that is at 80% highway miles and 65 mph. Bad experience with original dealership and experience with second dealership is average thus far. Could blow away the competition if they fixed the wind noise, MPG and cared a little more for the buyers."
12 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By SubieFan on Tuesday, February 10, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Value, fun to drive, safe"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My family and I have driven Subaru's for years so we know all about how great the AWD system is. Living in the Northeast, having traction during the winter months is extremely important. The Symmetrical AWD system in the Subaru delivers during even the worst snowstorms. I have never been late to work or stranded due to inclement weather. The issue with Subaru's for years has been the overall quality. The interior designs were bland with old technology. The new 2015 Legacy redefines the old notions of "What Makes a Subaru, a Subaru". The new Legacy has a tasteful exterior design with a nice bold grille. It might not be as daring in design as the Mazda6 or Ford Fusion but still looks great and better than the sedate Accord or Sonata in my opinion. The interior quality has been much improved as well. Soft touch materials everywhere as well as having leather touchpoints where your elbows rest is very nice to have. The new 7" infotainment system (I have the 2.5i Premium model) is awesome and has app support such as Pandora and Aha. The touch responsiveness is great and doesn't lag. The two USB ports is a nice touch as well so I can charge multiple devices. The dual zone automatic climate control, 3-setting heated seats, heated mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer are all nice features to have in the cold months. The sound system even without the upgrade H/K one is solid and provides some nice punch (the Accord Sport and LX trims only have 4 speakers which is ridiculous) The driving dynamics are great. It does ride pretty soft (it is a mid-size family sedan), but it takes corners with a decisiveness and ease you wouldn't expect. The AWD system is a big reason why since it grips the road so great. The 17" wheels looks pretty good (the 18's look much better though). The available EyeSight feature is outstanding and is a must have for some people who have a bad habit of not looking in their blindspot. This can save your life with the aforementioned blindspot monitoring system, pre-collision breaking and rear-cross traffic alert. The adaptive cruise control is awesome and really does work as it should. I did not get the navigation system so I can't comment on that. Fuel economy is outstanding for an AWD car. As I said, I've driven Subaru's for years and high MPG was not a strong suit especially with the old 4-speed automatics. The CVT is geared to achieve maximum fuel efficiency. I've been getting 30 MPG+ in mixed driving. Some things I don't like/improvements. The power is pretty mediocre with the 4-cylinder atleast. Passing power isn't the best, but around town it's fine. This is probably due more to how the CVT is geared for fuel economy instead of sportiness. There is a manual mode and paddle shifters if you enjoy to drive a little more spiritedly. I wish the 2.5i Premium model could get the Keyless Access and Push Button start as well. The Mazda6 2.5i Touring (the middle trim) has that standard. Subaru really stepped up their game with this 2015 model and hit a homerun. Any shopper for a mid-size sedan must take a look at the Legacy, it's not just for people who live in the snowy states anymore."
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful