If you’re in the market for a midsize sedan with all-wheel-drive, chances are you’re shopping for a Subaru. The Legacy is the only model that comes standard with AWD. And, of course, it’s also affordable, practical and reliable, making it a good family sedan.
The five-passenger Legacy is available in five trims: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Sport, 2.5i Limited, and 3.6R Limited. Starting prices range from $21,995 to $31,640. All have Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.
2017 marks the debut of new 2.5i Sport trim which is in the middle of the Legacy line-up. It gets some special styling including dark gray front grille, fog lights with gloss black housing, chrome-accent rocker trim and high luster silver-finished turn-signal mirrors, all riding on 18-inch sport-styled wheels. Starting MSRP for the Sport is $25,595.
The Sport interior gets some upgrades, too, including a two-tone interior with piano black and carbon fiber patterned trim, snazzy blue fabric stitching on the seats, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
All Legacy models get new safety features for 2017 including reverse automatic braking and high-beam assist. Reverse automatic braking is added to Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. It works with the rear view camera which shows what’s behind the vehicle and will stop the car if it detects something and the driver doesn’t brake. High-beam assist automatically switches the headlights from high beam to regular if it detects oncoming traffic.
The Legacy Sport is powered by a 2.5-liter Boxer engine that makes 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. The 3.6R Limited gets a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 256 hp and 247 lb.-ft. Both engines are paired with a Lineartronic CVT with manual mode and paddle shifters.
Despite its name, The Legacy Sport is definitely not a sport sedan. It’s fine as a daily driver but is a bit slow off the line and could use more oomph for freeway passing when going uphill. The CVT delivers “shifts” that make it sound like a traditional automatic transmission. The ride is firm. Steering is responsive when cornering but there is noticeable body roll. Visibility is great all the way around.
Subaru’s Symetrical All-Wheel-Drive and Active Torque Vectoring provide plenty of grip even in slick weather conditions. It’s no wonder that Subarus are so popular in the Pacific Northwest. You can sure get AWD on other mid-size sedans, but at a price. It comes standard on the Legacy.
The 2.5 models get great gas mileage. EPA estimates are 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway with a combined rating of 29. This is very good for an all-wheel-drive sedan. I got 27 mpg during my week with more city than highway driving. The 3.6R Limited doesn’t do quite as well rated at 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway with a combined rating of 23 mpg.
The interior is typical Subaru: more about function and practicality and less about luxury. Though it’s not as plush as some competitors, the soft-touch materials and cloth upholstery are nice Controls are easy to reach and use. It feels a lot like a comfortable pair of shoes. There’s little wow factor but it’s pleasant.
The front seats are comfortable and supportive with good leg- and headroom. The rear seats are fine for average-sized adults but taller folks may feel cramped.
The Legacy 2.5i has a Starlink infotainment system with 6.2-inch single-touch gesture display, AM/FM stereo with HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, single-disc CD player, Bluetooth, iPod control, iTunes tagging, a USB port and auxiliary input jack. Smartphone integration features Aha and Pandora, along with STARLINK cloud applications iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Calendar, Music Player, News and Weather. The screen also provides the display for the standard rear vision camera. Premium, Sport, and Limited trims get a seven-inch high-resolution LCD screen featuring multi-touch gesture controls, Bluetooth hands-free SMS text messaging and dual USB ports. Graphics look good and the system worked well when using voice activation to make phone calls and enter addresses.
The Legacy has 15 cubic feet of storage in the trunk which is average for a midsize sedan. 60/40 split-folding seats give you flexibility in hauling passenger and cargo.
In NHTSA crash tests, the 2017 Legacy gets the top overall rating of five out of five stars. It receives five stars in frontal crashes, five stars in side crashes and five stars in rollover crashes. The Legacy earned the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick+ rating with the available Subaru-developed EyeSight system.
Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist System was first introduced for the 2013 model year and gets better all the time. And you can add it as an option to all but the base Legacy, unlike some competitors where you have to buy an upper trim to add these technologies. Subaru says the system acts like a “second set of eyes for the driver.” The system includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Departure and Sway Warning as well as Lane Keep Assist. New technologies are the Reverse Automatic Braking and the high beam assist.
My tester starts at $23,995. The Legacy Sport Package is $4,845 and adds a power moonroof with tilt and slide, auto-dimming compass mirror with HomeLink, keyless access with push button start, SPORT appearance package with interior and exterior trim, Sport two-tone gray interior, 18-inch sport-styled Alloy wheels, fog lights with gloss black trim, carpeted floor mats with Sport badging, Starlink seven-inch multimedia navigation system, three years’ free map updates, EyeSight Driver Assist package, pre-collision braking system, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, high beam assist and Reverse Automatic Braking system. The Legacy Sport Discount deducts $750 off the price. Destination fee is $820 bringing the grand total to $28,910.
Oregonians love their Subarus and for good reason. The Legacy is definitely worth considering if you’re looking for an economical, midsize family sedan with AWD, excellent fuel efficiency and lots of safety features.