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#6

in Affordable Midsize Cars

MSRP: $21,695 - $29,595
Invoice: $20,487 - $27,739
MPG: 26 City / 36 Hwy
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Subaru Legacy Performance

Most critics note that the redesigned 2015 Subaru Legacy has surprisingly nimble handling and a firm, yet comfortable, ride. They add that the base engine feels a little weak on the highway, but they like that the continuously variable transmission (CVT) is responsive and makes great use of the engine’s power.

  • "Overall, this Legacy feels much livelier than the one it replaces, a lot like the spunky 2005-2009 Legacy (still a great car that commands high resale value)." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "From the moment you roll on the throttle mid-corner, the lack of torque steer reminds you the Legacy is no front-driver. Combine that with the much better-than-average steering, and my initial reaction was, ‘Hey, this is like a big WRX!’" -- Motor Trend
  • "From behind the wheel, it's clear that Subaru wanted to give this Legacy a much more refined feel than its predecessors. It's quieter, smoother and more comfortable in almost every driving situation we encountered." -- Edmunds
  • "The Legacy is one of those cars that isn't obviously sporty, but it conducts itself with more composure than you might think." -- AutoWeek

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Subaru Legacy comes standard with a 175-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a CVT. It is available with a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 256 horsepower. According to the EPA, the base 2015 Subaru Legacy gets 26/36 mpg city/highway, which is very good for a four-cylinder midsize car, especially with all-wheel drive. The six-cylinder model gets 20/29, which is slightly better than the ratings of all-wheel-drive rivals like the six-cylinder 2015 Chrysler 200.

Test drivers write that the redesigned four-cylinder Legacy offers quick throttle response and enough power for driving around the city, but they say passing on the interstate can take time. The six-cylinder model offers more highway passing power, automotive experts report, though some wish it was more potent from a stop. Reviewers agree that the Legacy’s CVT makes great use of the engine’s available power, and responds swiftly when the paddle shifters are used.

  • "Matting the throttle in the 2.5-liter four-cylinder yields an instant and determined response-and a familiar over-square soundtrack, if you listen attentively-that feels just about on the mark for its rated output of 175 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. The four-banger Legacy's not quick by any measure, but doesn't lack gumption." -- Car and Driver
  • "When it comes to power, both the four- and the six-cylinder engine deliver refined, quiet motivation. With only 175 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque, however, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder has just enough juice to get by around town. Passing on the highway requires far more thought, a typical trait of midsize four-cylinder sedans." -- Edmunds
  • "The 3.6 definitely improves things, but still left us wanting for more. Grunt off the line isn't great, but the six-cylinder is plenty strong for passing maneuvers." -- Left Lane News
  • "Subaru might just be building the best CVT available today, perhaps because it does a stellar job pretending its CVTs don't feel like CVTs. The stepped gears react quickly to paddle shifting -- the only way to manually switch gears on a Subaru automatic -- and the power is always right there, ready to be used." -- AutoWeek

Handling and Braking

The redesigned 2015 Subaru Legacy comes standard with all-wheel drive and Subaru’s Active Torque Vectoring system, which applies brake pressure to one of the front wheels to improve handling while cornering. Test drivers say the system helps the car corner with much more agility than it otherwise might, and that quick steering makes it easy to point the Legacy exactly where you want it to go. According to critics, the Legacy’s brakes are powerful, and while its suspension is firmer than most rivals’, it still absorbs road imperfections with confidence.

  • "The suspension is not quite as soft as some of its competitors, and that's a good thing. Bumps and dips in the road are soaked up with a satisfying firmness that makes it feel sure-footed without being stiff. A new electric power steering system aids in efficiency, yet doesn't compromise road feel. It's not a sport sedan by any means, but there's enough feedback to keep you engaged without getting annoyed by the constant need for corrections." -- Edmunds
  • "But the important feature is that the Legacy now packs the same Active Torque Vectoring as in the Impreza WRX STI. What this means is that if you pitch it into a corner at a rate slightly above your pay grade, the Legacy will carry you out smoothly enough to make you look like a hero." -- AutoWeek
  • "The Legacy corners remarkably flat, with torque-vectoring helping to hustle the sedan through even the sharpest of hair-pins." -- Left Lane News
  • "Brakes are the same ventilated discs all around regardless of which engine is chosen, and they stop the car with confidence." -- Autoblog
Review Last Updated: 7/23/14

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