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#16

in Affordable Midsize Cars

MSRP: $20,295 - $28,895
Invoice: $19,201 - $27,097
MPG: 24 City / 32 Hwy
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Subaru Legacy Performance

Reviewers say the 2014 Subaru Legacy’s four-cylinder engine delivers sufficient power, but they prefer the six-cylinder’s added liveliness. Test drivers say the Legacy feels solid around turns and a little bit athletic, and they like its precise steering. The Legacy is the only car in the class with standard all-wheel drive, and reviewers like the added traction it provides, especially in bad weather.

  • "My biggest complaint is how loud the cabin is on the road. Road, wind and engine noises aren't well filtered out, creating sensory-overload-induced fatigue after long distances." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "Whereas our 2.5 GT long-termer was eager to play, this 2.5i is as docile and sedate as an old dog." -- Autoblog (2013)
  • "Standard all-wheel drive is a bonus for snow-belt states." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Legacy is available with a four- or six-cylinder horizontally-opposed Boxer engine. The base Legacy comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 173 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission, though a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available. The 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine produces 256 horsepower and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimates the Legacy’s fuel economy at 21/29 mpg city/highway with the four-cylinder engine and manual transmission and 24/32 with the CVT. These figures are on the low end for a four-cylinder affordable midsize car, though when looking at all-wheel drive rivals like the Ford Fusion, the Legacy’s fuel economy is a bit better.

Most test drivers say the Legacy’s four-cylinder engine delivers passable power. They’re happier with the vigorous power the six-cylinder engine provides. Reviewers think the CVT is well-matched to the engine. Critics dislike the manual transmission because they say it can be hard to find the right gear.

  • "We like the way the CVT paddle shifters help the 2.5-liter make the most of its power. The standard 6-speed manual might have been our first choice if it was not so rubbery and vague when looking for the right gear. Although the 2.5-liter surprised us with its acceleration and smooth operations, we still prefer the authoritative power provided by the 3.6-liter engine. If only we could have the 4-cylinder's fuel economy on the 3.6R, it would be a match made in heaven." -- AutoTrader
  • "Both engines provide adequate performance and efficiency for everyday driving, but neither is a standout in this class." -- Edmunds
  • "The 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. … The 3.6R is, as expected, better at moving the Legacy, but with a sizeable penalty in fuel economy (18/25 vs. 24/32)." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder is actually new for 2013, but only produces three more horsepower and four more pound-feet of torque than the prior 2.5-liter engine. It is an adequate engine for buyers who care little for performance, but otherwise is taxed by the Legacy's weight and strain of its AWD running gear." -- Autoblog (2013)
  • "Shift and clutch action are vague on 2.5i models. Most testers found it difficult to differentiate between 3rd and 5th gear when shifting." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Handling and Braking

Critics like the 2014 Legacy’s handling capabilities, saying the sedan feels planted and delivers a comfortable ride. The steering is liked by reviewers for its accuracy and the amount of feedback it gives. The Subaru Legacy is the only affordable midsize car that has standard all-wheel drive, and test drivers say it gives the car great grip in inclement weather.

  • "The steering feel is nicely weighted, and the all-wheel-drive system provides excellent traction, even on the most treacherous roads." -- AutoTrader
  • "The 2014 Subaru Legacy's standard all-wheel-drive system gives it plenty of capability in bad weather." -- Edmunds
  • "The boxer engine's low center of gravity coupled with all-wheel drive make for stable handling with a slightly sporty edge." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "This Legacy has surprisingly communicative and nicely weighted steering." -- Autoblog (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/14/14

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