By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
When an auto company puts out an excellent product at a reasonable price their vehicles will usually sell well. That?s certainly has been the case at Subaru. From our experiences all the Subaru?s we have driven have been well built, quality products and they keep selling better and better; so well, in fact, that in September 2016, Subaru celebrated 58 consecutive months of month-over-month growth.
We also think the fact that all their cars, with the exception of the BRX sports car, are all-wheel drive. That helps give them a safety advantage that few other cars can offer. Their excellent low key advertising campaign has probably helped bring some new shoppers into the showrooms, too.
One of the reasons for the Subaru success is the mid-size Legacy sedan. The Legacy competes in one of the toughest automotive segments in the country against cars like the Accord, Camry, Sonata, Optima, Fusion and a half dozen other terrific cars. However, the Legacy starts off with the advantage of having the standard all-wheel drive, whereas most of the others don?t even have it as an option.
All-new two years ago, the Legacy has a contemporary styling that looks good when you see in on the road. It?s about the same size as the previous generation, but the interior designers didn?t get the message, because the new interior space is significantly larger to the point where it now has the largest interior in the mid-size segment. Even the cargo area is larger, now 15.0 cubic feet.
The dash area is efficient and uncluttered, which to us makes it very attractive. We also appreciate features like the soft touch surfaces and large storage areas in the doors and in the center console. The seats are excellent– soft, supportive and attractive.
The car was exceptionally rigid and very quiet. Obviously these are things you can?t see, but we could definitely feel and hear or not hear the difference.
The standard powertrain is a 175-hp 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder (Boxer) engine, with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and symmetrical all-wheel drive. The four-cylinder engine has an EPA fuel economy rating of 26 mpg highway, 36 mpg city and 30 combined ? that?s especially impressive for an AWD car. The four-cylinder versions are also equipped with an active shutter system on the grille to cut wind resistance and increase fuel economy. The 0 to 60 mph acceleration time is 8.7 seconds.
We?ve often said we?re not fans of the CVT transmissions, but concede they produce a significant increase in fuel economy. The Subaru CVT feels more like a regular six-speed automatic transmission by using actual shift points. It also has standard steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters to provide better driver control and a more fun-to-drive experience by allowing the driver to downshift to use engine braking or to hold a ?gear? for better cornering control.
On a previous occasion we drove the Legacy powered by the 3.6-liter six-cylinder Boxer engine. The engine is super smooth, quiet and responsive producing 256 hp. Other than the big increase in performance, you can tell the six-cylinder visually by its dual exhaust outlets. It also uses a CVT transmission, but it?s the heavy duty version that is also offered as an option in the Subaru WRX performance car. Like the transmission used in the 2.5i, this CVT feels more like a conventional automatic and has the paddle shifters. The 3.6R gets an EPA rating of 20/28/23 mpg. Zero to 60 mph acceleration times for the six-cylinder engine is listed by a buff magazine at 6.4 seconds.
The Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive has Active Torque Vector which works by applying light braking to the inside front wheel during cornering to pull the front of the vehicle through the corner with a more neutral steering effect and significantly better handling, especially on slippery surfaces. Also standard is Incline Start Assist and an electronic Hill Holder System. All models are equipped with four-wheel ventilated disc brakes and electronic parking brakes.
The 2017 Subaru Legacy comes in five trim levels (2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Sport, 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited) defined by the engine and equipment level.
We think the Subaru EyeSight? driver-assist system is a ?must have? option and is one of the best safety systems on the market. The sophisticated technology uses a pair of color cameras mounted high on the inside of the windshield on either side of the rear view mirror. They are used to control the Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Keep Assist and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning systems. The package also includes Blind Spot Detection, Cross Traffic Alert and Steering Responsive Fog lights, which makes it one of the best and reasonably priced safety packages we?ve seen. We especially enjoyed that the system will take the car to a stop when traffic stops and that it will start back up by just tapping the resume button.
Another major improvement for the Legacy is the navigation and infotainment system available for the Premium, Sport and Limited trim levels. The system is much easier to use than previous versions and includes a new high-end harman/kardon Green Edge technology audio system which reduces weight and power consumption. It uses a seven-inch touch screen and includes features like SirusXM? satellite radio, iTunes? tagging, dual USB ports and SMS text messaging.
Subaru?s StarLink? in-vehicle technology, which adds a sophisticated entertainment and safety package, is standard equipment on all models except the base 2.5i. It adds a full suite of infotainment apps and safety aids like Automatic Collison Notification, SOS Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Recovery along with several other helpful features.
The 2017 Subaru Legacy pricing starts at $22,815, including the destination charge, for the four-cylinder 2.5i and peaks at $32,460 for the 3.6R six-cylinder Limited. The only option available on the 3.6R is the $1,595 package which adds high beam assist, navigation, EyeSight and the unique Reverse Auto Brake, which can automatically stop to avoid a possible collision while backing.
When you look closely at the Subaru Legacy it?s easy to see why Subaru has set so many sales records, and why we recommend it so often.