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Review of: 2017 Subaru Legacy 4dr Sdn Man 2.5i w/Touring Pkg


2017 Subaru Legacy: The Facts of Life

By David Miller

Sep. 16, 2016

The mid-size sedan market has improved dramatically over the past few years. The Chevrolet Malibu’s rise from the ashes brought a lot more spunk and technology to this segment, and styling improvements to the Toyota Camry and the Ford Fusion’s upgrades mean it’s a great time to be a buyer looking for a roomy sedan.

In the midst of all those choices is the Subaru Legacy, now in its sixth-generation, which seems to stand a little apart from the rest. Different doesn’t mean a square steering wheel; it’s normal overall, but different due to its standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, which creates a lot of appeal in parts of this country that see a lot of snow. Subaru is doing a good deal right.

However, there are more things to consider than AWD, so let’s get into this test drive of the new 2017 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Touring edition. The fun thing about this one in Canada is that the car comes with a six-speed manual transmission, unlike in America, where a CVT automatic is the only offering.

Pros & Cons

  • + Traction
  • + Comfortable, spacious interior
  • + Handling
  • - Acceleration
  • - Forgettable styling
  • - Manual transmission availability
Read the full review
  • Walkaround

    The sixth-generation Legacy is larger than its predecessor – near the top of its segment in space – but it still stands in the middle-of-the-pack when it comes to its appearance. I admire Subaru’s stance on safety, but for some reason, the Legacy reflects that same stance when it comes to design – it’s just too conservative. You can have both, and I would love to see Subaru push that envelope more for its conventional sedans.

    The Legacy maintains a middle position with its six-sided chrome grille, which adds a little flair and goes well with one of my favourite logos in the business. There’s some character here with swept-back headlights, but its body and backside appear reveal a cookie-cutter look that could have been used 10 years ago.

  • Interior

    The Legacy’s interior takes on the same conservative philosophy as the outside. Once again, there is nothing bad about it; there’s just nothing to gush over.

    But we have to take a bit of a step back to understand the mid-size sedan market. Many of these buyers aren’t looking for flash and pizzazz; they may appreciate a bit of it, but comfort, space and easy-to-understand technology are more in their wheelhouse.

    The latter is the arena in which the Legacy can boast the most. The Touring trim comes with the upgraded seven-inch touchscreen that’s well organized and easy to navigate. Simple, but not completely devoid of technology works best with this crowd. And when you add in soft leather seating with power adjustments in the front and can be heated when needed, you have a solid foundation.

    If comfort and roominess are what you’re after, you will be thrilled with the amount of headroom and legroom in both the front and rear. In total, the Legacy provides 2,857 litres of passenger volume with 425 litres of trunk space, enough for three adults in the back and plenty of space for family luggage.

  • Tech

    One of Subaru’s biggest tech features is its optional EyeSight safety system that adds adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning and a forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. This is a great suite that immediately enhances the safety of your ride, but unfortunately the regular Touring trim doesn’t come with it. You would have to move up one trim level to the Touring with the optional technology package for nearly $3,000 more.

    But if you move up to that package, you can no longer get the six-speed manual gearbox.
    Even though you don’t get EyeSight, the Touring still comes with a rear/side vehicle detection system (SRVD) that includes blind spot detection, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert. In addition, you’ll receive a rear view camera, seven-inch touchscreen, sunroof, six-speaker audio and an AWD system. Except for AWD, those other technology features are typically expected at this price point.

  • Driving

    There are two engine options for the Legacy that come in a flat/boxer/horizontally-opposed layout (whichever name you prefer). There’s a 2.5-litre four-cylinder that produces 175 hp and 174 lb.-ft. of torque, and a 3.6-litre six-cylinder that ups the game to 256 hp and 247 lb.-ft. of torque. To move up to the larger engine, the starting price begins at $30,895.

    But this review is about the 2.5-litre and as mentioned, it comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. I can’t tell you how the optional CVT works, but the manual gearbox takes a while to get its torque up. I would like to see it sprint off the line more quickly, but the Legacy takes its time to get rolling. If you shift up too early, you’ll miss out on most of the engine’s power, making it best to stay in the lower gears until the 3,500 rpm mark.

    Outside of slow initial acceleration, fuel economy takes a slight hit from this system setup when you look at the combined fuel economy rating of 9.7 L/100 km. However, during this week long test, I managed a combined 8.5 L/100 km.

    The Legacy gains some momentum back from its flaws with its superior balance and handling. The boxer engine sits lower than most, allowing for a lower centre of gravity and a reduction in body roll that works wonders for handling along with the system.

    Steering is weighted to keep turns tight and direct, and I was able to master some tight corners with enough precision to put some fun back into the ride. At least with the manual shifter you can stay in gears longer and feel the engine at work as it powers ahead. And at speeds above the 60 km/h mark, I feel the Legacy is a little more frisky without getting bogged down.

    If you’re looking for a quiet, easy drive, Legacy can also perform as a comfortable and relaxing cruiser with plenty of visibility. Drive casually and the Legacy provides some peace and quiet thanks to good noise insulation and a laminated acoustic windshield.

  • Value

    The argument for the Legacy’s value is clearly in its AWD system. At $26,595 for the Touring trim, the Legacy’s price appears average, but once again, you have to be a believer in AWD. If that’s not on the top of your priority lists, you will see the price as a big high. That being said, choosing a Legacy with the 2.5-litre engine appears to be a better deal than paying the premium for the 3.6-litre.

    If Subaru added its EyeSight safety system to this package, then we would have quite the deal. Many competitors are starting to add at least some top safety technology to their lower trims, and that might be a good value proposition for Subaru, too.

  • Conclusion

    The 2017 Subaru Legacy may be forgotten in the mix of mid-size sedan offerings, but it stands out for its AWD system that provides good value, but I do believe there can be more to its story.

    In the end, you find some good, you find some bad; take them both and there you have the Subaru Legacy. Yes, that’s the theme song to the ’80s sitcom “The Facts of Life,” but it sums up the Legacy so well. The sitcom had a good run, it had some interesting characters and story lines, but does anyone still talk about it?

    Those lyrics translate to the Legacy: For its positive attributes like handling, space and comfort, there are negatives like its weak initial acceleration and conservative design. There’s nothing memorable or striking about it and that’s where it struggles to attract conquest shoppers.

    The decision for the Legacy still comes down to AWD. If balance and safety is a priority, then the Legacy would be a wise choice for you and your family. AWD is expensive and very few offer it, and definitely not as standard equipment.

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