2015 Subaru Legacy

2015 Subaru Legacy

2015 Subaru Legacy

With the introduction of the all-new-for 2015 model year, Subaru has boldly jumped into the mainstream category of excellent mid-size sedans.  The mid-size sedan class is populated with heavy hitters such as the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry.

Subaru fans will be both thrilled and disappointed with the sixth generation Legacy.  They’ll be thrilled because the new Legacy takes a giant stride in upping the quality of interior materials, but some perhaps will be less enamored with a slight increase in size and styling that also becomes more mainstream.

Long gone are the days when the Subaru Legacy represented a slightly quirky brand that won a loyal following with outstanding engineering prowess.  Subaru marketed full time all-wheel-drive and earned worldwide respect in the early 1990s with World Rally Championship race cars that, in the hands of drivers like the late, great Scottish rally racer Colin McRae, regularly bested the world rally ‘establishment.’

Our short time with the new Legacy proved very satisfying.  Our test version was a 2015 Legacy 2.5i Touring Package.  Interestingly, the new Legacy is one of the few mid-size sedans available with a manual transmission.  Our test unit had the available CVT automatic and came with a very competitive MSRP of $27,795.  (Similar mid-level competitors are the 2015 Honda Accord Sport, $27,450 and 2014 Toyota Camry SE, $27,070, all with 4-cylinder engines and automatic transmissions.)

Interior is upgraded significantly in the 2015 Legacy

Instrumentation is easy to read and features ‘cool blue’ illumination

Interior of the 2015 receives significant upgrades in materials

Interior of the 2015 receives significant upgrades in materials

On the road

Driving the new Subaru Legacy is a straight-forward affair.  The instrumentation and main controls are all logical and fairly intuitive.  The Legacy uses the basic instrument layout the company favours and uses in other models, dominated by two large, round displays for the tachometer (on the left), speedometer (on the right) and with a driver information display in the middle.  I like the easy-on-the-eyes ‘cool blue’ instrument lighting.

The Legacy’s 2.5-litre ‘boxer’ horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder is a workhorse engine, putting out a respectable 175 horsepower, which is about average for the class.  What makes this engine very useable is the continuously-variable automatic transmission.  Subaru has now adopted CVT transmissions across the board and for good reason.  The CVT is much more efficient than ‘traditional’ automatics that now have, depending on the manufacturer, anywhere from six to nine individual gears.

Before Subaru adopted CVT transmissions, Subie owners had to put up with a higher level of fuel consumption in exchange for the security of AWD.  That’s no longer true.  The new 2.5-litre CVT-equipped Legacy closely matches the fuel economy rating of the 2015 Honda Accord, which has only front-wheel-drive.  (The 2015 Legacy is rated at 9.0/6.5 and the 2015 Honda Accord is rated at 8.8/6.5 City.Hwy L/100 km.)  That’s remarkable, with kudos to Subaru’s engineers.

The new 2015 Subaru Legacy is much quieter than the previous generation Legacy, and much quieter than the last Honda Accord sedan we drove, which had a very noisy suspension.  The suspension offers a comfortable ride and it remains solid and responsive when driven in a spirited fashion.

I found the electric steering slightly overboosted and I was wishing for a little more road feel.  Subaru would do well to second the engineers responsible for fine-tuning the superb steering of the 2015 WRX and have them work their magic on the Legacy for next year, and I’d tell them to tweak the Legacy’s suspension to add a bit more sportiness while they’re at it.

2015 Subaru Legacy's 'standard' audio system sounds better than the premium system of the 2015 WRX

2015 Subaru Legacy’s ‘standard’ audio system sounds better than the ‘premium’ system of the 2015 WRX

Safety

Our test unit came with a host of safety-related technologies.  A backup camera is now standard (and has the useful feature of cross-traffic warning, so when you’re reversing it warns you of traffic approaching from the rear and sides, useful in crammed parking lots.)  There’s also blind-spot warning and automatic dimming side mirrors.  And fog lights that turn to one side when cornering are another useful safety feature.

The new Subaru Legacy has recently earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s ‘Top Pick+’ award.  Subaru has achieved top safety ratings across the board in recent years, and to their credit, I’ve come to see Subaru as a ‘Japanese Volvo’ because of their outstanding safety engineering.  No doubt, I’ve just insulted both companies.

Bottom line

The totally redesigned Subaru Legacy is remarkable and can be highly recommended for many reasons.  Subaru has a reputation for building very reliable, long lasting vehicles.  The new Legacy has been recognized for its outstanding design for occupant safety.  The Legacy’s price point is on par with major competitors like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, but trumps those worthy sedans with the security of all-wheel-drive.  And the icing on the cake, for me, is the new Subaru Legacy 2.5i Touring, for all intents and purposes, matches the fuel economy of a front-wheel-drive car of similar size.

If you’re a Canadian who lives where it snows, choosing the 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Touring with full-time AWD is a no-brainer.  Highly recommended.

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