Not too long ago, the mid-size sedan was the bread and butter for most car manufacturers, but then the SUV/CUV came along and took over as the favorite vehicle among consumers. But that doesn’t mean the mid-size sedan segment is dead, there are still lots of great offerings from both domestic and foreign car makers.
There are quite a few great cars in this segment; you have the options of the conservative looking Camry/Accord to the sporty Mazda6/Fusion, and everything in between. But what these cars are missing is All-Wheel Drive; if you want that you’ll need to have a look at the Subaru Legacy. If you’re not looking for AWD, you still need to check out the Legacy.
We spent a week reviewing the Subaru Outback, which is based on the Legacy and shares many of the components with the sedan, so I will be referring you to go back to that review to check out some of the information in that post, like the interior and tech section. This week we had the 2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6 R Limited Package ($35,395) for a weeklong review; unlike the Outback, this vehicle was equipped with the bigger 6-cylinder engine.
The same two engines are offered on the Legacy, a 2.5 liter boxer 4-cylinder engine producing 175 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 174 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The second engine option is the 3.6 liter boxer 6-cylinder engine producing 256 HP at 6,000 rpm and 247 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. Power is sent to all four wheels via a 6-speed manual (available on the 2.5i and 2.5i Touring Package only) or a Lineartronic CVT transmission with simulated shift points.
The 2015 Subaru Legacy is a pretty good looking vehicle. I’d say it’s somewhere in the middle of the pack with conservative styling that doesn’t offend anyone. The front end does remind me a bit of the Ford Taurus, but I like the overall execution better on the Legacy. The car does have some nice lines in the body work, giving it character, especially the front wheel arches and the horizontal line running across the doors.
I must confess I’ve never really understood AWD cars; I always say “it doesn’t snow much in Vancouver, so why even bother with AWD.” Well, after driving the Subaru Legacy for a week, I can confidently say that I get it now. I have driven other AWD vehicles before, but they’ve been SUV/CUV’s, which make sense with AWD.
I thought AWD was something you need when it snowed or when you were going off road. But driving the Legacy sedan in Vancouver’s typical wet weather, I realized how much help the system provides and how easy driving a car with AWD made life.
I like to drive powerful cars and in the rain, my right foot/brain becomes my traction control/AWD system, with me thinking about the car’s traction every time I take off from standstill or go into a corner. But with the Legacy’s AWD system, I didn’t have to burden my poor brain/right foot with calculations of how much throttle to apply, the car did it all for me.
Taking off from a traffic light in the wet is a drama free event in the AWD Legacy sedan, no matter how hard I accelerated; there was always traction and not even a single chirp from the tires. I took some of my favorite corners at very high speeds in the wet (just to test the AWD system, I never speed ;-)), I could feel the wheels doing their “stuff” but I felt in complete control and the car kept the line I had intended it to go. In a non-AWD car, I definitely would’ve had to lift off throttle, change steering angle, or crossed into another lane. I was pretty impressed with the system, and the best part is, the computer did all the thinking for me. I’d like to quote Mr. Paul Hogan, once again, from one of his 90’s commercials “… I guess I wasn’t thinking…”
The 256 HP produced by the 3.6 liter 6-cylinder is more than enough, and it makes the car pretty fast. There’s lots of low-end power for just cruising around the city and passing at highway speeds is a breeze. In my review of the Outback, I said it came with the best CVT transmission I had ever driven. Well, that was a great CVT but I liked the one on the Legacy even better. I think because of the extra power produced by the 6-cylinder engine, the CVT doesn’t have to “downshift” much and the power is always there, giving it even more of a tradition automatic transmission feel.
2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Fuel Economy
According to Subaru Canada, the Legacy 3.6R should consume 11.9 Liters/100 km in the city and 8.2 L/100 km on the highway. Our average combined numbers, according to the onboard computer, worked out to be 10.6 L/100 km with 50% of the driving in city stop-and-go traffic and 50% on the highway.
The interior on the 2015 Legacy is virtually identical to the Outback’s, the only difference being the Off Black Leather package, instead of the Ivory Leather Package on the Outback. Click here to have a look at my thoughts on the Outback’s interior.
I did mention that the 7” touchscreen looked a bit small on the Outback because it is a larger vehicle, that’s not the case with the Legacy. The 7” screen looks appropriately sized on the Legacy sedan and works as advertised.
Obviously, if you are buying the Legacy, you’ll get a bit less room that the Outback. Judging the Legacy as a sedan, there’s plenty of room for the front and rear passengers. I had more than enough leg and head room in the back seat, with the front seat in my driving position. The interior is interior is comfortable for long trips and is fairly quiet, I did notice tire noise at highway speeds.
The biggest difference between our review Outback and Legacy, in terms of safety/technology features is the addition of Subaru’s popular EyeSight system. I’m told there’s a bit of a waiting list to get cars equipped with this system.
I had read up on the EyeSight system prior to reviewing it and was looking forward to how it works in real life use compared to what it was advertised as. I’m can confirm the system works as advertised. The system uses a pair of cameras mounted in the windshield, scanning the road ahead. The system lets you set a distance between you and the cars ahead, with cruise control, and then it automatically adjust your speed to keep a safe distance between the two of you. If the vehicle ahead is slowing down, the system will let off throttle and even brake all the way to a full stop if the vehicle in front of you comes to a stop.
Second feature of the EyeSight is pre-collision braking. This feature warns you when it thinks you’re about to hit a car in front of you, and even applies brakes if you don’t take evasive action. I tried to use the system for this purpose and got the system to warn me with a beep, but I couldn’t get my natural instinct from hitting the brake pedal before the system applied brakes on its own. It is a great system for unexpected situations, but should be used as a backup.
Third feature of the EyeSight system is land departure warning, the system beeps when you cross over the lines on the road, without signaling. This system is great for drifters (no, not the kind where you’re driving sideways with a big plume of smoke behind you), people who don’t realize they’re drifting out of their lanes. The beeping sound is enough to get the driver to pay attention to their vehicle’s position relative to the marked lines.
The fourth feature of the EyeSight system is pre-collision throttle management. This feature cuts off throttle when it detects an object in front of you, when pulling out of a parking spot but instead of going into reverse, you put the vehicle in drive. Again, I wasn’t brave enough to try this system, but I’m sure it works the way it’s supposed to.
Overall, the EyeSight system is a great addition to help you become a safer driver, but you should always pay attention to the road and let these systems be the last resort.
The Subaru Legacy is a great vehicle for someone that’s looking for an all-weather vehicle. It’s loaded with the latest technologies and safety features and it comes with Subaru’s world renowned AWD system. The AWD is great for wet and snowy conditions and it actually makes the car quite fun in corners and you don’t sacrifice fuel economy.
Head on over to Subaru Canada website to configure your perfect 2015 Subaru Legacy.