The Legacy is built from a new design for 2000, with larger dimensions and evolutionary styling changes. Four sedan models are available, all with standard all-wheel drive. Besides the sedan, Subaru offers a station wagon in Legacy and quasi-sport utility vehicle Outback trim. Sedan models include the L, GT, GT Limited and new Outback Limited, which replaces last year's sport utility sedan.
The new instrument panel is larger and the center section is angled toward the driver for an easier reach. Audiophiles take note: You can have both a single-disc CD player and a six-disc changer in the dashboard. All models seat five, and the center rear position has a three-point seatbelt. Unlike most competitors, the rear seatback does not fold for additional cargo space. Trunk capacity is 12.4 cubic feet.
Wheelbase increases less than an inch to 104.3 inches, but overall length grows 3 inches to 184.4. All models have daytime running lights and larger headlights that Subaru says provide stronger illumination. The Outback Limited has 7.3 inches of ground clearance (1 inch more than the others), and Subaru says it is suitable for "light off-road travel." It borrows some of the Outback wagon's styling cues, such as larger front fenders, lower body cladding, large fog lights and two-tone paint.
Under the Hood
All Legacy models use Subaru's 165-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with horizontally opposed cylinders (instead of in a line or V configuration). A five-speed manual is standard and a four-speed automatic is optional on all models except the Outback Limited, which comes with automatic only. Subaru expects to add a six-cylinder engine, also with horizontally opposed cylinders, for 2001.
In addition to all-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes are standard on all models. The GT Limited and Outback Limited also have side-impact airbags to protect the front-seat occupants.
Subaru has carved a unique niche with its all-wheel-drive lineup, but the new Legacy is a competent sedan that offers more than all-season traction. Subaru loads up its models with the features most people want and doesn't charge an arm and a leg considering all that they include.