The compact-size Legacy was redesigned last year, and the sedan versions carry over for 2001 with minor changes. The bulk of Legacy sales are wagons, especially the quasi-SUV Outback versions, which is covered in the 2001 Station Wagon Buying Guide.
Subaru is adding a six-cylinder engine and a more sophisticated all-wheel-drive system to its wagon lineup, but the sedans continue with four-cylinder engines and the same AWD system all models used last year.
Sedan models include the L, GT, GT Limited and Outback Limited, all of which have standard AWD.
With a wheelbase of 104.3 inches and an overall length of 184 inches, the Legacy is squarely in the compact class.
The Outback Limited has 7.3 inches of ground clearance inch more than the others and Subaru says it is suitable for light offroad travel. It borrows some of the Outback wagons styling cues, such as larger front fenders, lower-body cladding, large fog lights and two-tone paint.
All models seat five, and the center rear position has a three-point seat belt. Unlike most competitors, the rear seatback does not fold for additional cargo space on the Legacy sedan, though it has a small pass-through section to the trunk. Cargo capacity is 12.4 cubic feet.
Air conditioning, cruise control, and power windows, locks and mirrors are standard across the board.
Under the Hood
All Legacy models use Subarus 165-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with horizontally opposed cylinders instead of inline or V configurations. A five-speed manual is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional on all models except the Outback Limited, which comes only with automatic transmission.
In addition to all-wheel drive, antilock brakes are standard on all models. The GT Limited and Outback Limited also have side-impact airbags to protect front-seat occupants.
Subaru has carved a unique niche with its all-wheel-drive lineup, but the Legacy is a competent sedan that offers more than all-season traction. Subaru loads up its models with the features most people want, and the automaker doesnt charge an arm and a leg considering all that is included.
Acceleration is adequate, fuel economy is reasonable, and there is enough room for a small familys needs.