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By Jim Flammang
November 5, 2003
Vehicle Overview A new 2.5 GT model in Subarus larger Legacy series consolidated the previous GT and GT Limited for the 2003 model year. A new Sportshift feature for the automatic transmission allowed manual gear selection. A Special Edition package for the L sedan and wagon added some equipment from the 2.5 GT, including a power moonroof and 16-inch alloy wheels. All Legacy models earned a freshened appearance by receiving a new grille and front bumper/fascia.
The Legacy gets only minor enhancements for the 2004 model year. The main difference is a name change: the Legacy L Special Edition will now be called the Legacy L 35th Anniversary Edition.
Legacy models include the four-cylinder L sedan and wagon, the Legacy L 35th Anniversary Edition sedan and wagon, and the Legacy 2.5 GT sedan and wagon. Subaru also offers seven Outback variants of the Legacy that feature sport utility vehicle styling cues and a higher ground clearance.
Equipped with full-time all-wheel drive, the Legacy and its Outback sibling were last redesigned for 2000 and rank as Subarus most popular series. Most Legacy sales come from purchases of the wagon body styles and notably from the SUV-like Outback. The Legacy and Outback are Subarus only domestically built models.
Legacy sedans ride a 104.3-inch wheelbase and measure 184.4 inches long overall, versus a 187.4-inch length for wagons. The Legacy sedan is 55.7 inches tall, compared to a 58.3-inch height for an Outback sedan, which has significantly greater ground clearance. The front fascia on the 2.5 GT integrates standard projector-beam fog lights. A sport-tuned suspension goes on the 2.5 GT, and five-spoke alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires.
Seating for five people in the Legacy is possible with its front buckets and three-place rear bench seat. All three rear positions have three-point seat belts. The Legacys rear seatback does not fold for additional cargo space, but there is a small pass-thru section into the trunk. Trunk capacity totals 12.4 cubic feet.
Air conditioning, cruise control, and power windows, locks and mirrors are standard even in the L sedan. The Anniversary Edition models get 16-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, halogen fog lamps and a Momo-designed steering wheel. The 2.5 GT includes a power sunroof, an eight-way power drivers seat, side-impact airbags, leather upholstery, heated mirrors, heated front seats and a six-CD player.
Under the Hood
A 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine sends 165 horsepower to a standard five-speed-manual or optional four-speed-automatic transmission. Every Subaru vehicle has all-wheel drive, but the 2.5 GT equipped with a Sportshift automatic transmission uses Variable Torque Distribution all-wheel drive.
Antilock brakes are standard. The 2.5 GT sedan has side-impact airbags to protect front-seat occupants.
Other than the substitution of the wagon body at the rear, the Legacy wagon is nearly identical to the sedan models in the lineup. The wagons cargo volume is 34.3 cubic feet with the backseat up and 68.6 cubic feet with the seat folded down. Wagon versions may be equipped with a dual sunroof.
With its all-wheel-drive lineup, Subaru occupies a unique niche in the compact-car market. The Legacy promises sufficient interior space for a small family, and it is a competent sedan that offers more than just all-season traction. Four-cylinder performance is sufficiently strong, and a smooth-operating automatic transmission is another plus. The Legacy is stable on the highway and easy to drive.