Slightly larger and more powerful than its predecessor, the redesigned 2005 Legacy gained safety features and a newly available 250-horsepower turbocharged engine. Offered in sedan and wagon body styles, Legacy is Subaru's larger series — closely related to the sport utility vehicle-styled Outback.
For 2006, the non-turbocharged 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder gets an increase from 168 to 175 hp, courtesy of a new i-Active Valve Lift System. Legacy 2.5i models gain 17-inch alloy wheels and larger front brakes. A navigation system is now available.
A new 2.5 GT Limited Spec B sedan for 2006 features a Bilstein sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, a navigation system, aerodynamic side ground-effects moldings, aluminum pedal covers and a three-spoke Momo steering wheel. Special Edition 2.5i sedans and wagons have a power moonroof (a dual-panel version on the wagon) and an eight-way power driver's seat. New 2.5 GT Limited models replace the 2.5 GT.
As with all Subarus, all-wheel drive is standard. Subaru offers three transmission and all-wheel-drive combinations: models with the five-speed automatic use Variable Torque Distribution all-wheel drive; models with the four-speed automatic have active all-wheel drive; and manual-shift models use continuous all-wheel drive.
The current Legacy looks sleeker than its predecessor, and its dimensions are slightly larger. Using aluminum for the hood, bumper beams and rear liftgate on wagons helped reduce weight by as much as 180 pounds.
Turbocharged models have a functional hood scoop and a dual exhaust system. Alloy wheels hold 17-inch tires on the 2.5 GT, but other models have 16-inch tires.
The Legacy seats five occupants. A four-dial electroluminescent instrument display is installed in 2.5 GT Limited models, which include leather-trimmed upholstery, an in-dash six-CD changer, an eight-way power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated front seats and mirrors.
Under the Hood
In regular form, the 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder now produces 175 hp. A turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the 2.5 GT Limited develops 250 hp and 250 pounds-feet of torque.
A five-speed-manual gearbox is standard. A four-speed automatic is optional in the 2.5i while the turbocharged 2.5 GT can have a 5-speed automatic. The five-speed automatic incorporates Sportshift for manual gear changes, either at the gearshift or by using buttons on the Momo-designed steering wheel. When a quick burst of acceleration is needed, tapping a button causes the transmission to drop down one gear temporarily. The 2.5 GT Limited wagon is available only with an automatic transmission. All Subarus have all-wheel drive.
Seat-mounted side-impact airbags, side curtain-type airbags and antilock brakes are standard. Active front-seat head restraints are included.
Ride comfort is a foremost virtue of the 2.5 GT. Despite a basic tautness, its suspension is absorbent and neatly compliant. Some body lean is noticeable through quick curves, but it's largely well controlled and imparts an average confidence level.
The Legacy usually runs quietly, but occupants can hear tire noise on pavement separators and other imperfections. Acceleration in turbocharged models is energetic from a standstill and when passing and merging, though it's short of record-setting. Automatic-transmission shifts are particularly smooth.
The interior is small but not claustrophobic. Entry and exit is easy. The seats are supportive and generously cushioned. Illuminated gauges are easy to read.
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