Three years after it introduced the latest Legacy sedan and wagon, Subaru offers a mildly restyled version for 2008. In lieu of the three-piece winged grille splayed across the Impreza sedan and B9 Tribeca SUV, the Legacy offers a more conservative, single-piece grille bisected by a winged crossbar. (This looks like one wing Subaru's marketers can get behind: It doesn't require a grille that makes shoppers take flight.)
Other changes include the addition of Subaru's 3.0-liter, horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine in the Legacy 3.0 R Limited. That trim level effectively replaces last year's Legacy 2.5 GT Spec B. Other Legacys continue to use a naturally aspirated or turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Subaru's SI-Drive system, which allows drivers to program accelerator response, is included in the 3.0 R Limited.
Subaru gave its Outback sedan and wagon similar updates for 2008.
Changes to the front end include larger fog lights, a revised grille with a winged crossbar, and a reshaped front air dam. In back, smaller taillights have chrome borders. The bumper sports dimpled reflectors on either side, and the side mirrors include turn signals.
Although it replaces the Spec B, the 3.0 R Limited looks more reserved. Its hood has no air scoop, and its 18-inch alloy wheels have thicker spokes. The suspension includes many components — including sport-tuned Bilstein shocks — from before.
Changes to the cabin for 2008 are minimal, and most are related to new equipment. Subaru's SI-Drive control knob sits below the transmission shifter, and redundant SI-Drive controls are mounted on the steering wheel. Add them to the available paddle shifters, cruise controls and stereo adjustments, and the steering wheel has 16 buttons — a tricky layout where a wrong move could inadvertently remap the accelerator's response or downshift the transmission.
All Legacys include staples like power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry and a CD stereo. Features on the Legacy 2.5 GT Limited and 3.0 R Limited include leather upholstery, power front seats with four-stage seat heaters, dual-zone automatic climate control and a moonroof. The 3.0 R Limited also includes a navigation system.
Under the Hood
Standard Legacys use a 175-horsepower, 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine. It teams with a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. The 2.5 GT Limited uses a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that makes 243 hp and uses a five-speed automatic or five-speed manual. The 3.0 R Limited has a 245-hp six-cylinder and uses a five-speed automatic. With the automatic transmission, both the 2.5 GT Limited and 3.0 R Limited have steering-wheel paddle shifters for manual operation.
Subaru's SI-Drive works with the 3.0 R Limited and 2.5 GT Limited by mapping accelerator response and shift points according to three settings. Subaru says Intelligent mode yields up to a 10 percent increase in gas mileage, while Sport mode nets quicker accelerator response for better performance. Finally, Sport Sharp modifies the accelerator and transmission for maximum performance.
Like all Subarus, the Legacy has standard all-wheel drive. Subaru is performing fuel tests as of this writing, but the automaker expects the 2008 four-cylinder engines to achieve slightly better fuel economy than the previous models.
Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes, side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags are standard on every Legacy. The 3.0 R Limited and 2.5 GT Limited with an automatic transmission include an electronic stability system.