The 2010 Subaru Legacy is a complete redesign, its first since 2005. A sister of the Outback wagon, the Legacy comes only as a sedan. It has grown for 2010, adding much-needed space to the backseat, yet its mileage has improved, according to Subaru. Due for sale in the second half of 2009, it competes with cars like the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.
Choices abound with the Legacy, which comes in eight trim levels and offers three engine types and three transmissions. Distinguished first by the engine type — a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, a turbocharged version of the same and a new 3.6-liter six-cylinder — each comes with Premium and Limited trim levels. The 2.5i and 3.6R are base versions of the non-turbo trim levels.
The Legacy's headlight shape strays into Nissan/Infiniti territory, but the grille has the familiar wing-shaped crossbar and constellation symbol. Subaru says the car's "greenhouse" is larger, and all the wheels, from 16 to 18 inches in diameter, are new designs. As in the previous generation, 2.5GT versions have a hood scoop to funnel cooling air into the turbocharged four-cylinder engine's intercooler.
Important standard features include standard driver's seat height adjustment and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio and cruise-control buttons. Also standard on all trim levels are keyless entry, a CD player and an audio input jack. (Bluetooth audio streaming capability, which serves the same purpose wirelessly with a compatible cellular phone, comes with a premium stereo and six-CD changer on some versions.)
In addition to the nearly 4-inch increase in backseat legroom, the whole car is a couple of inches wider, which helps hip and shoulder room in the front and back. The interior materials are upgraded and include metallic-look trim on the steering wheel and other surfaces. Upholstery choices include cloth and leather. Power driver and passenger seats, dual-zone climate control, alloy wheels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel come in successively higher trim levels.
Available mostly on higher trim levels, options include a moonroof, a navigation system with a backup camera, and an all-weather package, which includes heated front seats and side mirrors, plus a windshield wiper de-icer.
At 14.7 cubic feet, the trunk is accommodating and supplemented by standard 60/40-split folding rear seats.
Under the Hood
Three engines — a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, a turbocharged 2.5-liter and a 3.6-liter six-cylinder — come in the 2.5i, 2.5GT and 3.6R models, respectively, with 170 horsepower, 265 and 256 hp. The GT has higher output across the board, but it requires premium gasoline. The 3.6-liter also runs on regular, replacing a 3.0-liter that required premium. A six-speed manual is standard, and the 2.5i can have a new continuously variable automatic transmission that's expected to improve efficiency over the 2009; it includes a manual mode and shift paddles on the steering wheel. The 3.6R comes only with a five-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is standard, but the sophistication increases as you make the jump from the manual to the CVT to the 3.6-liter's five-speed.
Safety features include four-wheel antilock disc brakes with brake assist, and an electronic stability system is now standard on all Legacy trims. Standard airbags include front, front-seat side-impact and side curtain airbags that cover the side windows in both rows.
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