Tweaked styling, revised suspensions and a new four-cylinder drivetrain with better gas mileage distinguish the Subaru Legacy for 2013. Related to the Outback wagon, the Legacy competes with family sedans like the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion. Unlike any others in its segment, however, it comes with standard all-wheel drive.
Manual and continuously variable automatic transmissions are available on the 2.5-liter four-cylinder. A 3.6-liter six-cylinder gets a conventional five-speed automatic, while last year's turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder and six-speed manual have been discontinued.
Four-cylinder trim levels include the 2.5i, 2.5i Premium and 2.5i Limited; the six-cylinder Legacy comes in 3.6R and 3.6R Limited trims.
Up front, the 2013 Subaru Legacy gets new headlights, grille, and fog light and bumper designs that tie in with the redesigned 2012 Subaru Impreza. Subaru says it also revised the Legacy's suspension to improve handling. Sixteen-inch steel wheels are standard, with 17-inch alloys optional. Six-cylinder models have dual tailpipes.
Inside, Limited models gain backseat air vents, and the optional faux wood trim has new graining. Limited models also get a new electroluminescent instrument cluster with a 3.5-inch color screen. All Legacy models gain standard Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming. Keyless access with push-button start becomes optional. Other options include power front seats, heated leather upholstery, Harman Kardon audio and a navigation system.
A split-folding backseat is standard, but trunk volume totals 14.7 cubic feet, which is at the low end of the field. The 2013 Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu, by contrast, pack 16 cubic feet or more.
Under the Hood
The base drivetrain may appear similar — a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder and continuously variable automatic transmission — but Subaru says both are next-generation components. Ratings climb to 173 horsepower and 174 pounds-feet of torque, from 170 apiece for the outgoing 2.5-liter. The CVT operates quieter and responds faster, Subaru says.
Highway and city gas mileage with the CVT climb 1 mpg, to 24/32 mpg city/highway, beating any other midsize sedan with all-wheel drive, Subaru says. Base Legacy trims have a six-speed manual.
The Legacy 3.6R pairs a 256-hp six-cylinder with a five-speed automatic. Both transmissions have steering-wheel paddle shifters, though the gearless CVT accomplishes that with six simulated gears. Stick-shift Legacy sedans have the simplest all-wheel drive, which splits power 50/50 (front/rear) with a mechanical center differential. Automatic four-cylinder models can electronically vary the amount of power split, while six-cylinder models get a unit that actively sends more power to the rear for better handling.
Six airbags, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard. Subaru's EyeSight system packages adaptive cruise control, collision braking, lane departure and more. It uses two cameras in the headliner on either side of the rearview mirror.
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