2018 Subaru Legacy
Gifted but humble
- 박재승 (firstname.lastname@example.org) --
- 26 Feb 2018
By James Park
Standing beside the segment-leading Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, rivals both recently made-over with fancy new skins, the Subaru Legacy looks downright modest.
The Legacy, however, is like the late great Anthony Quinn – the gritty character actor who regularly steals scenes with his brilliant performance in such films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Guns of Navarone and of course, Zorba the Greek.
Mesmerized by Quinn’s portrayal of an Eskimo (The Savage Innocents, 1960), Bob Dylan wrote ‘The Mighty Quinn.’ Far as I know, Dylan has never written another song about an actor.
As with Quinn, one can trust the Legacy to its job and do it well. Admittedly, Quinn was no leading man of his era and neither is this mid-size family sedan the most attractive among its peers. Still, the Legacy goes about its business with calm competence and confidence-inspiring handling characteristics.
One weapon the Legacy has in its arsenal which almost all of its competitors lack is the standard ‘symmetrical’ AWD system. This makes it, at least on paper, an ideal sedan for Canada.
Let’s scrutinize the Legacy’s exterior styling a little closer. It’s not going to win many beauty contests, but the car’s overall demeanour is pleasing, nonetheless. The hexagonal grill supported by lower pods surrounding the fog-lights makes the car seem subtly aggressive. The character line connecting the front wheel arch to the taillight also gives the impression of athleticism.
Overall, the Legacy is not unhandsome; but compared to quirkier Subaru designs of old, some could argue it is touch too conventional. Small but ardently loyal fans may be disappointed but the company can be hardly faulted for trying to increase its profit by appealing to the wider audience.
One oddity Subaru still insists on is the horizontally-opposed layout of its engines. Presently, similar cylinder-orientation is utilized by the Porsche 911, Boxter and the Cayman (Honda Goldwing and BMW flat-twin motorcycle engines also come to mind). Such design lowers the centre of gravity and makes the car that much more agile.
In case of the Legacy, the naturally aspirated 2.5 litre four-cylinder base motor pumps out maximum 175 horses and 174 lb-ft of torque. One could opt for the 256 horsepower 3.6 litre six but the base mill is powerful enough and much more fuel efficient.
A manual transmission is no longer available in the Legacy. Unfortunate, but the Subaru ‘stick’ is not the most intuitive or the buttery smooth out there so no tears of sadness are shed.
On the other hand, the fact that only tranny offered is CVT does not warm the heart either. Yes, Subaru has long embraced the gearless technology and its products are class-leading. In the end, though, the CVT still sounds and feels like a CVT.
Still, the 2.5 flat four develops healthy amount of torque from the get go and the Legacy accelerates with more than expected briskness. The steering wheel is not too light and very accurate, if not all that communicative. Then again, for a family sedan, the Legacy shows above average dexterity through fast corners. Its suspension is on the firm side but not enough to upset the passengers.
As for the passengers, they are comfortably ensconced in the roomy cabin with more than enough legroom. The three-stage heated cloth driver’s seat in the test-car is supportive and comfortable all day.
The Legacy’s interior design also appears more conventional than before, but the overall layout is clean, tasteful and the touch screen works well enough. All the dials and buttons are intuitive and easy to use and thanks for the volume knob.
Subaru’s much vaunted EyeSight system also works well, but seems overly sensitive at times. The camera located in front of the rear-view mirror keeps track of what’s in front and tells the driver not to follow too close or if the front car has already left. Other electronic nannies as blind-side monitoring, lane-keeping assist, cross-traffic alert and such also work in conjunction.
The base Legacy starts from $24,995 before taxes, freight, destination and other fees. The test-car, which is the middle-of-line Touring model with EyeSight begins the count at $29,795.
A capable AWD family sedan that is relatively fuel-efficient, comfortable and agile, the Legacy is probably too humble for its own good. (James Park is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.)
2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5 Touring+Eyesight
Engine: 2.5 litre horizontally-opposed four
Power: 175 hp/174 lb-ft
Fuel: 9.3 litres per 100km (city), 7.0 litres (highway)
Best: standard AWD,
Worst: conservative styling
Competition: Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, Mazda6, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima, VW Passat
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