August 15, 2011

Subaru Legacy

                The Subaru lot is a lonely place, if you’re a Japanese car.  There were only four Legacies on the lot and one in the showroom.  This is the same dealer who maintains a policy of doing a credit check on anyone who wants to test drive an Impreza WRX.  We know it’s to discourage the “Play-Box” generation from hip-hopping and test driving on a whim, but it still irritated us.  We know we look young, but we could buy one if so inspired…  Stupid Play-box kids…
                The dealership did put on a show for us this time.  The wind blew the showroom door open and almost drilled an Impreza Sport, but a salesman caught it at the last second.  The same salesman then hurled himself down the showroom ramp to stop the golf cart, he had just vacated, that was rolling towards our Denali and a used WRX.  He stopped the cart at the last possible moment by diving into the cart and applying the brake with his hand.  It was quite impressive.  Too bad we didn’t get a video; a million Youtube hits would’ve been nice.

                The interior of the Legacy wasn’t anything that floored or “wowed” us.  It was acceptable, but didn’t feel luxurious.  The Passat, Charger, and Taurus all had better interiors.  The Legacy had wood trim, but it didn’t look like real wood.  The company Denali has some graphite colored wood-like trim, which has never felt like trim, but just patterned plastic.  The trim in the Legacy felt like that too.
                The rear legroom wasn’t horrific, but we didn’t run through the streets singing its praise either.  The Legacy had the least amount of rear legroom of all the sedans we’ve driven in this series, until next week’s surprise car…  Children fit with ease, but adults feel the squeeze after twenty minutes or so.  There’s never a BMW 550i GT (almost 42 inches of rear legroom) around when you need one…  Wait a sec…  There probably is!
                The media center matched the rest of the utilitarian interior.  It was easy to use, but like most of our test drives, we just turned it off.  We have never bought a car based on the stereo.  There are those out there that really care about the music, but it isn’t in our top five reasons on why to buy a car. 
                The exterior of the Legacy will not be winning any awards.  Most art schools would love to redesign this car.  It has a look that is very simple and functional, but you won’t make a splash at any parties.  If you took this car to a “happening shindig”, most people wouldn’t know you’ve arrived until you leave the vehicle.  Picture Harry Potter coming out from under the cloak of invisibility and that’s how you would appear at the party (only took ten minutes to think of that analogy…). 
                There are eight exterior colors and just two interior colors.  The 3.6R comes with leather all over the seats, not just specific areas (thinking of the VW guy selling micro-fiber as not cloth still makes us laugh).  The Legacy’s base price is lower than everything else we’ve driven in this series, but the inside line on this car is that you could get it for invoice ($28,500). 
This car blends in.  We notice when we overtake Subaru’s because we are car people.  Most people in America won’t know when they see one, unless it’s a crazy tuned-out Impreza WRX.  If you’re looking for a car that is a great drive, reliable, safe, and won’t make you look like pretentious, then this might be the car for you.

                The best part of the Legacy was the drive.  Plentiful power and all-wheel drive help this Subaru to be quick, agile, and incredibly stable. 
                After watching the salesman perform his golf cart heroics, we were eager to take the Legacy out; maybe a little too eager…  Going around a traffic circle near the dealer we applied too much power and the Legacy’s back end tried to swing around.  In other rear wheel drive sedans, we would have lost it.  The Legacy’s suspension and all-wheel drive made it simple to recover and then pull away from the fish tail.  It was great!
                Off the line, the Legacy is quick because of the all-wheel drive.  The 3.6L six cylinder engine is sufficiently powerful.  You are not going to be setting any land speed records, but you will not feel underpowered.  This Legacy  has 256 horsepower.  This is the least amount of power in the sedans that have at least six cylinders.  The Passat was only a four cylinder diesel and turned out 140 horsepower, otherwise the Legacy is the least powerful.  But while driving it, we couldn’t really tell.  The all-wheel drive cuts down on the feeling that you are being “yanked” through the corners.  This was an issue for us in the Maxima; the Passat wasn’t powerful enough to feel the "yanking".  In the Taurus, also front wheel drive, the atmosphere isn’t about punching it through the corners, so we didn’t notice it there either.
                The Legacy averages 18 city and 25 highway.  Here’s the list of the rest of the sedans and their mpg’s:
                Legacy 3.6R: 18/25
                Taurus Limited: 18/27
                Charger R/T: 16/25
                Passat TDI: 30/40
                Maxima 3.5S: 19/26
There is one more sedan around 30 grand next week and it also averages around 18 city and 26 highway.  There seems to be a theme developing here.  If it’s a V6 sedan, then it’s going to average around 18 in the city and around 25 on the highway. 
The Legacy was adequate.  It didn’t blow us away, but it didn’t disappoint us either.  With the all-wheel drive, the Legacy is ready for just about anything.  There are a lot of gizmos and features that are designed for mountain life, but we really enjoyed the performance of this car, especially when the snow shows up.  The interior is functional with leather and wood-like trim, but we’ve been in some plusher interiors since driving this car.  This particular car had 6,000 miles on it, but still smells brand new.  If you’re in the market for a Legacy, we know where you can get one for invoice.  Just give us a shout.

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