All-Star: Subaru Legacy

Charlie Magee

In an automotive brood that includes the Impreza WRX and WRX STI, the Legacy is like Sharon Osbourne--more mature than the rest of the family, but still capable of monumental insanity in its own right.

In normally aspirated form, the Legacy has a growling, torquey power delivery and nimble, chuckable handling courtesy of the flat-four engine's low center of gravity. Cranking up the fun quotient, the GT's 250 horses are bred from the STI stud and are correspondingly high-strung. Drop the hammer, and there's a moment of initial hesitation before the turbocharger spools up. Then you're thrown back in your seat as the mild-mannered Legacy assumes the role of its wild twin, the Legacy GT. Yet the GT's exterior doesn't tip off the cojones lurking beneath that aluminum hood. It's a real Q car.

While the exterior keeps its poker face, the Legacy's interior includes performance-minded details that enliven the daily driver experience. A turn of the key awakens the red electroluminescent instrument needles, which flick across their arcs in an impatient demonstration of the possibilities that await. The GT's fat-rimmed, three-spoke Momo steering wheel would look at home in a Maserati. The seats feature side bolsters that imply the fun to be had should you decide to postpone the run to Costco and go tear the hell out of some back roads.

The Legacy plays multiple roles--sport sedan, all-weather family car, reasonably economical daily driver--with aplomb, for thousands of dollars less than comparable rivals, and for that it deserves an All-Star.

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