Subaru continues its relentless push into the mainstream with the all-new Legacy sedan and Outback wagon that debuted at April's New York auto show. Both go on sale this fall, and both feature a longer wheelbase and a wider track for more interior room.
For the Legacy's part, a handsome new instrument panel; bigger, cushier seats for bigger, cushier Americans; and 3.9 inches of additional rear legroom make it a much more viable competitor for cars like the Mazda 6 and the Honda Accord. A new control-arm rear suspension, an electric parking brake, and standard stability control top the list of chassis improvements, while three different boxer engines and three transmissions make for eight available models. First, there's the 2.5-liter four, producing 170 hp and mated either to a new six-speed manual or a CVT; then there's the 265-hp, turbocharged version of that engine under the scooped hood of the GT model, mated solely to the six-speed stick. Finally, the six-cylinder boxer returns, this time bored out to 3.6 liters and running on regular unleaded to produce 256 hp through a five-speed automatic.
Subaru hopes that the Outback wagon, which gets either the base four or the six, can make greater inroads into the crossover market. To that end, it's two inches taller than before, with seven percent more interior volume, although it's an inch shorter. The H-point (where a passenger's hips reside) is raised nearly two inches, and there's 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
GT ME A WAGON, PLEASE: Yes, we know you'd like a Legacy GT wagon. So would we. But the market for non-Outback Subaru wagons has been nonexistent.