First Drive: 2010 Subaru Legacy

Who will buy it?

Subaru acknowledges it has a small following. According to Subaru's own research, less than 40% of midsize sedan shoppers know the Legacy exists. Those who are aware of the Legacy tend to be well educated, worldly, and environmentally conscious, as well as stylish and successful. Most of these people live in northern, coastal parts of the U.S. The marketing team thinks that Volkswagen Passat, Nissan Altima, and Mazda 6 owners are most likely to cross-shop the Legacy, which compares quite favorably with each of those cars.

What does it cost?

A basic 2.5i Legacy with the six-speed manual transmission will cost $20,690 with destination; the CVT transmission is $1000 extra, but there are no other options. Stepping up to the Premium trim level runs another $1000 and gets you an eight-way power driver's seat, 16-inch alloy wheels, a chrome exhaust tip, auto up/down driver's window, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The 2.5i Limited runs $25,690 and adds a power passenger seat, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, mirrors, and wiper de-icers, dual-zone climate control, leather seats, and a premium audio system; the CVT is the only available transmission. PZEV models of any 2.5i CVT trim level are available in all 50 states for an extra $300.

The 3.6R begins at $25,690 and follows the same pricing strategy as the 2.5i family. Look to spend $1000 extra for a Premium and $3000 more for a Limited car. Aside from the engine and automatic transmission, the only difference between the 2.5i and 3.6R is standard 17-inch alloy wheels. All options and equipment are otherwise equal on comparable trim levels.

Enthusiasts will want the $28,690 2.5GT Premium and its turbo four powerplant, revealed by the functional hood scoop and standard 18-inch alloy wheels. A 2.5GT Limited runs $30,690 and matches the equipment found on other Limited models.

When can I buy it?

The 2010 Subaru Legacy should start showing up at dealers in early August. Wagon fans will want to wait for the 2010 Outback that arrives shortly after the Legacy sedan.

With configurations ranging from frugal and capable to fast and refined, the Legacy has broad appeal. There's also enough Subaru quirkiness to keep the early adopters happy with this generation--all engine choices are Boxers, AWD comes with every car, and there's a good array of safety features. If the 2009 Forester's success is representative of the demand for a more mainstream Subaru, the 2010 Legacy sedan will be quite well received by the market.

2010 {{{Subaru Legacy}}}
  2.5i 2.5GT 3.6R
Powertrain
Engine SOHC H-4 Turbocharged/intercooled DOHC H-4 DOHC H-6
Displacement 2.5 liters (150.0 cu in) 2.5 liters (150.0 cu in) 3.6 liters (221.5 cu in)
Horsepower 170 hp @ 5600 rpm 265 hp @ 5600 rpm 256 hp @ {{{6000}}} rpm
Torque 170 lb-ft @ {{{4000}}} rpm 258 lb-ft @ 2000-5200 rpm 247 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Transmission type 6-speed manual or CVT 6-speed manual 5-speed automatic
       
Chassis
Steering Rack-and-pinion with variable power assist
Suspension, Front MacPherson-type struts
Suspension, Rear Double-whishbone
Brakes Vented discs front, solid discs rear, ABS
Tires Size 205/60R16 (std), 215/50R17 (opt) 225/45R18 225/50R17
       
Measurements
L x W x H 186.4 x 71.7 x 59.3 in
Wheelbase 108.3 in
Track F/R 61.6/61.8 in
Weight 3270 lbs (6-sp), 3379 lbs (CVT) 3440 lbs 3481 lbs
Fuel Mileage 19/27 mpg (6-sp), 23/31 mpg (CVT) 18/25 mpg 18/25 mpg
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