The Subaru Legacy and its wagon counterpart, the Outback, share a lot of mechanicals, yet these two vehicles are quite different in how they drive. The Legacy sedan handles and steers much better, with noticeably less float. The continuously variable transmission is a bit of a drag, however. If you peg the throttle from a stop, it's painful to watch how slowly the tachometer needle climbs to its redline. In most situations, you run out of road before the needle reaches 5000 rpm. And yet peak power isn't made until 5600 rpm. The manual shift mode actually works quite well and makes the CVT more tolerable. The transmission also helps the Legacy return an EPA-estimated 31 mpg on the highway.
The cockpit is comfortable but not particularly stylish or modern. There are few quality complaints too, like the uneven, gaping fits where the steering wheel hub meets the two horizontal spokes. The simple radio interface, however, is attractive and easy to use, which is much more than can be said for the optional Subaru touch-screen navigation systems that we've experience elsewhere.
- Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor