I find Subaru's Outback and Legacy products to be quite interesting. There's a base model with a normally aspirated H-4, an H-6 model that's only available with an automatic transmission, and a turbocharged H-4 that's only available with a manual transmission. The turbo-4 produces the most power and costs the most, which is probably perplexing for Subaru shoppers not familiar with the WRX and STI models.
As an enthusiast, I don't care much for the Legacy or Outback 3.6R models. The six-cylinder produces adequate power but I don't want the automatic transmission. If I'm going to choose a two-pedal transmission, I'd go for the base engine and the CVT, which can deliver 31 mpg on the highway. If performance is a priority, I'd go with the 2.5GT model.
What really makes the Legacy stand out from its mid-size competitors is the standard all-wheel drive system. If you're in a snowbelt state, that's a boon. Buyers in the sunbelt states probably ignore the Legacy because they see no benefit in driving all four wheels. With the CVT, there's not much fuel economy penalty for having an AWD vehicle. Subaru's system is seamless under all driving conditions, so there's no reason to write it off just because you live in an area that rarely sees inclement weather.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor
The interior is where this Subaru Legacy Limited really stands out from its predecessors. The materials look good and overall it's far more cohesive in its design and layout. The details are still a bit muddled though: the HVAC controls on the lower center console are too small, are labeled with type that's too thin, and are so similarly shaped that they require a double or triple take to decipher; the steering-wheel-mounted controls are a bit easier to locate and use but the thin type face makes these difficult to read as well.
Beyond these complaints (which would likely become a non-issue after spending some more time in the Legacy), this fully optioned Limited model is a good choice for those who don't want to see themselves coming and going in a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry or who need seating for five and all-wheel drive.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms