My first impression of the Subaru Legacy 3.6R sedan was, wow, it has quite a nice interior. The materials, save the fake wood trim, present well and the driver interfaces seem well designed. My second impression, when I opened the rear door to throw my gym bag onto the seat, was that there's a lot of room back there, especially compared with the previous-generation Legacy.
I showed the Legacy 3.6R to my friend Jim, an Audi owner and car snob, and asked him what he thought of the interior. "Well," he replied, "the center stack and the general interior design just look like the ones in so many other Japanese cars." He said this with some measure of disdain, but I think that he was inadvertently paying Subaru a compliment, because there is nothing that Subaru wanted more with this new generation of Legacy than to mimic some of the success of mass-market Japanese family sedans like the Honda Accord, the Toyota Camry, and the Nissan Altima. So, if a person's initial impression, upon poking their head inside the Legacy, is that they think they are inside a Honda, or a Toyota, or a Nissan then Subaru is happy with that, I bet.
I find the six-cylinder boxer engine to be a little bit off-message for Subaru. Subaru, to me, is more about four-cylinder boxer engines, and turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engines. Also, this engine's displacement has increased by 20 percent, from 3.0 liters to 3.6 liters, but power has risen only 11 percent, from 245 hp to 256 hp; torque, though, rose 15 percent, from 215 lb-ft to 247 lb-ft. The engine is also still saddled with a five-speed automatic transmission rather than a six-speed.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor