Chicago Auto Show: 2015 Subaru Legacy

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Subaru-Legacy-2015-front-300What is it?

The 2015 Legacy is the closest we’ve yet come to a luxury Subaru, and while the new model has more amenities (rear A/C vents!), it’s very content not being a Mercedes. Subaru doesn’t market nonsense about “brand aspirations” and “luxury lifestyles” because its customers — primarily in the Northwest and Northeast — could care less. Simply, the 2015 Legacy is the fifth generation of a popular midsize sedan that’s been in production for 25 years. As such, the Legacy’s formula – flat-crankcase engines, all-wheel drive, sporty handling – hasn’t changed.

Why should you care?

Subaru’s continuously variable transmissions and upgraded flat-four engines with direct injection have dramatically improved fuel economy on the smaller Impreza. The new four-cylinder Legacy 2.5i gets a similar treatment with up to 36 mpg highway, a significant increase of 4 mpg (and unlike its front-wheel drive competitors like the 37-mpg Fusion and 38-mpg Altima and Mazda 6, that’s with standard all-wheel drive). City mileage jumps 2 mpg to 26.  The 3.6-liter flat-six – the only car you’ll find with this compact design other than a Porsche – is optional with 256 hp; the 2.5-liter four delivers 175 hp. Subaru’s EyeSight auto-braking system, which is the most affordable safety system of its kind anywhere, adds blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert.


Torque vectoring improves handling by braking the inside wheels around corners. The best detail, in typical Subaru fashion, is plainer to see: It’s the same size. Most automakers can’t resist temptation to stretch and widen their new models, but since Subaru already did that with the current car, it just enlarged the trunk and increased rear legroom. One more good thing: Subaru’s terrible infotainment system has been redesigned. How well it works, we’re not yet sure, but anything is a step up from what they have now.

What’s not to like?

The Legacy engines are old. As competitors shift to turbochargers and smaller displacements, the Legacy is sticking with what works. While that’s great for reliability, we’d have really liked Subaru to increase power and torque (the Forester Turbo’s superb 2.5-liter 250-hp turbo four would be a pleasant option). We’d like to see the six-cylinder cars better match Toyota and Honda, too. As for the body style, it’s clean and inoffensive, but hardly original. Hyundai first revealed the 2015 Genesis a few months ago, and the Legacy, from head to toe, almost looks entirely like it. The manual transmission is no longer available. For shame, Subaru!


When is it on sale?

Summer. Given past Subaru models, we don’t expect the base price to skyrocket past the current Legacy’s $21,090 base price.

Photos: Dave Prock/BestRide.

Clifford Atiyeh

Clifford Atiyeh

Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Based in Connecticut, he writes for BestRide, Car and Driver, The Boston Globe and other publications.