Tom Crosby: Subaru Legacy is safety award winner

Tom Crosby

Tom Crosby

Subaru sales have been increasing each year, side-by-side with its reputation for safety, reliability and resale value, and the all-new Subaru four-door, five-passenger mid-size Legacy sedan is sure to win its share of automotive awards. For 2015, the Legacy improvements include a quieter interior, an upgraded infotainment system, better handling and a sleeker exterior look.

The sixth generation of the 25-year-old Legacy now rides on a new platform shared with the Subaru Outback SUV. Both sit firmly and comfortably on MacPherson strut front and double wishbone rear suspension systems. Our test drive was the 3.6R Limited, tops among the four Legacy models with a six-cylinder BOXER engine that provides plenty of kick from a dead stop or when accelerating for highway maneuvers. The 2.5i Legacy uses a four-cylinder engine that boosts mileage. Handling was excellent, with Subaru’s patented Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive now assisted with new Active Torque Vectoring to better manipulate wheel spin in curves and on icy roads.

Outside, the new look includes a more raked windshield, a new front fascia blending the hexagonal grill and bumper, and new front partition windows. It retains its character lines and steady beltline riding on 18-inch alloy wheels.

Inside, cabin comfort improves with 1.6 cubic feet more room and a 7-inch tilted infotainment dashboard touch screen that allows iPad-like swipes and scrolling. Instrument gauges use blue-ring illumination at night and a warning instructs you to take the key fob with you lest someone drives the car away or with our $2,195 add-on option allowed entering a PIN code and leaving the key fob in the car.

Rear seats are 60/40 fold-down and cargo space increased from 14.7 to 15 cubic inches. There is a small spare tire. An eco-gauge shows when the car is being driven most efficiently, although the 3.6-liter engine enjoys gulping gas under power. A new rollover sensor activates airbags when it senses an imminent collision and new seat cushion airbags keep occupants properly positioned.

All 2015 Subarus earned a top safety pick from the prestigious Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for the sixth straight year. Legacy added the highest rating for frontal crash protection. The 3.6R Limited includes blind spot detection, lane change beeps, rear cross traffic alerts and HID headlights. EyeSight, an option costing $785 more, adds Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning — all a must for the safety conscious.

The Legacy has higher than average resale percentages and competes against heavy hitters like Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Maxima.

LIKES: Handling, ride, looks, comfort, safety, quiet

DISLIKES: Eyesight option needed, mileage

BOTTOM LINE: Competitive mid-size sedan in highly competitive market


Base price with destination charge $30,390 ($32,585 as tested)
Vehicle weight 3,662 lbs (with CVT)
Wheelbase 108.3 inches
Length 188.8 inches
Width 72.4 inches
Engine 3.6-liter, DOHC, 6-cylinder, BOXER®
Horsepower 256 hp at 6,000 rpm
Torque 247 lbs.-ft. at 4,000 rpm
Transmission Continuous variable transmission
EPA Rating 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway
Range 18.5 gallons, regular
Performance 0-60 in just over 7 seconds

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.

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