By Nauman Farooq
The very first press vehicle I ever picked up from Subaru Canada, was the 2005 Legacy GT model, and I loved it! I liked it so much, I called it my car of the year back in 2005.
The reason I loved it so much, was because it was fast, it handled well, and yet was comfortable. It truly was the ultimate mid-size sedan.
Fast forward 13 years, and the Legacy has gone through a lot of changes. It has grown in size, and has lost its turbocharged engine option, along with the manual gearbox option.
Further more, even the six-cylinder Subaru models – like this Legacy 3.6R – have adopted the use of a CVT automatic. So, have all the changes been for the better or worse?
Styling: From the perspective of looks, the Legacy has been on a slippery slope down for a decade, with each model looking more boring with time. This latest offering tries to look smart with its fancy headlights, but the rest of the shape is so bland, it just doesn’t excite you or challenge the norm – the current Toyota Camry is far more daring in its design. So if aesthetics play a part in your buying decision, the Legacy will likely lose out!
Interior: The interior is spacious, offers decent comfort, and is decently well equipped. It features a new 8.0 inch touchscreen infotainment system, with GPS and Apple CarPlay, and while I am still not a fan of touchscreen systems, this one is more responsive than most.
However, the design of the dashboard is so plain and dull, it seems like Subaru designers had lost all hope of being creative after seeing the exterior styling, that they went on and made the most simple dashboard possible – it looks like it escaped from the 1990’s, and would have looked bland even then!
On the plus side, there is plenty of room in the front and back seats, even for full-size adults.
Powertrain: Subaru offers two engines with the Legacy currently, a 2.5L four-cylinder that produces 175 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque – or the one I had in my tester, a 3.6L flat-six cylinder motor featuring double overhead cam which produces 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, but then, so is its CVT automatic transmission.
While there is decent power, the transmission doesn’t encourage sporty driving (even using its paddle shifters doesn’t help), so you wouldn’t be encouraged to punch the throttle for quick acceleration – it far prefers for you to just softly lay in the power.
Driving Dynamics: The over-the-decade-old Legacy GT was truly dynamic to drive, the kind of machine that would inspire you to go out of the house or take the long route home – this new Legacy 3.6R sadly doesn’t encourage the same emotions.
Not only is the drivetrain not very enthusiastic, but the handling feel is probably worse! Subaru’s usually feel secure and planted, not this Legacy.
Let me explain – the suspension is overly soft, the chassis doesn’t feel rigid enough, and the steering has no feel whatsoever. The Legacy used to be the driver’s car in its segment, now it is just another car.
Fuel Economy: Considering its engine size, the Legacy 3.6R is quite frugal! I averaged 9.6 L/100km in my test cycle, which is not bad at all.
Verdict: If you’re looking for a economical, reliable, comfortable sedan with good amounts of features – its Eye Sight system which includes adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, along with many other safety related features, is all very good – then the Legacy 3.6R will serve you well.
If you’re looking for cutting edge design, and a truly dynamic driving experience, than you’re better off looking elsewhere.