HEELS ON WHEELS: 2011 SUBARU LEGACY SEDAN REVIEW
HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel
INTRO TO THE LEGACY SEDAN VEHICLE
The Subaru Legacy sedan is considered a smart choice if you’re looking for a safe and reliable mid-size sedan with all-wheel drive and a touch of interior refinement. You also have three very different powertrains, from a fuel-saving 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) to a turbocharged 4-cyinder and even a bigger V6.
I drove a 2011 Subaru Legacy 3.6R sedan, which has the biggest engine with the Limited trim (Premium and Limited trims only). The 256-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine with Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive was exclusively equipped with a 5-speed automatic transmission. Limited trim standard features with the 3.6R included: dual-zone climate control; Bluetooth capabilities; 9-speaker audio system with XM Radio; 10-way power driver’s seat; and 17-inch alloy wheels. With a $995 power moonroof, total vehicle price came to $30,015.
Since the 2010 model represents the fifth-generation built on an all-new platform, the Legacy sedan saw minor updates for 2011 (really just some optional equipment shifting going on between trims). I’m a big fan of the Subie and their safety record, but engineers need to increase the wow-factor of the Legacy sedan if it si going to compete with more attractive AWD competitors like the Volvo S60 and Ford Fusion that have much sportier designs.
HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA
Stylish But Comfortable Results: The interior offers comfortable seating dimensions for all five passengers with the 10-way power seating for the driver being a huge bonus. The cabin environment is modern throughout adorned in leather and wood grain trim. Center console features an attractive and driver-centered layout, but I didn’t care for the headrest or steering wheel feel. Truck cargo space is generous. But the problem with the Legacy sedan styling isn’t with the inside – it’s the easily forgettable exterior design.
Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2011 Legacy is a Top Safety Pick by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) – all Subaru vehicles made the list, and usually do so year after year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the 2011 Legacy an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Standard safety equipment is excellent and includes: Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive; state-of-the-art airbag system; Vehicle Dynamics Control; Anti-lock Brakes; Brake Assist; 3-point seatbelts; LATCH for child safety seats.
Cost Issues: A price of $30k for a sleeker mid-size sedan with AWD, and V6 engine and a well-crafted interior with modern technology conveniences is right on the money. Take your brand slightly higher up and a similarly equipped Volvo S60 goes for $37,700.
Activity & Performance Ability: The performance-minded 3.6-liter V6 appears to be the engine of choice, as the powertrain displays optimal varoom upon at highway rallying, inclines and straight one-lane shoots. I hear the same kudos from the 2.5GT, but the gas-saving 2.5i seems to fall flat.
The Green Concern: Here are the EPA fuel economy stats for the three engines: the 3.6R V6 and the turbocharged 2.5GT 4-cylinder get 18-city/25-highway, while the 2.5i 4-cylinder gets 19-city/27-highway under the 6-speed manual transmission and 23-city/31-highway with the CVT automatic transmission.
FINAL PARTING WORDS Although the exterior design isn’t as fluid or sporty as segment competitors, you’ll be far from disappointed with the Legacy sedan’s turbocharged 2.5GT 4-cylinder engine or the performance-oriented 3.6R V6. The mid-size sedan is decently priced, very safe choice with plenty of conveniences – there’s just not much excitement with those attributes.
©2011 Katrina Ramser