The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2013 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited Rocky Mountain Review By Dan Poler

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Subaru Legacy

2013 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited

By Dan Poler
Rocky Mountain Bureau
The Auto Channel

Throughout the Mountain West, Subarus are a common sight. With a reputation for reliability, go-anywhere all-wheel drive capability, and sensible family-oriented features, it’s a hard combination to beat. This week we had the opportunity to take a look at the Subaru Legacy, outfitted in the top 3.5R Limited trim. 2013 brings a variety of minor styling updates to the Legacy as well as the EyeSight driver assistance system – more on that in a bit.

Subaru’s have never been the most stylish cars on the market, but the styling updates applied to this year’s Legacy are nicely executed and most noticeable at the front end, which exhibits a lowered, aggressive-looking fascia with integrated fog lights. Inside the cabin we find comfortable leather-trimmed seats – including one of the more expansive and comfortable back seats found in this class of car. There is perhaps a tad much hard plastic in the interior, and while most controls are orderly and sensible, the navigation system leaves a bit to be desired, with an interface and display that feels dated relative to models employed by some of Subaru’s peers.

The Legacy drives and feels responsive for a midsize family sedan, with the horizontally-opposed 3.6L engine providing good response and power for acceleration. Although fitted with a five-speed transmission – at least one gear fewer than many of its peers – upshifts are smooth and timely. The suspension is firm but not overly so, with a hint of body roll in the corners. Despite some reasonably aggressive driving, we were able to best the government’s fuel economy estimates, returning 25.5 mpg overall with the Legacy – a figure not far from the estimated 27 mpg combined for the 2.5L 4-cylinder variant which produces far less horsepower and torque.

Our test vehicle was fitted with Subaru’s EyeSight feature, new for this year. EyeSight uses a stereoscopic camera mounted around the rear view mirror to provide a host of safety features including lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, active braking, and collision warning – features typically found on cars much more expensive. The EyeSight system takes a little getting used to – the driver must learn to interpret the beeps and dashboard symbols provided – but it’s good. So good that it makes one almost (almost! But not quite!) want to aim the Legacy for a brick wall just to see the system kick in to avert catastrophe. Overall the EyeSight setup makes highway driving very pleasurable.

One of the curious joys of the automotive press is hoping for bad weather when testing a vehicle such as the Legacy, and fortunately Mother Nature did not disappoint, providing us with a few inches of snow which bone-chilling temperatures quickly turned to fog and ice. We found that the Legacy handled very well in the nasty weather, its all-wheel drive proving to be quite competent on slick surfaces. But perhaps more important, the Legacy is a predictable vehicle in these conditions – it communicates well to the driver, and it’s easy to anticipate the vehicle’s limits, knowing just when it’s going to start losing traction or sliding around. While the Legacy more than lived up to Subaru’s reputation for all-weather handling and control, with a ground clearance just a touch under six inches, it will not be a first choice in deep powder. The inclement weather also gave us the opportunity to discover that EyeSight system is no match for moderately heavy fog, and will switch itself off in these conditions.

With a base price just above $20k and topping out in our fully loaded vehicle a touch north of $33,000 there’s a Legacy for every budget and every garage. We found the Legacy to be a great choice for year-round transportation in the Mountain West.


2013 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited

Base Price: $20,295.00

Price as Tested: $33,677.00

Engine Type: Horizontally-opposed 6-cylinder

Engine Size: 3.6 liter

Horsepower: 256

Torque (lb-ft): 247

Transmission: 5-speed automatic with manual mode

Wheelbase / Length (in): 108.3 / 187.2

Curb Weight: 3,545

Pounds per HP: 13.8

Fuel Capacity (gal): 18.5

Fuel Requirement: Regular unleaded

Tires: Bridgestone Turanza EL400; P225/50VR17

Brakes: Ventilated disc

Suspension, front/rear: MacPherson strut / Double wishbone

Ground clearance (in): 5.9

Drivetrain: Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

EPA Fuel Economy - MPG city / highway / observed: 18 / 25 / 25

Base Trim Price: $28,895.00

Options and Charges

Option Package 20: $3,940.00 (Power moonroof, navigation system including voice-activated control, auxiliary audio port, rear vision camera, 440-watt 9-speaker Harman/kardon premium audio system, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, XM satellite radio with 4-month free trial subscription, AM/FM stereo with single CD player, Bluetooth hands-free phone and streaming audio connectivity, and EyeSight driver-assist system)

Floor Mats: $72.00

Delivery: $770.00

Price as tested: $33,677.00