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New Car/Review



By Matt/Bob Hagin

SUBARU Full Line video footage (10:22) 28.8, 56k, or 200k

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 25,595
Price As Tested                                    $ 26,090
Engine Type               DOHC 16-valve 2.5 Liter H4 w/MFI*
Engine Size                                 150 cid/2457 cc
Horsepower                                   165 @ 5600 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               162 @ 4000 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                  103.5"/67.5"/181.5"
Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
Curb Weight                                     3233 pounds
Fuel Capacity                                  15.9 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                                  205/55R16 89H
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
Drive Train                    Front-engine/all-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/four-door
Domestic Content                                        N/A
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.34

EPA Economy, miles per gallon
city/highway/average                            21/27/25          
0-60 MPH                                        9.5 seconds
1/4 (E.T.)                          17.0 seconds @ 80.5 mph
Top speed                        (governor limited) 110 mph

* Multi-point fuel injection

(Matt Hagin says that almost every vehicle that comes out of the Subaru stable these days is a mini-muscle car. His dad, Bob, says that Americans like lots of power even if it comes in small packages.)

BOB - It doesn't seem like it was very long ago that the cars being sent over here by Subaru were ugly, yet practical little wart-hogs. As I recall, their main claim to fame was that they were cheap to run and that their then-unusual front-wheel drive worked good on ice and snow in the Northwest and Northeast sections of the country. But now, the Subaru line is not only state-of-the-art stylewise, but it's gotten massive doses of mechanical steroids. This Legacy sedan that we had was typical of the current batch of Subarus. And like all other Subarus currently in production, the Legacy utilizes full-time all-wheel drive.

MATT - This Legacy is really a pretty good sized car, Dad, and it's considerably more roomy than the smaller Impreza that we recently evaluated. The Legacy is considered a compact car and the version that we had is officially called the 2.5 GT Limited, which is the luxury sports version of the Legacy line. The "L" version uses a 142 horsepower, 2.2 liter, single-overhead cam four cylinder engine, but our GT Limited has a different powerplant. It's a 2.5 liter four, and features a more complex twin-cam design. It's considerably smoother than the 2.2 and puts out 23 more horsepower. All of the Subaru engines use four valves per cylinder, and all use a "flat," layout, which means that the cylinders protrude from each side of the crankcase. The "pancake" engine configuration is unusual now and because of its design, the unit is very short and compact. In fact, the only other auto that I can think of that use this type of engine is Porsche.

BOB - All Legacy models have a five-speed manual transmission as standard equipment and it's a new, smoother design, but the Limited version only comes with an equally new four-speed automatic transmission that's an option on the other models. It has disc brakes on each wheel and the anti-lock braking system is standard equipment. The suspension uses MacPherson struts at all four corners and the suspension tuning on the Limited is more firm than on the "L." The Limited rides on 16-inch alloy wheels, an inch taller than the "L" model, and the tires are more performance-oriented.

MATT - The Limited carries an impressive collection of standard creature-comforts, too, Dad. It has a two-stage moonroof, a tilt steering column, and the standard sound system is as good as any in the industry. In fact, the only option available on the Legacy Limited is a multi-disc CD changer. Subaru has developed a reputation for producing vehicles that are particularly adapted to harsh, wet conditions and it goes to great lengths to seal its vehicles against the possibility of rust and corrosion. Polyvinylchloride is shot into the wheelhouses, side-sills, rear quarter panels and into the floor. Then they shoot hot wax into all the hollow spaces like the frame rails, side frames, door frames, hood cavities, trunk panels and anywhere else that moisture might penetrate. The engineers have targeted any area that might be prone to rusting.

BOB - It's obvious that the Subaru Legacy is slanted towards areas that "enjoy" snow in the winter. Although the wipers and washers on the headlights are neat, we don't have a lot of use for them around here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

MATT - That's true, Dad, but Tom and I have used that amenity many times during our road tests during winter. That's when we use the cars and trucks to go on ski trips to the Sierras. And when we do, we really appreciate the 60/40 fold-down feature on the rear seatback of the Legacy. We can store our skis inside and not have to strap them onto a temporary roof rack. We may be snobbish about our ski equipment, but we hate it when they get filthy while strapped to the top of any vehicle. That's why we put them inside.

BOB - That's why ski bags are made, Matt, but to me the only logical answer to the problem is to stay out of that cold, wet snow.