Though tuned for efficiency, the 2.5i Legacy is definitely inferior to its 3.6 siblingThe 4-cylinder Legacy faces tough competition; it’s up against the likes of best-sellers like the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord, the Nissan Altima, and the Ford Fusion. I figured with how good the rest of the cars in its class are, it couldn’t be too bad.
My articles usually start off with my shocking amazement for the car I have for the week. This time a different approach will have to be taken. The Legacy is not a newly considered car in my mind; I have had a sense of admiration for the car for years. My personal favourite was the fourth-generation Legacy, and have always hoped that someday I would have the opportunity to own a 2.5 GT Spec.B; a rare car that in my eyes has always been close to perfection within its class.
The Subaru Legacy first started showing its face in North America in 1990. First-generation Legacy’s made some staggering sales. For 1990 the Legacy was also named by certain publications the best-selling four-wheel-drive vehicle in the USA. This helped Subaru make a name for itself within the North American market as they had a smaller known presence before. The Legacy came with one of the newly released Subaru EJ-series 4-cylinder engines that Subaru still uses (with many modifications and differences, of course) to this day.
My surprise started upon receiving a phone call from my editor saying; “since you recently drove the fully-loaded Honda Accord V6, it’s time for you to step down to a base model 4-cylinder Legacy.” Imagine my excitement, as I assumed that despite being a base model, it might still be nearly as good as the car I used to love. The 4-cylinder Legacy faces tough competition; it’s up against the likes of best-sellers like the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord, the Nissan Altima, and the Ford Fusion. I figured with how good the rest of the cars in its class are, it couldn’t be too bad. The first thing I noticed upon arriving at Subaru was that my 2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i PZEV was equipped with the Lineartronic® continuously-variable transmission. Surprisingly, this transmission did come equipped with paddle-shifters, unlike the Honda Accord V6 that I had come to truly enjoy.
The engine mated to my tester is a 2.5L Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC), horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder “boxer” engine, which, as I said previously, has made Subaru famous. This little 4-banger puts out a surprising 173 hp @ 5600 rpm and 174 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm, right in line with everything else in its class. This is not by any means a sports car, but it does get the job done. I personally prefer something with at least 200hp, but of course, great fuel efficiency is something that appears to be important to nearly everyone these days. Luckily, this car was equipped with the PZEV option; which stands for “Partial Zero Emission Vehicle”. This is done by using a few different parts such as a different style of catalytic converter, a different tune on the engine control module, and also more efficient fuel injectors. The combination of these factors helps this vehicle become more environmentally friendly, overall reducing its footprint into the environment.
My tester’s highlighted extras are the optional 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, premium cloth upholstery, front heated seats, and fully automatic headlights. 60/40 split, flat folding seats are found standard in vehicles of this class dating back well into the early 90s. While my car may only be one step-up from the base model, it didn’t seem to have anything “extraordinary” or surprising in the slightest. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the PZEV-labelled floor mats!
Subaru claims some very attractive fuel economy numbers. This 2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i PZEV is supposed to get an absolutely smashing 6.0l/100km on the highway, and 8.4L/100km in the city. While these numbers seem awesome, I was only able to average 9.6L/100km in combined driving, feathering the throttle and applying as many fuel-saving techniques I have been able to. Ah well; at least I’m only releasing “partial zero emissions” from the exhaust.
The Legacy comes standard with a 4-speaker audio system (with CD, MP3, and WMA), which in my eyes is a bit subpar given the base systems of the other competitors in this class. I can’t remember the last time I actually drove a midsize vehicle with only 4-speakers. Oh, it did have Bluetooth-streaming audio though. The quality of the Bluetooth integration from my iPhone was great, as well. No Satellite radio though; which is a shame.
The Legacy is also available with an optional 3.6L 6-cylinder, which, in my opinion, is the one to go for. While not as efficient as this 4-cylinder, the 3.6 lacks the CVT transmission and comes standard with a conventional automatic. It’s certainly the one I’d have in my garage any day of the week. Although, the 4-banger Legacy does come with a 6-speed manual, which I’m sure would also be significantly more involving to drive. Combined with the symmetrical all-wheel-drive, I’m sure that taking away this CVT and giving the driver the ability to row his/her own gears would yield enthusiasts of years past to return to Subaru. Conclusively, while the Legacy definitely seems to have lost some of its charm over the years, it’s certainly still a viable competitor in this class. I’m glad Subaru hasn’t lost their touch.