By now, Subaru has become well known for their implementation of Symmetrical all-wheel-drive as standard fare across the entire (almost) lineup. Fitting for this year’s particularly brutal Canadian winter, cars like the Impreza (reviewed here) and Legacy offer a significant advantage over their mainstream front-drive rivals. With competitive pricing and a noteworthy advantage In the traction department, cars like this 2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited stand out to Canadians and have become more and more popular over the years.
This year has seen massive overhauls for the Legacy’s main competitors, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, the latter of which has been cleaning up across the continent for awards. The Legacy by comparison appears to be a little bit dated, but a mid-cycle refresh for the 2018 model year helps things along. Now, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard fare, along with an improved Lineartronic CVT transmission. Minor tweaks to the smart-looking styling enhance the Legacy’s curb appeal, along with some small quality improvements on the interior as well. Noteworthy for enthusiasts is that the manual transmission is no longer available.
Assembled in Subaru’s Lafayette, Indiana plant, the Legacy’s entry-level engine is a horizontally opposed 2.5L boxer four-cylinder, codenamed FB25. A six is available on the Legacy 3.6R (reviewed here), but the vast majority of buyers will opt for the flat-four tested here. It offers 175 horsepower at 5,800RPM and 174 lb-ft. of torque at 4,000RPM, getting away just fine on regular-grade fuel. Power delivery here is extremely smooth throughout the rev range, and the tweaked CVT is one of the better ones out there, right up there with the one in the Honda Accord (reviewed here). The paddle shifters simulate physical gear ratios should you want to liven things up, but there is a bit of a delay in response, and we found it best to just let the transmission do its thing.
Keeping comfort in mind, Subaru has done an excellent job with the chassis refinements to the Legacy, along with tuned dampers and an updated suspension that keep the ride complacent. The Subaru does ride firmer than other midsized sedans, but not to a point of being particularly sporty, especially with the base motor configuration. Interior quietness has been improved thanks to some added insulation, and this is very noticeable as the new Legacy exhibits far less road noise than its predecessors. The electric power steering still has a very connected feel, though not as hardcore as the WRX STI (reviewed here), and offers great feedback when pushed around some corners.
The Legacy has always maintained a competitive edge with regards to overall cabin comfort as well as outward visibility, something that is almost a luxury nowadays with rooflines becoming more swooped and windows being little more than slits. Blind spots are minimal thanks to the thin pillars, and it’s easy to have excellent sightlines even with four adults in the car. Interior space is plentiful for front and rear passengers; though trying to squeeze a fifth adult in will make rear accommodations snug. The driving position is pretty good, and the instrument cluster is bright, clear, and easy to read.
Technology and infotainment is accessed through the 8.0” touchscreen that is powered by Subaru’s StarLink system. Standard equipment here is a rear-view camera, the aforementioned smartphone integration, along with dual-zone climate control and heated seats. StarLink has gotten a lot better over the years, and is one of the well-done balances between ease-of-use and actual features. The Honda system is also quite good, while Nissan’s current offering is very dated and tired. Our test vehicle was also equipped with the EyeSight suite of active safety features, which has become a must-have in this segment.
EyeSight pre-dated both Honda and Toyota’s offerings with regards to active safety, and has held its own through this war. Rather than radars and sensors, Subaru’s tech uses cameras mounted in the windshield by the rear-view mirror that actively watch the road ahead with the sole purpose of minimizing the chance of a collision. Features here include lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control. One unique touch to EyeSight is a warning that also alerts you if the vehicle in front of you has moved and you haven’t reacted yet. Your Legacy will essentially assume that you are distracted and need a prod to keep going.
Offered in a variety of trims, the least expensive way to get into a Legacy is the 2.5i at $24,995, which still comes very well equipped. Many Canadians will opt for the $28,995 2.5i Touring, which offers conveniences like alloy wheels, a sunroof, and a few other goodies. This loaded 2.5i Limited is the most loaded model available with the four-cylinder, and includes things like EyeSight (also available as a package on lower trims) and leather seats. The 2.5i Limited sits at $33,795, just below the $36,795 3.6R Limited.
Despite offering all-wheel-drive, Subaru ensures that the Legacy remains a very fuel efficient option in the segment, with projected numbers no worse than its competition. The 2018 Legacy 2.5i is rated at 9.3L/100km city, 7.0L/100km highway and a combined rating of 8.3L/100km. Our test, despite taking place in a Canadian winter, consisted of a heavy mix between city and highway driving. Still, we surpassed the combined claim and resulted in an average of 8.2L/100km. This is one vehicle that stays true to its projections.
Though it has been around for the better part of three decades, the Legacy is one of those gems that sits in the shadow of more popular competitors. It’s often chalked off as being too rough, too expensive, or the fallacy that its AWD automatically means it’s a gas guzzler. The 2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited strives to change that, offering not only one blatantly obvious advantage, but an amicable personality and very competitive pricing that’s likely to sway many over. Subaru’s sales are on a upward trend month over month, and it has become very easy to see why.