By on October 18, 2010

Let’s face it, Subarus used to be strange. When I was a kid, Subaru was in the same category as Volvo, Saab, Sterling and anything from France. Once upon a time, when friends rode in your Subie they were intrigued by its quirks and idiosyncrasies. As time moved on though, everything has become increasingly mainstream. Well, except for the French. To prove the point we hit Subaru up for a 2011 Legacy 3.6 Limited.

When the Legacy arrived on my doorstep, I had trouble picking it out from all the other cars on the street. The usual Subaru styling cues are gone and in their place we have some sexy curves, some hard lines, fender bulges and a subdued grille. Sounds good so far, right? Here’s the problem: the exact same description can be applied to the 2011 Camry and Accord. A week after our Subaru tester returned from whence it came, Subaru started a viral marketing campaign for the Legacy called “2011 Mediocrity” on Facebook and YouTube. The campaign is supposed to be lampooning the Camry, Accord and Fusion, but in the end it becomes one of the most ironic commercials ever made. Why? Because the 2011 Legacy is by far the most mainstream vehicle Subaru has ever produced. Let’s dive in and see just how average the  Subaru can be.

Subaru offers the Legacy in three trim levels: base, Premium and Limited, all of which can be had with two engine options, the 2.5L four-cylinder boxer engine, and the 3.6L six-cylinder boxer provided for our review (there’s also the special 2.5L turbo GT trim for upsizing WRX drivers). The 2.5L four packs 170HP while the 3.6L model provided for our review brings 256HP and 247lb-ft of twist to the party (up from the 245HP and 215lb-ft of last year’s 3.0L six). Compared to the competition these power figures are adequate in a middle-of-the-pack kind of way. While the 2.5L four gets an economy-maximizing CVT, the 3.6L engine has to make do with a 5 speed slush-box which is one cog shy of most of the competition. All boxes  checked thus far.

Once inside the Legacy, it is clear this car’s interior was designed to be profitable at the rental car fleet pricing level. Gone are the soft touch plastics previous generations enjoyed and in their place are plastics that look good but feel cheap. Also from the bargain price bin is some of the worst faux wood this side of Chrysler’s K cars. Seriously Subie, who’d you think you were fauxin? Rounding out the mixed bag interior is quite possibly the best almost-metal trim I have seen. Not only does the faux metal fool you, but it seduces you into caressing it on the steering wheel and centre console, yielding satisfying tactile feedback. It’s a pity Subaru didn’t use the same material in the place of the never-seen-a-forest fake wood.

Proving that Subaru knows how to make a vehicle for the average Joe, the fit and finish of the interior is on par with what I expect from GM: haphazard. Adding insult to haptic injury is the feature list of the lesser Legacys (Legacies?). In a world where even Kias come standard with Bluetooth, Subaru makes you either step up to the Limited trim-line or cough up $2290 for the up-level audio package in Premium trim to get the speakerphone. Oddly, Bluetooth isn’t even offered in base models and the same goes for iPod/USB connectivity.

I’d like to say that everything brightens when you turn the Legacy’s key and get out on the highway, but I’d be lying. Gone are the semi-athletic adjectives you could use to describe Subarus of yore. Ten years ago, AWD was an intriguing novelty in a mass-market sedan. Today, an AWD sedan faces more competition and offers less “aint-it-cool” power. For the average person driving the average mid-size sedan, the AWD system of choice really doesn’t matter either. Yes the Symmetrical AWD system Subaru uses is without a doubt superior in terms of feel and function to the Haldex sip-and-grip systems Ford uses, but does Joe-six-pack care? Probably not.

Out on the road the feelings of average continue. Steering feel is slightly numb, road feel is isolated, acceleration to 60 happens in 7 seconds flat and the car stops like your average family hauler. I had hoped for a bit more driving wasabi, but all I ended up getting was vanilla pudding. And the end of the day, the 2011 Legacy drives just like I would expect an AWD Camry to drive, which makes sense because passengers frequently confused the Subaru for a Camry. The only thing unusual about the Legacy these days beats under the hood: the horizontally opposed engines ala Porsche. Sadly when it comes to weight distribution, handling, performance, smoothness, etc. the engine layout no longer provides much benefit compared to the competition. The proof is in that vanilla pudding: in the twisties, the AWD Fusion feels much more planted; much more in-tune with the road than this new Legacy. Sure the Legacy is bigger, but stacked up against the much heavier AWD Ford Taurus, the Legacy still feels heavy and soft despite gaining only 50lbs over the 2009 Legacy.

The 3.6L Legacy’s brother the 2.5 GT is the very proof that Subaru is shooting for the mainstream. The 2.5 GT not only feels better on the road, but with a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds, it’s significantly quicker as well. Sadly Subaru thought Americans wanted more cylinders instead of more power so the 2.5GT remains a niche model available only with a 6 speed manual transmission. You’d think that the 3.6L would be smoother than the 2.5L turbo 4, but you’d be wrong. You’d think it would sound better, but you’d be wrong again. You’d pray that it would get better fuel economy, but you’d be left wanting.

At $30,015 as equipped, the Subaru Legacy proves that Subaru is capable of giving the American public exactly what they were asking for: a Camry with AWD. You can’t go wrong with putting a Legacy in your garage, especially if you live in the snow-belt, just don’t expect to feel too special behind the wheel. Subaru’s legacy is a company that made quirky vehicles that handled well and stuck out in a crowd, their future appears to be higher sales figures, more profit and mainstream America suited products. How average is that?

Readers who are following TTAC on Facebook were given the opportunity to ask reader questions of the Subaru Legacy. If you would like to ask questions of car reviews in progress, or just follow TTAC, checkout our facebook page. FB fans, here are your answers: Samir S: yes, thankfully it comes in other colors. Dan V: I feel your pain; it’s all about mass-market appeal. Marlon H: Probably not. Brian C: The auto doesn’t hunt as much as it used to. Patrick C: I thought about trying but honestly got too bored. Megan B: I’m sure you know the answer to your first question, second question is yes you can put a rearward facing child seat in the back with a normal-sized human in front. Bill H: Catching air is against the press car loan agreement, sorry.

Subaru provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.


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54 Comments on “Review: 2011 Subaru Legacy 3.6R...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    Hyundai seems more cutting edge every day…
     
    I think modern Subies are okay, but they’re clearly going after budget-conscious Audi drivers who are sick and tired of all the toolbags flocking to the brand. We have to remember this is a gigantic Japanese company who was only every really quirky in the US because their marketing data was probably incomplete, their dealer network sparse, and their sales dependent almost wholly on New Englanders and Coloradoans.
     
    Ironically, it seems like Subie “has it figured out” and will follow a similar path to blandness (and profitability!) as their best German analog, Volkswagen.

  • avatar

    I love that paint color. Anything that isn’t silver or gray is a winner in my book.
     
    Sometimes I really wished I had picked up a previous generation Legacy GT wagon with a stick…

    • 0 avatar

      The problem is that nearly everyone who wishes they’d bought an LGT wagon with a stick–didn’t. Including me. So there was just one model year, the 2005.
      The 2010 Legacy had a common problem with steering vibrations that led to more than a few cars being bought back. Even with this problem, though, the reported repair frequency has been better than average.
      About TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey:
      http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php
       

    • 0 avatar
      XCSC

      …I suppose I should feel lucky that I have one of those 2005 Legacy GT WAGONS with black exterior/beige interior and a manual tranny.  Absolutely love the wagon but there are affectively no comparable vehicles today or in any manufacturer’s pipeline. Heck, even Volvo has bailed on the wagon in America. All these American cowboys want a UV (I leave off the “S” because few, if any, of these “sport” utility vehicles ever get used for things related to “sport”).

  • avatar
    cdotson

    I doubt Subaru provided a tank of diesel.  Had they needed to, there might be a reason to actually buy a Legacy.

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      In the UK (and other markets) Subaru offers its boxer diesel in the Legacy as well as the Outback, Impreza, and Forester. Why not in the US? The way gas prices are going, soon perhaps.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Funny that it is an AWD Camry….should make it easier to merge the two vehicles in the future.
     
    I think the hardest thing (and I’ve been seeing it with Honda too) is that the powertrains are stuck in the 5-10 years ago competitive range.  Nothing wrong necessarily, but lower power, worse economy, worse noise, worse smoothness, why bother?  Even as a bit of a car nut, in a car like this, do you really care about the low COG of a boxer engine or the AWD system used?  As you said, probably not.
     
    I see this as being a fine car for Subaru drivers….and I knew a lot growing up in Northern Idaho.  But that is probably the only thing they will continue to get.  Snowy mountain drivers who do not want an SUV have always bought them, and now more than ever, everyone else will pick something cheaper, smoother, quieter, and with better fuel economy.
     
    And I find it funny that all of a sudden, everyone is aiming for the mainstream.  Subaru.  VW, etc.  If everyone goes for vanilla, the companies are gonna all be stuck fighting over the same customers.  Not sure it is such a great idea.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    The best time to buy a mid-size Subaru?  2003 or earlier.
     
    I remember how cool my Uncle Mac’s Loyale wagon was.  Locking center differential, manual transmission, had white spoke wagon style wheels with honest to god mud tires.  That thing got him through hell and high water.  Rusted like a SOB but was very reliable.  And given that the 4WD could be turned on and off, the MPG penalty wasn’t too bad.
     
    And I still have in my Grand Turismo 3 garage a turbo Legacy GT wagon, modified to the MAX.  I still lust after that car and wish I could buy one new.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Great review, but I just can’t see why anyone would pick this over a Sonata turbo and a set of Blizzaks.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      You can put winter tires on the Subaru too, and then it’s waaaaaay more fun to drive for five months of the year (if living far enough North) than the Sonata.  That might be one reason.  I don’t think I’d want either though.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    I’m still not sure how you think the previous generation Legacy had a nice “soft touch” interior. Subaru’s have always had very basic interiors at best, and that’s what most buyers come to expect for what is still a very capable and very reliable all season family car with quite reasonable pricing for an AWD vehicle. Sure Subaru always been a freakish, niche vehicle brand, but that doesn’t always lead to long term financial viability. Ask Porsche why they are building family trucksters to appeal to more of a mainstream market now.
     
    Going mainstream for Subaru means stepping on a few Birkenstock shod toes, but that happens any time you mess with what is supposedly a perfect recipe. To most buyers, even with Subaru going more “mainstream” the brand still evokes an association of a dependable all weather vehicle. I’m sure driving this iteration of the Legacy wouldn’t do anything to change that perception significantly.
     
    If you want nicer interior appointments, front wheel drive and spotty reliability, you could step up to something in the VW family and pay a lot more for a premium brand.
     

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I have a 2006 Legacy wagon and the interior does have some soft touch materials. So the 2011 is a downgrade in terms of touch. The interior in the 2006 is, to me at least, attractive, understated and well made with good materials for the $21K price.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    A couple of years ago, I drove a Tribeca with the 3.0 flat-six, and the thing that stood out the most about it was the sound of it.  It wasn’t particularly powerful especially in the piggy Tribeca, but it had almost the same mechanical yowl as the 3.2 air-cooled flat six in my dearly departed 911.  I thought it was actually quite thrilling.  This review seems to indicate that even that little tactile treat has been excised.  Too bad.

  • avatar
    twotone

    Does it come in beige?

    Twotone

  • avatar
    carguy

    Sad but true and while its easy to blame Toyota for the blandification of Subaru, most of the damage seems to be self-inflicted. Subaru has been out of touch with the car buying public for a while so this exercise in brand erosion comes as no surprise.

  • avatar
    aspade

    Bland sells better than weird.
     
    Honda is discovering the reverse.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    That may be the ugliest car color I’ve seen in a decade.  It reminds me of the old $99 Earl Sheib offers to “paint any car any color”.  This usually included tires, trim, and mufflers.  Turns out they’re gone now: http://www.earlscheib.com/
     
    Yes the Symmetrical AWD system Subaru uses is without a doubt superior in terms of feel and function to the Haldex sip-and-grip systems Ford uses, but does Joe-six-pack care?
    That is very true.  It will become increasingly more difficult for Subaru to sell cars with poorer fuel economy, higher prices, and a funky boxer sound to people who don’t care.  All this business about how the boxer engine provides a lower hood and better handling are nonsense.
     
    This review makes me think that Subaru’s star has reached its apogee and is about to retreat to niche-land again.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Even in the Pacific Northwest, I don’t see many Ford Fusions around here with AWD badges on the back. Ditto for the Ford crossovers – the Pilot and Highlander rule that segment. You’d think Ford would be moving quite a few, but consumers don’t seem to care.
       
      Meanwhile, I see plenty of 2010 and later Outbacks and Legacys around. They’re ugly, but I’d take Subaru engineering and AWD over Ford/Haldex any day.

  • avatar
    meefer

    This is what happens when a relatively niche brand with a dedicated following (lesbians, rally nuts) looks at their super consistent sales and says “damnit, we need more buyers!”
     
    Mazda, you’re next if you kill off the RX.

  • avatar
    brod0056

    The worst part is even if you wanted one good luck, because dealers only seam to have normally aspirated 4-cyl.  I thought I would give the car a chance because I had a smaller budget for a company car and wasn’t too excited about getting a FWD car.  They said they never get any of those and even if they did it would be like $450/mo sign and drive.  I got a Camry SE V6 w/ leather for $300/mo sign and drive.

  • avatar
    Steinweg

    Not that long ago Subaru’s had a lithe look to them, if a bit plain. Now they’re downright bulbous and frumpy. They’re going through their Sebring phase right now but they’ll get over it.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Bulbous and frumpy would describe the 2000-2004 Legacy and Outback. I’m surprised none of the Subaru bashers remember this one. That car was slower than the model it replaced, had less agile and responsive handling, and looked much worse.
       
      Plenty of people bought ‘em anyway. Looks haven’t ever prevented a Subaru from selling.

  • avatar
    pariah

    While negotiating the price on my 03 LGT last fall, the dealer folk tried very hard to get me into a lease on a brand new Subie. I told them flat-out, “I am not interested in any new Subarus.” Case in point. I’m happy to be driving my seven-year-old Leg instead of one of these things.

    • 0 avatar
      fendertweed

      Same reaction here essentially when I bought my new, end-of-yr. 09 OB Ltd in July ’09 — drove the ’10 Outback and nearly HATED it … bloated, wallowy, disengaged-feeling, though with more interior room (and unfortunately really chintzy cloth material and too much blingy trim)…
      Have been very happy w/ the ’09 (2.5L) though the 4 spd AT is prehistoric (although proven & reliable) and still have no real interest in the new Subies. fwiw.

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    Good review, and it’s similar to my recent, brief experience with a Legacy.  I do think the last generation Legacy GT was nicer all around, but I suppose that was left over from a pre-Toyota design.  I live in the snowbelt and see Subarus quite frequently. They get around fairly well, but I seem to manage better with a FWD car and a set of snow tires.
     
    I thought the Mediocrity ad and accompanying website was funny, although it is very ironic, given the Toyotafication of Subaru.  The campaign sort of reminds me of GM’s spending a couple of decades touting build quality and innovation while most of their vehicles lagged further behind on those fronts.

  • avatar

    I like these Facebook thing at the ends but it’d be better if the responses weren’t all squished into a paragraph. And “Probably not.” is useless without its question.

    Is AWD really Subaru’s only differentiator?

    What will next year’s color be?

  • avatar
    PG

    I always thought that 3.6 liter six was there only to appeal to dumb Americans who think automatically that more cylinders are better. The 2.5 turbo four is clearly, clearly the better option here. Subaru should follow Hyundai’s suit and just ditch it, or at least, add a turbo of its own to make it more appealing.

    • 0 avatar
      jet_silver

      PG, it’s Subaru’s way of recognizing that Americans like automatics.  To my knowledge no Subaru H6 has ever been offered with anything but (this goes way back to the 2.7 H6 in the XT6).  The EJ255 (turbo H4) as offered in the 2.5 GT is a very poor match with an automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      FJ20ET

      The XT6 had a Manual Transmission. In fact I think most came that way.

    • 0 avatar
      SLLTTAC

      We have two 2007 Subarus, both bought new: spec.B and a LLBean Outback 3.0 R. The six-cylinder is noticeably smooth and quieter. In other countries, Subaru has offered six-cylinder engines with manual transmissions. In Australia today, Subaru offers a WRX STI with five-speed automatic transmission. I don’t think I would buy any of today’s US-model Subarus, even though I have bought about ten Subarus in the last 15 years for personal and business use.

    • 0 avatar

      Also another note in the 6 cylinder. The 2.5 Turbo doesn’t get better mileage, and in the last Gen cars the H6 revved lower and was a nicer highway car. Most importantly however, they are also the most reliable engine, according to several sources. They weren’t plagued with the leftover head gasket issues of the 4 cylinders, and the Turbo engine is Subaru’s least reliable all round. I don’t know about this generation, but last gen’s was the only engine with a timing chain too. So the choice isn’t as obvious as you would think.

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    Dashboard seemingly lifted out of a Sonata…

  • avatar
    troyohchatter

    I find it amusing how many people think the mainstreaming of Subaru is a recent happening.  I owned a 2wd Subaru, a 1983 DL station wagon.  True Subaru, from the cable operated hill holder clutch to the spare tire located where God intended, under the hood right on top of the transmission.  The car felt about as refined as a tractor, but the car also was built like one.  When I saw the spare move to an alternate location I knew true subarus were gone forever.

  • avatar
    Durask

    I honestly do not get the comment about the interior, actually I think that the comment is totally out of the left field. The interior of the new Legacy is definitely better than the previous generations. Their philosophy is “soft touch where you can actually touch it” which I think is reasonable for the price. The leather is actually very nice and soft.
    If you want an Audi interior, you will have to pay Audi prices.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Oh, that’s just the TTAC Interior HateBot(r). When an review is posted, the Interior HateBot checks to see if it’s of an Audi. If not, it randomly inserts between one and three lines of savage invective about plastics, grain, and buttons.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeolan

      Ummm  I have to disagree. You might want to look at the interior of a 2005 Legacy, which is a dramatic improvement, from the better quality material used on the dash, to the more appealing looking wood trim, to the flush radio controls. Not to mention, you can pop off most of the wood trim pieces without even using your fingernails- it is really, really cheaply done in the new Legacy.

  • avatar
    MattPete

    That big silver dashboard is soooo 2005 and has to go.

  • avatar
    johnp

    We’ve had our ’10 outback for about a year now. Very minor issues aside, it’s been a pleasure to own and drive. As a former owner of a peugeot (70s), subie and saab (80s), vw and audi (90s), I guess at some point I stopped caring about “quirky” and started appreciating other things: incredibly smooth quiet highway ride, great capability in poor conditions, very usable interior space and 28-31 MPG with a mix of local and highway driving.  It may be a bit more bland in certain respects, but it neither feels nor drives like a camry.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    Interesting article – never quite got to owning one but extensively test drove several in Switzerland, while living there. The most memorable experience was an Impreza STi – it looked bad, the interior was a step down from a modern Lada, the boot had practically no lining (most of it was bare metal) and it was just wrong on so many levels. That is, before you turned it on. All the driving controls were spot on and made you forget the downright attrocious interior straight away. The driving was of the ear to ear kind, and even the 60 year old minder I was given by the dealership urged me to cane it. That was also the car that got me closest to becoming a Scooby owner.
    The others were Legacies, first a 3.0 H6 with an automatic, then a Spec B one with a manual transmission. The automatic was downright attrocious – I assume it’s the same 5 speeder they are still using. Drove it in the mountains and it sapped the remaining few lb ft of the engine’s torque (not that the engine was torquey to start with) – the only more frustrating car on the same test route was an automatic Lexus IS200. When you drove it downhill it would fly and the handling was very much of the ‘on rails’ type. It instantly failed the wife test, though – the plasticky smell of the leather gave her a headache. The interior was not Impreza cheap but it was several notches down on the competition, even compared to our 1995 Volvo 850 – hardly state of the art in 2004.
    The final one was a Spec B Legacy, same 3.0 engine but with a stick from the STi. That combination provided much of the fun of an STi but in a more grown up package, with a liveable interior. Sadly, a turbocharged 4 cyl has not been offered in an European Legacy in a long while (a JDM grey market import option existed in the UK).
    Compared to the US, Subaru seems to be even more of an oddity in Europe. Even the Impreza, which in its WRX and STi guises has quite a following, seems to go through severe birthing pains each new generation – out of the box it always seems a disaster, they have to rush a facelift within a year or year and a half to halfway salvage it (not only visually but dynamically as well) and by the end of a model run, it actually gets close to being as good as the previous generation. I’d say at least half of the appeal in the UK (by far the most important market in Europe) comes from the grey market japanese imports, which are usually much better sorted.
    But one also has the impression they most certainly do not want to succeed – the pricing is beyond the pale – a WRX STi of the current generation is around the EUR 51k mark in Germany, so at current exchange rates around $70k. At that pricep oint it directly competes with Audi’s S4 or a 335i from BMW, machinery that will ask very few sacrifices of their owners, which will be massively more polished, and probably only marginally less fun to drive. The Legacy is equally uninteresting price wise, and even the basics, such as offering a car configuration on the website is still beyond them (quite how they still sell is frankly beyond me).

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    The problem is that for a car that is supposed to sell itself partially on adorable visual quirk, this has to be one of the anonymous sedans on the market today. Seeing one on the streets only reinforces how pathetic it looks. An Olds Ninety-Eight has a more distinctive road presence than this car.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    So, Subaru is following VW and the rest, decontenting their cars and making them bland.
     
    If as it seems obvious now, that all the manufacturers are going after “average” “mainstream America”, who by inference don’t know or care anything about cars and only buy vanilla, tell me how all of them are going to end up with higher sales figures and more profit?

  • avatar
    Nick

    If they made a luxury sedan with a flat-8 that would be the coolest thing ever.

  • avatar
    Alexdi

    Disagree on the interior. I drove the 2.5 base model back to back with the Accord, Camry, and Fusion, and felt the Subaru was on another level. The review describing as much is a work in progress.

  • avatar
    stuki

    For the price, the 4 cylinder with a manual is quite a car if you “need” awd. Seems like most of the others make you pony up for higher line trims to get awd. In the Lagacy,  even the CVT one is a good buy, with remarkable fuel economy, if you don’t have much in the way of performance pretensions.
     
    I did a few test drives of the Legacy last year, as well as the Outback, and found both cars to be surprisingly good at what I suspect they are intended to do, even if that is not being upsized STIs. They are much less sterile than the Camry / Venza duo Toyota is fielding. Perhaps Accord / Crosstour is a better comparison, although with no manual, less practicality and quite a bit more money for Crosstours.
     
    All in all, I just don’t see where the hate is coming from. For someone who lives and/or drives in hilly and snowy places, a car with the interior space of an A6; that is available with a manual; and that even in Legacy trim retains enough space between tire and wheel well not to pack up in even the slightest amount of snow and slush (unlike said Audi); while still handling more like an Accord than a Camry and retaining better than reasonable refinement; all for half of what an A6 costs; just doesn’t strike me as a reason to shun the marque. Even though whoever decided to not include folding mirrors on Subies as wide as these ones, really should have taken the time to measure the width of garage doors in the lesbian neighborhoods of San Francisco :)

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    Couple of thoughts
    1) Subaru is an anti-brand – it is a car company that is a combo of near luxury and true sporty / outdoorsiness. ‘Rich’ people who don’t want to be associated with BMW/Audi like this brand
    2) Subaru buyers are buyers not leasers – when they come onto the used market, these cars have 70-80k on them.
    3) Subaru were (are?) very reliable
    4) Subaru AWD is tested and trusted – big sellers in the north of the US
    For people who don’t need AWD or want the anti-brand, a 30k+ price tag is hard to swallow
     

  • avatar
    Porsche986

    Funny, they are building Camry on the same line as the Legacy in Indiana.
    Still, to say that this is essentially a Camry with AWD is a bit of a stretch…  no, it is nowhere as interesting as the former generation turbo cars… but take a look at the sales figures.  This car is selling better.  That’s what matters, right?
    As an aside, I have a 2010 Forester as a company car.  Yes, it has a fairly cheap interior (rattles, rattles) but it will essentially last forever and it’s surprisingly good to drive, minus the archaic 4-speed transmission.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Drove a friend’s new 2011 Legacy with CVT. A completely anodyne experience compared to my ’08 Legacy GT, but then so was the ’08 regular Legacy.
     
    The new interior sort of looks better, but feels worse. Fit and finish on my car is only fair also. The glovebox door has hung drunkenly from day 1, the doors are not really square, etc.
     
    On the other hand, apart from front sway bar bushings and a loose window regulator, nothing has gone wrong. Reminds me of my ’99 Impreza in that way. The cars seem genuinely reliable, and my car is a blast to drive — in fact I prefer it to my brother’s new Infiniti G37x, which is a bit quicker but very rough riding and also possessed of a not particularly rich interior, along with a drone at highway speed, and constant roaring engine noise at other times.
     
    You pays your money and takes your choice.

    • 0 avatar
      goodall

      Just bought the 2.5 ltd version of this car so I  can’t comment on the six cylinder engine. I totally disagree with the comments about the interior. Our car is well finished. Styling is subjective. I happen to think it’s very nice. I’ve had the car two weeks and I’ve received many compliments. Looks a lot better to me than a Camry or Accord. Also handles and corners better than the new Accord with which I was not impressed. The fake wood looks as good as the wood in my BMW IMO. The leather is very soft to the touch and the paint looks to be high quality. The car feels very solid and is quiet on the highway. I enjoy driving it. It’s not my 3 series but it’s still fun to drive.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    I own a 2010 Legacy 4 cyl. with CVT and premium package (i.e. power seats, alloy wheels, etc).  I know I could have gotten a less expensive car which would have been just as useable and nice (in fact, my wife and I DID just that in 2008 – bought her a new 2009 Hyundai Sonata).  The Hyundai Sonata is 105% the car that the Subaru Legacy is, and not only is it significantly cheaper, but when buying the Hyundai, we got 30% off the sticker price.  (Remember, in 2008, the economy was already in the tank). 

    So, why on earth did I buy a Subie Legacy?  And why on earth would I trade off my beloved Prius which I enjoyed so much for one? 

    Simple:  I live in a (bankrupt) northern state and for 3 days in mid-December 2009 after a major snow storm, the state could not be bothered to plow a fairly major roadway between an US Highway and the village near where I live. 

    My Prius was undriveable (even with snow tires) and our Sonata barely managed to cut the mustard (with snow tires).  One day – I could have said “meh, okay”.  Two days, inexcusable.  Three days?!  Fugeddaboudit. 

    My wife is a nurse, so she will be driving the Subie (WITH snow tires) this winter and I’ll drive her Sonata (simply because she drives home in the dark and I do not). 

    I’m also getting 27-33 mpg with both cars so the efficiency factor is equal between them.  Though to be honest, I actually prefer the Sonata.  (Also a 4 cylinder). 

    Interestingly I’ve timed the Subie 0-60 and it’s about 10 seconds – roughly the same as the ’08 Prius.  Maybe just a tad faster.  It’s significantly faster above 70 in acceleration, though.  But the Hyundai will do 60 in about 8.5 seconds!  Not too shabby.  Plus the Sonata will (apparently, according to the book) top out at 125!  Again, not too shabby.  (Prius?  106).  Subie don’t publish a top speed. 


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