The Truth About Cars » Legacy The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 29 Jul 2014 21:42:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Legacy Production-Ready Subaru Legacy To Make 2014 Chicago Auto Show Debut Sat, 01 Feb 2014 08:34:17 +0000 2015 Subaru Legacy Tease

After its worldwide debut as a concept at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show last November, the Subaru Legacy is ready to show-off its production-ready ensemble at next week’s 2014 Chicago Auto Show.

Though the teaser doesn’t offer much — as teasers are wont to do — it does offer glimpses of the sedan’s thin A-pillar, raked windscreen, and the matching LED lights up front and down back, all part of Subaru’s new design language. Judging by the lightly flared fenders, however, no 21-inch wheels — like those on the concept in LA — will be offered when the Legacy arrives in showrooms this year.

The production Legacy will debut February 6 at the Chicago Auto Show.

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Subaru to Unveil Levorg Concept at Tokyo Motor Show Thu, 31 Oct 2013 14:14:06 +0000 Subaru-Levorg-Concept-Teaser-1

A new gold dawn for touring cars is upon us if Subaru is to be believed. Come November, the automaker will unveil the future of the Legacy and Outback at the Tokyo Motor Show: The Levorg.

The sport tourer concept — whose name is derived from legacy, revolution and touring — comes equipped with Subaru’s next-gen EyeSight pre-crash braking system, wraparound LED headlamps, a turbocharged 1.6-liter direct-injection boxer, and other wonderful, ephemeral goodies concept cars usually receive.

The tourer (don’t call it a wagon around the hipsters lest their stretched earlobes snap) has a bit of muscle in its appearance, as well, with sculpted fender flares, a slanted backside, and a round nose with an air scoop ready to direct cold air through the engine for more power.

Subaru will also unveil the Cross Sport Design Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show, a concept with a small body for better seat access and maneuvering through the tight streets of Tokyo and, perhaps in the future, a street near you.

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Junkyard Find: 1991 Subaru Legacy L Sedan Sun, 01 Jul 2012 13:00:09 +0000 Junked AMC Eagles are plentiful in Denver-area self-service wrecking yards, but nowhere near as common as the cars that took AMC’s four-wheel-drive-car concept and ran with it: Subarus. I see incredible quantities of Subarus around here, but one thing I don’t see often is a non-wagon Subaru Legacy. Even rarer in these parts is the front-wheel-drive Legacy sedan. That makes this ’91 a noteworthy Junkyard Find, at least by Denver standards.
Just 70 more miles and it would have made 200,000! The prime suspect: head gasket.
You could still buy seriously weird Subarus in the early 1990s (e.g., the final XT and first SVX), but the Legacy was de-weirdifying at a rapid clip.
You’ll find on in every car, kid. You’ll see.

Touring Bruce. You figure it out.

16 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1991 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 24
Piston Slap: A Sticky Subie Situation? Wed, 25 Apr 2012 11:53:29 +0000


TTAC commentator gessvt writes:

Sajeev -

Looking for some advice on a “to sell or not to sell” situation. A little background: I’ve been a fairly faithful Blue Oval guy for most of my driving years, with a few brief forays into cheap, reliable imports for college duty, and a recent contract gig that required me to drive The General’s products (GMC Sierra 4×4, Saab 9-5 Aero and Chevy Cobalt SS). We also own a trouble free Monterey minivan and a perfect ’93 5.0 notchback. My new job has no such requirement, so I made the decision to pay cash for a unique, fun, safe daily driver.

I’m outside of Chicago, and with the exception of this year, am usually subjected to significant snowfall and slow-to-react city
plowing service. A friend left his WRX wagon with me last winter so that a local body shop buddy could do a quick bumper respray in order to sell it. We had a blizzard during this time, and the WRX had Blizzaks, so I drove it around and was *hooked*. This car had too many miles and had been subjected to his car-guy wrath, so I searched for the Holy Grail of Subarus: the 2005 Legacy GT 5-speed wagon.

After a few months, I found one with 60,000 miles, had the dealer replace the clutch (first warning sign), and paid cash for it. Since then, I’ve put 20,000 miles on it, and have really enjoyed the car…when something wasn’t going wrong with it. In 12 months, the following repairs have occurred:

  • replaced a hung up front brake caliper and pads/rotors (did both sides to be safe)
  • chased down an intermittent cylinder misfire and poor idle (replaced intake manifold gaskets, air fuel sensor and a fuel injector)
  • had a wheel bearing replaced under a Subaru TSB.

It sounds like another wheel bearing is getting ready to die, the 3rd gear synchro grinds (something I attributed to the weak clutch before I purchased), and one of the new front calipers got hung up on my drive to work this morning.

I’m at the point where I think I should fix the synchro and other misc issues and unload the car. At 80,000 miles, it’s still worth about what I paid for it. I love the power, the way it looks and drives and the poor weather performance, but I’m thinking that I’ve purchased a sorely neglected or problematic car. It may have turned me away from turbo Subarus for good. My question for the B&B: sell it and head back to Ford, or suck it up and drive it?

Apologies for the wordy rant.

Sajeev answers:

OMG SON! You said “perfect ’93 5.0 notchback” and…now that’s all I can think about.

Mmmmmmmm, Fox Body. (drooling)

Well then! I understand your Subie situation and agree with your assessment.  Turbo and manual transmission optioned Subarus are a serious threat to your wallet when purchasing on the used car market: they are too fragile for the abuse that might be thrown at them. And it sounds like you are one of the unlucky ones.  Not a big deal, since we all know that true Internet Pistonhead street cred comes from owning a wagon with a diesel and a stick. The Internet does not lie, you aren’t that cool.

I would do the bare minimum to the car for reconditioning, and let your service records do the talking.  You obviously loved the car enough to write this well crafted letter to Piston Slap, so I suggest you take all those receipts (that you saved) and put them in a cheapo 3-ring binder. Presentation is everything in selling a niche vehicle like this.  If your receipts show you care, the potential buyer will appreciate it…and won’t be so mad when stuff breaks on their clock.

And since you are a Ford guy, the 5.0 and the Mercury van need a Panther or Ranger 4×4 companion.  Obviously!  Too bad I can’t decide which is better for you!

Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.



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Review: 2011 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Mon, 18 Oct 2010 19:35:43 +0000

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.

IMG_0593 A graduate of the Camry academy? (All photos courtesy: Alex Dykes) IMG_0588 IMG_0590 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail IMG_0587 IMG_0578 IMG_0584 IMG_0583 IMG_0585 IMG_0582 IMG_0580 IMG_0586 IMG_0591 IMG_0592 IMG_0579

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Review: 2010 Subaru Legacy GT Fri, 30 Jul 2010 16:32:24 +0000

When Subaru introduced the 2005 Legacy GT wagon with a turbocharged flat four, all-wheel-drive, and a manual transmission, it went straight to the short list of cars I’d buy…if I was buying a car. But I wasn’t buying a car. Apparently there were too many like me, for Subaru discontinued the manual transmission the following year, then dropped the Legacy wagon altogether with the 2008s. With the 2010 redesign of the Legacy, Subaru appears to be giving the GT incarnation one last shot. While other Legacies and Outbacks are powered by naturally aspirated fours and sixes, the GT retains the turbo four—and is available only with a six-speed manual transmission. Clearly it was developed for enthusiasts. But will enough enthusiasts return the favor? Should they?

Historically, Subarus have been aesthetically challenged. Handsomely proportioned, clean-to-a-fault designs like that of the 2005-2009 Legacy have been the rare exception rather than the rule. With a hunchback profile dictated by packaging considerations and fussy fender flares that fail to disguise the slabsidedness of the bodysides, the 2010 is no such exception. Some of that old Subaru quirkiness might have redeemed this exterior. But, perhaps still fearing Farago’s pen, it’s just homely.

The interior is a little easier on the eyes, though it might set a record for square inches of silver plastic. Faux timber doesn’t exactly scream “GT,” but together with the leather upholstery it does lend the car a more upscale ambiance than you’ll find in lesser Legacies. Like the light-colored interior of the tested car? Well, only off-black is offered in the 2011.

The Subaru’s interior scores higher marks in functional areas. Ergonomics and visibility from the high-mounted driver seat are both first-rate. Perhaps this is what happens when engineers retain the upper hand. Both strengths are increasingly less common among competitors lately. The moderately firm driver’s seat is shaped for long-distance comfort. The rear seat offers far more legroom than the class-trailing previous Legacy. Cargo space is less generous. Though deep in two dimensions, the trunk is relatively narrow.

The 2010 Subaru Legacy GT’s 2.5-liter turbocharged flat four has been tuned to produce 265 horsepower, up 22 from the old car. Despite the much roomier interior, curb weight is only up about 50 pounds (comparing similarly equipped cars), so the power bump should more than compensate. Except it doesn’t. The Legacy GT might be quick, but it doesn’t feel quick. A triumph of refinement over excitement, boost comes on almost imperceptibly, with none of the punch traditionally dished out by powerful turbocharged engines. Peak power is the same as with the related engine in the WRX, but this is not the same engine. Output peaks 400 rpm lower, at 5,600. More telling, there’s more torque—258 vs. 244 pound-feet—and the torque peak, 4,000 rpm in the WRX, extends all the way from 2,000 to 5,200 in the Legacy GT. Admirable numbers, certainly, but the joy is gone. At low speeds the boxer’s distinctive song can still be heard, and at lower rpm the gradual accumulation of boost dulls throttle responses, but otherwise this engine could be mistaken for a stifled naturally aspirated six.

The shifter doesn’t help matters. It moves easily enough, and its throws aren’t overly long, but it has the cheap plastic-on-plastic feel of a bargain basement joystick. One unusual feature: your current gear is displayed between the speedometer and tach. You know, in case you can’t remember where you last moved the lever.

The new Legacy GT’s handling can most favorably be described as secure and competent. The crossover-high seating position doesn’t help here. Body control is very good, and the amount of lean in turns is acceptable, but communicative steering and quick reflexes aren’t part of the mix. Instead, the Legacy GT impresses with an unexpectedly smooth, surprisingly quiet ride. If a larger rear seat was the company’s first priority with the new Legacy, refinement must have been the second. There’s no hint that this car is related to the STI.

In recent years the Legacy GT has been available only in Limited trim, meaning standard leather, sunroof, and 440-watt harmon/kardon audio. For 2011 the price is up a little, and now starts at $32,120. Not cheap, but the next closest alternative, the Acura TL SH-AWD, lists for over $11,000 more (about $3,700 of which can be explained by its additional features, based on a price comparison run at Not that these cars are likely to be cross-shopped. Aside from its premium branding, the Acura is far more fun to drive at the expense of a brutal ride. Other Subarus might be going mainstream, but the Legacy GT is in a class of its own. It currently has no direct competitors in the U.S.

Between this car and BMW’s similar appropriation, it seems that “GT” now connotes roominess and refinement rather than driving excitement. Neither “grand” nor “touring” suggests agile handling, so perhaps this is a more literal interpretation of the appellation. But then what’s the stick doing in the Legacy GT? The number of self-shifters seeking the new car’s bundle of attributes cannot be large. So the prognosis for the Legacy GT is not good. Subaru might rethink the car, like they did with the 2008 WRX after enthusiasts rejected it. But they’re more likely to send it the way of the Legacy wagon. Don’t want the Legacy GT to go away? Then you’d better put your money where your mouth is and buy one soon.

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data

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Piston Slap: A Legacy Of Hesitation? Thu, 31 Dec 2009 16:27:02 +0000 Showing some Legacy? (

TTAC Commentator NICKNICK writes:

Mr. Mehta, my 1999 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT often loses power in the first hundred yards of driving. It has never failed to start, and it has never stalled during the period of power loss. It does not matter if the car is started cold, or if it’s been running for an hour on the highway and restarted after a 3 minute stop for gas. When it loses power, it doesn’t lose ALL power—it feels like it has about as much power as it would idling in gear. Flooring the accelerator does nothing…until it does, at which point it wants to break ya neck. This happens about 80% of the time. If I catch it starting to get fussy, I disengage the clutch and wait three seconds. The problem time passes while I coast, and I can be on my way without any more trouble. The other 20% of the time is trouble-free like a normal car. After the first hundred yards it runs great, sounds great, and gets great gas mileage.

I’ve got a data-recording and live-viewing OBDII reader—it has turned up nothing. The TPS seems to work fine, there’s nothing odd from the MAF, and I don’t see anything amiss in the fuel trim.

It needs air, spark, and fuel to run. It seems to get air just fine, as it runs well every other time. It has an old-school throttle body with a cable that runs to the pedal on the floor—no chance of a computer taking over and shutting me down. It never stalls, so I think I’m always getting spark. As for fuel, that’s my big question. If it has idle-level power and then goes nuclear, that sounds like not enough fuel going straight to lots of fuel.

One more thing: If I turn the ignition to ON but don’t start the car, and I wait for 60-90 seconds before starting the car, there’s never a problem–same thing if I actually start the car and wait a minute to drive.

My guess: bad fuel pressure regulator or vacuum line to the fuel pressure regulator. The fuel pump is electric and has time to pressurize the line when I wait for a minute with the ignition on. Fuel filter and PCV valve are new. What do you and the Best and Brightest think?

Sajeev Replies:

Nice job on the diagnosis, you’ve covered many of the branches on the diagnostic tree. Because your Subie is 10-ish years old, there’s a chance it has a significant amount of mileage (100k or more) on the clock. So if your Oxygen Sensors are original, replace them now.

But don’t take my word for it, even if it happened on a previous Piston Slap. And then again on another. Oxygen sensors measure air-fuel ratios several times a second, so if they are just a little off calibration, they’ll cause a bog or hesitation for a brief moment. Like the Civic in that previous Piston Slap, maybe the O2s are just bad enough to not trip an OBD-II code. Maybe.

But O2s are not all of it, nor are they the first issue to address: check for bad vacuum lines and replace them, odds are you have several at this age. Buy or rent a fuel pressure gauge, getting one with a hose long enough that you can drive with the gauge taped to your windshield. If the gauge ever dips below Subaru’s recommend operating range, you know for sure you have a fuel pressure problem. Then you can attack the question of what to replace: regulator, pump or just a filter?

Good luck with your diagnosis, you’ve saved yourself hundreds of dollars with your legwork and intelligent analysis.

(Send your queries to

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