What car do you think of when somebody says “Subaru”? If you’re an enthusiast, it’s unquestionably the WRX. If you’re everybody else in America, it’s the Outback. Well, that’s if you think of any car at all. Even as the brand has been recording record sales, Subaru remains a niche player to most buyers, a special-teamer in a world that venerates quarterbacks.
Even beyond their layout, the engines for the 2015 Legacy are familiar: a 2.5-liter flat-four and a 3.6-liter flat-six. Compared to last year, output is virtually the same for the four-cylinder—175 horsepower and 174 lb-ft versus 173 and 174—and is exactly the same for the 256-horse, 247-lb-ft 3.6. The 2.5’s manual-transmission option has been deep-sixed, as has the six-cylinder’s old five-speed automatic, which means the Legacy is now all CVT, all the time, although the 3.6 does get a beefier version to deal with its higher torque output. All Legacys have paddle shifters to control an as-yet unspecified number of “ratios.” Fuel economy for the 2.5 now stands at 26 mpg city/36 mpg highway—increases of 2 and 4 mpg—while the 3.6 now returns EPA estimates of 20/28 versus the 2014 model’s 18/25 with its torque-converter automatic.
As mentioned, the 2015 is roomier both for people and stuff, although not hugely so. It didn’t really need to be vastly larger, though, as we thought the last-gen model was roomy enough when we flogged and prodded an example for 40,000 miles. The 108.3-inch wheelbase is unchanged, but the car is 1.6 inches longer, 0.7 inch wider, and 0.3 inch lower than before. A 60/40-split rear seat is standard. Available trims mirror those of the previous-gen car, and the 2.5i again will be sold in base, Premium, and Limited trims, while the 3.6R is Limited only.
The new car should be quieter and more refined. The chassis is 43 percent stiffer than before, and it now features an acoustic laminated windshield; thicker sheetmetal in the floor, inner fenders, and elsewhere; and more foam insulation and under-carpet sound-deadening material. The springs and shocks have been retuned to offer a more composed ride.
As you might expect, standard equipment has increased. All Legacys now include 17-inch wheels, a 6.2-inch touch-screen display, active grille shutters, brake-based torque-vectoring, electric steering, and—one of our favorite features in any car—a one-touch lane-change function for the turn signals.
For 2015, the 2.5i Premium adds a fancier infotainment system with a slightly larger display, text-messaging functionality, satellite radio, dual USB inputs, and iTunes tagging; dual-zone climate control, and ambient interior lighting. The Premium upgrade also nets heated seats, heated side mirrors, windshield-wiper defrosting, a leather-wrapped wheel and shift knob, and a 10-way power driver’s seat. The 2.5i Limited’s most notable new items are a 12-speaker, 576-watt Harman/Kardon stereo; heated rear seats; 18-inch wheels; and some safety nannies that are optional, as you’ll see below, on the Premium. The 3.6R’s adoption of a CVT is its big news for this year; its new standard stuff is otherwise restricted to HID headlamps. You still get larger front brake rotors and dual exhaust tips for upgrading to the six.
Thanks to: Car and Driver