Every year, lots of people buy mid-size sedans in this country. Sure, full-size pickup trucks outsell everything, and lots of people drive SUVs of all types and sizes these days. But the good old family 4-door is still a huge presence in the auto industry.
And some mid-size buyers don’t really want to drive what they see everyone else driving. For those buyers, the 2015 Subaru Legacy offers up an appealing combination of practicality and style.
The Legacy has now been around for 25 years, with the 1990 model debuting in 1989 as a new type of car from Subaru. Larger, roomier, more filled with features, and more mainstream than the company’s other models to that point.
For this sixth-generation Legacy, style was deemed important along with substance. A handsome grill presents the car to onlookers, followed by a steeply raked windshield and subtle creases in the sides of the body. And of course, as is often the case today, LED lighting offers signature pieces of brightness front and rear.
All wheel drive remains standard, and a standard CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic handles shifting chores. Engine choices are a 2.5 liter horizontally-opposed four cylinder, or a 3.6 liter six. While other car brands have done away with offering more than four cylinders in their mid-size cars, Subaru knows that a certain segment of Legacy buyers would prefer a bit more power and smoothness.
Speaking of smoothness, the new Legacy has that in spades, along with new levels of quietness. One thing about being in the mid-size sedan segment is that it’s ultra-competitive, so keeping your car at a high level of refinement is a priority these days.
Despite being the same overall size as the previous Legacy, this new one offers increased interior space. (The most in the mid-size segment, according to Subaru.) Increased shoulder and hip room are most welcome, and I was especially impressed with how much rear seat room there is, even with the front seats adjusted to their rearmost positions.
My test car was a 3.6R Limited, which meant it had everything: Very comfortable perforated leather seats (heated in front, of course), dual zone automatic climate control, a 12-speaker harmon/kardon® audio system, and on and on. It’d be fun to find an example of that 1990 Legacy and compare features!
Also standard is a 7-inch touch screen display to control many functions, including, obviously, the navigation system. Not just a touch screen, but an interactive one that features swipe and scrolling gesture control, just like a smart phone or tablet. Some of the systems that manufacturers are using today can be a bit fussy and confusing, but I found Subaru’s layout to be quite easy to use.
Standard in every trim level of the Legacy is a rear-view camera, and the Limited trim cars get additional safety features, like rear traffic alert and blind spot detection. The improved EyeSight system (optional on all but base models and standard on the 3.6R Limited) adds even more safety technology.
EyeSight is essentially two cameras mounted up high behind the windshield. As you drive, they constantly monitor lane markings and what’s in front of you. If you start to drift out of your lane or approach an object ahead too quickly, you’ll get audible and visual warnings instantly. It’s literally like having an extra set of eyes on the road.
This and the other safety features are things previously only available on high-end cars. The fact that Subaru now offers them on a sub-$30,000 model is a pretty big deal. Look for other manufacturers to now play catch-up.
Base price for the Legacy is $21,695, while the 2.5i Premium starts at $23,495. My fully-loaded 3.6R Limited test car checked in at $33,380 with everything on it. I would challenge anyone to spend some time in that car and find that anything at all is “missing.”
The 2015 Subaru Legacy is in showrooms now – for those who like to drive something a little different than everyone else.
I’ll see you down the road.
Dave Kunz is the automotive reporter at KABC-TV Channel 7 and can be heard on “The Car Show” Saturdays at 9 a.m. on KPFK, 90.7 FM. E-mail Dave at TVCarz @ pacbell.net Twitter: @ABC7DaveKunz, Facebook: ABC7DaveKunz