The Subaru Legacy, like all of the manufacturer’s offerings, is a sure-bet for one outstanding characteristic. It has all-wheel-drive as a standard feature, and it’s quite a feature. Subarus corner and maneuver under any circumstance like no other vehicle. The ride is secure and steady, and drivers will have few worries in inclement weather, during sharp cornering or on rough roads
With the 2006 Legacy, particularly the 2.5-liter GT that was my recent weekly drive, the brand’s smooth rider was nicely complemented. The vehicle has impressive acceleration, above-average ride quality and a refined quietness often reserved for higher-priced sedans.
Remodeled in 2005, this year’s Legacy is available in five configurations. With its newly lifted valve system, the horsepower and torque have been slightly increased. My test vehicle was the limited four-door sedan. The car’s 4-cylinder 250-horsepower engine is turbocharged, and the feature is immediately noticeable.
With its five-speed manual transmission, the vehicle offers plenty of acceleration. It confidently powered down the road and has a reported speed of 7.8 seconds in the standard 0-60 mph test. With a dealer-installed Neutral Tow Kit, the Legacy has been approved by Subaru for flat-towing.
Beyond its quickness, the sedan has plenty else to offer. Its interior design is straightforward and the controls, console and gauges are easy to read and use. The GT edition features leather seats, and they’re comfortable, they’re black and they nicely complement the black plastic console and paneling.
The cabin offers adequate foot and head room in front seats, but the backseat configuration is less spacious. The Legacy’s overall length in 186.2 inches, among the shortest in the midsize category. But the trunk is cavernous for the car’s size, and while the rear seats don’t fold, there’s a passage entry to the rear seats for skis or other longer cargo needs.
The Legacy’s control dial “hands” are thin red pointers. They flash across gauges against a non-defined black background for a few seconds before the instrumentation numbers and other designations appear. It’s a small thing, but it’s cool.
More impressive are the standard features, many of which would be included in premium packages in other manufacturers’ cars. The could-be-options list includes: 17-inch alloy wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel, projector beam Halogen fog lights, side-view mirror flashers, heated mirrors, windshield wipers, defogger and front seats and power moonroof.
The expected standard features list is also comprehensive: multifunction trip computer, air filtration system, cruise control, power doors, windows and locks, remote keyless entry and an AM/FM stereo with 6-CD in-dash changer.
My test vehicle had only one optional charge, $304 for its automatically dimming mirror and compass. With its $625 designation charge, the Legacy GT squeezes in just under the $30,000 price point. That’s higher than some of its more well-known midsize rivals. But Subaru’s all-wheel drive system can’t be ignored.
Combined with its responsive engine, the Legacy is simply a pleasure to drive, particularly with the five-speed manual transmission option. It’s a midsize sedan, for sure. But drivers can have fun with the car, and the Legacy seems ready and willing to favorably respond.
Safety Features — Dual front and side airbags.
Fuel Mileage (estimates) — 14 mpg (city), 18 mpg (highway).
Warranty — Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles; (24-hour) roadside assistance program, 3 years/36,000 miles.
Base Price — $28,795.00.
Article Last Updated: May 3, 2013.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.