Anyone who’s driven a Subaru knows the manufacturer’s all-wheel drive system is an industry leader. In automotive parlance, it’s the only system that combines a horizontally opposed engine with a symmetrically arranged AWD system.
What that means is that handling and steering throughout the Subaru line is superior. Subarus confidentially entertain any driving situation, and that’s why the brand is particularly popular in mountain areas where obstacles can be presented without warning.
Despite its reputation, however, the Legacy —the oldest name in the Subaru lineup — is far from the first choice for midsize sedan buyers. But with the 2007 models, the manufacturer has made a concerted effort to join the category’s top echelon.
Of particularly note is the new GT turbocharged model. First available in a limited release in late 2006, it’s now in full production, and it’s quite a change.
The 2007 GT legacy has a six-speed manual transmission, upgraded from the five-speed 2006 model. There’s also a limited-slip differential, a new turbocharger and the horsepower has been increased to 243.
Additionally, the 4-door, 2.5-liter GT Spec.B turbocharged model — my weekly test drive — has the manufacturer’s new SI-Drive (Subaru Intelligent) system. It allows drivers to select different levels of engine performance.
Subaru says, “It’s like having three engines in one.” Translated, drivers rotate a knob near the shift mechanism to adjust the engine’s throttle (and shift points in the automatic transmission) into one of three available modes: Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp.
The 2007 Legacy also has a new tire-pressure monitor, new instrumentation, new seat fabrics, a folding rear seat and the option of XM satellite radio.
But what the Legacy does best is drive. It’s smooth around town and has a controlled confidence on the highway. It has quick (but not joltingly fast) acceleration. It effortlessly maneuvers through traffic, negotiates ascents and descents without issue and welcomes any tricky circumstances with confidence. Again, it’s all because of the fine AWD system, and it’s a keen signature feature.
My test drive had an attractive interior/exterior mix. The brushed metal interior gauges are straightforward and well-positioned. But other interior features, the leather seat material and carpet, for example, are not the best quality. Still, the interior design and color worked well with the exterior color, Newport Blue Pearl.
Positioned side-by-side, the new Legacy and nearly identically colored BMW 325i look surprisingly similar. Of course, there are several differences, engine performance to interior space. Both vehicles are classified as five-passenger cars, for example. But the Subaru’s backseat is tight and squeezes in two passengers with an additional adult backseat passenger unlikely.
The new Legacy GT Limited Edition has a good list of standard features, projector beam Halogen fog lights to heated mirrors, windshield de-icer and heated front seats. The only included option ($304) was the Popular Equipment Group B (Dimming mirror/compass and security system upgrade). Add the $625 destination fee and the new Legacy GT’s final price is just under $33,000.
That’s not a bargain. But the Legacy does offer a lot, particularly considering its perfect (five-star) crash test rating and superior ride. That said, the new Legacy may be the best edition of the car ever offered, and it’s one that can’t be dismissed.
The Weekly Driver: 2007 Subaru Legacy
Safety Features – Dual front, side and side curtain side airbags.
Fuel Mileage (estimates) – 19 mpg (city), 25 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, 4 years/50,000 miles.
Base Price – $31,924.00