This time of year I’m typically plotting a getaway day or two into the snow country. But the thinking of this longtime skier far outweighs what actually happens, which is why there is nothing to report about how the 2008 Subaru Legacy responded in the snow-shrouded Lake Tahoe region.
When discussing the Subaru lineup the first thing often mentioned is the all-wheel drive capability, because a foul-weather vehicle is always desirable in many regions of the country. Every Subaru is equipped with a traction-grabbing advantage that makes many drivers like me anxious to take a journey into the high country.
However, this review of the Subaru Legacy Limited will be restricted to uninspired trips around South Placer County in Northern California.
Sound dull? Some weeks are like that, especially the days following Christmas this year when the weather was damp, dreary and staying indoors seemed like a pretty enticing thing at the time.
Despite the lack of driving challenge, I did learn more than a few things about the Legacy. It has a fair amount of zip, which isn’t the norm for many Subaru vehicles. It handles pretty darn well, which is the norm. It has a great safety rating, the cost won’t prevent you from sending the kids off to college, and in the looks department it won’t win the beauty pageant yet has a sporty, appealing charm.
Midsize sedans are a common breed so it was wise for Subaru to step out of the box a bit in powering up the Legacy to keep pace with the competition. The Limited version is the only vehicle of the six Legacy trims to possess a V6.
And yes it’s a nice departure from the average acceleration that has come with Legacys of the past. The Limited is a 3.0-liter, V6 with 245 horsepower and five-speed automatic transmission. It’s not sports car fast, but it possesses enough power to keep most car buyers happy. Reportedly the turbo-charged Subaru GT is pretty peppy as well.
The Legacy has always received high marks for handling and the mildly revised 2008 models don’t spoil that reputation. The tire grip is prevalent if you want to make a tight turn without dramatically reducing the speed, while the more casual driver can just enjoy a the serenity of a smooth ride if that is the desire.
Dependable braking and a quiet ride help sell the brand and so will some excellent crash test results.
Other than adding the Limited model, the redesign was fairly innocuous. There is a new instrument panel and the wagon body style has been discontinued, while some styling changes have arrived like revised front grille, bigger fog lights and smaller taillights. A few additions to the standard features package provide another departure from previous models.
Although the Legacy is definitely a family car, one has to wonder what designers were thinking considering the small backseat and questionable trunk space. The backseat can sit three, yet not comfortably. The trunk space is wide but has a low ceiling.
The Limited can be a little pricy at $32,295, while $20,495 is the price tag for the base model, a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder with manual transmission.
Fast Facts: 2008 Subaru Legacy
Power — 3.0-liter, V6, 245 horsepower; Mileage Estimates — 17 (city) 24 mpg (highway); Standard Features — all-wheel drive; anti-lock brakes; power moonroof; Navigational system; heated front seats; leather-wrapped steering wheel; power windows, locks, mirrors; power drive and passenger seats; daytime running lights; center console.
Article Last Updated: February 28, 2008.
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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.