Reviews

2017 Subaru Legacy Driving Impressions


Besides Subaru, only Porsche uses the horizontally opposed engine design, and Subaru has been doing it for 50 years. With the cylinders in a horizontal position the engine is more compact, and fits lower in the chassis, for a lower center of gravity and better handing. The disadvantage is fuel consumption, because the package, also called boxer or flat, is a bit more complex than an inline or vee layout.

The 2.5-liter flat-four makes 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque, while the 3.6-liter boxer-six makes 256 hp and 247 lb-ft. The smaller engine gasps for power, and the torque in the bigger engine isn’t fully available at a low rpm range, so it accelerates at a leisurely pace.

Our best solution is to go with the 2.5-liter engine and work the paddle shifters of the excellent CVT that feels like a six-speed automatic. But it still takes at least a couple downshift clicks to make the acceleration interesting. Unfortunately, unlike with the Forester or Outback, Subaru doesn’t offer its SI-Drive in the Legacy to punch up the throttle response, a give the CVT eight steps.

We like the feel of the electric power steering, which increases its weight as you turn. The Legacy tracks well, drives easy, and unwinds smartly from tight corners.

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