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William Maley

Quick Drive: 2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport

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The 2018 Subaru Legacy finds itself in a difficult spot. Like other midsize sedans, the Legacy has been seeing its sales fall down as more buyers are trending towards trucks and utility vehicles. But Subaru is trying to stop the bleeding somewhat by introducing an updated Legacy with various improvements to the exterior and mechanical bits. Is it enough?

  • Compared to the last Legacy I drove in 2015, the 2018 model has some minor changes. The front now comes with a wider grille, updated design for the headlights, and a new bumper. The 2.5i Sport adds blacked-out trim, fog lights, and a set of 18-inch wheels with painted inserts. This helps makes the very plain design stand-out slightly more.
  • Subaru’s safe approach to design continues inside. There are only a couple of changes like a new steering wheel and updated controls for the climate system. While it lacks in overall excitement, the Legacy’s earns top marks in overall usability as controls are easy to find and reach. Material quality sees an improvement as Subaru has added more soft-touch plastics throughout.
  • The Legacy’s interior feels quite spacious thanks in part to a large glass area and thin roof pillars. Those sitting in the front will find the seats to be a little too firm, but they do provide an excellent amount of support for any trip. The back seat has more than enough legroom for tall passengers. The same cannot be said for headroom as those over six-feet will find their heads touching the liner.
  • Open up the trunk to find 15 cubic feet of space, slightly smaller than the Hyundai Sonata I reviewed a few weeks back.
  • My Sport tester came with an 8-inch touchscreen featuring Subaru’s Starlink infotainment system. The system gains an upgraded processor to address complaints of Starlink being somewhat slow. It makes a big difference as the system starts up much faster and is more responsive when going to different functions. The system also earns points for being easy to use with large touchscreen tiles and shortcut buttons on either side.
  • I did have an issue of Starlink not recognizing my iPhone 7 Plus. The system saw something was plugged into the USB port, but couldn’t figure out what it was. It took a reset of my phone and restarting the vehicle before it would work. After this, Starlink had no issues finding my phone and bringing up the CarPlay interface.
  • Under the hood is a 2.5L boxer-four producing 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT and Symmetrical all-wheel drive. Around town, the engine is very responsive and gets up to speed a decent clip. On the highway, the 2.5 struggles to get up to speed at a decent clip. A lot of the slowness can be attributed to the Legacy’s weight. My 2.5i Sport tips the scales at 3,538 pounds. This is 143 pounds heavier than a 2018 Toyota Camry XSE four-cylinder that I recently drove.
  • The CVT Subaru uses is one of the best in the business. It doesn’t have the rubber-band issue - engine RPMs rise at a quick rate before falling during acceleration - and has been calibrated to have ‘steps’ to mimic a regular six-speed automatic.
  • EPA fuel economy figures for the Legacy 2.5i are 25 City/34 Highway/29 Combined. I saw an average of 28.2 mpg on a 50/50 mix of city and highway driving.
  • Despite this model being badged as a ‘Sport’, the Legacy doesn’t fully live up to this. There is a fair amount body lean when cornering and the steering is a bit too light in terms of weight. At least the AWD system provides tenacious grip to keep you on the road.
  • You would be forgiven if you thought the Legacy was a luxury sedan due to its ride quality. Most bumps and imperfections are soaked up by the suspension. This comes down to a new set of dampers being fitted for 2018.
  • Another improvement comes in the form of noise isolation. Subaru has added more sound-insulating material and acoustic glass for the 2018 model. The end result is barely any tire of wind noise coming inside. Some engine whine does come inside during hard acceleration.
  • Subaru still leads the pack when it comes to active safety. The optional EyeSight driver-assist suite uses stereo cameras to see the road ahead and feed that data to the adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and pre-collision braking systems. The adaptive cruise control system is one of the best as the system is able to adjust the speed and distance in a very smooth manner whenever the system detects a vehicle in front. 
  • The 2.5i Sport begins at $26,345. My tester came equipped with an option package that included the EyeSight suite, Blind-Spot Monitoring, Rear Active Braking, and Navigation for $2,095. That brings the as-tested price to $29,300. Taking into consideration the long list of standard equipment and the sporty touches, the Sport offers a lot of value.
  • Subaru’s changes to the 2018 Legacy help improve what we would consider being a competent midsize sedan. There lies the problem with the Legacy. Unlike other manufacturers that have stepped their efforts in terms of design, features, and other elements to try and draw people back to midsize sedans, Subaru just did the basics and didn’t bring forth something compelling. Previously, you could argue that all-wheel drive was the Legacy’s trump card. But considering how many crossovers have that as an option, it just doesn’t work anymore. Subaru better have something special for the next-generation model due out in 2020 or we might have another casualty.

Disclaimer: Subaru Provided the Legacy, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

Year: 2018
Make: Subaru
Model: Legacy
Trim: 2.5i Sport
Engine: 2.5L DOHC Boxer-Four
Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 175 @ 5,800
Torque @ RPM: 174 @ 4,000
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/34/29
Curb Weight: 3,538 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Lafayette, Indiana
Base Price: $26,345
As Tested Price: $29,300 (Includes $860.00 Destination Charge)

Options:
EyeSight + Blind Spot Monitoring + Reverse Automatic Braking + High Beam Assist + Navigation - $2,095


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CVT sucks and as such this auto will never be on my to consider list. Sad as there is much I do like about the Subaru products. CVT Burned makes it a nonstarter for me on any OEM.

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Take off the Subaru badging and you would hard pressed to tell what it is.  Looks so generic and old.  Like something from 2005 rental car hell.  

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33 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

It looks so much smaller in this pic

Tiny car, built by tiny people for tiny people. :P 

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9 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

Take off the Subaru badging and you would hard pressed to tell what it is.  Looks so generic and old.  Like something from 2005 rental car hell.  

Ya know that a Ford badge would fit in the same place and people would think it was the second coming of Jesus from Ford Motor Co. :P;) 

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The styling makes me think of a mix of the old Mitsu Lancer, first gen Chrysler 200, and some random Toyota and Hyundai parts.  And it has that deplorable, lazy stylist touch that I loathe—the pointless little bit of C-pillar trim that goes behind the door upper with the little black wedge of despair surrounded by chrome. 

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Legacy and Outback are about as far from sport you can get these days.
 

 

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Eyesight, the driver aides and AWD are the appeal for safety, I think especially for senior citizens that maybe don't have the reaction times they use to or drift out of a lane or live in the snow belt, etc.

But it sounds like there are a lot of shortcomings with this car and the CVT issue also, that there are better choices out there.

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9 hours ago, dfelt said:

Ya know that a Ford badge would fit in the same place and people would think it was the second coming of Jesus from Ford Motor Co. :P;) 

 

I always and still to this day wonder why Subaru’s logo is not called the Blue Oval or Japan’s blue oval.

 

also like thematically Ford and Subaru, now that I think about it...Like the perfect marriage of brands that sell utility and lots of it?

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5 hours ago, Suaviloquent said:

 

I always and still to this day wonder why Subaru’s logo is not called the Blue Oval or Japan’s blue oval.

 

also like thematically Ford and Subaru, now that I think about it...Like the perfect marriage of brands that sell utility and lots of it?

Agree, I have honestly thought if it was not for our second depression in 2007 when GM went bankrupt and Ford leveraged everything to the sky, Ford would have bought up GM's controlling stake in Subaru. Good match I think.

All things Utility car married to all things Utility Truck / SUV.

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On 7/31/2018 at 4:39 PM, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

Take off the Subaru badging and you would hard pressed to tell what it is.  Looks so generic and old.  Like something from 2005 rental car hell.  

Exactly. 

On 7/31/2018 at 4:39 PM, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

Take off the Subaru badging and you would hard pressed to tell what it is.  Looks so generic and old.  Like something from 2005 rental car hell.  

Exactly.

My biggest problem with this is the lack of power. I really want at least a six with the next car.

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    • By William Maley
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    • By William Maley
      It has been a year since I first drove the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and came away very impressed. For a seven-passenger vehicle, getting 33 miles on electric power only and an average fuel economy of over 30 mpg was quite the shock. Would I still feel that way a year on?
      Chrysler made some minor changes for 2018 Pacifica Hybrid, including revamping the trim lineup and adding more standard features. In the case of our Limited tester, it gains a 20-speaker Harman Kardon sound system as standard. Can I just say how good the Pacifica Hybrid looks in this rich blue. The color helps Pacifica’s shape pop out wherever it is parked. No changes concerning the interior of the Pacifica Hybrid. That’s a good thing as the model is towards the top of the minivan hierarchy with a handsome design, impressive materials, and comfortable seating in all of the rows. One downside to going with the Pacifica Hybrid is the loss of the Stow n’ Go seats for the second-row. That space is taken up by the massive battery pack. An 8.4-inch touchscreen with UConnect is standard on all Pacifica Hybrids. This version of UConnect has a special section that provides key information on the hybrid system, including a power output screen and a place to set up the timeframe for when you want the van to charge up. The hybrid powertrain is comprised a 3.6L V6 running on the Atkinson cycle; two electric motors, and a 16-kW lithium-ion battery pack Total output is rated at 260 horsepower. Despite the added heft of the hybrid system, the Pacifica Hybrid is no slouch. The two electric motors provide instantaneous torque to help move the van at a surprising rate. The V6 will come on when more power is needed such as driving on the highway. One nice touch I like is how seamless the transition between electric and hybrid power is. The only sign aside from having the status screen up is the V6 turning on and off. One item I wish Chrysler would reconsider is offering the driver the ability to change between electric hybrid models that other plug-in hybrid offer. I understand why Chrysler decided not to do this as it might not be used by most drivers. But for a small group, including myself, it would nice to choose when the electric powertrain was in use to help conserve range. EPA says the 2018 Pacifica Hybrid will return 84 MPGe on electric power and 32 MPG when running on hybrid power. Overall electric range is rated at 33 miles. My averages for the week mirrored what I saw in the 2017 model - about 32 miles on electric range and an average fuel economy figure of 32. Having the Pacifica Hybrid for a week reminded me of one of the key issues that will face many, charging times. On a 120V outlet, it takes 16 hours for the battery to fully recharge. If you have a 240V charger, that drops to a reasonable 2 hours.  Handling is possibly one of the biggest surprises in the Pacifica Hybrid. The added heft of hybrid system allows the Pacifica to feel poised in the corners and have minimal body roll. Ride quality is the same as the standard Pacifica - almost all bumps are smoothed over. Road and wind noise are kept to almost silent levels. Pricing for the Pacifica Hybrid begins at $39,995 for the base Touring Plus and climbs to $44,995 for the Limited. My tester came to $49,825 with a few options, including the Advanced SafetyTec group that adds adaptive cruise control, surround view camera system, and blind spot monitoring. Sadly, this package isn’t available on lower trims.  There is the $7,500 federal tax credit and various state incentives that will be swayed around to draw some people in, but be forewarned those only come into effect when it is time to do taxes, not when you purchase the vehicle. Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Gallery: Quick Drive: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited
      Year: 2018
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 3.6L V6 eHybrid System
      Driveline: eFlite EVT,  Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 260 @ N/A (Combined)
      Torque @ RPM: N/A
      Fuel Economy: Gas + Electric Combined, Gas Combined - 84 MPGe, 32 MPG
      Curb Weight: 4,987 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $44,995
      As Tested Price: $49,825 (Includes $1,345 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Tri-Pane Panoramic Sunroof - $1,595.00
      Advanced SafetyTec - $995.00
      18-inch x 7.5-inch Polished Aluminum wheels - $895.00

      View full article
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