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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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