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Roadshow Video Reviews
Subaru's Legacy takes things a bit slowerDon't let the flared fenders and rally heritage fool you into thinking this is a sports sedan; the 2014 Subaru Legacy Limited's sluggish touch screen and laggy CVT lean toward a more relaxed approach.
-This is the Subaru Legacy. Now, is it Subaru's big boring granola Sedan or is it a fun and sporty alternative to the Toyota Camry or even Honda Accords of the world? I'm looking at this muscular Fender Flares in all-wheel drive system and I'm thinking it's the latter, but apparently, Subaru's got some other ideas. Let's hop behind the wheel and check the tech. Now, the Legacy's dashboard is composed of some pretty cheap feeling materials when you really kinda run your fingernails across it. These plastic feel really hard and really hollow. On the bright side though, there is a lot of variety in visual texture in color and that makes it look a lot better when you're driving around the car and that makes me kind of appreciate it a little bit more. There's one place where it does kind of cheap out and that's these two little bits of translucent blue plastic that just seem out of place in this metallic and wood dashboard. Now this limited model is gonna come with a 9-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and it's got 9 speakers all around the cabin including a subwoofer in the rear parcel shelf. Now this system actually sounds pretty good. There is a lot of bass coming from that subwoofer that just really fills the cabin up. The problem is that at the flat setting, the mid-range just kinda get a little bit muddy. Fortunately, you can fix that with this multi-band EQ in the infotainment system. Now, there aren't any presets, they all come flat, you've got to set them yourself, which means that it's pretty easy to mess it up even more. Fortunately, I was able to find some pretty nice presets on a Subaru user's forum. So, wanna go there and check that out first before you start really getting in there and messing around. Now the navigation system is good. It gets the job done, but this entire touchscreen infotainment system is very kind of laggy. Every time I push a button, there's about a good half-a-second to a whole second delay between, I'm pressing button and then the next screen popping up. And that can be a problem when you're driving along and you just wanna tap two buttons to see where the nearest gas station is. Fortunately, you do have a full array of audio sources including HD radio, you've got XM radio, you got Bluetooth audio streaming, an iPod connectivity. You've also got Aha Radio connectivity in case you want to listen to some streaming internet radio or, I don't know, listen to your Twitter feed. I don't know who actually uses that functionality. It's a little bit annoying, but it is there if you wanna have access to it. -[unk]-- knock, knock. Who's there? -There is no Pandora internet radio or iHeartRadio that I saw. Those are the more popular internet radio systems. I'd like to see those and this as well, but you don't actually have access to them. And if we look up here, we'll actually see the eyes and brain of the Subaru driver assistance system. That's actually gonna be their EyeSight camera, and that's two cameras mounted on either side of the rear view mirror that are gonna point out at the front of the vehicle and watch the road ahead. When you add that as part of the technology package, you're gonna gain also a lane departure warning, you're gonna gain pre-collision detection and that's actually can also gonna power the adaptive cruise control system. Also you get some pedestrian warnings and a cyclist warning, so it's really good at seeing what's in front of the car and letting you know that it's there before you run into it. Now, underneath the Legacy's hood is a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed boxer engine, that has like the basically the two pistons punching out of either side like a boxer. Now being horizontally opposed and flat allows Subaru to put it nice and low in the engine bay and keep the center of gravity low to the ground for better handling. Now don't get too excited, this isn't the turbocharged 2.5-liter that you'll find under the hood of the Subaru Impreza WRX STI. This is a naturally aspirated version that puts out 173 horsepower and 174 pound feet of torque. Still it's a decent amount of power for a vehicle this size. Fuel economy is stated at 24, 32, with 27 miles per gallon combined being the estimate from the EPA. It's paired to a continuously variable transmission and which is kind of unfortunate. Let me talk about that more in a second. In turn, that transmission is gonna send the power to Subaru's trademark symmetrical all-wheel drive system. It's gonna get this vehicle a little bit more sure-footedness when the weather gets slippery and wet. Let's hop behind the wheel and see exactly what I mean about why that transmission is the worst possible choice for a car like this. Off the line, it's not bad. You do, you know, get off the line pretty quickly. The problem is when you're cruising around at low speeds, 25 miles per hour or 45 miles per hour, those speeds that you do in the city, and then need to accelerate, you need to get the transmission to jump down in ratio so that you can actually take off. The problem is that when you do that, the transmission and the engine, they just don't really wanna work very well together. They basically kind of rubber band and you get a lot of revving from the engine while it's up in the power band, while the transmission is just kind of waiting to catch up. Of course, if you're a laid back driver and you really are all about maximum fuel efficiency, this transmission is more fuel efficient by a couple of miles per gallon than the manual shifted option. You do have a manual shift mode and paddle shifters, but the shifts that you get from the paddle shifts are even slower than you would have gotten from a traditional torque converter transmission or if you just left the CBT to do its own thing. The 2014 Subaru Legacy 2.5i limited, that's the one that we've got right here. It's gonna start at 26,195. Now, there's one option package you can add that has all of the tech that we talked about, the EyeSight camera with its driver A tech, and the in-dash technology. That's gonna be $4,040. Add the destination charges that will bring you to an as tested price of $31,030. Now, that's gonna get you about 32 miles per gallon on a highway, and it's a pretty good price even if it's not fun. But if you really care about driving thrills, save a couple of bucks and get the manual transmission.