- New looks and new tech
- Hallmark boxer engine and all-wheel drive system retained
- No significant price difference
Here is the 2013 Subaru Legacy midsize sedan, unveiled at the 2012 New York auto show. Those new, sharper-looking headlights, the revised grille and front bumper tell only part of the story.
Behind this mid-cycle refreshment of the Legacy's looks are some major tech upgrades, starting with a new 2.5-liter engine. Springing from this flat four (two pairs of horizontally opposed cylinders) comes 173 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. That's a tad more output than its predecessor, but the main difference is how the torque provides more low-end thrust, making it "more responsive in everyday driving," according to Subaru.
The company also claims the 2013 Legacy 2.5i is easier on gasoline by one mile per gallon in each cycle, claiming 24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined (CVT model). Subaru says this now makes the car comparable with rivals that employ just front-wheel drive. For verification, a 2012 Toyota Camry 2.5/auto achieves 25/35/28 mpg; a 2012 Nissan Altima 2.5/auto returns 23/32/27 mpg (EPA figures).
Along with a standard all-wheel drive system, the Legacy 2.5i offers a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) for those who prefer just two pedals. The latter does, however, have six "virtual" ratios programmed in -- selectable via steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. Versions of the 2013 Legacy with the six-cylinder 3.6-liter engine continue with the same 256-hp/five-speed auto drivetrain. We haven't like this kind of thing in other car but will reserved judgment until we get behind the wheel of the new Legacy.
Revisions to the chassis have resulted in greater agility. Body roll is said to be reduced by 40 percent, and we're told there's a smoother and quieter ride as well. And while the suspension engineers were hard at work, Subaru's interior designers revamped the cabin with new fabric, optional dark wood trim and -- in Limited trim levels -- a new instrument cluster.
The major geek moment, though, centers on Subaru's new driver assistance package, called EyeSight. It includes intelligent cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking. This option bundle is expected to cost $2,100.
On the subject of money, the 2013 Legacy is not expected to differ wildly in price to the 2012 equivalent. The 2012 Legacy starts at $20,745 (including $750 destination). Trim levels for the 2.5i are base (now with Bluetooth as standard), Premium and Limited; the 3.6R comes in base and Limited. The 2.5GT version has been dropped from the range.
What it means to you: For would-be Legacy buyers, this mid-cycle refresh might be the deciding factor.