The 2010 Subaru Legacy marks the beginning of the fifth generation of the vehicle, and this one looks to be not only the best, but also the most widely appealing. The new model is bigger, making the cabin much more spacious, but it is only about 60 pounds heavier than the outgoing 2009, so fuel economy doesn’t suffer. And, to top it all of, it’s actually cheaper than the 2009 models as well.
The 2010 Legacy comes in three trim levels. You have the 2.5i, a naturally aspirated four-cylinder, the 2.5GT, a turbocharged four, and the 3.6R, a naturally aspirated six-cylinder. All of the engines are flat, boxer style, meaning that the cylinders are positioned opposite each other, instead of in a line (like an I engine) or angled (like a V-style engine). Subaru is one of the few manufacturers that still uses flat engines, one of their many quirks, but the style grows on you once you get behind the wheel.
The GT is the most expensive of the group, with a base price of $27,995, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. The other models are more than adequate as spacious sedans that offer a bit of speed, but the 2.5GT is definitely a sports sedan on par with many European offerings. The turbocharged engine puts out 265 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, giving you plenty of pep, and pushing the kids back into their seats as you drive them to school. The turbocharger has been refined over previous iterations to get up to speed more quickly. This results in a full torque output by 2,000 RPM making this a pretty quick car off the line. Exact performance figures haven’t been released yet, but you could score a 0-to-60 mph time of about 5.5 seconds without too much trouble. Not bad for under $30k.
The interior is where the new Legacy really shines, though, regardless of trim level. The car has been lengthened by only about one and a half inches, but the wheel base has grown by 3.2. This makes for a fair increase in leg room, making this a sedan that really can fit five adults comfortably over long distances. Rear leg room increased a full four inches over the previous model, and the 2009 Legacy wasn’t exactly a compact to begin with. You’ve got plenty of room in the trunk too, as storage space has gone up a remarkable 29% to 14.7 cubic feet, handily beating most other cars in the segment.
The overall build quality of the car has improved as well. The materials in the interior, even in the base level package, are firm and sturdy. Opt for the Premium package (interior packages are offered separate from the engine trim levels), and you get even more goodies, like a driver’s seat that can power-adjust in ten different ways. The top level Limited package gives you a better sound system, dual-zone ventilation, and other extras. While there are many who will appreciate these creature comforts, the base package is more than adequate, and when paired with the 2.5i engine trim, the price of a 2010 Legacy drops a hair below $20k to $19,995.
Subaru cars have a reputation for being a bit outside the mainstream. The company’s unorthodox engine configurations and rather unique styling inspire a very loyal, but relatively small customer base. The new 2010 Legacy has a good shot at expanding that base. It has a lot of room, a fun ride, and a good price. And, Subaru has one of the best sales records out there right now, because over the first six months of 2009, their sales have dipped by only 1.8% over last year, a number that would make Detroit executives drool.