The Extra Mile: 2013 Subaru Legacy
Base Price: $20,295
Price as Tested: $30,997
This week, we're driving another popular Subaru nameplate, the low-cost 2013 Legacy that starts at just $20,295 in entry form. However, the cars we drive are always the most expensive models, which push prices higher than some reader's budgets can handle. Thus, for the sake of economic reality and allowance of those who want to spend less for a vehicle, we're going to list the entry level price for the vehicle we're testing from here on, which in this case results in a $10,682 price differential for mechanically the same car.
Legacy's Limited 2.5 is one of six distinct offerings in the line, ranging all the way up to the 3.6-liter V6 powered Limited that starts at $28,895.
One of Subaru's top safety features for 2013 is a new "EyeSight" safety option, which our Legacy did offer. Last week's Outback tester did not have this feature, so for those looking to buy an Outback, remember it can be added for about about $300 more when a consumer chooses the Navigation/Moonroof package.
"EyeSight" adds yet another highlight on Subaru's excellent record of safety in auto manufacturing. Although Subaru may be looked on as the "number four" car producer behind Japan's big three (Honda, Nissan and Toyota), don't tell that to a Subaru dealer. Notable, too, is that our Legacy is built in Lafayette, IN, by American builders, something no longer rare these days in the world of foreign car manufacturing.
Getting back to "EyeSight," right now it is only available on Legacy and Outback models and utilizes two cameras mounted by the rearview mirror to monitor traffic and react to conditions before the driver does. EyeSight foresees upcoming driver concerns and then alerts the driver and initiates an avoidance action to help sidestep the situation.
Specifically, "EyeSight" sounds an alert and flashes a visual warning if there's danger of an impact. Like other "radar" based systems, EyeSight will start braking automatically if the driver reacts slowly and also optimizes cruise control by keeping a safe distance from the car in front. A lane departure is also included, warning drivers via a "beep-beep" if they sway outside the lanes.
Although I highly recommend this $3,960 option with a moonroof, navigation and upgraded stereo, perhaps in the future Subaru will find a way to offer this fine system in all models as an independent offering instead of a package. Still, the system is worthy of praise.
Under the hood, the Legacy's 2.5-liter four-cylinder horizontally opposed "Boxer" is the same as the Outback engine, producing 173 horses and 174 lb. ft. of torque. Fuel mileage is excellent for an AWD vehicle with 24 city and 32 highway the EPA numbers. Subaru's legendary Symmetrical AWD comes standard, as does four-wheel ABS disc brakes, traction control, vehicle dynamics and advanced air bag system. Combined with "EyeSight," you're driving a very competent vehicle.
Standard on our Limited model are 17-inch tires on nice aluminum alloys, Harmon Kardon stereo, leather seating, air, fog lamps, cruise, steering wheel controls, all the powers, Bluetooth, USB port and much more.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 108.3 inches, 3,427 lb. curb weight, 14.7 cu. ft. of trunk space, 18.5 gallon fuel tank and a 5.9 inch ground clearance.
If you're looking for an AWD mid-size vehicle that delivers excellent fuel mileage and comes with a "legacy" of AWD technology, visit your area Subaru dealer. The model choice is yours, but remember for a tad over $20K, you can park this beauty in your garage well equipped.
Likes: AWD, EyeSight, interior, fuel mileage, cost.
Dislikes: Engine noise, some options are expensive and only part of packages.
(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist).