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Since I took the keys for our long-term 2010 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT from fellow editor Chris Paukert, I've managed to squeeze in a number of long drives. This has given me a perfect chance to observe the Legacy 2.5GT's fuel economy in ideal conditions. The Environmental Protection Agency rates our Legacy model and its turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder at 18 mpg in the city, 25 on the highway and 21 mpg combined. As you can see above, our experience over the last three full fill-ups beat the estimates with room to spare.

Mind you, I've spent most of my time with the Legacy cruising comfortably on the highway, and Paukert, who lives in a decidedly more urban setting, assures me that the MPGs fall fast in the city. Also, remember that the Legacy 2.5GT requires premium fuel, and I spent between $44 and $46 to fill up its 18.5-gallon fuel tank with 93 Octane that cost about $2.80/gallon.

Still, my last fill-up showed the car achieved an honest-to-goodness 27 mpg over 426 miles, which is 6 mpg better than the EPA's combined estimate and 2 mpg better than its highway estimate. And the engine appears to be gaining efficiency as we continue to break it in.

The wife and I are gearing up for a road trip with the Legacy that will add well over 2,000 miles to its odo. We'll keep track of the fuel economy we see and report back to see if Autoblog's first long-term car can keep this surprisingly good performance up.




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  • 33 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      My 08 GT 5EAT get's 24-25 in 80% HWY mixed everyday driving. It will get 27-29MPG on road trips. My 05 4EAT get's 26-27mpg in 50/50 mixed everyday driving. It will get 32-33mpg on road trips. I have had both of these car's for over 20k miles each.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would get these types of highway numbers with my '05 Legacy GT Wagon and a full load and a Yakima box on the roof. The new Legacy is considerably bigger so it's nice to see that it can still put up good highway numbers.
      Around town or with aggressive driving that dips into the turbo and the numbers drop fast.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If you look at the fuel economy section of a Monroney sticker, in addition to the urban and highway cycle averages in big numbers, it tells you an expected range of fuel economy for each cycle which accounts for variations in conditions and driving styles. For a car that gets 25 mpg on the EPA highway cycle, that range is plus-or-minus 5 mpg. So don't be too impressed with yourselves until you start breaking 30 mpg on long trips--which isn't necessarily out of the question in warm mild weather on flat, straight, uncongested highways.

      @Middle Way, it's rated 31 mpg highway, but only without the turbo and with a CVT.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why can't the EPA get the numbers right? My 2010 Mercedes-Benz C300 has estimates of 18mpg in the city and 26 pn the highway. After rounding 4000 miles on the odometer, I managed 32.2 miles per gallon on my last 5 hour road trip. In the city, I've been averaging 21-22mpg. This has all been on premium gas, so my gas bill to fill up has been about the same as yours. Haven't tried out it's E85 capabilities yet..
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just about average.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My mileage (Mazdaspeed3) varies between 20 and 30+mpg based on an incredible number of variables: type of driving, temperature, terrain of route, my mood, weather conditions, etc. etc. etc. Mileage over 3 tanks of gas is not worth this post but less the huge graphic.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Fuel economy improves as the engine and different components break in. Fuel economy will continue to improve until around 5,000 miles or so.

      This isn't a big surprise to me...
        • 4 Years Ago
        haha, I was about to say the same thing... how is this news? they are break in miles!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kinda sad.. i know it's a fairly big and heavy car with an AWD drivetrain... but can't they squeeze 30mpg HWY out of the thing?

      Old subies were even worse..
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Gruv.

        The only conclusion I can draw is that you're not as nearly as efficient of a driver as I am.

        I got 30 mpg on a 500-mile trip from Detroit to DC.

        I started with a full tank and was running up to 75 mph.

        Sorry, but my 30 mpg Highway number stands.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The SVX had a ridiculous drag coefficient for its day, despite it being heavy and only having 4 speeds, it can get decent mileage. There's a guy I autocross with who owns one and he averages about 28-29 on the highway provided he takes out the weight in the trunk. He also removed some other interior bits to try and shave off some weight. I believe those numbers were at about 150lbs taken out.

        Middle way, you done any weight saving by chance?

        And Gurv, don't give the subaru flat six too much credit. I'm a pretty big porsche/VW guy. People swap the SVX engine to replace the awful 4 cylinder in the vanagon. No one would dare swap one for a 911 engine. Especially compared to the excellent air cooled flat 6. Far more reliable than the subaru 6 and, while on the topic, better mileage too :P

        • 4 Years Ago
        I've owned a subie and managed 27mpg as an all time high. AWD kills mileage. I wish they'd make it push button AWD, or something where it's AWD at speeds below 30mph, and FWD only at speeds above 45. Something like that would greatly improve efficiency.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Huh?

        A 1990s Subaru SVX will *easily* get 30mpg on the highway. At 75 mph. With elevation changes. Flatlands, that same SVX cruising at 65 mph would see 35+ mpg. Far in excess of it's rated 24 mpg.

        And the old XT with the flat-4? Rated at 28 mpg, and driven properly, 40 mpg on the highway should be easy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Huh!? No it wouldn't. I owned an SVX. The one featured on autoblog, in fact.

        http://www.autoblog.com/2007/08/02/reader-ride-1992-subaru-svx/

        I replaced the O2 sensors, plugs, TPS, filter, all fluids synthetic, new brakes, new bearings. My best was going downhill for an entire tank in south dakota, at a steady 75mph. It was 26.9mpg. If you think an SVX can get 35, maybe you're referring to the FWD base model, because AWD ones certainly could not. I hope BoxerFanatic chimes in here, because you're totally wrong on this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed. No matter how much better than EPA estimates you're seeing, it's still quite poor compared to other cars. Subaru really needs to work on this area.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh snap.

        Yeah, go look at all the reports on fueleconomy.gov.. all the ratings generally say the older subies used fuel like a small v6. That's one reason why i've never owned one.

        I could get 33-34mpg hwy on my BMW which was rated for 26mpg, but that was during 200-900 mile trips. Honestly, any car with a v6/i4 will do 30+mpg hwy on long trips if you're nice to the pedal, but real life driving is where it matters, you know?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dan: In Ohio and Penna, over 75 gets you a very hefty ticket. So let's just say I'm not going to share the time required for the run. ;)

        @Gruv: OK, dude, no need to get all huffy just because I can burn less fuel than you.

        Mixed / City mileage is pretty bad, due to the high weight. But highway is good due to the deep 0.59 OD and smooth 0.29 Cd. If you're not getting 25+ mpg highway, you need to learn smoothness.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And for reference, I was driving an AWD '92 SVX LS-L with 100k miles.

        Tires were 55-series rubber, so my speed was accurate within 1% (stopwatch verified).

        Distance would be verifiable via GPS or any mapping software.

        Fuel usage from the pump, calibrated by the state.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Gurv - I lost count of how many people I've met trying to sell their half finished SVXs that ate their transmissions and are crying out for a 6-speed swap. Now an SVX with the 6 speed from an STi? Mmmmmm, yes please!

        As for a porscharu, yes the more modern engine is better than the 10+ years older engine for power/torque, I would hope so. Although I found that most swaps involved the much lighter boxer 4 turbo than the flat-6 (makes sense, the 4 cylinder gives up nothing on power to older porsche flat 6s but weighs a good 50-100lbs less). And even then, not many people are willing to give up the feel and racing capacity of the 911 block for the subaru since such an engine swap is probably not allowed in most racing classes. Plus there's the issue of the complexity of the swap even in cases where the power gains are possible over the stock engine. It's far easier to just modify the existing engine and block instead of fighting with the car to get everything to fit.

        The head stud issues were really only prevalent on the 2.7L of the late 70s. My father was a porsche technician during the 80s and early 90s. The air cooled 3.2L could probably withstand everything shy of explosives and run just fine. Cold start at 20 below? No problem. Track day at noon and 104 degree heat? No problem. All day road trip through the mountains? Sounds like a perfect day to me.

        The 911 engine was actually just as powerful 10 years prior to the EG33's existence. In ROW form, the 3.2L engine was good for over 230hp. American emissions equipment at the time strangled it down to about 205-210. The 964's that were around at the time of the SVX's launch produced 250ish with the 3.6L but were hooked up to the excellent getrag 5 speed rather than an anemic 4 speed auto.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Middle Way: The SVX was a 6 cylinder. :P 3.3 liters to be exact. More power/torque/reliability/mpg than old 911 engines, so people are starting to swap them. :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ ManSauce (gross)

        Nobody huh?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4cVMmJKyLg

        There's more too. The EG33 is a much more modern engine than the 911s, even into the 80s. It outperformed the 2.0-3.2 liters, in terms of horsepower and torque. And considering the problems that old porsche engines had with headstuds pulling out, and SVX's (excluding transmissions) EASILY lasting to 300k. You seem like a cool guy but I'm not sure you know this subject very well. You haven't owned an SVX. Getting over 25mpg with them is HARD. I owned one for 8 years, and I've driven a lot of them, and I have friends that still own them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So which is it, "up to 75" or "at 75" ?


      • 4 Years Ago
      There are so many variables, even on the same trip repeated. Load, wind, tire pressure, air temp, fuel temp, calendar based fuel additives, ethanol percentage, road surface wet or dry, number of stops and restarts...
      It's tough to A/B mileage. The biggest surprise I got was on a trip with big headwinds across PA. I would normally fill up in Hubbard OH, with the low fuel light blinking on showing about fifty miles left. Instead, I ran out of gas about 40 miles short, coasting to a stop on a bridge right above a gas station! Sure, I saw the light on, but couldn't believe my lying eyes when the gauge showed empty. Sure won't happen again!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Really John? - we're talking about 1.5 MPG difference.

      Why do you guys think this is amazing or even post worthy? I had this variance with a MazdaSpeed6 over 60K miles, I got between 25-30 MPG (4mpg better than highway EPA estimates) depending on various conditions, and it had practically the same EPA rating, smaller displacement and more horsepower.

      My Fusion gets between 27 and 28 MPG.

      This isn't abnormal, and this difference is probably not due to anything other than a myriad of different factors, like who is driving, the weather, the particular gas station, etc.


        • 4 Years Ago
        It's a long-term test car, obviously he has to report on it from time to time. Why are you so miffed about an extra post?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree, this isn't really newsworthy. Cruising highway MPG has more to do with the transmission than anything. My Pontiac G6 doesn't do much of anything right, but it gets 34mpg on the highway -- with a V6 -- thanks to the gearing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Totally un-newsworthy. I have a 2006 Mustang GT, and have gotten 27 MPG on mostly highway trips from NJ to DC. EPA lists highway mileage at 23...
      • 4 Years Ago
      lol while were at it

      My 1990 Turbo Grand Prix rated 16/26 4 speed auto. Driving it nicley im lucky to get 20 mpg with mostly highway driving. People thinkin turbos are gonna save mileage are nuts, lol.

      1990 Pontiac 6000 3.1 V6 rated 19/28 3 speed auto. I see with mostly highway driving 28 mpg just as they say with a/c runnin. With alot of city driving iv gotten 20mpg. Not bad for 20 year old V6's

      The old subaru i had would be LUCKY to get 20mpg. Being at 3500 RPMs at 65mph is just pathetic.
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