2009 Legacy New Car Test Drive
The Subaru Legacy gets fresh styling and new features for 2008. A variety of models is available, all of which are sedans. If you need a wagon, look to the Outback.
We've found all the 2008 Subaru Legacy models to be solid, tight sedans that inspire confidence when the going gets nasty. They offer a refined drive that's surprisingly agile in a sensibly sized package that won't bust the budget. Subaru's all-wheel-drive system is among the best in the world and performs beautifully in slippery conditions.
New for 2008 is the Legacy 3.0R Limited, which delivers the compact luxury you'd expect from an Acura TSX, Audi A4 or Volvo S40, with six-cylinder refinement, all-wheel drive the Acura doesn't offer, and a competitive price. The 3.0 R Limited uses similar high-end running gear and 18-inch wheels as the 2.5 GT spec.B, but with a smoother, more refined six-cylinder engine and a luxury-oriented demeanor.
The 2008 Legacy gets fresh styling: The Legacy sports a new front chrome crossbar and sheetmetal, new bumpers, new headlights and taillights. It is at once sleeker than previous models and a hint less distinctive. Some onlookers pronounced the 3.0R a Volvo, so Subaru's claim of more European styling isn't a reach.
Also revised for 2008 are the instrument panel and cabin fabrics. A telescoping function has been added to the tilt steering wheel, for improved adjustment for different size drivers. Tire pressure monitoring is standard across the board. Electronic stability control is available on more Legacy models, and paddle shifters have been added to the steering column on five-speed automatic cars.
A wide range of Legacy models covers the price spectrum from $21,000 to $35,000. Lower trim levels are high on value. The performance model is the spec.B, devoted to enthusiasts who need sedan practicality and all-wheel drive.
All Legacy models are four-door sedans. Subaru has dropped Legacy wagons for 2008, content to steer wagon buyers to the more aggressive looking Outback.
Every Subaru comes with all-wheel drive but none require any driver intervention and Subaru has an almost cult-like following among the snowbound. The Legacy earned 'top safety pick' honors from the insurance industry's Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and '5-star' ratings for front and rear passengers from the U.S. government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
There are six Legacy models if you include the 2.5i Special Edition, three engines, and three all-wheel drive systems depending on engine and transmission.
The Legacy 2.5i comes with a 170-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, cloth upholstery, AC, 100-watt 6CD-in-dash stereo with auxiliary input and satellite capability, 40/60 split-fold rear seat, power windows/locks/mirrors, body-colored trim, projector headlamps, floor mats, cruise control, trip computer, antitheft system and 17-inch alloy wheels. A four-speed automatic is optional. Legacy 2.5i Special Edition adds an eight-way power driver's seat and moonroof.
Legacy 2.5i Limited upgrades with leather upholstery, heated front seats and side mirrors, upgraded audio, dual-zone climate control, fog lights, electric wiper de-ice. Electronic stability control is optional.
Legacy 2.5 Limited GT features a 243-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The GT Limited adds a three-spoke steering wheel with cruise control, audio and SI-DRIVE controls, electroluminescent instrumentation, four-way power passenger seat, folding exterior mirrors with signals, wider tires, larger brakes, quicker steering, limited-slip rear differential, sport front seats, and aerodynamic underbody cover. Options include a five-speed automatic with paddle-shift, stability control (automatic only) and navigation.
Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B comes with the same 243-hp GT engine but a six-speed manual transmission instead of a five-speed. Interior changes include leather-and-Alcantara upholstery, three-spoke MOMO steering wheel, driver memory system, bespoke floor mats, alloy pedal covers, and navigation system. The spec.B also receives 18-inch alloy wheels with sticky Bridgestone RE050 summer tires, Bilstein sports suspension, electronic stability control, and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential.
Legacy 3.0R Limited uses a 243-hp six-cylinder engine. The 3.0R comes with most of the interior features of a 2.5 GT Limited and includes navigation and electronic stability control. Wheels are the same size as the spec.B but use less-aggressive, longer-wearing all-season tires, and the sports suspension is calibrated for better ride comfort than the spec.B. It lacks the memory system and a couple of the motorsport-derived pieces of the spec.B. Satellite radio and a rear spoiler are optional. Accessories from interior trim to wheel locks are available.
Safety features standard on all models include dual-stage frontal airbags, front-seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, active front seat head restraints, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, and all-wheel drive.