It's been about a month since the long-term Subaru Legacy 2.5GT arrived in Northern California, and as the weather slowly turned south, my opinion of our burgundy sled has improved. Dramatically.

Transitioning from a German compact into a near-luxury sedan from Japan (both within $1,000 of each other, oddly enough) has proven to be an eye-opening experience – but not in the way you'd think. Maybe I'm just biased towards the staid interior stylings from Deutschland, but the Legacy's insides came off as overwrought and sub-par when compared to the Jetta MK5 TDI Cup Street Edition. The materials didn't exude the same level of quality and while fit-and-finish is certainly above board, it still lacks the high-end tactility I enjoyed in the Volkswagen. Plus, the experience behind the wheel has felt heavy and ponderous after living with the Jetta for the better part of four months.

This opinion lasted right up until the first monsoon. I was driving north on 580 when the world went blurry. Traffic was crawling along, but with the wipers set to meth-head speed, I was able to plow through the storm with confidence. As the weeks have worn on, I've grown fond of the Legacy's added heft and all-wheel drive – there's just something inherently comforting about piloting a heavyweight down the road – not to mention sending power to all four wheels. That said, it's far from a fair weather driver's car. The suspension is too floaty, the seats are far too flat and the shifter is far too floppy. However, that last bit we'll be dealing with soon.

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