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2013 Subaru Legacy: A Purpose-Built Ride With Some Cool Tech

2013 Subaru Legacy Sedan: A Mid-Size Ride With Practical Tech
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Subaru does a great job introducing advanced driving aids to the mid-size sedan market with its 2013 Legacy 2.5i Limited. We found the company's Eyesight technology to be a functional upgrade option for folks looking to add a little more technology than you'd typically expect from a ride in this budget range. Adaptive cruise control, in particular, is a must-have for daily commuters, and the fact that it's functional across a broad speed range makes it the best adaptive cruise system in this segment. The nearest competitor equipped with adaptive cruise control is Ford's 2013 Fusion. However, that implementation only works at speeds above 20 MPH.

The Legacy's pre-collision braking and throttle management features can be useful in traffic or through suburban neighborhoods, we imagine. But we're not fond of the lane departure warning. Sounding an audible alarm and flashing visual signals isn't something we typically want or need while we're driving attentively...and that's the case every time we get behind the wheel. Fortunately, the system is non-intrusive and can be turned off completely. 

The Subaru Navigation system is aesthetically disappointing. Its user interface and navigation maps are frankly bland and ugly. While our benchmarks indicate that the ITRON operating system is fast, despite running on older hardware, a newer platform would likely help speed up computation of navigation instructions. Were Subaru to upgrade its hardware, enable more pleasant visuals, add Internet radio functionality, and retain its ITRON OS, the company could have something differentiated from QNX and Windows Automotive, but still deliver a great experience. As it stands, the Legacy's infotainment solution handles the basics well enough. We simply expected more than just a radio with an LCD display, especially in light of compelling competition.

Subaru’s new FB25 motor paired with the Lineartronic CVT delivers power smoothly. The 2013 Legacy 2.5i Limited isn’t fast by any means, but it has adequate oomph to merge with traffic and pass other vehicles safely. The addition of Subaru’s excellent full-time AWD system makes the Legacy an excellent vehicle for environments subject to regular rain and snow. It's no wonder so many snowboarders and skiers own Subarus. We found the average combined gas mileage of 26 MPG during our week with the car to be very good, especially since the motor is always driving all four wheels.

We like Subaru's 2013 Legacy 2.5i Limited and enjoy its smooth powertrain paired with a grippy AWD system. The suspension isn’t as sporty as what you'll find on an Impreza WRX STI, but it’s not as dull as Toyota's Camry either. This is a vehicle for drivers who commute in adverse weather conditions and truly need a competent full-time AWD system. Personally, I find the aesthetics a little bland compared to some of the more striking competitors I've reviewed, such as Ford's 2013 Fusion and the 2013 KIA Optima, but it's not ugly by any means. I only wish the Eyesight system was available independently, rather than bundled with the expensive moonroof and mediocre navigation system (especially since Subaru's Navigation system makes it virtually impossible to substitute in an aftermarket unit).

Overall, the 2013 Legacy 2.5i Limited is a great choice for folks interested in a mid-size sedan with an excellent AWD system, and it helps if you're not too concerned about a fancy infotainment system. Now, if Subaru were to drop the new turbocharged FA20-series motor in a wagon variant of the Legacy (not an Outback) with a more sporting suspension, a standard double-DIN radio and Eyesight technology, I might not care so much about the infotainment (are you listening Subaru?).

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  • 2 Hide
    soundping , April 9, 2013 11:10 PM
    Subaru 2013 Legacy 2.5i Limited: $25,895 isn't that bad for a nice ride.
  • 9 Hide
    ukee1593 , April 10, 2013 1:34 AM
    Nice to see Toms doing car review now, especially with so many cars having computer based interfaces now.

    Very good to see manufacturers installing driving aids such as collision detection and adaptive cruise control now. These are the precursors to completely autonomous cars and the more advanced these systems get, the closer we may get to fully autonomous cars in the near future.

    My question is; when are manufacturers going to give us the option of installing a 3rd party tablet such as an Ipad or a Nexus 7/10 in the dashboard rather than putting up with their pathetic built in "infotainment" systems. I would definitely choose a car with just a blank space in the dashboard (plus charging port) for a tablet rather than buying one with a built in system. Heck I might even pay more for it. All we need is a standardized connection to interface speaker systems and steering wheel controls to the tablet.

  • -5 Hide
    apache_lives , April 10, 2013 2:59 AM
    no.
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , April 10, 2013 5:12 AM
    But does it have a big back seat (if you know what I'm saying?)?

    Seriously, though, within the past 5-10 years I've found many mid-sized cars these days to be small from a height standpoint in the back seat. If you're over 5'9" and sit in the back, you have to bend your neck to fit. If populations are trending toward taller people, why are car companies making back seats for shorter people?

    If you want to have a vehicle where adults can sit in the back these days, they almost force you into full-size or CUV/SUV options. As a result, this seems to discourage carpooling. Maybe this is how they can push to sell more cars?
  • -7 Hide
    Onus , April 10, 2013 5:59 AM
    Please stop this. Form a partnership with an automotive site for cross-coverage, but please stop direct coverage of automotive news.
  • 2 Hide
    thebigt42 , April 10, 2013 6:19 AM
    Needs a wrx or sti option :) 
  • 2 Hide
    wysir , April 10, 2013 6:20 AM
    I'm waiting for my BRZ to arrive in August. Such a long wait... =(
  • 1 Hide
    gxpbecker , April 10, 2013 7:13 AM
    I am still sad to see the 2.5GT. The 07 Spec B was an amazing car. I am hoping the beef up that 3.6R or bring it in the 2.0GT fasion with their new turbo engine based of the BRZ's. (and redesign the car... still a bit ugly and this is coming form a person who has owned 6 subarus)
  • 2 Hide
    gxpbecker , April 10, 2013 7:14 AM
    **Still sad to see teh 2.5GT go*
  • 0 Hide
    ericjohn004 , April 10, 2013 7:25 AM
    The only thing that worrys me with these types of cars is that what if one of these things fails? Or worse, what if it causes the gas pedal to be smashed or the brakes to be smashed while your driving? I'm sure they make sure these things are functional, but anything can happen with electronics.

    I love Tom's reviews. Your not going to find a better review site in the world.
  • 2 Hide
    tuanies , April 10, 2013 7:26 AM
    Quote:
    Nice to see Toms doing car review now, especially with so many cars having computer based interfaces now.

    Very good to see manufacturers installing driving aids such as collision detection and adaptive cruise control now. These are the precursors to completely autonomous cars and the more advanced these systems get, the closer we may get to fully autonomous cars in the near future.

    My question is; when are manufacturers going to give us the option of installing a 3rd party tablet such as an Ipad or a Nexus 7/10 in the dashboard rather than putting up with their pathetic built in "infotainment" systems. I would definitely choose a car with just a blank space in the dashboard (plus charging port) for a tablet rather than buying one with a built in system. Heck I might even pay more for it. All we need is a standardized connection to interface speaker systems and steering wheel controls to the tablet.



    They probably won't because of liability / legality problems. Scosche teased an iPad double din mount with amp but cancelled the product. The problem is tablets have no lock out while driving, which opens the doors up to legal troubles for them. We did just get the Parrot Asteroid Smart double din with Android 2.3 in and will have a review of that soon.

    Quote:
    But does it have a big back seat (if you know what I'm saying?)?

    Seriously, though, within the past 5-10 years I've found many mid-sized cars these days to be small from a height standpoint in the back seat. If you're over 5'9" and sit in the back, you have to bend your neck to fit. If populations are trending toward taller people, why are car companies making back seats for shorter people?

    If you want to have a vehicle where adults can sit in the back these days, they almost force you into full-size or CUV/SUV options. As a result, this seems to discourage carpooling. Maybe this is how they can push to sell more cars?


    Its a styling trade-off. Sloped backs look better than boxy ones so its a trade off made to appeal make cars more visually pleasing. I'd always take a station wagon over a sedan though, crossovers are just more expensive station wagons with less practicality.

    Quote:
    Please stop this. Form a partnership with an automotive site for cross-coverage, but please stop direct coverage of automotive news.


    The type of coverage we do on automobiles is completely different from the usual 0-60, skidpad and performance based coverage of automotive outlets. We still focus mostly on the tech.

    Quote:
    I'm waiting for my BRZ to arrive in August. Such a long wait... =(


    Very jealous, great cars.

    Quote:
    I am still sad to see the 2.5GT. The 07 Spec B was an amazing car. I am hoping the beef up that 3.6R or bring it in the 2.0GT fasion with their new turbo engine based of the BRZ's. (and redesign the car... still a bit ugly and this is coming form a person who has owned 6 subarus)


    The 3.6R is still an automatic though. I would love a 6-speed manual on the 3.6R. I wanted to buy a Spec B when they were new but the Subaru sales guy was so persistent that it turned me off the brand. The 2.5GT is still sold in Japan iirc. My best friend's dad has a manual 2.5GT wagon, loved that generation. I wish they still had manual wagons that aren't Outbacks >_<
  • 2 Hide
    basketcase87 , April 10, 2013 9:04 AM
    thebigt42Needs a wrx or sti option

    Please no. The reason wrx still means something is because it's not an "option" that they've decided to add onto every car in their lineup. Keep it where it belongs, as a small rally-size car.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , April 10, 2013 9:11 AM
    Quote:
    The only thing that worrys me with these types of cars is that what if one of these things fails? Or worse, what if it causes the gas pedal to be smshed or the brakes to be smashed while your driving? I'm sure they make sure these things are functional, but anything can happen with electronics.
    H
    I love Tom's reviews. Your not going to find a better review site in the world.


    I believe the brake should override the gas pedal on newer cars.
    Quote:
    thebigt42Needs a wrx or sti option

    Please no. The reason wrx still means something is because it's not an "option" that they've decided to add onto every car in their lineup. Keep it where it belongs, as a small rally-size car.


    They've made Forester STIs in the past but the hot Legacy was the B4 Blitzen or just Legacy GT
  • 0 Hide
    g-unit1111 , April 10, 2013 9:25 AM
    This is pretty cool, I always like seeing new automotive tech. Maybe you could review the Dodge Dart next.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , April 10, 2013 11:15 AM
    Quote:
    This is pretty cool, I always like seeing new automotive tech. Maybe you could review the Dodge Dart next.


    They don't have one available in the PNW fleet. The 2014 Grand Cherokee Diesel is support to make its way up here this summer though...
  • -1 Hide
    sanilmahambre , April 11, 2013 2:04 AM
    Nothing so special about this car in this price range. The opponents are racing ahead already!
  • 0 Hide
    gggplaya , April 11, 2013 4:44 AM
    ukee1593Nice to see Toms doing car review now, especially with so many cars having computer based interfaces now. Very good to see manufacturers installing driving aids such as collision detection and adaptive cruise control now. These are the precursors to completely autonomous cars and the more advanced these systems get, the closer we may get to fully autonomous cars in the near future. My question is; when are manufacturers going to give us the option of installing a 3rd party tablet such as an Ipad or a Nexus 7/10 in the dashboard rather than putting up with their pathetic built in "infotainment" systems. I would definitely choose a car with just a blank space in the dashboard (plus charging port) for a tablet rather than buying one with a built in system. Heck I might even pay more for it. All we need is a standardized connection to interface speaker systems and steering wheel controls to the tablet.


    Yes, because that's not a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    (Police officer) - "So what was so important that caused you to cross lanes and kill a family of 5?"
    (You) - "I was playing angry birds."
  • 0 Hide
    RobAC , April 11, 2013 7:02 AM
    Nice article.

    Good to see other sectors served by various tech covered.
  • 1 Hide
    tuanies , April 11, 2013 8:15 AM
    Quote:
    Nothing so special about this car in this price range. The opponents are racing ahead already!


    Its a car built for the purpose of AWD, some people need it year round and this car is still worlds ahead of other midsizes for AWD. But yes the others are racing ahead in terms of styling, infotainment, etc... The mid-size segment is very exciting and competitive IMO.
  • 1 Hide
    V B , April 11, 2013 1:24 PM
    T G tried reviewing cameras, it did not work now cars, looks like grasping for the straws to save the site. What next? Baby's pacifiers ?
    Just saying...
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