2013 Subaru Legacy Sedan: A Mid-Size Ride With Practical Tech

Navigation, Phone, And Voice Recognition

Subaru leverages Navteq / Nokia maps for the Legacy's navigation system, and we didn't run into any issues finding the locations we plugged in. The visuals are very dated, though. In fact, we'd call them just as ugly as what we saw from Toyota's Display Audio 6.1 with Navigation and Entune, found in the 2012 Camry Hybrid XLE. The navigation system only offers 2D maps; it lacks the 3D buildings that systems like SYNC with MyFord Touch include. We’re also not fans of the mint green colors.


The Subaru Navigation system has XM NavTraffic support, which offers the option to take alternate routes when congestion is reported along your route. We fell for the traffic warnings once and let the system take us through an alternative route to Seattle that diverted us away from Interstate 5 (the principal route to Seattle) and through surface streets. It was a very unpleasant trip through stop-and-go traffic. To make matters worse, we caught a glimpse of I-5 during our detour, only to see traffic flowing freely. Once again, SiriusXM's traffic avoidance solution is deemed worthless, hardly deserving of the prices SiriusXM charges.

Overall, the system works, though it's severely behind the alternatives from direct competitors Chevrolet and Ford. In case you're curious about map updates, you'll be happy to know that they're released every six months. Each one runs $160 though, which is fairly pricey if you plan to stay as current as possible. Maps are stored on a removable SD card at least, making swaps convenient.

Phone Connectivity

Subaru's 2013 Legacy supports standard Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming capabilities. Calls made through the hands-free system are clear and devoid of road noise. The user interface isn’t particularly attractive, but it handles the basics.

Part of handling the basics well means that pairing devices is a simple matter. As with most Bluetooth-based matches, the system asks if you'd like to add a phone when you enter the Phone menu.

Bluetooth messaging access profile (MAP) is supported too, though device compatibility is still sketchy. The system wouldn't work with our rooted and flashed Galaxy Nexus (AOKP ROM), and we were unable to test the feature with Android. Bluetooth MAP did work with our iPhone 4S running iOS6, though. Just make sure Show Notifications is enabled in the Bluetooth device setup.

Voice Recognition

Nuance's popular speech engine drives the Subaru Navigation system's voice recognition feature. Unlike SYNC with MyFord Touch or Kia UVO, which boast more natural voice input, Subaru's solution relies on sub-commands that are very inelegant. At the end of the day, it was easier to pull over to punch in navigation instructions on the touchscreen. We rarely used voice commands during our time with the Legacy, except for making occasional phone calls.

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  • Subaru 2013 Legacy 2.5i Limited: $25,895 isn't that bad for a nice ride.
    2
  • 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.
    9
  • no.
    -5
  • 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?
    0
  • Please stop this. Form a partnership with an automotive site for cross-coverage, but please stop direct coverage of automotive news.
    -7
  • Needs a wrx or sti option :)
    2
  • I'm waiting for my BRZ to arrive in August. Such a long wait... =(
    2
  • 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)
    1
  • **Still sad to see teh 2.5GT go*
    2
  • 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.
    0
  • ukee1593 said:
    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.

    ubercake said:
    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.

    Onus said:
    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.

    893057 said:
    I'm waiting for my BRZ to arrive in August. Such a long wait... =(


    Very jealous, great cars.

    237720 said:
    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
  • 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.
    2
  • ericjohn004 said:
    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.
    569881 said:
    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
  • This is pretty cool, I always like seeing new automotive tech. Maybe you could review the Dodge Dart next.
    0
  • g-unit1111 said:
    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...
    0
  • Nothing so special about this car in this price range. The opponents are racing ahead already!
    -1
  • 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
  • Nice article.

    Good to see other sectors served by various tech covered.
    0
  • sanilmahambre said:
    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
  • 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...
    1