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

The Infotainment Hardware

If you choose to pay $2,645 for the Moonroof + Navigation System package, you're greeted by a seven-inch wide-screen LCD display built into the center stack of your new Legacy. Unlike other Subaru models, such as the Forester, BRZ and Impreza, the Legacy 2.5i Limited has an integrated infotainment system that cannot be replaced as easily as the double-DIN units used in the other vehicles. Subaru touts the display as high-resolution, though it's the same 800x480 shared by the first-generation Asus Eee PC 700-series. The display connects to the infotainment system through an old-school VGA interface, which does the job but lacks the clarity of newer systems.

The platform's brains are much more interesting. Subaru employs a Renesas system-on-chip (SoC), but does not divulge the exact part number. We're told it's an older SoC that's not particularly fast, though. 

Performance doesn't seem to be an issue, particularly given Subaru's break from industry standards with its software. While most companies utilize QNX or Microsoft Windows Automotive, Subaru uses ITRON, a Japanese real-time operating system designed for embedded systems. ITRON is a sub-architecture of the TRON project and an open standard with support for virtually every CPU, including ARM, MIPS, x86 FR-V, and others. The embedded OS can be found in mobile phones, fax machines, and of course Subaru's navigation system.

The company sources Fujitsu-Ten, which used to manufacture aftermarket car radios under the Eclipse brand, to build the 2013 Legacy's navigation system. Harman Kardon delivers the premium sound system, which Subaru claims delivers 440 W from nine speakers. In reality, we're looking at a standard two-way component system up front with two-way coaxials in the rear doors and a subwoofer in the rear deck.