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

A New Motor

To say that Subaru's vehicles typically don't follow mainstream convention would be an understatement, and the 2013 Legacy 2.5i Limited is no different. While most cars on the market use motors with a V or inline engine layout, Subaru opts for the horizontally-opposed (also referred to as flat, Hx, or boxer) engine layout. Instead of pistons that go up and down, Subaru's boxer designs move sideways. The benefits of this are perfect symmetry and a low center of gravity, yielding better stability and handling. Porsche is the only other manufacturer with a boxer motor.

New to the 2013 Legacy 2.5i family is a FB25 2.5-liter H4 motor that debuted in the 2011 Subaru Forester. While power figures remain similar to the previous-generation EJ25-series at 170 hp, the updated design greatly improves fuel efficiency and maintenance. There’s also a slight bump in displacement to 2,498 cc (compared to the EJ25’s 2,457 cc), resulting in four more pound-feet of torque.

Subaru eliminates the previous motor's timing belt for a chain that should last longer and facilitate longer intervals between dealer services. A dual AVCS variable valve timing system and dual overhead cams make an appearance on the FB25 as well. Incidentally, Subaru's FB-series motor is the first all-new four-cylinder engine since the EJ-series debuted more than 20 years ago.

Subaru FB-series motor (image courtesy of Subaru of America).

Carrying over from the 2012 model is Subaru's Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) that replaced the previous-generation Legacy's four-speed automatic. Although the company only recently started offering CVT transmissions in place of automatics through most of its portfolio, it actually shipped the first mass-produced car in the U.S. with a CVT: the 1987 Justy. A CVT doesn’t excite us like a traditional manual gearbox, but Subaru tries to satisfy more sporting drivers by enabling manual shifts with steering wheel-mounted paddles that emulate six shift points.

The Lineartronic CVT and FB25-series motor offer fuel economy ratings of 24, 32, and 27 MPG in city, highway, and combined driving. Those numbers are up 1 MPG from the EJ25-equipped 2012 Subaru Legacy. Minor though the gains may be, we think the Legacy's mileage is quite respectable considering the previous-generation version (2004-2009) was rated for 20, 26, and 22 MPG, respectively, using the four-speed automatic transmission.

We found that the fuel economy ratings were fairly accurate during our week with Subaru's 2013 Legacy 2.5i. Despite driving with a lead foot through a mix of highway and city roads, we averaged 26 MPG. That's an impressive feat for a vehicle armed with all-wheel drive.

  • soundping
    Subaru 2013 Legacy 2.5i Limited: $25,895 isn't that bad for a nice ride.
  • ukee1593
    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.

  • apache_lives
  • ubercake
    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?
  • Onus
    Please stop this. Form a partnership with an automotive site for cross-coverage, but please stop direct coverage of automotive news.
  • thebigt42
    Needs a wrx or sti option :)
  • wysir
    I'm waiting for my BRZ to arrive in August. Such a long wait... =(
  • gxpbecker
    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)
  • gxpbecker
    **Still sad to see teh 2.5GT go*
  • ericjohn004
    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.