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