Thanks to their standard all-wheel drive, Subarus are a go-to choice for consumers in the snowbelt who are looking to beat winter weather. Not everyone wants to drive around in a utilitarian-looking wagon or crossover, though. So Subaru offers the Legacy, which offers that extra measure of capability in the body of a traditional midsize sedan.
In previous years, the Subaru Legacy had genuine performance leanings, but lately the automaker has concluded that most of its customers aren't looking for back-roads thrills in a midsize sedan. The Legacy, then, has become a reasonably priced family car. Its cabin is comfortable, with ample headroom and legroom no matter where you're seated, and overall levels of wind and road noise are low as you drive down the highway. Excellent visibility and the availability of some top-end safety features are other Legacy pluses.
Base 2.5i models come with 16-inch steel wheels; automatic headlights; air-conditioning; cruise control; a height-adjustable driver seat; a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel; full power accessories; a 60/40-split-folding rear seat; Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity; and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack. An option package for the base 2.5i model (CVT version only) adds 17-inch alloy wheels and foglights.
The 2.5i Premium model includes all of the above except the foglights (which must be purchased as an accessory). It also has heated body-color outside mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and a six-speaker sound system.
The 2014 Subaru Legacy comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is optional.
Also optional is Subaru's EyeSight system that bundles adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane-departure warning and sway warning. The EyeSight system uses two cameras mounted inside the upper edge of the windshield, which Subaru says reduces the potential for damage compared with conventional radar systems mounted in the front bumper. EyeSight can also detect pedestrians and is capable of braking the Legacy if the driver takes no evasive action.
In Edmunds testing, the Legacy 3.6R stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, while the 2.5i Sport took 125 feet. Both are average distances for the midsize sedan class.
The Legacy received the best possible five-star crash test ratings in frontal, side and rollover tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's tests the Legacy received a rating of "Good" (the highest possible) in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset crash test, side-impact and roof-strength tests. It earned an "Acceptable" rating (second highest) in the small-overlap frontal-offset crash test. Its seat/head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.