Subaru’s newest Legacy is a clear indication it intends to continue record sales growth by increasing its appeal to mainstream buyers. As one of the largest segments in the business, midsize sedan sales have been dominated by Toyota’s Camry since a time before the Internet was cool. And, even though Toyota does own some shares in Fuji Heavy, there’s no doubt Subaru engineers are gunning for the class leader with this new model.
With the 2015 Legacy specs are relatively unchanged. The entry model with a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder boxer receives a small bump to 175-hp (versus 173 last year), while peak torque remains steady at a respective 174 lbs.-ft. The top-spec H6 model is unchanged at 255 horses and 247 lbs-ft. Already deleted from the Legacy lineup in 2014, Subaru’s excellent turbo engines remain absent for 2015. We can hope for a special edition turbo model in the coming months, but for now, your engine choices will be strictly naturally-aspirated.
Lacking an enthusiast engine, it’s probably not surprising that the new Legacy also lacks an enthusiast transmission. No manuals will be offered. Instead, all trim levels will come standard with Subarus latest Lineartronic CVT. In the 2.5i, that makes for combined mileage of 26 city and 36 highway (estimated) and 20/28mpg when equipped with the flat-6 engine.
To keep road-noise to a minimum, Subaru has introduced liquid-filled engine mounts, as well as increased sound deadening throughout the cabin. Especially important if you want to take advantage of the top-end 12-speaker Harman/Kardon system. But, if the photos are any indication, it looks like Subaru will still be rocking’ 1990s navigation system, which is unfortunate.
The most important changes to the new Legacy happen inside the cabin. Subaru is billing this as the “roomiest Legacy ever.” Which is important, because the Legacy has always felt a bit small when compared to the Camry or even Hyundai’s very popular Sonata. For 2015 an extra cubic foot and a half of space is applied to driver and passenger space with an emphasis on rear-passenger legroom. Surprisingly, Subaru has managed to do this while at the same time keeping the overall footprint of the Legacy virtually unchanged.
What would a mass-market midsize be without piling on the safety gadgets? Here, the new Legacy isn’t lacking with the optional EyeSight driver-assist system, as well as a new radar system for blindspot and rear cross-traffic detection. Combined with the excellent crash ratings of the outgoing model, this latest Legacy is likely to be the safest model they’ve built.
On the outside, Subaru has definitely gone the conservative route in terms of design – an unfortunate necessity for mainstream acceptance. Subaru has brought its new LED low-beam headlights to the party and raked the windshield a bit over the previous models, but these are subtle. For the most part all the best-selling mid-size cars are bland with the exception of the Hyundai Sonata, which is already starting to look dated (the potential pitfall of strong design language) and is due for a refresh later this year.
Pricing has yet to be announced for the new 2015 Subaru Legacy, but it is anticipated to be close to the outgoing models.