2017 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport Mike Royer

“So long, Subaru! I’ll miss your huge fuel tank and ridicu­lous range. Is it weird that I hate stop­ping for gas this much?”

Motor Trend (USA) - - Long-term Test -

In Mo­tor Trend’s ver­sion of My Two Dads, fleet ad­mi­ral Erick Aya­pana and I joined forces to shep­herd a young and spirited Subaru Legacy through its jour­ney of dis­cov­ery in our long-term garage.

Shortly af­ter the June 2017 is­sue went to press, Erick needed to give up his seat to help foster an­other ve­hi­cle, and that’s when I took over. Be­tween the two of us, we logged 20,460 miles al­most ex­clu­sively on the means streets of So­cal, al­though head hon­cho Ed Loh took it on a trip to Sacra­mento, and web pro­ducer Erika Pizano hus­tled up to San Fran­cisco for a week­end trip. Other than that, it was mostly used to get me be­tween El Se­gundo and San Pe­dro and for the oc­ca­sional down­town dash for Los Angeles Kings hockey (GKG)!

If get­ting off the beaten path is your thing, the Su­bie's AWD and ground clear­ance will give you an up­per hand on the dirt roads.

This means I didn’t do a lot of open-high­way driv­ing, which prob­a­bly ac­counts for our com­bined av­er­age of 26.3 mpg be­ing a lit­tle less than the 29 and 31.1 mpg es­ti­mates from the EPA and Real MPG, re­spec­tively. De­spite the lower num­bers, the Legacy still man­aged to im­press in the fuel mileage depart­ment be­cause the whop­ping 18.5-gal­lon fuel tank made for a long-dis­tance hauler that would of­ten go 14 days and 500 miles be­tween trips to the gas sta­tion.

For ref­er­ence, our Legacy’s Subaru sib­ling, the 2016 Out­back, which also has an 18.5-gal­lon fuel tank but weighs 203 pounds more, av­er­aged 23.4 mpg over our year of test­ing it.

The in­te­rior is spa­cious and com­fort­able. My pref­er­ence is to sit high and very close to the steer­ing wheel, and I never felt cramped in the Legacy. It has a height of 59.0 inches, more than 3 inches taller than our last long-term sedan, a 2016 Honda Civic Tour­ing, and I al­ways felt I was sit­ting a lit­tle higher than I nor­mally would in sedan. Er­gonom­i­cally, ev­ery­thing is within reach of the driver, the con­trols are easy to man­age, and the steer­ing wheel and mir­rors are a breeze to ad­just.

The back seat has plenty of room for cargo, hu­man and oth­er­wise, with 38.1 inches of legroom for the for­mer—the same as in the larger Out­back. The Legacy also ex­cells in one of the most im­por­tant back-seat met­rics—zero com­plaints about com­fort from pas­sen­gers.

One dis­ap­point­ment for me was all the scratches the con­sole suf­fered with what I’d con­sider a light amount of abuse. Over the year the cen­ter con­sole has de­vel­oped some un­sightly scars, pre­sum­ably from toss­ing my keys into the cupholder upon en­try. An ev­ery­day ve­hi­cle should be able to with­stand a lit­tle tor­ture. To com­bat this I trained my­self to leave the keys in my pocket and use the key­less en­try, which when you com­mit to works like a charm. I also took the time to ad­just the set­tings to turn off the an­noy­ing beep­ing that ac­com­pa­nies ev­ery lock­ing and un­lock­ing—it was loud enough that I wor­ried about wak­ing the neigh­bors. The world needs less beep­ing, and I’m do­ing my part.

Aes­thet­i­cally, the Star­link mul­ti­me­dia con­sole could use some work (and Subaru must have

agreed, as newer mod­els have up­dated looks). It does, how­ever, have an ac­tual vol­ume and tun­ing knob along with plenty of op­tions for lis­ten­ing to mu­sic. It of­fers pretty good clar­ity when lis­ten­ing loud, as well.

The mul­ti­ple power and USB ports were much ap­pre­ci­ated, as was the smart­phone notch built into the cen­ter con­sole. How­ever, the ex­e­cu­tion of a de­vice notch should be fur­ther fleshed out in the fu­ture. It would have been nice to be able to seat the phone in the notch and con­nect it to power or the con­sole. Good idea, but not 100 per­cent there.

One per­son on staff seems to think my de­vo­tion to legacy tech­nol­ogy makes me a Lud­dite. I think that’s a bit harsh and an in­ac­cu­rate un­der­stand­ing of the word, but you’re the bene­fac­tor of my in­abil­ity to let go of past de­vices.

For a while I was lis­ten­ing to my mu­sic and pod­casts via Blue­tooth streamed from my Drop­box app, and that worked pretty well, but re­cently I switched it up and have been us­ing the aux in­put to lis­ten via my ipod clas­sic. I went the aux route be­cause di­rectly con­nect­ing the large ipod li­brary was too much for the stereo to han­dle, and it would of­ten glitch out and restart the ipod. It does work to con­nect your mu­sic de­vice di­rectly via USB, but I had spotty re­sults and went with the tech­no­log­i­cally in­fe­rior ana­log aux in­put.

The Blue­tooth stream­ing abil­ity was easy to con­nect, so much so that while pick­ing up the car from the valet, I got in and no­ticed the car’s Blue­tooth had, from a dis­tance, al­ready synced to my phone and be­gun play­ing the show I was lis­ten­ing to. That’s a stereo ea­ger to start stream­ing.

The Su­bie does have a CD player, and just to make sure it worked, I dug a disc out of stor­age. For a sec­ond I thought maybe Subaru could be bluff­ing to see if any­one no­ticed, but it played.

The nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem went largely un­used un­til I dropped my phone’s un­lim­ited data plan. To save my­self from the data-de­plet­ing Waze, I used Subaru’s on­board nav­i­ga­tion, and to my de­light it worked re­ally well. Us­ing real-time traf­fic up­dates, the nav steered me clear of a par­tic­u­larly nasty off-ramp con­struc­tion project that stole hours from a bunch of co-work­ers.

Out on the road, al­though this model was called a “Sport,” it re­ally doesn’t give off a sporty vibe. Its 0–60 time of 9.1 sec­onds is com­pa­ra­ble to the Out­back’s 9.5 sec­onds, and in the pass­ing met­ric, the time to go from 45 to 65 mph, the Legacy and Out­back again were com­pa­ra­ble with 4.7 sec­onds for the wagon and 4.5 for the sedan. The Cam­rys and Accords of the world are at least 1.5 sec­onds quicker to 60 and at least a half-sec­ond quicker in pass­ing.

So this is not a sports car by any stretch, but de­spite its name I never re­ally ex­pected it to be. It does get up to speed in a safe amount of time and does not strug­gle to main­tain speed on the high­way. The con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion seemed to make the right “shifts” at all the right times with­out any lag or jerk­i­ness. I mostly didn’t no­tice it.

The ride it­self was smooth. The Legacy was able to absorb many of the mi­nor bumps in the road, and it elim­i­nated a lot of the an­noy­ing road noise to make for a pleas­ant com­mute in­side the cabin. This al­lowed me to cut some of my fel­low com­muters some slack when they be­haved a lit­tle less than noble. Oh, well. I’m happy in here.

We took the Legacy to the dealer for three sched­uled oil changes, tire ro­ta­tions, and in­spec­tions, and with­out any other prob­lems spring­ing up, we spent $0 on re­pairs or nor­mal wear and tear. The Out­back long-ter­mer also cost us noth­ing to main­tain, and our VW Pas­sat also in­cluded free main­te­nance. We spent $483.20 on four ser­vice vis­its over 30,828 miles with our 2016 Civic, how­ever.

In the past nine months I’ve en­joyed my time in the Legacy. I’m not nat­u­rally much of a lead foot, and gen­er­ally I pre­fer com­fort over aes­thet­ics, so the very work­man­like, smooth-rid­ing Legacy fit my driv­ing dis­po­si­tion pretty well. It’s nice when you and your car are com­pat­i­ble. n

Al­though the Subaru Legacy doesn’t have a stun­ning in­te­rior, ev­ery­thing was easy to ac­cess and in­tu­itive to use. The seats were com­fort­able, and the cabin was spa­cious.

The Subaru Legacy’s 175 hp won’t win drag races, but you’ll never feel left be­hind in traf­fic.

These ar­eas could use a lit­tle im­prove­ment. Al­though we ap­pre­ci­ate the de­vice holder (left) you couldn’t set it in there while charg­ing. And the In­fo­tain­ment in­ter­face is as bland as they come. That’s definitly be­ing up­graded for 2018.

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