2010 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT Limited new car reviews

The Legacy gets a new look for 2010. We like.
The interior moves a notch upmarket.
Power comes from--you guessed it--a turbo flat-four. We like that, too.

Better than: So many other four-door sedans
But not as good as: WRX STI
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 89.91

The Impreza got its redo a few years ago, and now it’s the Legacy’s turn. The new car is larger and more refined than before--just what it needed to compete squarely against the VW Passat, Mazda6, Ford Fusion and, dare we say it, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Subaru’s strategy has an extra twist: Give the buyer everything found in the rest of the class plus all-wheel drive. Think of the more advanced driveline as a free bonus--well, actually, a comparable Legacy runs about a grand less than an Accord.

The model line starts with the 2.5i, and power comes from a 2.5-liter, non-turbo flat-four. Two transmissions are available, a six-speed manual or a continuously variable model.

The 2.5GT gets the turbocharged and intercooled 2.5-liter flat-four. The turbo has been moved from above the engine to below, making for less turbo lag and a lower center of gravity. On the road, the turbo works seamlessly and its 265 horsepower makes for effortless passing and 6-second zero-to-60 times. We’d be happy with this setup and will go as far as to call it a driver’s car.

The final option is a flat-six mated to a five-speed automatic, standard setup for the 3.6R model. While perfectly adequate and comfortable thanks to the available 256 horsepower, this drivetrain seems to remove the personality and light feel found in the four-cylinder models.

Since our initial review, we have spent a little more time with the car. We also ran zero-to-60 times in both the dry and wet. On dry pavement, the car covered the sprint in 6.0 seconds flat. In standing water, we needed another tenth to reach 60. Not bad, Subaru, not bad.

Our test car featured a full slate of bells and whistles, including a $2995 add-on officially labeled Option Package 08: power moonroof, voice-activated navigation system, iPod/USB port, rear-vision camera and Bluetooth audio capability. Our car also had the Surius Satellite kit, a $461 option

Other staff views

Tom Heath Tom Heath
UberDork

I only drove this car for about 10 minutes, but it was long enough to leave an impression. Although the styling on the newest generation leaves me a bit cold, the mechanical guts of the latest Legacy felt nice in the short time I had with the car.

Per Schroeder Per Schroeder
PowerDork

The car accelerates very strongly, but with power tapering off quickly above 5500 the engine feels like it has a very narrow powerband, despite its 265hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The fastest 0-60 times were found with a launch of over 5500 rpm and shift points at 6000. Waiting till redline gives too much of a lag as the rev limiter really shuts things down in a hurry.

The top speed in second gear is just a hair over 60 mph, so you can just wind it to redline if you're shooting for that magical 0-60 number. Unfortunately, that kills your quarter-mile time, which is a hair over 14 seconds on average. The car weighs about 3600 lbs. and while this seems like a lot for a mid-sized sedan (well, at least for us sports car fanatics) it's only about 50 lbs. heavier than the previous generation. The newer car is both quieter and more comfortable for passengers. The rear seat legroom grew by a few points--and that makes this a much more usable package for transporting both kids and adults. Can we have a stick wagon, please?

Tim Suddard Tim Suddard
Publisher

When we originally drove this car in Seattle at a Subaru press event, we were impressed. After driving this car another 500 miles, we feel that every glowing thing we said about this car when we drove it last June was spot on. The new Legacy has interior quality at or above Honda levels and approaches BMW 3 series territory. This is a nice driving car. The turbocharged engine is smooth and fast, once you build the revs. The chassis, while a bit soft, is very competent.

The only two things that keep this car from being perfect is the slightly elevated amount of road noise and the clutch/flywheel combination, which like so many modern cars is tough to shift smoothly.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
4/7/10 1:07 p.m.

The 2.5GT comes standard with the 6-speed.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/7/10 1:31 p.m.

Good catch on the gearbox. That info should soon appear in the spec box.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/11/10 9:28 p.m.

Okay, looks like the info is there and the spec box is being difficult. Yes, it comes standard with a six-speed manual.

irish44j
irish44j PowerDork
4/16/10 9:16 p.m.

It's a shame that Subaru put such a great car in such an ugly package, else the new Legacy would be an instant top-seller in my opinion. And that's coming from an 09 WRX sedan owner, who takes alot of heat for having an WRX that looks like a corolla....

PeterAK
PeterAK Dork
4/17/10 7:27 a.m.

I agree with Per's comment about wanting it in a wagon with the 6 speed! That would be awesome.

CJSeipt
CJSeipt
5/1/10 3:42 p.m.

I own an '05 GT Limited sedan (5MT), and though I have a couple minor stylistic reservations about the '10 redesign (huge wheel arches, tall roofline, headlights a blatant Infiniti ripoff), overall I think it's a good, modern interpretation. I tend to ignore the comments about it being too large, other than the height; but honestly, this is what consumers wanted. More interior room, particularly headroom.

I've not driven a '10 GT yet, but my wife and I did drive a new 3.6R Outback. We both loved it, and may buy one to replace her '01 H-6. I also very much miss the Legacy wagons, and hope that the newfound craze for hatchback utility will lead to its return. But I'm not overly optimistic.

Besides, as great as that would be, I'd much rather see a Legacy STi on North American shores.

Dav
Dav Reader
5/8/10 11:33 p.m.

My wife was in an accident and we had to replace her Mazda 6 wagon (V6 5spd manual). She has always owned manual transmission. As mentioned above, you can no longer get a turbo wagon w/ a manual. The deal breaker on the Legacy GT sedan was that a white car HAS to come with this ivory colored interior that our two boys will have looking like dog bed in a few months. So we settled for a G8 GT when they were having the fire sale. A slushbox is easier to accept when there is 400 ft/lbs of torque in front of it... .

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

The Impreza got its redo a few years ago, and now it’s the Legacy’s turn. The new car is larger and more refined than before--just what it needed to compete squarely against the VW Passat, Mazda6, Ford Fusion and, dare we say it, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Subaru’s strategy has an extra twist: Give the buyer everything found in the rest of the class plus all-wheel drive. Think of the more advanced driveline as a free bonus--well, actually, a comparable Legacy runs about a grand less than an Accord.

The model line starts with the 2.5i, and power comes from a 2.5-liter, non-turbo flat-four. Two transmissions are available, a six-speed manual or a continuously variable model.

The 2.5GT gets the turbocharged and intercooled 2.5-liter flat-four. The turbo has been moved from above the engine to below, making for less turbo lag and a lower center of gravity. On the road, the turbo works seamlessly and its 265 horsepower makes for effortless passing and 6-second zero-to-60 times. We’d be happy with this setup and will go as far as to call it a driver’s car.

The final option is a flat-six mated to a five-speed automatic, standard setup for the 3.6R model. While perfectly adequate and comfortable thanks to the available 256 horsepower, this drivetrain seems to remove the personality and light feel found in the four-cylinder models.

Since our initial review, we have spent a little more time with the car. We also ran zero-to-60 times in both the dry and wet. On dry pavement, the car covered the sprint in 6.0 seconds flat. In standing water, we needed another tenth to reach 60. Not bad, Subaru, not bad.

Our test car featured a full slate of bells and whistles, including a $2995 add-on officially labeled Option Package 08: power moonroof, voice-activated navigation system, iPod/USB port, rear-vision camera and Bluetooth audio capability. Our car also had the Surius Satellite kit, a $461 option

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