Snow. Sleet. Black ice. Torrential downpour. If you live in Canada, there's a very good chance that you'll drive through inclement weather at least once a season, if not more. And if you do, there's a good chance you'll want all-wheel drive to help you handle Mother Nature's worst. While it's true that most crossovers offer four-wheel traction, not everybody wants a crossover. And for those folks, Subaru's Legacy might be the right car.
Rival to the ubiquitous Toyota Camry and Honda Odyssey, the Legacy is Subaru's midsize sedan and shares its platform and running gear with the Outback wagon crossover. While not especially sporty, this sedan offers a comfortable ride, secure handling and generous interior and trunk space.
The standard engine for the Legacy is a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine, and is one of the few midsize models still offered with a manual transmission. It's the only choice if you want something midsized with all-wheel drive and a manual, though. A CVT optional on 2.5i and 2.5i Touring trims, and standard with all other packages. So equipped, the four-cylinder Legacy is one of the most efficient models in the class, rated at 9.3 L/100 km city and 7.0 L/100 km highway.
Those needing more oomph may wish to consider the optional 3.6-litre horizontally opposed six-cylinder, which comes exclusively mated to the CVT. It develops 256 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque, which is less than most of its rivals. Fuel economy is rated at 11.9 L/100 km city and 8.3 L/100 km highway, which is more than its rivals.
Changes to the Legacy are minimal for 2017.
Touring trim levels receive a new 7.0-inch display audio system, Starlink smartphone integration, Siri Eyes-Free, dual USB ports, and text message assistant. Limited trim levels also get a new standard heated steering wheel, too.
As with an increasing number of midsize sedans, the Legacy gets a sports appearance package for a bit more visual chutzpah. The new 2.5i Sport with Technology Package is set apart by its unique 18-inch wheels, dark-finish grille, gloss black exterior trim, and body kit. The interior gets carbon-effect trim, two-tone sports seats, and multi-colour (blue, black, and silver) interior stitching. The suspension, steering, and powertrain remain the same. It's a modest $1,000 upgrade over the 2.5i Touring with Technology Package.
What has, however, been upgraded is the Legacy's Technology Package, which includes the EyeSight active safety system. In addition to radar cruise control and emergency autonomous braking, the updated system also includes Reverse Automatic Braking (RAB) and automatic high beams. RAB will automatically stop the car if it detects a nearby object.
Pricing for the Legacy kicks off at $23,495 for the 2.5i with manual and $24,795 for 2.5i with CVT. The 3.6R starts at $30,895 and tops out at a still-reasonable $35,895 for the 3.6R Limited with Technology Package. If AWD is a necessity, the Legacy is a compelling value; its closest rivals, the Ford Fusion and Chrysler 200 require high-power premium engines. The most affordable AWD variants for these nameplates cost $34,488 and $35,495, respectively.