A couple of my tweeps are giving my current car du jour some hard knocks. They're calling it dull and cheap, and they're saying it's way too expensive for what it is. They're even recommending that you should buy a BMW or Audi instead. Um. Really? I think they kind of missed the point. The Subaru Legacy is more about practical functionality than crazy luxury. And, it costs $10K to $30K less than a comparably equipped equipped BMW or Audi.
Legacy has a base price of $20,295 and comes standard with all-wheel drive, a phenomenal 2.5-liter Subaru Boxer engine, Bluetooth connectivity and a very nice continuously variable transmission. To get a BMW 3-Series with AWD and an automatic transmission, you'll spend a minimum of $38,500, and to get an Audi A4 with AWD, you're looking at $34,600. Now I do have to admit that my test vehicle is the top-of-the-line 3.6R Limited, which is more closely priced to the A4 than the base Legacy. But still. At this level the extra things you get include: the 3.6-liter, 256 horsepower Boxer engine; sport shift paddles, heated front seats, 440-watt Harman Kardon audio system and leather seats. And that's for $28,895. The tester also added the inclusive Moonroof + Navigation + EyeSight System package for $3,940, and the as-tested price is $33,605.
Still less than the A4 with quattro.
What's really phenomenal here is the EyeSight System. In addition to lane departure warnings and adaptive cruise control, the other interesting feature this system offers is object detection. Whether the object appears or disappears, if the car thinks you aren't paying attention, it pings you. For example, I was stopped at a red light and reaching in the center console for sunglasses when the light turned green and the car in front of me moved. Because I didn't move immediately, the car beeped at me and flashed a message on the gauges that told me to get moving. Alternatively, if I'm driving, a car pulls out in front of me or suddenly brakes and I don't immediately follow suit, I get another ping. I could see how this might get annoying, but in the age of distracted driving, I think this is utterly brilliant.
I also really like the navigation system. It's easy to use and the map is phenomenally clear and easy to follow.
I will give my tweeps the point that the Legacy does have some uninspired exterior design. But I concede nothing else. The interior at the Limited level is well appointed and downright luxurious. I love the heated leather seats. The ride and handling is smooth and fun. The Boxer 6-cylinder engine is better than great. And the EyeSight System is amazing. At $34K, I couldn't ask for anything else.
And did you catch the point that it still costs less than the Audi A4 with quattro?