2005 Subaru Legacy New Car Review
On a bee-line stretch of Michigan 52, which shoots north out of the crossroads center of Stockbridge, we put the pedal down on a souped up sports sedan packing turbo-charged power. Response comes almost instantly, as the new car lunges ahead with its turbo whining and tires scrambling to keep pace with the engine's high-revving whirrs.
The speedometer's needle moves swiftly around the number notches while we work a sporty Momo steering wheel and play the shifter from switches mounted on the wheel. Then we hang on, as the car seems to slink down on the pavement and run with bedrock stability -- as if all four wheels are rooted in the road.
In only a mile-long stretch on the 52's pavement, this machine shows us it has the right kind of structure and strong mechanical components to earn the description of a sports sedan. Yet the surprise, at least from our perspective, is that this particular sports sedan also carries the six-star oval badge of Subaru.
The automaker, headquartered in Japan but armed for America with a manufacturing plant in Indiana, only builds all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicles for our market and has a reputation here for producing economical cars powered by efficient although rather tepid four-cylinder engines.
Yet in Subaru's 2005 line the Legacy -- mid-size four-door sedans -- scores a redo to create a stronger vehicle and challenges the image of a puny-powered Subaru.
In effect, Legacy in this new format grows up. Physically, it's a larger car now. The wheelbase is about an inch longer and the track is wider too. Overall, the structure measures almost two inches longer and half and inch taller at the roofline.
The exterior stylings look strong and powerful, too. The prow, tapering to a narrow point in front of a sculpted hood, carries new clear-lens halogen four-beam headlamp clusters flanking an octagonal grille split by two parallel bars in chrome and a lower fascia with wide air intakes and round fog lamps on corners. Smooth flanks with body-color moldings, mirrors and door handles are interrupted by modest wheel well blisters and large 17-inch alloy wheels. At the blunt tail there's a spoiler lip on the flat trunk deck and bold taillamp clusters at back corners followed way down by chrome tips of twin pipes.
Subaru also modifies the suspension, brakes and steering mechanisms
to forge a more responsive vehicle.
The engine mounts in a cradle that's lower, which ends up setting the car's center of gravity lower. The suspension is fully independent with retuned MacPherson struts up front. In back a redesigned rear multi-link, set on a sub-frame of hydroformed steel, has a lower roll center and revised geometry to increase stability and improve handling. And the steering system, through a rack and pinion arrangement, is also tuned for quicker responses and a more precise on-center feel at the wheel.
All sedans in the Legacy series employ a symmetrical AWD system, but the device differs by type of transmission. With a standard manual five-speed shifter, the AWD system has a viscous-coupling locking center differential (VC/LCD) designed to distribute the engine's power evenly between front and rear wheels. Slippage of either front or back wheels may prompt the device to redirect some of the power to the wheels not slipping, and it's possible to send all of the torque to the front or rear, depending on the circumstance.
Trims and powertrains are different too with a total of four sedan variations in the series. Subaru segments Legacy by two powertrains, then arranges two trims variation with each engine.
The trims are labeled as Legacy 2.5i and Legacy 2.5i Limited, each packing the base engine, and Legacy 2.5 GT plus Legacy 2.5 GT Limited, each with the turbo engine.
Legacy's entry-level engine is
a single-cam 2.5-liter Subaru block with four cylinders
opposed horizontally and set perpendicular to the
drive line, then linked with equal-length drive
shafts so pairs of cylinders act like boxers jabbing
at one another in counterbalanced movements that
negate the typical four-pack's vibrations. This
produces 168 hp at 5600 rpm with torque reaching
to 166 lb-ft at 4000 rpm. The engine ties to a five-speed
manual transmission, although an automatic four-speed
transaxle is available.
For more power, Subaru borrows
from its sporty WRX STi rally-style performance
car a turbo-charged and inter-cooled boxer four
to create two souped-up Legacy models, the 2.5 GT
and 2.5 GT Limited. Each with a functional air scoop
on the hood.The WRX plant, with twin cams and 2.5-liter displacement, comes with STi's active valve control system (AVCS) variable valve timing to optimize engine efficiency. Output climbs to 250 hp at 5600 rpm and the torque zips up to 250 lb-ft at 3600 rpm.
All of that energy channels through a heavy-duty manual five-speed or optional five-speed automatic with Subaru's SportShift mode for quick shift controls via the console stick or buttons on the steering wheel. With the five-speed automatic, variable torque distribution (VTD) applies to the AWD system, which gains a planetary center differential to split the engine's torque by default to 45 percent up front and 55 percent in back. However, a continuously variable hydraulic clutch (CVHC) works with wheel sensors and electronic controls to change the torque split as needed.
|2005 Subaru Legacy Sedan
|| Mid-size AWD sports sedan
Legacy 2.5i Limited
Legacy 2.5 GT
Legacy 2.5 GT Limited
|| 105.1 inches
|| 186.2 inches
2.5i: SOHC 2.5-L H4
2.5 GT: DOHC 2.5-L H4 TC/IC
2.5i: Manual/5 and Auto/4 2.5 GT: Manual/5 Heavy Duty and Auto/5 SportShift
2.5i M5: AWD VC/LCD
2.5i A4: AWD CVC
2.5 GT M/5: AWD VC/LCD
2.5 GT A/5: AWD VDT/CVHC
|| Power rack and pinion
|| Power 4-disc ABS/EBD
4 (side curtain)
2.5i M/5: 23/30 mpg
2.5i A/4: 22/30 mpg
2.5 GT M/5: 19/25 mpg
2.5 GT A/5: 19/25 mpg
2.5i M/5: $ 21,295
2.5i A/4: $ 22,295
2.5 GT M/5: $ 26,095
2.5 GT A/5: $ 27,295
More Information Click: Subaru Legacy