Full 2007 Subaru Legacy Review
What's New for 2007
Last year's limited-production Legacy spec.B sedan returns to the 2007 Subaru Legacy lineup as a regular production model. For this year's version, Subaru has fitted it with an exclusive six-speed manual transmission (last year's had a five-speed) and a new limited-slip rear differential. In addition, a new turbocharger and various other engine upgrades in spec.B and GT Limited models allow them to meet LEV 2 emissions standards, and the peak horsepower rating is revised to 243. The turbo Legacys also pick up an SI-Drive feature that allows the driver to adjust engine responsiveness, a tire-pressure monitor and new instrumentation. All 2007 Legacys come with an MP3/WMA-capable CD audio system, as well as an input jack for MP3 players. (Higher-line models have SRS WOW technology, which is said to improve the sound quality of compressed-format music.) Rounding out the changes are new seat fabrics, a folding rear seat in all sedans, a revised five-speed manual transmission and the optional availability of XM satellite radio.
The Legacy is the oldest nameplate in the Subaru lineup. This might make one inclined to think it's Subaru's most successful model, but in reality it's often been living in the shadow of its Outback offspring and the highly praised Impreza WRX. Previous versions of the Subaru Legacy, though popular with people desiring a car with all-weather capability, were often passed over in favor of more mainstream choices like the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.
Thankfully, Subaru gave buyers more reasons to consider its midsize sedan and wagon when the car received a full redesign a couple of years ago. As a result, the 2007 Subaru Legacy is stylish, powerful and fun to drive, and all-wheel drive remains standard across the line. Legacy GT models feature a modified version of the Impreza WRX's 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine rated at 243 horsepower and 241 lb-ft of torque.
Although the continued absence of six-cylinder power in the Subaru Legacy might seem like a blow, rest assured that you won't miss it. Turbocharged versions especially have plenty of power and rival many V6s in terms of refinement and power delivery. They also have a new feature for 2007: SI-Drive (Subaru Intelligent Drive). "It's like having three engines in one," says Subaru. Marketing-speak translated, SI-Drive is a bit of software that alters the engine's throttle sensitivity and responsiveness depending on which of its three modes (Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp) the driver selects. On automatic-equipped GT models, it also affects the transmission's shift points. Alas, our experience has shown that SI-Drive offers minimal benefit to the driver. The economy-oriented Intelligent mode blunts performance too dramatically to be of much use, and we expect most drivers will switch the console dial to Sport Sharp and leave it there. (Unfortunately, this is the only mode that can't be set as the default upon startup.)
On the road, Subaru's midsize car has always been known for its fine handling. Accordingly, both the sedan and wagon ride beautifully on the highway, while providing a high level of entertainment on twisty back roads. Style and luxury were never within the previous Legacy's grasp, but no apologies need be made for the cockpit, which has one of the best-looking designs in this price range, not to mention high-quality materials.
Overall, the current Subaru Legacy is the best yet. We're fond of its energetic personality and all-wheel-drive capability, and we feel it's a good choice for somebody desiring an affordable midsize sport sedan or wagon. However, the 2007 Subaru Legacy is still somewhat of an alternative choice; its smallish backseat and limited availability of certain desirable features are significant drawbacks. If you find that it's not to your liking but you still want something alternative to the usual suspects, you might want to consider vehicles like the Acura TSX, Mazda 6 or Volkswagen Passat.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
An all-wheel-drive midsize car, the 2007 Subaru Legacy comes in sedan and wagon versions, each of which is available in a variety of trim levels. Both body styles come in 2.5i, 2.5i Special Edition, 2.5i Limited and 2.5 GT Limited trim levels, while only the sedan is available in 2.5 GT spec.B trim.
The base 2.5i comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a six-speaker MP3/WMA-capable CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack, a trip computer and full power accessories. The 2.5i Special Edition adds dual moonroofs (the sedan gets a single large moonroof) and a power driver seat. The 2.5i Limited includes heated exterior mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and an upgraded audio system with an in-dash CD changer. Upgrade to the 2.5 GT Limited and you get a turbocharged engine, a limited-slip rear differential, larger brakes, quicker steering, bolstered sport seats, a three-spoke Momo steering wheel and electroluminescent gauges. The 2.5 GT spec.B sedan features an upgraded Torsen limited-slip differential, a sport suspension with Bilstein dampers, 18-inch alloys with performance tires, a navigation system, ground effects and alloy pedal covers. The nav system is optional on the GT Limited sedan.
Powertrains and Performance
Two engines power the Subaru Legacy. All 2.5i models get a normally aspirated 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder that makes 175 hp and 169 pound-feet of torque. The GT Limited and GT spec.B models get a turbocharged 2.5-liter flat four that makes an impressive 243 hp and 241 lb-ft of torque. Like all Subarus sold in the U.S., the Legacy is all-wheel drive. Legacy 2.5i models are equipped with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. GT buyers typically have the choice of the five-speed manual or a five-speed auto. The spec.B has an exclusive six-speed manual transmission. Note that Subaru Legacy wagons take the automatic transmission only, except on the base 2.5i trim level.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and whiplash-reducing front headrests. Stability control is a new feature for 2007, but it's only installed on the spec.B sedan and GT Limited sedans equipped with both an automatic transmission and a nav system. The IIHS gave the current Subaru Legacy its Gold Award (its highest honor) after the car earned "Good" ratings for its performance frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests, and for its head restraints' ability to prevent whiplash in rear-end crashes. The NHTSA rates the Legacy very high as well; the vehicle has a perfect five-star rating for both frontal and side-impact crash protection.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, we can't help but like the Subaru Legacy's clean dash design and the convincing faux aluminum trim, not to mention the red-and-white gauges and three-spoke Momo steering wheel in the GT Limited and spec.B models. Build and materials quality is excellent. While the backseat is comfortable for two passengers, shoulder room and legroom are still pretty tight for this class. Kids should fit with no problem, though. Legacy sedans have an 11.4-cubic-foot trunk with a ski pass-through and fold-down rear seats. The wagon has folding seats and 66 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity.
Equipped with the base 2.5-liter engine, the 2007 Subaru Legacy provides adequate acceleration and polished road manners that you're sure to like whether your commute is all highway or includes a few twists and turns. If you can swing it, though, the upgrade to the turbocharged Legacy GT Limited or spec.B is well worth it, as the car is quick and entertaining to exercise on a back road, especially when equipped with one of the manual transmissions. Hard-core enthusiasts will note that the Legacy exhibits a bit too much body roll to be considered a bona fide sport sedan (or wagon), but the trade-off is a forgiving highway ride, even on the Bilstein-equipped spec.B. Steering is light, precise and high in feedback with all Legacys.