Used 2013 Subaru Legacy Sedan Review & Ratings | Edmunds
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Used 2013 Subaru Legacy Sedan Review

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2013 Subaru Legacy Sedan

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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Subaru Legacy Sedan

  • Thanks to standard all-wheel drive and big-car comfort, the 2013 Subaru Legacy is a respectable choice among midsize sedans.

  • Pros

    Standard all-wheel drive; excellent outward visibility; spacious cabin.

  • Cons

    Weak base stereo; unimpressive six-cylinder fuel economy and acceleration.

  • What's New for 2013

    The 2013 Subaru Legacy features a variety of updates this year, including a restyled front end, a more powerful and efficient four-cylinder engine, an improved continuously variable transmission (CVT), revised suspension tuning and an available collision avoidance system. Base models now feature standard Bluetooth. The 2.5GT and 3.6R Premium trim levels have been discontinued.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Subaru Legacy Sedan

What's New for 2013

The 2013 Subaru Legacy features a variety of updates this year, including a restyled front end, a more powerful and efficient four-cylinder engine, an improved continuously variable transmission (CVT), revised suspension tuning and an available collision avoidance system. Base models now feature standard Bluetooth. The 2.5GT and 3.6R Premium trim levels have been discontinued.

Introduction

In a group of well-mannered and homogeneous midsize family sedans, the Subaru Legacy has often stood out with its commitment to all-wheel drive and horizontally opposed "boxer" engines. For 2013, the Legacy is perhaps not as distinct as it once was, but it still stands as an attractive choice for the right kind of car shopper.

As with most Subarus, all-wheel drive is the big selling point, since the Legacy is the only car in its class to offer this as standard equipment. In the past, this also meant mediocre fuel economy due to internal friction that is the nature of all-wheel drive, but this year Subaru has introduced a more fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine. When paired with Subaru's second-generation CVT, the all-wheel-drive 2013 Subaru Legacy with a four-cylinder engine returns 27 mpg combined, a figure that's quite close to that of the front-wheel-drive versions of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry with four-cylinder engines.

Those seeking a Legacy with a little more punch in their daily commute can still opt for the 3.6-liter six-cylinder, which carries over unchanged. Unfortunately, mediocre fuel economy and acceleration also carry over. Compared to other six-cylinder competitors, the Legacy 3.6 makes less power and returns between 3 and 5 mpg less in both the EPA highway and combined ratings. The Legacy's turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine also used to add some sporting flair to the Legacy lineup, but Subaru has discontinued it for 2013.

Added to the 2013 Subaru Legacy, however, is a newly optional "EyeSight" system, which uses two windshield-mounted cameras to adjust the adaptive cruise control, alert the driver if the car wanders out of its lane or apply braking to avoid or minimize a collision. This is safety technology we're accustomed to seeing from premium automakers, so its presence in vehicles from a more mainstream brand is encouraging.

Overall, we like the 2013 Subaru Legacy. Besides the appeal of all-wheel drive for added wet-weather traction, it's roomy, pretty well equipped and respectable in terms of safety and four-cylinder fuel economy. But if all-wheel drive isn't a big draw for you, other midsize sedans could prove to be more appealing. The Kia Optima is more stylish inside and out, while the Volkswagen Passat is roomier and offers a fuel-efficient diesel engine. If refinement and sharp handling are what you're after, the redesigned Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima are better choices. Certainly you'll want to test-drive a few of these popular sedans before coming to a decision.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Subaru Legacy is a five-passenger sedan offered in six trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Sport, 3.6R,and 3.6R Limited. The numbers refer to engine displacement. The turbocharged 2.5GT has been discontinued for 2013.

Base 2.5i models come with 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, air-conditioning, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

The 2.5i Premium model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, body-color outside mirrors, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system. An optional All-Weather package adds heated front seats, heated mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. A sunroof and a premium nine-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with HD radio and satellite radio can all be ordered à la carte.

The 2.5i Sport includes all the 2.5i Premium equipment and the All-Weather package as standard. It also comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a sunroof, aluminum pedal covers, faux carbon-fiber trim and upgraded upholstery.

The 2.5i Limited reverts to 17-inch alloy wheels, but adds more cabin amenities, including dual-zone automatic climate control, rear seat air-conditioning, leather upholstery and wood trim, a four-way power passenger seat, an upgraded gauge cluster and the Harman Kardon sound system.

Options for the Limited include a sunroof, the EyeSight driver assist system and a navigation system that includes a touchscreen interface, voice controls, a rearview camera and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The 3.6R model is equipped like the base 2.5i model, except that it has standard 17-inch alloy wheels and a six-cylinder engine. Meanwhile, the 3.6R Limited has the same standard and optional equipment as the 2.5i Limited.

Powertrains and Performance

The all-wheel-drive Subaru Legacy is offered with two different engines. The base 2.5-liter horizontally opposed ("boxer") four-cylinder produces 173 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission (which includes a hill-holder feature) is standard on the base 2.5i and the CVT is optional, while Premium and Limited models get the CVT standard.

Subaru estimates that 2.5i models with the CVT will return 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined, a slight gain on the former engine's performance. Manual-shift models rate 21/28/24.

The 3.6R features a 3.6-liter boxer six-cylinder good for 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic with shift paddles is the only transmission offered. In Edmunds performance testing, the 3.6R accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, a below-average time for the class. EPA fuel economy estimates for this powertrain are 18/25/20, well below average for the class.

Safety

The 2013 Subaru Legacy comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Subaru's optional EyeSight system for the Limited trim level bundles safety technologies, including adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning and sway warning. The EyeSight system uses two cameras mounted inside the upper edge of the windshield, which Subaru says reduces the potential for damage compared to conventional radar systems mounted in the front bumper. EyeSight can also detect pedestrians and is capable of braking the Legacy if the driver takes no evasive action.

In Edmunds testing, the Legacy 3.6R stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is average for the midsize sedan class.

The Legacy received the best possible five-star crash test ratings in frontal, side and rollover tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's testing, the Subaru received the highest Top Safety Pick+ accolade after earning a Good rating (the highest possible) in the moderate-overlap front-offset crash test, as well as the side-impact and roof strength tests. It also earned an Acceptable rating (second highest) in the new small-overlap frontal-offset crash test.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Subaru Legacy's interior design is sleek and sophisticated, although some of the hard materials lack the premium feel found in competing models. Controls tend to be straightforward in lower trims, but become more complicated as more features get piled on.

The navigation system's touchscreen in particular isn't exactly the most intuitive or attractive electronics interface. Nevertheless, most buyers will find the 2.5i Premium trim level worth springing for, as it includes the optional Harman Kardon audio system. The base 2.5i model's standard four-speaker stereo sounds tinny and flat.

The seats are comfortable, with plenty of headroom and rear seat legroom, although this expansive feeling doesn't extend to the trunk. Its 14.7 cubic feet of space is merely average for this segment.

Driving Impressions

Last year's Legacy offered a smooth ride and respectable handling, but we expect additional agility from the 2013 Subaru Legacy. Increased stiffness at key points of the body should reduce vibrations into the cabin, while retuned steering and suspension promise less body roll and quicker reactions to driver input.

The base 2.5-liter engine is adequate, but in the past, outright acceleration has trailed that of other family sedans. We've yet to test the new engine along with the revised CVT, but we doubt there will be a significant difference from before. With the departure of the 2.5GT and its turbocharged engine, that leaves the 3.6-liter six-cylinder as the main draw for those wanting some punch. It's an adequate engine, but is outclassed by competing V6s with superior fuel economy and acceleration.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 23 reviews) Write a Review


Perfect if you're looking for an awd sedan

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Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium PZEV 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I just purchased a 2013 Legacy with only 14k miles. I previously owned a 2008 Ford Escape. I wanted a car with better gas mileage that also had AWD. I was originally looking at Crosstreks, however, they are hard to come by pre-owned and the Legacy was a great deal. This is a great car if AWD is a must for you and you don't want to spend a lot of money. I wouldn't recommend the Legacy if you are looking for a real sporty/peppy ride. I don't find it boring but the CVT took me a while to get used to. It feels a little sluggish at times and is awkward in stop and go traffic. It's also pretty noisy. The steering is solid/heavy and you feel glued to the ground. The visibility/mobility is better than any other car I have owned. I can switch lanes very easily on congested highways. It's also super comfortable and roomy. Overall, I like the Legacy as it has everything that is important to me. It has AWD, good gas mileage and was under $20K. I also like it because it's different. I didn't want to drive what everyone else out there has. I can see why Legacy has such a loyal following. It's a unique driving experience and that can be good or bad depending on what you're looking for. I made out pretty good and will probably look at Subaru's again.




Car safety is first in its class

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Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6M)



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Snow monster, off road ability, mpg :)

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Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited PZEV 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

The Legacy is the best Sedan out there. Great MPG, eats snow up, and go off road, through mud, anything the height can handle... The CVT is good and delivers good shifts and MPG. Car looks good and you can feel the road. I had a camry and Altima lease and they are boring and poor performance and heavy feel. The Legacy feels great when you go AWD wheel drive... My Brother got an outback and its fantastic. Subarus are a 1500, to 2500 more then the others but you get a diffrent car. Boxter engine AWD, handling... Vs. In line transverse 4 banger like all the rest... MPG is 25.5 for me but when I drive conservatively you can get 28 city and up to 33 hwy for AWD... Safety small overlap test...



22 of 37 people found this review helpful

Not much positive

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Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

My wife wanted the Subaru Legacy for quite some time. Finally when it came time, I decided I would give one a try. We bought it with the plan to keep it for 6-8 years. The first thing I noticed when test driving was the strange feel of the seat on the back of my thighs. It was irritating for maybe a few weeks then I stopped noticing the seats were different from most vehicles I've owned. I drive about 17k miles a year. Probably 45% hwy and 55% city. I am impressed still with the mpg. It seems like I rarely have to fuel up. I get avg about 26mpg and I'm not trying. The back seats are large and passengers find them comfortable. There are though too many things I hate about this vehicle though.



12 of 12 people found this review helpful

Discover subaru

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Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited PZEV 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

2013 Subaru Legacy Limited... The interior toys are not as modern but functional and reliable. It definitely out performs the 2012 Nissan Altima we lease. Handling is great, power is smooth, MPG consistent 28 mixed up to 33 - 34 hwy, depends on how you drive. The AWD is incredible and the car feels solid and glued to the pavement... In a 2014 NJ winter the traction was flawless blasts through snow... Subaru's have a great road feel and confidence you cant get from other 4 cyl. FWD cars. The Legacy eats it all up, rain, mud, dirt, snow. People who drive my car say wow.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Great car

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Vehicle: 2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I've had the 2013 4-cyl. Legacy Premium for about 7 months now, and love the car. Picked it up for $22k including the all-weather mats (recommended). The main reason I bought it was the AWD, since I live where it snows a lot. The car is a beast in the snow, even with the regular tires. It was 11 degrees today with the car sitting outside, and it started without a hitch and plowed through about 5 inches of snow on the driveway to get to the street. It has plenty of room - it's larger on the inside than it seems from the outside, and the trunk is large too. It's comfortable, solid and well-handling to drive.



Talk About The 2013 Legacy

2013 Subaru Legacy Discussions See all Started By

jimt2
jimt2
11-02-2013
I have had to jump start a new Legacy 2.5i With NAV 3 times and the car is 2 months old. Each time I was waiting to pick up my kids with the key in accessory mode the headlights off and the car off. ...


easypar
easypar
03-26-2016
My wife has had a couple of Subies in the way past but 3 years ago she traded in a 2004 Lexus RX 330 and got a 2013 Outback. At the time I was in a 2010 Legacy. My Legacy (first year CVT) was great, g...


easypar
easypar
11-06-2014
I thought I had posted this before but can't find it now. My wife has a 2013 Outback, 2.5/CVT and the transmission is "different" feeling than my 2010 Legacy was. The 2010 CVT was brand new,...



Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 21
  • cty
/
  • 28
  • highway
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