Used 2000 Subaru Legacy
Edmunds' Expert Review
A capable all-weather sedan or wagon for an agreeable price.
All-wheel drive is Subaru's mantra, and every vehicle they sell in America comes equipped with it. This includes the entire Legacy lineup of sedans and wagons that offer passenger-car styling with sport utility-like grip in inclement weather. The 2000 Legacy has been improved in several key areas while maintaining its unique position in the automotive pantheon.
While not a clean-sheet redesign, enough has changed to call it new. The sedan lineup now consists of the base L model, the GT and the luxurious GT Limited, while wagons come in value-packed Brighton trim, midlevel L trim, or top-of-the-line GT trim. All Legacys will be powered by a Phase II 2.5-liter, 16-valve, 165-horsepower boxer engine under the hood and the lineup switches from a dual-overhead-cam engine to a single, making the car's performance livelier, thanks to 166 foot-pounds of torque @ 4,000 rpm. All models come with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Additionally, Legacys receive a new body shape and front grille that improves aerodynamics with a low 0.31 coefficient of drag (Cd) for the sedan and 0.32 Cd for the wagon. A hidden tailpipe, standard breakaway mirrors, and improved front and rear cupholders contribute to the new Legacy's appeal. All-weather packages now include a limited-slip rear differential, the GT gets multi-reflection headlights, and the GT wagon receives a dual moonroof. New safety features include daytime running lights, front seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters, and a three-point seatbelt for the rear-seat center position. Side-impact airbags are now standard on the GT Limited, Brighton Wagons get ABS with rear drum brakes, and all models except Brighton add rear-seat outboard and center headrests.
Structural refinement was also addressed in the latest redesign with an innovative "Ring-Shaped Reinforcement" body structure. This design provides greater protection in a wide variety of collisions, including frontal, offset, side and rear. The new body also comes with two safety beams in each front door and one beam in each of the rear doors to further isolate passengers from side-impact collisions.
The interior has been revamped as well. Subaru ditched the tiny stereo buttons that made changing radio stations in the previous model an exercise in microsurgery. They've also enlarged the instrument panel and relocated the power door lock and window switches to a more user-friendly location on the door panel. The dashboard, center stack and instrument panel now has an organic flow that moves nicely across the interior, and the quality of the interior materials has been improved.
Subaru has a good thing going with its Legacy, which offers a little something for everyone. Roomy, comfortable, safe and loaded with utility, the model's standard all-wheel drive, along with its many new technical and stylistic innovations, and its reputation for stalwart reliability, should entice you to take a close look.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Every now and then, I like to sit at a stoplight and gauge my reaction time to it when it changes. It's my little pretend-I'm-an-NHRA-drag-racer thing. I don't do it when the roads are busy or wet only under ideal circumstances that include an empty intersection and dry, clear, straight roads. It's not about racing either. It's about timing and control about how fast my mind can communicate to my hands and feet that the civilian Christmas tree turned green.
Sitting at the light on a quiet Sunday morning, knowing the way the 2000 Suburu Legacy GT Limited drove and felt already, I was doing that very thing. I wanted to see how quickly my actions would translate to the Legacy's shifter and engine.
Unfortunately, the idiot in the BMW that pulled up next to me had plans to participate. But, I didn't know that. I never looked at him, only catching the black hood of his car with my peripheral vision. I never revved my engine. I didn't even rock the vehicle. I was motionless until it was time to go, concentrating on the intersection and the light.
When the signal turned green, I moved forward quickly, making sure I had maximum forward progression without jerking the car around or squealing the tires. I went through the first two gears in rapid, succinct procession, moving fast through the intersection.
On the other side of the cross street, I'd reached, perhaps, a blistering speed of 35 or 40 and began to slow down. That's when I realized that this guy was racing me. He zoomed past me. I let him. I wasn't racing. Besides, we were approaching another intersection and a red del Sol was turning left in front of us. I watched as the BMW sped ahead of me, into the intersection, nearly hitting the del Sol (but yet blowing his horn at it), and speeding on down the road. "What a jerk," I thought.
At the next big intersection, about three blocks away, I caught up to him at the light. There we sat. Except now, he was in the left lane and I in the right. I looked over at him briefly and back to the light. There would be no challenge from him this time. Behind my BMW-driving friend, sitting patiently at the light, was a black and white LAPD vehicle.
When the light turned green, we both moved forward at a much lower rate of acceleration than before. The LAPD car flipped on its lights and pulled the BMW over for, I presume, a speeding ticket. I continued on my way, confident in my choice not to play his game.
That's the kind of car the Legacy GT Limited is. It's aggressive in its feel and in its external features. Even the simple gesture of reacting quickly to the light prompted a Racer X-wannabe to respond as if we'd challenged him to a duel.
That aggressiveness comes from two things: a great engine and a striking exterior design.
Under the hood you'll find Subaru's aluminum 2.5-liter, SOHC four-cylinder boxer engine. Producing 165 horsepower at 5600 rpm, the Legacy GT has an engine to back up the looks. In its second phase of design, it's gone from a DOHC to a SOHC configuration, reducing weight, friction and complexity. Saab's H-4 design, first developed over 30 years ago for Japanese cars, makes the engine a lot smoother, as the cylinder vibrations cancel each other out. Because of that smoothness and the reduced vibrations, this engine growls, instead of roars, when you rev it.
Side note: The "boxer" nomenclature comes from the repetitive punching appearance of looking head-on at the horizontal cylinders.
One issue we had was with the shifter. It felt too tall for the short throws between gears, causing an unequal and awkward feel. On the other hand, the five-speed transmission, redesigned this year to produce more low-end and midrange torque, never caused a problem, either with freeway entrances or turning left into traffic on an uphill mountain road with a right leaning grade. Really. The ride was further enhanced by the all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Well-suited to foul-weather driving, it also assists a great deal in normal conditions.
Subaru's PR department spends a lot of time in their press kit talking about what AWD is NOT. They make the point that a lot of vehicles call themselves AWD, but very few actually are. True AWD, according to Subaru, is a transmission that "drives all four wheels all the time." Vehicles that turn on the non-powered wheels when the others lose traction don't count.
The AWD in the Suburu Legacy GT makes for a more controlled turn, giving the driver more confidence on tight curvy roads by increasing its handling ability. This was aided by the fully independent, sport-tuned suspension. The steering, tight and responsive, provided accurate control of the vehicle. There was no excessive pulling or looseness. Overall, it made for a well-balanced, powerful ride and allowed you to thread through traffic almost as precisely as the best pocket rockets.
The other part of the aggressive equation is the exterior styling. Outfitted with color-matching ground effects, the body has a lot of sharp-looking edges, a forward-leaning shape and the appearance that it's trying to be a muscle car. The 16-inch alloy wheels, and the low sidewall tires, only add to that impression. It's no wonder that guy in the BMW thought he had a race on his hands.
Interior material quality was mixed, with comfortable seats and a well-placed stick shift. The materials and dashboard didn't appear to be made of high-quality stuff, but it wasn't distracting. One problem could be the cupholder. Mounted high on the right side of the stereo/HVAC control panel, if you spill anything, it's going to dump smack on the face of your stereo.
Although there was plenty of legroom, up front and in the back, the interior was tight-fitting. It wouldn't have sat five as easily as a Nissan Maxima. But, you don't really miss it. This car doesn't drive like a sedan and sometimes you have to remind yourself that it has a decent-sized backseat. Trunk space was also plentiful, allowing room enough for luggage on long hauls, and came outfitted with the soon-to-be-ubiquitous cargo net.
The stereo had several attractive features, including well-lit and easily identifiable buttons. A small curiosity is that the in-dash, six-disc CD player had a "random play" button that only allowed random play of one CD at a time. You'd think that if a CD player had multiple discs, they'd have at least let it play randomly through the six CDs.
Noise levels were generally low, with only highway winds proving aurally irritating. Tire noise and general highway feel were good. This car was a pleasurable ride.
The Subaru Legacy GT Limited has strong power and a solid-feeling drive. The materials weren't of the highest quality, but they weren't abhorrent for the amount of money the car costs. Like a boisterous teenager, flexing his muscles in an attempt to display his physical superiority, yet actually boosting a low self-esteem, the Legacy GT Limited has plenty of strengths, yet flaunts them a bit too much.
If you'd prefer your car's actions to speak louder than its words, this car might not be for you. If you're swayed by the ride and don't mind showing off a little, check it out. Just try and stay away from BMWs. The drivers get defensive.
Used 2000 Subaru Legacy Overview
The Used 2000 Subaru Legacy is offered in the following submodels: , . Available styles include L 4dr Sedan AWD, GT Limited 4dr Sedan AWD, Brighton 4dr Wagon AWD, GT 4dr Sedan AWD, GT 4dr Wagon AWD, and L 4dr Wagon AWD.
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