Used 2001 Subaru Legacy Review

A capable all-weather sedan or wagon for an agreeable price.

what's new

The Brighton model is stricken from the Legacy lineup. All 2001 Legacys comply with low-emission vehicle (LEV) standards and come with standard 24-hour roadside assistance. Legacy L models now include an ambient temperature gauge, a dual-mode digital trip odometer and a fixed intermittent rear wiper with washer on the wagons. GT models feature a power moonroof, six-way power driver seat, limited-slip rear differential and multireflector halogen foglights.

vehicle overview

Subaru distances itself from mainstream automakers by emphasizing its all-wheel-drive (AWD) lineup, thus carving out a unique niche that other companies are just now beginning to address. Subaru emphasizes that true all-wheel drive is a transmission that "drives all four wheels all the time," thus differentiating their vehicles from other entry-level luxury sedans whose AWD systems turn on the non-powered wheels only when the others lose traction. A wise move, since loyal Subaru buyers stick with the brand partially because of the wide variety of AWD models in the company's stable. The AWD in the Subaru Legacy GT makes for a more controlled turn, giving the driver more confidence on tight curvy roads by increasing its handling ability. This is enhanced by the fully independent, sport-tuned suspension. The steering, tight and responsive, provides accurate control of the vehicle with no excessive pulling or looseness. Overall, it makes for a well-balanced, powerful ride and allows one to thread through traffic with precision. All Legacy models have a Phase II 2.5-liter, 16-valve, 165-horsepower boxer engine under the hood. Making 166 foot-pounds of torque @ 4,000 rpm, models come with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Subaru's H-4 design, first developed over 30 years ago for Japanese cars, makes the engine much smoother, as the cylinder vibrations cancel each other out. As a result, this engine growls, instead of roars, when you rev it. While either drivetrain offers substantial low-end torque, a bump in horsepower would greatly enhance the Legacy's fun factor and allow it to challenge more established competitors like Accord, Camry and Maxima.

This year, the Brighton model is no longer available. The Legacy L now includes an ambient temperature gauge, dual mode digital trip odometer, and a fixed intermittent rear wiper with washer on the wagons, while the GT sedans and wagons get a power moonroof (dual on wagons), a six-way power driver's seat, limited-slip rear differential, multi-reflector halogen fog lights and an in-glass antenna. Additionally, all Legacys boast conservative sheetmetal, a hidden tailpipe, standard breakaway mirrors and front and rear cupholders. Safety features for all models 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 standard on the Outback Limited and GT Limited, but are not available on lesser trim levels. The Outback has a built-in child seat option. Subaru has a good thing going with its Legacy, which offers a little something for everyone. Roomy, comfortable and loaded with utility, the Legacy's standard all-wheel drive, along with its many technical and stylistic innovations, should entice you to take a close look.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.