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2012 Subaru Legacy

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2012 Subaru Legacy Review

Decent AWD midsize choice

Reviewed by Automotive on

The Legacy is Subaru's semi-premium midsize sedan, a sporty and sophisticated offering than the smaller, entry-level Impreza. The current-model Legacy made its debut in 2010, and little has changed since then. That's hardly a bad thing as the current model is a well-rounded, solid midsize choice.

Every Legacy features Subaru's all-wheel-drive system, the defining Subaru characteristic. But the automaker is also known for its flat-style engines, which offer a lower center of gravity for better handling. The Legacy lineup is powered by three engine and three transmission options, depending on your sport or economy driving intentions.

The base engine is a 2.5-liter flat-4, and with Subaru's CVT, can rate up to 31 mpg highway. For the spirited driver, the 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-4 makes gobs of power, but is only equipped with a six-speed manual. Subaru's 3.6-liter flat-6 engine costs more money and makes less power than the turbocharged engine, yet both the turbo and six-cylinder rate 25 mpg highway.

Inside, passengers will enjoy a thoughtfully planned interior, plenty of head and knee space, and a good-sized trunk. The center stack is tastefully modern, and Subaru offers a voice-activated navigation system, a rear vision camera, and a powerful Harman Kardon sound system.

Although the Legacy has standard all-wheel drive, the Subaru is otherwise a midsize sedan that neither leads nor falls behind in the segment.

The Range

Body style: Sedan
Engines: 2.5-liter flat-4, 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-4, 3.6-liter flat-6
Transmissions: six-speed manual, five-speed automatic, continuously variable transmission
Models: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5GT Limited, 3.6R, 3.6R Premium, 3.6R Limited

What's New

The Legacy is expected to receive a couple new colors, as well as upgraded audio and interior features.


The Legacy was redesigned in 2010. With large wheel arches, prominent chrome grille, and high-arced headlights, it isn't the best-looking midsizer, but it may look sporty, unique, or refined, depending on your tastes.


The Legacy's exterior dimensions and clever interior packaging provide plenty of useable room, and the cabin materials and overall build quality are very good.

Performance & Handling

Enthusiasts will opt for the 2.5GT Limited, with its 265-hp turbocharged flat-4, six-speed manual transmission, and revised sport suspension. The transmission is clunky and the brakes aren't very confident, but it is as comfortable on windy mountain road as it is in the fast lane. The rest of the lineup lacks performance, but features Subaru's grippy all-wheel drive, which is favored in rainy and snowy climates.


The Legacy features four-wheel electronic anti-lock brakes (ABS) with brake assist, electronic stability control, dual front airbags, side seat mounted airbags, curtain first and second row overhead airbags, airbag occupancy sensor, traction control, and all-wheel drive. The Legacy was an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2010 and 2011, and expected again for 2012.

EPA Fuel Economy

2.5 GT: 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway
2.5i: 19-23 mpg city/27-31 mpg highway
3.6R: 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway

You'll Like

  • Standard AWD
  • Diverse engine range
  • Top Safety Pickk

You Won't Like

  • Low turbo and flat-6 fuel economy
  • Clunky manual transmission
  • Weak brakes

Sum Up

Decent AWD midsize choice

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Ford Fusion
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Volkswagen Passat
  • Mazda6

See the New 2015 Legacy.

Front & Driver Side View