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2013 Subaru Legacy Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Subaru Legacy was new.


Performance: 7.2

The 2013 Subaru Legacy is the only car in its class with standard all-wheel drive, which many reviewers like. Subaru made several enhancements to the powertrain and suspension for 2013. Reviewers are happy with the Legacy’s revised handling, saying the car feels solid and somewhat athletic, though one notes that the cabin is very loud. Although critics say the new four-cylinder engine is tolerable, they also think it has lackluster acceleration.

  • "My biggest complaint is how loud the cabin is on the road. Road, wind and engine noises aren't well filtered out, creating sensory-overload-induced fatigue after long distances." -- Cars.com
  • "Whereas our 2.5 GT long-termer was eager to play, this 2.5i is as docile and sedate as an old dog." -- Autoblog
  • "Standard all-wheel drive is a bonus for snow-belt states." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Legacy is available with a four- or six-cylinder engine. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine from last year’s model is no longer offered. Both engines on the 2013 Legacy are horizontally-opposed Boxer engines. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is new for 2013. It makes 173 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission, though a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available. The 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine produces 256 horsepower and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The EPA rates the Legacy’s fuel economy at 21/28 mpg city/highway for the four-cylinder engine and manual transmission, and 24/32 with the CVT. The six-cylinder engine gets 18/25 mpg.

Auto critics are disappointed with the new four-cylinder engine in the 2013 Legacy, saying it is uninspiring and underpowered. Some say the six-cylinder engine is powerful enough for everyday driving, but others don’t think it feels as powerful as comparable six-cylinder engines in other midsize cars. They like the new CVT, saying it performs better than CVTs found in rivals. The manual transmission is cited for sloppy gear changes.

  • 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." -- Edmunds
  • The newly improved 2.5-liter engine's 173 horsepower provides adequate though unspectacular acceleration and passing, though its optional CVT works better than most and features a set of paddle shifters that allow manual-style gear changes." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The optional 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine in the Legacy I drove had more than enough oomph to power up icy, high-altitude mountains without complaining. Its acceleration was quick and responsive." -- Cars.com
  • "The 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder is actually new for 2013, but only produces three more horsepower and four more pound-feet of torque than the prior 2.5-liter engine. It is an adequate engine for buyers who care little for performance, but otherwise is taxed by the Legacy's weight and strain of its AWD running gear." -- Autoblog
  • Shift and clutch action are vague on 2.5i models. Most testers found it difficult to differentiate between 3rd and 5th gear when shifting. The 2.5GT has better clutch feel and the optional short-throw shifter is more precise than the standard unit." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Handling and Braking

Subaru says it improved the Legacy’s body structure, suspension and steering for 2013, as well as reduced body roll by up to 40 percent. Critics like the Legacy’s new handling capabilities, saying the sedan feels planted and delivers a comfortable ride. The steering receives positive marks for its good feedback. The Legacy is the only affordable midsize car that has standard all-wheel drive.

  • "We found the Legacy's ride to be exceptionally smooth and its cabin sufficiently quiet. The boxer engine's low center of gravity coupled with all-wheel drive make for stable handling with a slightly sporty edge." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Subaru also made some suspension tweaks for 2013. I haven't driven previous models, so I can't compare them, but the 2013 version feels like a great blend of solid connection to the road and softness and comfort suitable for the average driver." -- Cars.com
  • "This Legacy has surprisingly communicative and nicely weighted steering." -- Autoblog

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