2007 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT Limited Wagon – Test drive and new car review – 2007 Subaru Legacy GT Limited Wagon

22 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2007 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT Limited Wagon – Test drive and new car review – 2007 Subaru Legacy GT Limited Wagon

A car for all seasons

Subarus are best known for the all-weather grip of their standard all-wheel-drive systems. Problem is, whenever I test a Subaru, the sun comes out. This time I decided that if the weather wouldn’t come to the Subaru, I’d bring the Subaru to the weather. My wife Robin and I planned a 1300 mile odyssey that took the 2007 Legacy 2.5 GT Limited Wagon from snowy mountains to sunny deserts.

How did it do? Read on. $22,210 base, $32,585 as tested, EPA mileage estimates (GT Limited) 19 MPG city, 25 MPG highway.

First Glance: Putting the Legacy to the test

The Subaru Legacy has always been one of my favorite mid-size cars. I like it because its available as a wagon and it’s not as common as the Accord. Camry and Altima.

But the Legacy’s true claim to fame is its standard all-wheel-drive system, which has made it a favorite in places that get lots of snow.

We don’ t get much snow here in Los Angeles, but we can drive to places that do. With the kids away at their grandparents, Robin and I headed for the Sequoia National Forest, where there was snow (if not gold) in them thar hills. That done, we set off through the California desert to Arizona to pick up the kids and the four tons of toys their grandparents had showered upon them.

My test subject was a Legacy 2.5 GT Limited, the top-of-the-line Legacy wagon. (The Sedan is available in a sportier Spec B model.) The GT sits above the 2.5i, 2.5i Special Edition and 2.5i Limited models, and is easy to spot; it has a cool-looking hood scoop (link goes to photo) that feeds outside air to the intercooler (part of the plumbing for the GT’s turbocharged engine). Subaru plans to give the Legacy a facelift next year (photos ), including a new, more prominent grille.

Frankly, I think the Legacy looks great just the way it is, though I wouldn’t mind if those side sills below the door went away. I couldn’t figure out why, no matter how dirty the Legacy got, one patch on the side sill was always clean — until I realized that, because the sill sticks out so far, my pant leg was rubbing against it each time I got in or out of the car.

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In the Driver’s Seat: Lots of space, fussy controls

GT’s interior is well appointed and comfortable

Photo #169; Aaron Gold

The Legacy’s front seats are great, though a telescope (in-and-out) steering wheel adjustment would make the driving position ideal; that’s coming in 2008. The rear seats are generous, and the huge sunroof allows back-seaters to enjoy the sky as well.

New for 2007 is an upgraded stereo with XM satellite radio, something Robin and I really appreciated as we drove into the middle of nowhere. If you haven’t experienced satellite radio, it’s worth the cost just to be able to drive for hours on end and never have to change the station.

That’s especially important for the Legacy since the stereo has so many buttons. I found it difficult to change stations without taking my eyes off the road. (Steering-wheel audio controls are also coming in 2008.) What ever happened to old-fashioned dials? The dual-zone climate control is also more complex than it needs to be.

There’s no way to change both driver and passenger temperature at once — if you’re alone in the car, you have to manually set the same temperature on both dials.

In terms of cargo space. the Legacy hauls as much as many SUVs. The rear seat folds flat and the center seat belt can be detached and stowed up in the headliner.

A roof rack is standard on all Legacy models, but the crossbars, which you’ll need to actually carry anything up there, aren’t included. They’re available at Subaru dealers ($130 retail) along with a variety of cargo carriers, bike carriers, and even a kayak carrier. Not that we had to worry — the kids’ haul from the grandparents barely made a dent in the Legacy’s load bay.

On the Road: All-wheel-drive and SI-DRIVE

The Indiana-built Legacy GT gets a 243 horsepower turbocharged 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine that has all the oomph of a V6. A 5-speed automatic with manual shift buttons on the steering wheel is standard in the GT wagon. We averaged 23.1 MPG, midway between what I expect from 4- and 6-cylinder midsize sedans. It was a good showing, tempered by the fact that the Legacy GT requires premium fuel .

Another new feature on the GT is Subaru Intelligent Drive (or SI-DRIVE). Controlled by a rotary switch. SI-DRIVE has Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp modes. It works a little like the power/economy switch on some electronic transmissions, allowing the engine to stay in the lower gears longer for better acceleration.

But SI-DRIVE also affects how eagerly the engine responds to the gas pedal. I set it to Intelligent most of the time, switching to Sport on some of the curvier roads; I found that Sport Sharp gave the accelerator too much of a hair trigger. SI-DRIVE is a gadget for gadgetry’s sake, and I’d be happier with a simple power/economy switch.

As for the all-wheel-drive system — now that’s a gadget that really makes a difference. The Legacy’s grip was incredible, whether the roads were dry and twisty or covered in snow. Despite all the power, you really have to ham-fist it to get the car to spin its wheels, and when you do the electronic stability and traction control systems step in to help keep the car going where you point it.

The Legacy GT’s suspension is tuned for what I think is an ideal balance between a comfortable ride and excellent handling.

Journey’s End: What would Aaron buy?

Legacy GT’s turbo engine gets decent mileage but requires premium fuel

Photo #169; Aaron Gold

Any lingering doubts I had about the worth of all-wheel-drive evaporated on this trip. I used to live in upstate New York, so I know a thing or two about winter driving, and the Legacy’s ability to go in the snow is something to behold. All-wheel-drive helps on dry pavement, too — I was able to make some serious time on the switchbacks below the snow level.

Though the turbo’s extra power was nice — the GT accelerates from 50 to 80 like nobody’s business, which came in handy when passing — I’d go for the 175 horsepower non-turbo engine in the non-GT models. It’s better on gas and doesn’t require premium fuel like the turbo does.

Personally, I’d opt for the $22,120 Legacy 2.5i model (read review ). It’s well equipped (power windows, mirrors, and locks, A/C, antilock brakes, torso and side curtain airbags) and is the only Legacy wagon available with a stick-shift. For those who don’t share my preference for clutch pedals, I’d suggest the 2.5i Special Edition; at $23,620 (including 4-speed automatic, power driver seat and big sunroof) it’s a great buy.

The GT had almost all the gizmos I could ask for, except a navigation system — it’s only available on the sedan. But the aftermarket units are getting so good and so cheap I’d be inclined to go with one of those.

We own a mid-size wagon (a 1996 Honda Accord) and the balance between carrying capacity and fuel economy is hard to beat. And the Legacy does it all so well — it’s roomy, loaded with safety features, and a delight to drive.

Bottom line: Would I spend my own money for a Legacy wagon?

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