Subaru automobiles are produced by the Japanese firm Fuji Heavy Industries and have been imported to America since 1968. The man responsible for bringing Subaru to our shores was Malcolm Bricklin, a man who later would found his own auto manufacturer with his name on it. The 1975 Bricklin (no, that wasn’t a Bricklin in “Back to the Future”) was named one of the “50 worst cars of all time” by Time Magazine. Subaru, however, has had no such bad press, and in fact is one of the most popular cars in Colorado. This is my second Subaru review this year, and I thoroughly enjoyed the earlier time spent with a Forester.
This past week I had the pleasure of driving a 2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT Limited four door sedan, and upon delivery lit out for FlatIron Crossing mall in Broomfield. I travelled down U.S. 85 for a leisurely ride (except for the E470 part), and immediately noticed the big car feel associated with this Subaru. It features a six-speed manual transmission, and I was a little surprised at the long throw in the shifting pattern. This transmission is mated to a 2.5 litre, DOHC, “boxer” four- cylinder, turbocharged engine. You’ll recall that in the past I have praised Subaru boxer engines for their smoothness and low centers-of-gravity. Legacy’s come in three models, and two of them have six cylinders (3.6), but not this GT. That’s OK, because this 3,500 lb. sedan, with it’s additional 95 horsepower, can scoot pretty good as equipped, going through the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds. Reportedly, the governed top speed of this car is 150 mph. Big, Off-Black leather buckets are what’s bolted in the front of the GT, and a nice, three-person bench seat is in the rear. A handsome, leather, 3-spoke steering wheel contains buttons for audio, cruise control, and Bluetooth telephone. No navigation is in this machine, but there is a great 9-speaker stereo (harman/cardon, including satellite radio) and carbon fiber-patterned trim on the door panels. Nice interior, I must say, but no air conditioning vents are located in the rear.
This is the fifth generation of the Legacy and was introduced in the first half of 2009. It’s a terrific car, but has it’s hands full competing with heavy hitters from Honda (Accord) and Toyota (Camry), along with American midsize sedans named Malibu and Fusion. Styling of all five of these automobiles is great, in my mind, with the Subaru coming in about fourth (as I said, in my mind). On my trip back from Broomfield I jumped on Interstate 25 and probably looked pretty good with the Silver Steel metallic paint and 18-inch alloy, fifteen-spoke rims, plus a slightly tilted moonroof. Passersby probably couldn’t tell I was enjoying “Symmetrical” all-wheel drive traction in the GT. Maybe I wasn’t enjoying it, but I sure would in January. On this day my wife and I were, however, enjoying the dual-zone air conditioning (she was in the sun). I actually don’t think I have ever been around a car with a more sensible climate control arrangement.
When I got back to Greeley I stopped by Allen Park for a photograph. I like this car more when I am out on the highway and somehow do not like throwing the big sedan around town with this 6-speed setup. The flagship Subaru did give us a good ride week, but for my money I would vote for the six cylinder automatic Legacy 3.6R. I do look forward to getting my hands on such a model to ensure that my vote is appropriate.
Like: visibility, smooth ride, driver controls
Dislike: balky shifter, hot back seat, frumpy front and rear styling
2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT Limited – MSRP $32,120, including freight
WB – 108.3” Width – 71.7” Height – 59.3” Length – 186.4” Wt. – 3,477#
Engine – 2.5-liter DOHC, intercooled, turbocharged, 4-cylinder Subaru BOXER
265 hp @ 5,600 RPM and 258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2,000-5,200 RPM (rated 25H & 18C)