2017 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Touring front three quarters
2017 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Touring

Test Drive: 2017 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Touring

I always find it exciting when a manufacturer takes on the role of championing the manual transmission. They are the last line of defence against an industry turning to electronic everything. With companies gradually turning their back on the classic gearbox, it’s good to see some still have faith in the technology. Subaru is definitely one of those companies. Up until recently, even the Forester was one of the last few SUV’s to be offered with a proper six-gear shifter.

It was no surprise then that the 2017 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Touring I got to test drive was equipped with a manual transmission, unlike most of its competitors. Having driven the previous-generation Legacy in its 6-cylinder, automatic format, it was interesting to be able to experiment with the smaller engine block and the manual gearbox. If my memory can be trusted, I might have to say that the 2012 model did a bit better.

Introduced in 2014, the most recent generation of the Subaru Legacy receives an elegant design. The look isn’t exactly what I would call remarkable; however, it is a step up from the previous model. For 2017, Legacy receives a few design upgrades, including a grey front grille, available 18-inch machined black finish wheels, side sill spoiler and such. A flaw has remained in the design and that is soundproofing. Road, wind and engine noise become part of your driving soundtrack in the Legacy.

Good thing the sedan has got you covered – at least for the noise, with the complete Starlink infotainment and audio system. The Touring version I drove also had quite the list of equipment including rear/side vehicle detection system, blind spot detection, voice-activated dual-zone climate control, rearview camera, heated seats and such.

The glossy screen covering the touchscreen is a bit of a nuisance; as soon as the sun hits the glass, visibility of the infotainment screen is immediately reduced. Despite the bland design of the overall dashboard, I can appreciate the quality of materials. Most surfaces are either soft-touch or more elaborate and premium-looking than plain hard plastic. As for the colour scheme, some modern iterations of the beige-and-black interior design work. In this case, however, it feels a little old.

Interior space is comfortable and efficient. The cabin doesn’t feel cramped. The backseat also easily receives up to three passengers with enough legroom and head clearance to please everyone.

The 2.5i version is powered by Subaru’s famous Boxer engine, this time in a 2.5 L, four-cylinder format. This iteration left me craving for more. The performance felt a little underwhelming. I understand that the Legacy isn’t meant to be a sports sedan, but I found it lacking, especially in the area of basic acceleration. This is despite a power increase from the remodel in 2014, kicking the output up to 175 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque.

On the bright side, when you say Subaru, you also say symmetrical full-time all-wheel drive. This is one of the brands biggest perks and most likely the feature that gives it an edge over its competitors.

A manual six-speed gearbox is the other perk. The gears are smooth and easy to change, but the friction point of the clutch pedal is frustratingly high and awkward – like you would have in a sportier car, but with more pedal travel. There isn’t a manual transmission I haven’t mastered out there, but this one proved to be more of a challenge. The handling of the car was, however, flawless. It was nimble and with just enough feedback to make you feel in control of the situation and not like the car could be driving itself.

Overall, the 2017 Subaru Legacy is a reasonably good choice in the marketplace. I would say, however, it sits somewhere in the middle of its category. To be honest, despite this generation being only three years old, it feels older than it really is. It is very bland, as though Subaru played it too safe when the time came to update their midsize sedan. With some fierce competition in the segment, the Legacy might not be the go-to pick, but the standard all-wheel drive and manual transmission might be enough to overlook some of its flaws.

2017 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Touring
Price (before taxes) : $26,595.00
Freight : $1,595.00
Configuration : front engine / all-wheel drive
Engine/Transmission : 2.5L, 4-cylinder Boxer / 6-speed manual
Power/Torque : 175 hp / 174 lb-ft
Fuel (Capacity) : Regular (85 L)
Combined fuel economy : 8.8 L / 100 km
Competitors : Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Jetta

Related links:
Subaru Canada

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