Subaru Legacy 2018 Car Review

By AA Editor

There’s nothing quite like a Subaru Legacy with sporting pretensions as a sleeper when a bendy road beckons. To the uninitiated you’re a sales rep in a comfy sedan, to the tarmac you’re a happy blur. And a comfy one, for this car might be quick, but it’s not willing to sacrifice the everyday amenities for that rare hard-edged Sunday blat.

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There have been a few modest changes to the Legacy line-up for this year, with a 2.5i Premium in the line-up and the return of the 3.6RS Premium.

Subaru is pitching this Legacy RS as a replacement for the Aussie-built Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore, and certainly it has a character that lovers of the big six-cylinder Aussies might like. True, Holden does have a Euro-built V6 alternative, its Commodore RS-V 3.6-litre wagon with all-wheel-drive, for $60,990. Yes, the Subaru undercuts that, and of course there’s just something about a flat six engine which appeals. This one’s also available in the Outback, but the sedan is lighter, the tyres are better suited to tarmac, and suspension travel is shorter.

That said, the springs are set a little softer than we’d like when travelling a winding road at pace, and it seemed prone to the occasional bump-steer moment. Then again, a firmer set-up might solve that, but day-to-day ride would suffer, and what do you appreciate most, most of the time? A comfy, quiet ride linked to confident cornering and brisk acceleration when you want it makes for an engaging recipe in your daily driver.

Especially given that you can choose just how responsive the car will be. Where the 2.5 versions feature two drive modes, this 3.6 offers ‘I’ – or Intelligent – for everyday driving, ‘S’ for intermediate Sport, and Sport# if you want to get feral. Don’t forget this is an executive’s sedan, not a sports car, but it’s good for zero to 100kph in 7.2 seconds, 2.4 seconds quicker than its 2.5-litre sibling despite being 82kg heavier.

This Legacy features Subaru’s EyeSight tech as standard, now with Lane Keep Assist to help hold you between the white lines. It also introduces LED headlights that are steering responsive, adaptive high beam, and front and side monitors to add to the reversing camera.

Then of course there’s its active torque vectoring system to help drive it round bends, a TCS limited slip device, and all the safety fruit that’s almost a given these days, including blind-spot detection, and rear cross traffic alert.

That EyeSight is certainly clever, and who doesn’t like to know they’ve got pre-collision throttle and braking systems? But really, is an alert to tell you the car in front has started moving really necessary? Although Subaru might argue that maybe it is, given the eight-inch screen that controls, among other functions, the 12-speaker Harman Kardon system and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto could prove distracting. Even given the Bluetooth tech includes Siri compatibility and voice command.

This cabin is smart, beautifully laid out, with eight-way electronically adjustable front seats our smaller testers would have liked with more supportive side bolsters for the contrast-stitched, leather-wrapped surface, and the seat heaters were nice in the current winter weather, too.

As for the rears, those passengers get their own heating vents, and if the centre pew is vacant, a fold-down armrest with a cupholder apiece, while the boot’s a roomy 493 litres.

All this is packaged within a smart, if understated body that features an update to the grille, a new 18-inch alloy wheel design and smaller wing mirrors with shorter stems to cut wind noise.

Overall it’s hard to fault this Legacy. Sure, driving enthusiasts might like a firmer ride, but their family won’t thank them for it. You certainly can’t argue with what you get for the money in terms of space, features, extra fruit – and that characterful engine with its delightful kick in feral mode. After all, you might live your life in ‘normal’ Intelligent mode, but it’s always nice to know there’s a bit of spice waiting in the wings, even if you never use it.

 

At a glance

Models

Subaru Legacy 3.6RS

Engine

 3.6-litre horizintally opposed six-cylinder

Price

$54,990

ANCAP safety rating

 5

Power and Torque

 191kW at 6000rpm, 350Nm at 4400rpm

Transmission

 Six-speed auto

Fuel economy

9.9l/100km

Towing capacity

1800kg

2WD/4WD/AWD

AWD

Seating capacity

5

Luggage capacity/payload

493 litres

Safety systems

Blind spot detection

Two Isofix, three child seat tethers

Rear cross traffic alert

Rear, side and front cameras

7 airbags

Lane Keep Assist

Lane Departure Warning

Pre collison brake assist and throttle management

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