Test Drive: 2013 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited car test drives subaru reviews
Test Drive: 2013 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited car test drives subaru reviews
2013 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited. Click image to enlarge

Review by Brendan McAleer, photos courtesy Subaru Canada

If you switch off traction control in the Legacy 3.6R and stomp on the throttle, it will happily spin all four tires through a corner in the rain. I tell you this not to boast of some imaginary driving prowess on my part, but to illustrate the power of this largest-engine variant of Subaru’s mid-size sedan. After all, when you buy a Subaru, you’re not really purchasing a car – you’re paying for the powertrain and it just happens to come with some sort of box attached to it.

In Subaru’s early days, the company took the whole box thing quite literally. An old Loyale or GL is square enough to make a Volvo look like an Aston Martin. Still, through the years the Legacy has been steadily improving in appearance, culminating in the gorgeous Legacy GT of the mid-2000s.

These machines were (and remain) stupendous-looking, particularly the very rare Legacy 2.5GT Spec.B. One teensy problem: hardly anybody actually bought that car. Thus, come 2010, we have a total redesign that is as frumpy as a pastel-pink cat-print fleece jogging suit. It looks a bit like a Passat, a bit like a Camry, and a bit like a visual yawn.

In fact, the reason you’re currently looking at PR photos is that my Twilight Blue tester faded into the background so thoroughly I plumb forgot to take pictures of it. Yes, the new front fascia adds an element of personality, and there’s the new corporate grille, but, I mean, this car is about as fashion-forward as a pair of pleated Dockers khakis. The PR release says the new front boasts aggressive new styling. It’s like Grandpa Simpson yelling at a cloud.

Test Drive: 2013 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited car test drives subaru reviews Test Drive: 2013 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited car test drives subaru reviews Test Drive: 2013 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited car test drives subaru reviews
2013 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited. Click image to enlarge

However, let’s stop drubbing the Leggy for being a little boring-looking – there’s a very good reason why Subaru has supplanted Saab and taken a great deal of business away from Volvo. Unlike the Swedes, Subaru is just quirky enough to be interesting, but reliable, safe and surefooted enough to draw away buyers who don’t want mainstream choices like a Honda Accord.

Step into the Legacy and find a similarly conservative interior layout that’s perhaps getting slightly outdated. Were it not for the blue Subie badge on the steering wheel, one might think you were in a Toyota product, especially with all the silver-painted plastic trim in here. That’s the bad; the good is that layout, ergonomics and quality all seem to be very good. Yes, it might not seem cutting edge to design your controls to be easily operable while wearing gloves, but it’s sensible. Especially to us Canadians.




About Brendan McAleer

Brendan McAleer is a Vancouver-based automotive writer, a member of AJAC and a ginger.