All-new for 2005, the Subaru Legacy represents a new direction for Subaru: it’s very serious about moving up into the premium midsize market. With its refined styling and interior, and proven all-wheel-drive system, it’s bypassing its Japanese competitors and aiming for Audi and Volvo.

The Legacy comes in sedan or wagon form, and with two engines: a 2.5-litre, naturally aspirated four-cylinder (the 2.5i), and a 2.5-litre four-cylinder with turbocharger (the 2.5GT). Both are horizontally-opposed “boxer” engines, and both come with Subaru’s legendary symmetrical all-wheel-drive, with a limited-slip, viscous-type rear differential on the GT models. The Legacy is also the base for the all-new Outback crossover vehicle.

All models are extremely well-equipped and come in base or Limited trim lines, with sedans and wagons sharing amenities. The 2.5i base model includes a five-speed manual that can be optioned to a four-speed automatic, air conditioning, 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, CD player with six speakers, dual exhaust, cruise control, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, power heated mirrors, and heated seats. The wagon includes a 60/40 split folding rear seat, roof rails, cargo cover and a rear spoiler.

The Limited adds four-speed automatic with manual mode, leather interior, six-CD system, dual-zone automatic climate control, power sunroof, eight-way power driver’s seat, and halogen projector beam fog lamps. The wagon adds a cargo tray and roof racks with lockable crossbars.

The base GT models include all of the 2.5i’s features, plus 17-inch alloy wheels with Z-rated tires, ventilated rear brake discs, six-CD system, dual-zone climate control, MOMO steering wheel, hood scoop, integrated turn-signal side mirrors, sport gauges, halogen projector beam fog lamps, front sport seats, and premium cloth upholstery. The wagon also adds a cargo tray and roof rack with lockable crossbars.

The GT Limited adds leather interior, eight-way power driver’s seat, four-way power passenger seat, and power sunroof.

Always a pleasure to drive, the Legacy is now also satisfying when simply sitting; the interior, even on the base models, is a considerable improvement over 2004’s cabin, although interior space is still on the tight side; the marginally-shorter Acura TSX has more rear head-, hip- and legroom than the Legacy sedan. The turbocharged GT is a sweet and spirited ride, offering the “fun-value” of the WRX for those who are young-at-heart but a little more mature on the outside.

The Legacy is built in Lafayette, Indiana.

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