NEW FOR 2009:

– New PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle) sedan and wagon models
– New 3.0R Limited and Premier Package sedans
– 2.5GT sedan and wagon models discontinued
– 2.5i adds power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, heated seats and Sirius satellite radio
– Touring models add Harman Kardon nine-speaker system with Digital Signal Processing, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear selector, Vehicle Dynamics control and Sirius satellite radio
– 2.5GT spec.B adds Harman Kardon nine-speaker system with Digital Signal Processing, perforated black leather seats and Sirius satellite radio
– Exterior colours: Ruby Red Pearl, Satin White Pearl and Seacrest Green Metallic added; Deep Bronze Metallic discontinued
– Interior colour: Taupe Leather added

For 2009, the Subaru Legacy line-up receives some major changes. The base trim lines of both the sedan and wagon are now Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) models. The 2.5GT sedan and wagon models are discontinued; in place of the 2.5GT sedan, a new 3.0R Limited model is added, which uses a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine with five-speed automatic transmission borrowed from the Outback. A Premier Package is also available on this model. The Touring and 2.5GT spec.B models receive upgrades to their lists of standard equipment.

The PZEV models use the 2.5-litre four-cylinder found on the 2.5i Touring models, but with modifications that reduce its emissions by as much as 90 per cent when compared to a conventional vehicle. These include a dual-filtration air intake system, tighter fuel injectors that prevent evaporative emissions, a reprogrammed Engine Control Module that delays ignition timing to bring the system to ideal operating temperature sooner, and a PZEV-specific catalytic converter that contains more mesh and catalyst inside. The system is specifically for emissions control, and the car gets the same fuel economy as the conventional 2.5-litre models. Subaru is offering it only on one trim level to gauge customer reaction (it is also available on one trim line of the Outback). The PZEV revs higher and has a slightly rougher idle immediately after start-up, but otherwise, the system is undetectable.

The Legacy is available as a sedan or four-door wagon. Trim lines on the sedan are the PZEV, 2.5i Touring, 3.0R Limited, Premier Package, and 2.5GT spec.B; wagon models are the PZEV and 2.5i Touring.

Engine choices are a 2.5-litre four-cylinder horizontally-opposed with five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission in the PZEV and 2.5i models; a turbocharged and intercooled 2.5-litre with six-speed manual transmission in the 2.5GT spec.B; and the new 3.0-litre horizontally-opposed six-cylinder with five-speed automatic transmission in the 3.0R Limited. All come with all-wheel drive.

Features on the PZEV sedan include 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input and Sirius satellite radio, sub-floor trunk cargo tray, heated cloth seats with eight-way power driver’s adjustment, cruise control, tilt and telescopic wheel, power windows with auto driver’s down, heated mirrors, auto-off headlamps, variable intermittent wipers, and 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat with locking trunk pass-through.

The PZEV wagon is similarly equipped, but adds a cargo cover, low-profile roof rails and rear washer/wiper, and its rear seat is 60/40 split-folding with no pass-through.

The 2.5i Touring sedan adds 17-inch alloy wheels, 385-watt Harman Kardon nine-speaker system with seven-channel amplifier and Digital Signal Processing, fog lights, power sunroof, wiper de-icer, traction control, stability control, and leather-wrapped wheel and shifter lever.

The Touring wagon is similarly equipped, but adds a 440-watt system with eight-channel amplifier and cargo tray.

The 3.0R Limited sedan adds dual-zone automatic climate control, six-CD/MP3 premium stereo with wheel-mounted controls, quick-ratio steering, passenger seatback pocket, SI-DRIVE engine management system, chrome side moulding, electroluminescent gauges, multi-information display with ECO gauge, woodgrain trim, leather seat inserts and door trim panels, leather-wrapped parking brake lever, and paddle-shift controls.

The Premier Package sedan adds DVD-based navigation system and colour touch-screen monitor system.

The 2.5GT spec.B builds on the Premier Package and adds 18-inch alloy wheels, larger brake rotors with ventilated rear discs, Bilstein sport-tuned suspension with aluminum alloy front and rear arms, underbody aerodynamic covers, functional hood scoop, shift-up indicator, titanium finish interior trim, sport seats with perforated leather inserts, aluminum alloy sport pedals, two-position driver’s seat memory, four-way power passenger seat, and limited-slip rear differential.

Nicely-sized and truly a pleasant car to drive, the Legacy moves forward with a "clean" vehicle that passes both California’s strict CARB regulations and Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) standards, without sacrificing performance. The new 3.0R should be popular with those who like a sportier car without going to a turbocharger, while the spec.B remains a powerful contender with six-speed shifting and sticky tires. In some cases, prices go down (as with the spec.B) and the PZEV model comes in at the same MSRP as the base 2008 2.5i version that it replaces.

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