Odometer at pick-up: 856 km
Odometer current: 8,076 km (7,237 km by Autos.ca)
Observed Fuel Consumption: 8.8 L/100 km
Fuel costs: $745.76

Not every long-term test ends with an enthusiastic endorsement. Unfortunately for Subaru, quiet, understated competence just doesn’t capture the imagination in the same way as more emotionally appealing qualities like speed, sensuality and technology.

While only marginally appealing, that is moreso a product of the segment in which it competes and the very nature of the modern-day family sedan (and my own tastes and needs). Even my wife came to see it that way: “Next car, please. Don’t get me wrong, this car is actually perfect for a family of four with enough room for me in the middle seat if I have to sit back there, which I had to do quite a lot.”

It is good at what it was designed to do, so why can’t we get excited about it? Hannah explains our position: “What really makes this a deal breaker for me is the power, or the lack thereof. I think I would have been happy with this car if they had just injected a bit of power.” Oh, like the 256 hp and 247 lb-ft in the six-cylinder 3.6 Legacy? Power that had us all satisfied, but at a cost that might stifle interest. It only starts north of $32K (with destination) though it is a not-unreasonable $3,000 surcharge over equivalent top trims of the 2.5i four-cylinder.

It’s a no-brainer for me personally, but those who value economy and efficiency (and can practice patience in traffic) the 2.5i is a winner. If you can’t spring for a loaded 3.6 and stick with the $30,795 3.6R Touring, you’re trading better sound system and technology upgrades, as well as leather seating and bigger wheels compared to the $31,195 2.5i Limited. Toys or power? Your call.

Ours had neither. Just a modest 175 hp and 174 lb-ft, 1,598 kg plus variously sized family members and cargo. Despite this modesty, sharp throttle response and Subaru’s signature all-wheel drive could at least get the car leaping off the line and out front of other vehicles at low speeds, but it had very little left for acceleration at highway speeds despite the alacrity of the transmission, a CVT that delivered power output seamlessly, but did occasionally leap up the rev-counter at minute throttle inputs. The unpleasant sounds perhaps contributed to dissatisfaction with the powertrain.

2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Touring engine bay2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Touring gauges
2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Touring, engine bay, gauges. Click image to enlarge

While dissatisfied with the power, two other key factors received nothing but glowing reviews: efficiency and ride. On the efficiency front, my gas receipts and odometer readings put the Legacy 2.5i at 8.8 L/100 km, with the onboard trip computer slightly more optimistic at 8.6. The vehicle is officially rated at 9.0/6.5 city/highway, and we did indeed see some highway trips creeping down into the sixes, so if you don’t drive foot-to-the-floor too often, those seem entirely realistic and highly competitive. Key competitors in the segment: Toyota Camry at 9.7/6.9 and Ford Fusion at 10.6/7.0 are worse even without AWD, but the Honda Accord CVT manages slightly better at 8.8/6.5. That has to be considered a big win for the AWD Legacy, Subaru for generations lagging behind in the efficiency game.

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