2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV
2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV
2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV
2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV. Click image to enlarge

Manufacturer’s web site
Subaru Canada

Share this story on Facebook

Join the official Autos Facebook group

Review and photos by Michael Clark

Find this vehicle in Autos’s Classified Ads

Photo Gallery:
2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV

It’s not easy being green. It’s also not easy figuring out a way to get people excited about the base model in your line-up. If the current selection of home-cleaning products beneath my sink are any indication, this save-the-planet jazz is on its way to becoming a downright phenomenon. It can even put money in your pocket, in the way of rebates from Transport Canada, though the current propaganda states that there are no such rebates in place for 2009 model year vehicles.

LEV, PZEV, and SULEV designations for engine emissions have been with us for some time, and are a worthy consideration as you scan the tech specs for your next ride. Enter the Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle Legacy for Oh-Nine, which is essentially the base equipment Legacy sedan with leafy green badging, and less planet-choking belch from the tailpipes. This week’s tester weighs in at an MSRP of $28,195. (Prices shown do not include freight, taxes, or regional incentives.)

The Cockpit/Centre Stack:

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am an absolute salivating fan of any manufacturer’s base model. There’s simply no place to hide your shortcomings. The good news is that the Legacy, like the rest of the current Subaru stable, has no apologies to make for placement and actuation of controls. The manual tilt/telescope wheel avoids the town of Sparta, by adding cruise control tabs to the right-hand spoke. Wipers are naturally intermittent, while headlamps do include an Auto-off sensibility, even though the feature is not labelled as such on the turn signal stalk. Manual HVAC controls are simple to manipulate, as is the single-CD audio head unit.

2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV
2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV. Click image to enlarge

Instrumentation includes tachometer and engine temperature, with an ECO minder light for good throttle behavior. (Never saw it once.) The multi-information display provides fuel economy information and exterior temperature readings. The four-speed automatic shift includes a manual gate, with the current gear selection displayed below the tachometer. The toggle for the exterior heated mirror controls is dash-mounted, while the power windows control pod provides an Auto-down for the driver pane.

Cubbies!

Dash-mount storage facilities have been shrinking in recent years, mostly due to issues of heat within.

2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV
2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV
2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV. Click image to enlarge

The Legacy’s dash pod uses a flip-up door, revealing a sunglasses-sized cavity, and a label warning that the cavity could make your Rayban’s a little gooey, or cause flammable items to live up to their names. The lockable glovebox does little to redeem the cubby dream, overwhelmed by a partition for the owner’s lit, which was actually found stored in the trunk. It appears that you have to choose the volumes you need to stow in the partition, since the glovebox cannot be closed with the full lit brick in the lower cavity. There are two 12-volt DC powerpoints; one in the dash ahead of the shifter, and a second within the centre console cavity, accompanied by an auxiliary audio input. The centre console cupholder can be closed off with a roll-top door. While the cavity offers two-step depth, the removable cinch separator offers little in the way of grab for your bevvie. There are no bottle holder provisions in the front door panel pockets, with no side pockets whatsoever for the rear door panels. Rear seat passengers do get a floor level dual cupholder, and no seatback storage pockets.

The Overhead

Check out these wiser visors, with backlit mirrors and sunshade sliders, plus a mondo stuff strap on the driver’s side. The rear-view mirror is a manual day/night flipper. The exterior roof panel does not offer any obvious attachment points for future racking.

Seat Treat

Eight-way power glide is the ride for the driver’s seat, with a manual lumbar lever on the inboard side of the seatback. Fronts seats gets four-step heat treating, fine-tuned with console-mounted dial controllers.

2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV
2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV
2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV
2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV
2009 Subaru Legacy PZEV. Click image to enlarge

The Inside Story Comfort Dummy reported good headroom, legroom, and seat angle for most carbon-based life forms, with a fold-down centre armrest.

Cargo Embargo

While the trunk cavity is ample, with a keyed interior lockout, there appears to be some fit and finish issues with the weatherseal, so much so that the lid required healthy whacks to ensure closure. Rear seatbacks also receive keyed lockouts topside, with an impressive flatness to their forward fold. The rear centre armrest also reveals a pass-through panel for skis and the like. Tabs exist within the trunk for cargo netting, and snap-in panels provide easy access for taillamp bulb replacement.

Spare Care

A space-saver spare is found below the cargo floor, covered by a handy styro-biscuit for additional storage. (This is where I found the owner’s lit.) The cargo floor gets a clip to keep it aloft, which promptly snapped off during the photo shoot. As for changeovers, Subie provides roadside assistance during the standard warranty period of 36 months or 60,000 kilometres.

The Mill

The PZEV 2.5-litre 170-horsepower boxer four offers impressive access for future service, as well as fluid checks and fill points. This reporter did notice a lack of heat shrink protection for wiring harness components on the passenger side of the mill, which should be easy to correct.

The Verdict

Badges? We may not need no stinkin’ badges, but we can certainly use less stinkin’ emissions from our daily drivers. The PZEV green leaf is both a brilliant marketing exercise, and an impressive thought generator that any potential new vehicle purchaser should check for on the specification list of any vehicle. I continue to be a smidge concerned about the Indiana-built Legacy’s quality control issues, which keeps this week’s tester at four stars.

Next week: Cayenne Part Two: 6 figures versus 5

Connect with Autos.ca