New sedans usually aren’t that exciting, but Subaru was able to take the Legacy from a concept version at the Geneva Motor Show in March to a production to be shown next week in New York.

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We like the Legacy because of the distinction it provides. For those who choose the family sedan, it can sometimes be hard to stick out from the crowd without taking styling to the extreme. The Legacy has always been relatively attractive and is distinctively a Japanese sedan. It’s also sold in numbers in the U.S. that ensure it won’t get lost in the mall parking lot.

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When the new Legacy arrives for the 2010 model year, the engine lineup will be improved. The base 2.5-liter boxer four cylinder makes the same 170 hp as in the previous model, but Subaru claims the fuel economy is improved. The turbocharged version of this engine available in the 2.5GT has been raised from 243 hp to 265 hp. The line is now topped by a 3.6-liter six cylinder boxer engine (its the one from the WRX). It offers 11 more hp than the 3.0-liter unit it replaces, and this one runs on regular gas (the 3.0 required premium fuel).

Full details in the press release after the jump.

Press release

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, today announced the unveiling of the all-new Legacy sedan (U.S. specifications) at the New York International Auto Show (press days on April 8 and 9, open to the public from April 10 through 19). The new sedan will be introduced in the U.S. market as the 2010 Legacy.

In the 20 years since the introduction of the first Legacy model, FHI has remained committed to enhancing both sporty handing and safety technology and has made significant improvements to this fifth-generation Legacy sedan. Featuring Subaru’s core technology, symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive (AWD), along with FHI’s original Horizontally-Opposed (BOXER) engine, the all-new Legacy sedan draws together superb driving performance and vital environmental considerations, while providing increased room and unparalleled comfort. The new Legacy sedan also features the new Subaru Lineartronic™ CVT (continuously variable transmission) and a new engine cradle design.

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Larger midsize package for all occupants to enjoy

On an all-new platform, the new Legacy sedan offers roominess comparable to mainstream midsize sedans in the North American market that are built around comfort and space.

  • The new Legacy sedan is 35 mm longer, 90 mm wider and 80 mm higher than the previous model. While its overhang dimensions are shortened by 45 mm, its wheelbase is expanded by 80 mm, allowing for additional rear legroom.
  • The trunk is enlarged and offers larger volume than the previous model, while its opening is also wider and placed lower for easier access and utility. The trunk will accommodate four nine-inch golf bags.

Exterior design
Based on the design concept of Presence, the new Legacy embodies advances in the Legacy sedan styling, combining boldness and beautility into its sporty look.

  • Overall exterior design, accentuated by sharp edges and character lines, highlights the vigor of the new Legacy.
  • Prominently projected wheel arches express the power running through the Symmetrical AWD system, enhancing the presence of the Legacy.
  • A distinctive wing-shape embellishment on the front grille shows the Subaru brand identity, and the front bumper designs accentuate flat horizontal surfaces. Embellished with solidly-designed headlamps, the front face of the Legacy makes a bold, powerful statement.
  • The cabin with dynamic design and a shorter deck give the vehicle a sporty appeal, while volume and power of the vehicle are expressed in the rear-end design, rounded and capacious and framed by the combination lights.
  • Moldings around the windows accentuate the sleek design of cabin area with a quality feel.

Interior designs

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For interior design development, Subaru focused on the key words, Active and Quality Feeling. A new interior design echoes the dynamic exterior lines and shapes and creates a more spacious cabin.

  • The new instrument panel, accentuated by sharp edges, creates the impression of more laterally-opened space in the front
  • A sense of powerful presence and fine quality is expressed in the center console shapes and in the decorative hairline finish on the surfaces of the console.
  • The incorporation of a new electronic parking brake eliminates the need for a side break lever and creates more space for the center console. The center console features two cup holders arranged side by side, and the console box and arm rest are enlarged to provide more inside storage space.
  • Both front seats excel in comfort and support, and their stitched fabric emphasizes the Legacy’s sporty look. A 10-way driver’s seat, with power lumber support adjustment, and 4-way power front passenger seat are available on premium-grade models.
  • A newly-designed 3-spoke steering wheel provides a sporty feeling and comes with audio and cruise control buttons. Steering wheel paddle shifters are featured on models with automatic transmissions and Lineartronic™ CVT.
  • The four dials on the instrument panel are outlined with aluminum-steam-plated meter rings, and, for immediate reading, their illuminated backgrounds are always on. A multi-information display with average-MPG indicator is located in the center of the dashboard.
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Engine and transmission
The new Legacy sedan is powered by improved Boxer engines that provide outstanding fuel economy. Three engine types are available in the U.S. market.
Legacy 2.5i

  • Engine displacement: 2,457cc
  • Max. output/ max. torque: 170 hp@ 5,600rpm/ 170 lb-ft.@ 4,000rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual / Lineartronic™ CVT

Legacy 2.5GT

  • Engine displacement: 2,457cc
  • Max. output/ max. torque: 265 hp@ 5,600rpm/ 258 lb-ft.@2,000- 5,200rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual

Legacy 3.6R

  • Engine displacement: 3,630cc
  • Max. output/ max. torque: 256 hp@ 6,000rpm/ 247 lb-ft.@ 4,400rpm
  • Transmission: 5-speed automatic

2.5-liter SOHC engine

  • Employing a resin-based intake manifold, the engine is now lighter in weight and improves low speed range torque. Additionally, better fuel economy is achieved through engine cooling performance improvement in an engine head. Optimizing the specifications of its catalyst, the engine offers outstanding exhaust gas control.

2.5-liter DOHC Turbo engine

  • Design changes in the turbocharger have raised performance and lowered emission levels.
  • Peak torque is generated at levels as low as 2,000 rpm, and sustained smoothly at higher rpm ranges.
  • The turbocharger unit is placed directly under the forward part of the crankshaft. This layout shortens the distance that exhaust gas must travel, increases response with smoother turbocharging and improves filtering of emissions. It also helps to lower the vehicle’s center gravity, which results in more efficient weight distribution.
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3.6-liter DOHC engine

  • Featuring the same external dimensions as the earlier 3.0-liter engine, the new 3.6-liter engine is compact and lightweight.
  • The Active Valve Control System (AVCS), which incorporates variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust valves, optimizes power delivery across the engine’s speed range while helping to reduce emissions. Not only does the 3.6 engine offer greater performance than the previous 3.0-liter unit, but it does so economically by using regular grade fuel. The 3.0-liter engine required premium grade.

The Subaru Lineartronic™ CVT (continuously variable transmission) offers superb driveability and fuel economy.
Lineartronic™ CVT

  • The 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated engine model is equipped with a chain-type CVT, the world’s first* longitudinally mounted CVT system for AWD production vehicles. (*Claim based on Subaru research.)
  • Chain-type CVTs boast higher torque delivery capacity and lower friction, helping provide better fuel efficiency than belt-type CVTs. The Lineartronic™ CVT employs smaller pulley cores, which makes the unit compact. And due to the significant size difference between the smallest and largest pulley core diameters, the CVT provides infinite variability between the highest and lowest available ratios, helping to keep the engine operating in its most efficient range.
  • With a perfect balance of torque delivery and engine revolutions, the Lineartronic™ CVT provides smooth acceleration with a linear feeling in response to the accelerator pedal.
  • The manual mode of the Lineartronic™ CVT, which a driver can choose to engage, uses six pre-selected steps that allow the driver to “shift” manually using steering wheel paddle controls. The shift response is always quick and smooth, comparable to the conventional sports AT models.
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Five-speed AT

  • Fuel economy is improved through the reduction of friction and weight in the AT unit.

Six-speed MT

  • For the first time in the U.S. market, the six-speed manual transmission is offered with the 2.5-liter non-turbo Legacy model. The new 6MT provides excellent fuel economy and improved driveability, as well as quieter rides in high-speed ranges, thanks to its wider ratio coverage.
  • The compact design of the modified 6-speed transmission for turbo engine models is made possible by optimizing the gear layout. This unit is also more than 25 kg lighter than the previous unit.

A new engine cradle design not only helps reduce noise and provides more refined ride and stability but also improves front impact safety.

  • The engine is mounted to the cradle frame, no longer installed on the chassis. The cradle system supports the engine on four mounts that utilize cushioning rubber filled with liquid material. By situating the engine in precise relation to the torque roll axis of the power unit, the cradle system helps reduce vibration. In addition, the cradle layout allows the turbocharger to be placed under the engine, which also helps reduce emissions.
  • The MacPherson-type strut front suspension is mounted to the new engine cradle, further improving steering response and handling and adding to overall rigidity. By changing the layout of the stabilizers with increased diameter, roll rigidity is enhanced. This keeps the stroke in line and improves ride comfort.
  • A new double-wishbone rear suspension is mounted to the sub frame. All suspension links and the rear differential are also mounted to the sub frame via bushes, while the link bushes and shock absorber mounts are optimized to suit the new Legacy. Those enhancements have significantly lowered overall noise levels.
  • The 2.5-liter models feature standard 16-in. wheels, in optional aluminum alloy, and 205/60R16 tires. Premium-grade models are fitted with 17-in. alloy wheels with 215/50R17 tires. And the 2.5 turbo models are richly furnished with 18-in. alloy wheels with 225/45R18 tires. On the Legacy 3.6-liter models, 17-in. alloy wheels with 225/50R17 tires are standard.
  • All models are equipped with a standard 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), which is augmented by Subaru’s Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). Further control is offered by Subaru’s Brake Assist safety system, which is available on all models.
  • A new electronic parking brake eliminates the traditional parking brake handle and allows for more storage space in the center console. An electronic Hill Holder System in the parking brake is automatically activated if the vehicle stops on any hill with a slope of more than 5%.
  • Also standard on all models is Subaru’s exclusive Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system, which further enhances stability and traction control capacity by optimizing the control time.
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Body construction

  • Use of high-tensile steel in critical body parts contributes to weight reduction and higher overall rigidity. The engine cradle design enables more efficient impact absorption, while keeping the body dimensions and weight virtually unchanged from the previous model.
  • The hood and trunk lid are fitted with gas springs for greater ease of operation.


  • In the event of front impact, the engine cradle frame folds inward and causes the power unit to slide downward, thus creating greater zone of protection for the cabin space. In combination with Subaru’s Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame safety structure, which is designed for efficient absorption of impact, front impact safety has been significantly improved.
  • Two impact beams have been added in each of the front and rear doors. With an optimized layout of its inner components, the door provides enough crushable space between its panels to afford another level of protection to the vehicle’s occupants.
  • Despite a shorter overhang, energy produced on rear impact is effectively absorbed through optimized frame construction.
  • All models feature front seat side impact air bags and side curtain air bags that insure additional head protection for front and rear occupants. Intelligent dual-stage deployment front air bags use sensors to detect both the presence and weight of the front passenger and the driver’s distance from the steering wheel. And for optimal protection of occupants, the system determines deployment strength of front air bags. The side airbags and curtain airbags are enlarged to further enhance passenger protection.
  • Newly designed high-strength front seat frames and energy-absorbing headrests provide enhanced protection against whiplash injury in a rear-end collision.
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Other equipment

  • Headlights are governed by an automatic lights-on and -off function that responds to specific driving situations.
  • A 60/40 split fold-down rear seat creates a wider passage to the truck compartment.
  • A cup holder inside the rear seat armrest comes standard.
  • Premium grade models offer additional comfort and convenience options, including a Harman-Kardon® audio system and a power moonroof with a tilt-up and slide mechanism.

Bold Design

The 2010 Legacy, while rivaling midsize segment leaders in roominess, stands apart with a bold, high-tech look. The Subaru badge is the focal point of the new grille, which features a squared off lower edge. Character lines arc from the grille and form power bulges on the hood, tapering off into the A-pillar. The coupe-like silhouette incorporates a larger greenhouse, and the powerful wheel arches and a shorter deck give the vehicle a sporty look.

Besting Midsize Benchmarks

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Built on an all-new platform, the 2010 Legacy offers roominess comparable to mainstream midsize sedans, with a focus on usable space and long-distance driving comfort. The wheelbase grows to 108.3-in., a 3.2-in. increase over the previous Legacy. The 2010 Legacy provides nearly four inches of additional rear legroom, which is enhanced by the scalloped back design of the new front seats.

The new Legacy is 3.2-in. higher and 3.6-in. wider than the previous model, yielding significant gains in head, shoulder and hip room. The 2010 Legacy offers more total passenger room (103 cu. ft.) than many of its competitors, along with one of the largest trunks (14.7 cu. ft.) in the segment. The roomy trunk is a significant achievement considering that the Legacy’s AWD requires packaging a rear differential and drive axles. Overall vehicle length is up by just 1.4-in. (now 186.4 in.), but overhang dimensions are reduced compared with the previous model.

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The 2010 Legacy interior is not only more spacious than before, but takes another step up in refinement from an already-praised design. The sporty four-dial instrument panel is augmented in all Legacy models by a multi-information display with trip computer located in the center of the dashboard. Richer looking appointments and details abound, including a sporty 3-spoke steering wheel (leather-wrapped in all but the base 2.5i and 3.6R). A new electronic parking brake – with an electronic Hill Holder System — eliminates the traditional parking brake handle, freeing up space in the center console. 

Confident, Agile Handling and Safety for any Road … or any Weather

The new Legacy improves crash-worthiness and provides a stiffer platform for a smoother, quieter ride – but retains the crisp handling and balance for which Subarus are known. Legacy 2.5i and 2.5i Premium models feature 16-in. wheels (alloy on Premium trim level); the 2.5GT models are exclusively equipped with 18-in. alloy wheels with 225/45R18 tires. The 6-cylinder Legacy 3.6R (all trim lines) is equipped with 17-in. alloy wheels with 225/50R17 tires.

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All Legacy models for 2010 are equipped as standard with Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), which combines stability and traction control capability. The 2010 Legacy models are also equipped with a standard 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and, new for 2010, the Brake Assist safety system.

New Level of Comfort and Convenience in All Models

Standard comfort and available amenities are increased across the Legacy line for 2010. The base 2.5i, for example, features standard steering wheel cruise control buttons, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, new electronic parking brake, automatic light function, overhead console with holder for sunglasses, and a 3.5mm auxiliary audio jack. The all-new electronic Hill Holder System holds the vehicle in place until the driver applies the throttle to pull away from a stop.

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Legacy Premium models add more amenities, including a 10-way power driver’s seat (with power lumbar support adjustment) and driver’s auto up/down window, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio switches, instrument storage bin with door, ambient light for overhead console, chrome exhaust tip, body-colored mirrors and 16-in. alloy wheels (all 3.6R trim lines have 17-in. alloy wheels as standard). The Premium models also offer additional comfort and convenience options, including a 440-Watt harman-kardon® audio system, a power moonroof, and the All-Weather Package that adds heated front seats and mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.

The Legacy Limited models feature standard leather upholstery, dual zone automatic climate control, harman-kardon® audio system, and a 4-way power front passenger seat. The Limited models also exclusively offer an available voice-activated GPS navigation system with an 8-in. LCD display and rear-view backup camera, hands-free Bluetooth® connectivity and streaming Bluetooth audio.

All-New Engine Cradle

MacPherson-type strut front suspension is mounted to a new engine cradle, and the engine is attached to the cradle using a new “wide spread” mount system. The new cradle is designed to also enhance frontal crash protection. A new double-wishbone rear suspension, mounted to a sub frame, replaces the previous multi-link configuration to provide improved ride, stability and handling. The new suspension design helps to reduce levels of noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH). Increased wheel travel and optimized suspension geometry also contribute to improved ride comfort.

Revised 2.5-liter Boxer Engine

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The 2010 Legacy 2.5i models are powered by a revised 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine, teamed for the first time to a new 6-speed manual transmission or the available new Lineartronic CVT with 6-speed manual mode. The CVT is standard in the Legacy 2.5i Limited.

The 2.5-liter engine, which is available as PZEV-certified, is modified for 2010 to improve performance, responsiveness, and fuel economy. The engine delivers 170 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 170 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,000 rpm. The i-Active Valve Lift System (AVLS) ensures a broad torque curve and smooth response at all engine speeds, while also helping to improve fuel efficiency.

Equipped with the Lineartronic CVT, the Legacy 2.5i achieves 23 mpg city / 31 mpg highway EPA fuel economy ratings, which are comparable to front-wheel drive midsize models. All Legacy models for 2010 feature a larger fuel tank, now 18.5 gallons vs. 16.9 gallons in the previous model, to extend driving range.

new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine, 170 hp at 5,600 rpm and 170 lb.-ft. at 4,000 rpm; 6-speed manual transmission or the available new Lineartronic CVT

Whether teamed to the new 6-speed manual transmission or the Lineartronic CVT, the roomier 2010 Legacy 2.5i provides quicker acceleration than comparable 2009 Legacy models. Either transmission helps make the Legacy 2.5i more responsive in everyday driving.

All-New Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

Subaru has adopted a chain-type CVT, the world’s first longitudinally mounted CVT system for AWD production vehicles. Unlike a conventional automatic transmission, which uses fixed gear ratios, a CVT provides infinite variability between the lowest and highest available ratios with no discernable steps or shifts. The CVT continuously and smoothly adapts to performance demand, helping to keep the engine in its most efficient operating range for improved fuel economy and performance.

Because a CVT does not shift gears, the driver enjoys smoother performance in all driving situations. The selectable manual mode of the Lineartronic CVT uses six pre-selected ratios to allow the driver to “shift” manually using steering wheel paddle controls.

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Legacy 2.5GT: 265 Turbocharged Horses

The new-generation Legacy 2.5GT gets a significant boost in performance from the revised 2.5-liter turbocharged / intercooled engine teamed to a new standard 6-speed manual transmission. Notably, the new 6-speed transmission is more than 50 pounds lighter than the 6-speed unit used in the 2009 Legacy 2.5GT spec.B model.

A larger turbocharger increases boost, and a new exhaust system uses a low-density catalyst for reduced backpressure. To improve turbo response time, the turbocharger is now mounted below the engine. With 265 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of peak torque (compared to 243 hp and 241 lb.-ft. in the previous 2.5GT), the 2010 Legacy 2.5GT can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in under six seconds.

3.6-liter 6-Cylinder Boxer Engine: Premium Performance with Regular-Grade Fuel

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The new 3.6-liter 6-cylinder Boxer engine replaces the previous 3.0-liter Boxer, yet features similar external dimensions thanks primarily to a unique shortened connecting rod design. As a result, this larger-displacement, more powerful engine maintains its excellent low center of gravity while improving power delivery and significantly improving the driving experience versus the 3.0 engine. Active Valve Control System (AVCS) variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust valves optimizes power delivery across the engine’s speed range while helping to reduce emissions.

The 3.6 Boxer engine produces 256 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 247 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,400 rpm, compared to 245 hp at 6,600 rpm and 215 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm for the previous 3.0-liter engine. Notably, the 3.6-liter engine sustains at least 225 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,000 to 6,000 rpm, making the Legacy 3.6R feel exceptionally smooth and responsive in everyday driving.

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Not only does the 3.6 engine offer greater performance than the previous 3.0-liter unit, but does so using regular-grade fuel compared to premium recommended in the 3.0. The specially tuned five-speed automatic transmission, combined with the greater torque output of the new engine, helps make the Legacy 3.6R more responsive when driving in hilly areas by significantly reducing “hunting” between gears. The 5-speed automatic transmission also incorporates improved downshift ‘blipping’ logic for the 2010 Legacy, which helps transmission responsiveness.

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive A Key To Brand Identity

Subaru offers three different Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive systems in the 2010 Legacy line – Continuous, Active Torque Split, and Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) — each tailored to the engine and type of transmission. In all Legacy models equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, the Continuous AWD system uses a viscous-coupling locking center differential to distribute power 50/50 front to rear. Slippage at either set of wheels will send more power to the opposite set.

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Legacy 2.5i models equipped with the Lineartronic CVT use the Active Torque Split version of Symmetrical AWD. An electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch actively controls power distribution in response to driving conditions. 

Legacy 3.6R models exclusively feature advanced Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) All-Wheel Drive with a 5-speed automatic transmission. A planetary center differential works with an electronically controlled continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch to manage power distribution. The VTD system normally sends more power to the rear wheels to enhance handling agility, and it continuously adjusts power distribution in response to driving and road conditions.

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What does the press say about the 2010 Legacy?

"The 2010 Subaru Legacy seems to love the American highway. It looks kind of bold and upright, like a traditional American car. Actually, it might look a little too upright thanks to the high hood line required to meet forthcoming pedestrian impact standards, and even the gorgeous headlights, hood scoop and extended rocker sills can’t quite deliver a long, lean look." (InsideLine)

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"Subaru sees the Mazda6 and VW Passat as the Legacy’s main competitive set, with sales behemoths Accord and Camry on the periphery. No matter which midsize sedan it’s challenging, the Legacy now delivers the interior room, refinement, and fuel economy to contend with the segment’s mainstream leaders." (MotorTrend)

"With a strut-type suspension in front and control arms out back, the Legacy proved to be a smooth cruiser on the highway and a capable back-road bomber, despite a healthy amount of body roll. To be fair, our drive route featured some of the smoothest pavement in North America, and the roads weren’t squiggly like the Stelvio Pass. Even so, this Legacy will hustle down a two-lane at least as quickly as a Mazda 6 or Honda Accord, if not quicker." (CarAndDrive)

What do WE think about the Legacy?

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Getting behind the wheel of the new Legacy makes you want to sit back and relax simply because of its softly sprung luxurious ride, with enough grunt to inspire confidence and the luxury of knowing that you won’t ever be forced to use it.

If you want a car that looks great and drives even better while offering a host of creature comforts and a very spacious interior, the Legacy 3.6 R Limited is model that you should give some serious thought to. A well equipped Legacy, like our Subaru will set you back a little over $30,000; now that is not bad for a very luxurious all wheel drive experience.

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Model Transmission MSRP
Legacy 2.5i 6MT $19,995
Legacy 2.5i CVT $20,995
Legacy 2.5i Premium 6MT $20,995
Legacy 2.5i Premium CVT $21,995
Legacy 2.5i Limited CVT $24,995
Legacy 2.5GT Premium 6MT $27,995
Legacy 2.5GT Limited 6MT $29,995
Legacy 3.6R 5AT-S $24,995
Legacy 3.6R Premium 5AT-S $25,995
Legacy 3.6R Limited 5AT-S $27,995
Partial Zero Emissions (PZEV) Models
Legacy 2.5i CVT $21,295
Legacy 2.5i Premium CVT $22,295
Legacy 2.5i Limited CVT $25,295
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Show Comments


  (1024) posted on 04.3.2009

A Subaru that actually looks good. Wonders never cease.

  (4) posted on 04.2.2009


I’m pretty sure more turbo lag does not equal less family-friendly. Plus, max torque available at 2000rpm isn’t much lag at all - it’ll only really matter when taking off anyways. If family-friendly is the issue, I don’t think the driver will be gunning it at each light anyway.

Myles_Kornblatt  (169) posted on 04.2.2009

The WRX engine in the 2.5GT should be the top of the line, it’s got more power and is more fun.

It must be the idea of turbo lag that keeps it out of the top spot for the more family-friendly Legacy.

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