After rolling out a concept version at January’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Subaru of America Inc. will unwrap the production ’10 Legacy sedan at this week’s New York auto show.
As expected, the production car, like the concept, is larger and more powerful than its predecessor.
The ’10 Legacy, going on sale in the U.S. this summer, rides on a new platform measuring 108.3 ins. (275 cm) in wheelbase, 3.2 ins. (8.1 cm) longer than the outgoing model. The new version also is 3.2 ins. taller, 1.4 ins. (3.6 cm) longer and 3.6 ins. (9.1 cm) wider.
The result is more cabin space, including a 4-in. (10.2-cm) jump in rear-seat legroom, somewhat thanks to the car’s scalloped front seatbacks.
Subaru says the 103 cu.-ft. (2.9 cu.-m) of passenger room betters the volume of many competing midsize sedans and that the car has one of the largest trunks in the segment, with 14.7 cu.-ft. (0.4 cu.-m) of space.
The increase in trunk volume is “a significant achievement considering the car’s design requires packaging a rear differential and drive axles,” Subaru says.
As with all Subarus, all-wheel-drive is standard on the ’10 Legacy, although the type of AWD varies by trim level and transmission.
Subaru is offering three main trims with the ’10 Legacy, the 2.5i, 2.5GT and 3.6R, and eight models total.
The 2.5i base model, 2.5i Premium and 2.5i Limited are offered with Subaru’s 2.5L 4-cyl. boxer engine. Output goes unchanged for the mill, with 170 hp and 170 lb.-ft. (230 Nm) of torque. Transmissions for the 2.5i trims include a new 6-speed manual or Subaru’s new Lineartronic continuously variable transmission.
The CVT is standard in the 2.5i Limited and features a manual mode with paddle shifters in that application. It is a chain-type transmission, with smaller pulley cores, a design that provides better fuel efficiency over belt-type CVTs, the auto maker says.
The Legacy 2.5GT Premium and 2.5GT Limited models’ new turbocharged and intercooled boxer engine makes 265 hp vs. 243 hp in the outgoing generation. Peak torque is 258 lb.-ft. (350 Nm), up from 241 lb.-ft. (327 Nm) in the previous 2.5GT Legacy.
“The new engine features a unique turbocharger that is mounted below the engine,” Subaru says. “This new location not only contributes to smooth turbocharger response and improved emissions, but also lowers the car’s center of gravity.”
The turbo mill is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, with Subaru saying the 2.5GT models “are equipped to challenge some of the best names in the sport sedan field.”
The auto maker pegs the car’s 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time at “under six seconds.”
The 3.6R, 3.6R Premium and 3.6R Limited are powered by Subaru’s new 256-hp 3.6L flat-6 engine, seen in the concept and replacing the 245-hp 3.0L engine of the outgoing Legacy.
Despite the increased displacement, the 3.6L has the same external size and uses regular-grade fuel, not premium, as was required for the 3.0L, Subaru says.
The 3.6L 6-cyl. mill in the ’10 Legacy is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.
The car retains its MacPherson strut front suspension, but in the ’10 model the suspension is mounted to a new engine cradle, attached to the engine with new hydraulic mounts. The cradle’s high-strength steel composition “enhances frontal crash protection.”
The rear suspension is now a double-wishbone, mounted to a sub-frame, replacing the multilink system of the current Legacy.
The switch should improve ride, stability and handling, Subaru says.
All ’10 Legacy models come standard with electronic stability control, electronic brake-force distribution and 4-wheel disc antilock brakes. Brake assist is available.
Standard features of the 2.5i include steering-wheel mounted audio and cruise control buttons, 60/40 split rear seat, automatic headlamps and ambient overhead console lighting.
A new electronic Hill Holder System keeps the car from rolling back until the driver applies the throttle. The ’09 model was held in place only for a few seconds.
Premium Legacy trims get an 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support and auto up/down window on the driver’s side. Optional on Premium models is a Harmon/Kardon audio system, power moonroof and all-weather package with heated front seats and mirrors.
Legacy Limited models boast standard leather seating and 4-way power front passenger seat. A voice-activated GPS navigation with an 8-in. (20-cm) LCD monitor and rear-view backup camera is optional.
Prominent design cues for the ’10 Legacy are its grille with centered-badge, larger greenhouse, shorter deck and “powerful wheel arches.” Inside, there’s a 4-dial instrument panel with multi-information display in the center of the dashboard.
Gone is a traditional parking brake handle, replaced with an electronic parking brake to free up center-console space.
Ward’s data shows Legacy sales have been resilient in the U.S., despite the decline in new-vehicle demand. Deliveries are down just 24.8% through March, compared with a 40.3% decline in Middle Car sales.