CHICAGO – Subaru unwraps the next-generation of its all-wheel-drive Legacy sedan, on sale this summer in the U.S., today at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show.
The ’15 Legacy receives several updates from the outgoing ’14 model, including what Subaru claims is the biggest passenger cabin of any car in the U.S. midsize segment.
The Legacy’s interior passenger volume grows to 104.6 cu.-ft. (2,962 L) from 103 cu.-ft. (2,917 L) in ’14, while maintaining identical exterior dimensions. Subaru says hip, leg, shoulder and headroom are improved.
Cargo-carrying capacity also grows, with the Legacy’s trunk now 15.0 cu.-ft. (425 L), up from 14.7 cu.-ft. (416 L) in ’14.
Buyers of the Legacy still get to choose between 4- and 6-cyl. all-aluminum DOHC boxer engines.
The 2.5L 4-cyl. debuted in the ’13 Legacy and gets updated for ’15 with a slight boost in horsepower to 175 from 173. Torque tops out at 174 lb.-ft. (236 Nm) as before, but now is available over a broader engine-speed range, Subaru says.
Lower weight and better efficiency, as well as improved aerodynamics via a standard active grille shutter system, increase fuel economy to 26/36 mpg city/highway (9.0/6.5 L/100 km) from 24/32 mpg (9.8/7.4 L/100 km) in ’14.
The 2.5L remains the standard engine in 2.5i Standard, Premium and Limited grades of the car.
The 3.6L 6-cyl. in the 3.6R Legacy grade still makes 256 hp and 247 lb.-ft. (335 Nm) of torque, but gets a standard continuously variable transmission, to replace the ’14 model’s 5-speed automatic.
The CVT is capable of handling high torque and boosts fuel economy at least 10%, with estimated ratings of 20/28 mpg city/highway (11.8/8.4 L/100 km).
For ’15, the amount of standard equipment on all Legacy grades grows, with the 2.5i Limited now having the highest level of luxury content ever, Subaru says.
It snags perforated leather upholstery; 2-position memory for the 10-way power driver’s seat; a 4-way power front-passenger seat; dual-mode heated rear seats; and 3-mode heated front seats, which also are standard in 2.5i Premium grades.
The ’15 Legacy retains some elements of the concept unveiled at last November’s Los Angeles auto show, including a nosecone front section with a 1-piece grille and bumper.
The car’s hood is aluminum and its windshield is raked forward 2 ins. (5.1 cm) at its base for improved visibility.
Also aiding visibility are higher seating hip points and new front partition windows, Subaru says.
The Japanese automaker updates standard safety features for ’15. A rear-view camera now is placed closer to the center of the car, while a new rollover sensor deploys the Legacy’s side-curtain airbags if an imminent rollover is detected.
Welcome lighting now is standard, and new front seat-cushion airbags are said to better hold occupants in place.
The Japanese brand retains its EyeSight driver-assist system, with adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning, as optional on Premium and Limited trim levels on the ’15 Legacy.
A new rear radar system, added as standard equipment for the Limited grade, integrates blindspot detection, lane-change assist, and rear-cross-traffic alert.
Also new in safety are steering-responsive fog lights that follow curves in the road.
For added driving performance, active torque vectoring now is standard on the Legacy. The technology applies brake force to the inner front wheel in cornering for improved handling.
Correcting a deficiency of the outgoing Legacy, Subaru says it has stepped up its infotainment game, with a slew of branded content now in the car.
Buyers of the 2.5i grades get HD Radio, Subaru STARLINK connectivity with Aha and Pandora smartphone integration, Bluetooth and iPod-control capability, as well as a humble AM/FM/CD stereo.
Stepping up to the 2.5i Premium grade nets buyers a better audio system, SiriusXM satellite radio, SMS text messaging, iTunes tagging and dual USB ports.
All Legacy Limited grades get 12 harman/kardon speakers with Green Edge weight- and power-reduction technology.
Touchscreens are available in all grades of the car, and boast tablet-like swipe and scroll technology, Subaru says.
The brand has been a small but consistent player in the midsize segment in the U.S., although last year sales of the car dipped 10.3% to 42,291 units, WardsAuto data shows.
again had the best-selling midsize sedan with the Camry, which tallied 408,484 U.S. deliveries.