2010 Subaru Legacy Preview
By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2009
- All-new, next-generation Subaru Legacy sedan
- Bold new design
- Longer, taller, wider, with longer wheelbase
- Standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
- Revised 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder "boxer" engine
- New, more powerful 3.6-liter engine replaces 3.0-liter unit
- New 6-speed manual or continuously variable transmission on 2.5i models
- New rear suspension
The Legacy has been a staple in Subaru's lineup since the 1990 model year. What made the Legacy different from other midsize sedans-beyond the horizontally opposed ("boxer") engine-has been its available all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Subaru further differentiated the Legacy in 1996 by making AWD standard, and it's been a hallmark of the car ever since. In 2008, Subaru added the Legacy 3.0 R sedan with a 245-hp 6-cylinder engine-the first 6-cylinder Legacy to be sold in North America. A new base 3.0 R model for 2009 brought 6-cylinder operation at a lower price. And for 2010, an all-new, redesigned 2010 Subaru Legacy sedan joins the lineup.
Subaru unveiled the all-new, 2010 Legacy sedan at the 2009 New York International Auto Show, along with the next-generation 2010 Subaru Outback wagon that shares its platform and architecture. The new Legacy sedan features a bold new design and is larger and more refined than the model it replaces. The most significant changes for the redesigned 2010 Legacy sedan can be found under the hood. Legacy 2.5i models feature a new 6-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT), while the 2.5GT gains a 265-horsepower 4-cylinder engine and a new 6-speed manual transmission. Also, 3.6R models feature an even more powerful 6-cylinder engine. Other significant changes include a longer wheelbase, providing almost 4 inches of additional rear-seat leg room, and a new suspension design.
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Built on an all-new platform, the 2010 Subaru Legacy focuses on usable space and long-distance driving comfort. The wheelbase has grown by over 3 inches compared to the previous model, providing nearly 4 extra inches of rear-seat leg room-sure to be appreciated by those in the back on a long trek. The new Legacy is 3.2 inches taller and 3.6 inches wider than the previous model, providing additional head, shoulder and hip room. Length is increased by 1.4 inches. The all-new 2010 Legacy also offers a 14.7-cubic foot trunk-one of the largest in the segment, according to Subaru, and a significant achievement considering that the car's design requires packaging a rear differential and drive axles.
When describing the 2010 Legacy's new exterior design, Subaru uses the terms "bold" and "high-tech." To achieve the new look, Subaru squared off the lower edge of the grille, while character lines arc from the grille and form power bulges on the hood, tapering off into the A-pillar. The new design incorporates a larger greenhouse, and a shorter deck gives the vehicle a sporty look. Also, a functional hood scoop directs air to the engine-mounted intercooler. A range of new wheel cover and alloy-wheel designs also debut on the 2010 Legacy, with the 2.5GT models featuring 18-inch alloy wheels and low-profile tires.
On the inside, the redesigned 2010 Legacy is more spacious than before, and designers and engineers placed an emphasis on refinement, using richer-looking materials on the seats, dash and controls. A new electronic parking brake with an electronic Hill Holder System eliminates the traditional parking brake handle, freeing up space in the center console.
As in years past, the redesigned 2010 Subaru Legacy will be offered in multiple trim levels, allowing customers to choose the engine and equipment combination that's just right for them. For 2010, Subaru Legacy trim levels will include: base 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5GT Premium, and 2.5GT Limited-all with a 4-cylinder "boxer" engine. Buyers looking for more power can select the 3.6R, 3.6R Premium and 3.6R Limited, each equipped with a larger, more powerful 6-cylinder engine.
Subaru has increased the standard and available comfort and convenience features for the Legacy line in 2010. The base 2.5i model, for example, features standard steering wheel audio and cruise control buttons, a 65/35-split folding rear seat, a new electronic parking brake, an automatic lights-on function, ambient overhead console lighting, and an available iPod jack. Legacy Premium models add an 8-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support adjustment and a driver's side auto up/down window. The Premium models also offer additional comfort and convenience options, including a Harman-Kardon audio system, power moonroof, and the All-Weather package that adds heated front seats and mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. Legacy Limited models feature leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and a 4-way power front passenger seat. Also, Limited models exclusively offer an available voice-activated GPS navigation system with an 8-inch LCD display and rear-view backup camera, hands-free Bluetooth connectivity and streaming Bluetooth audio.
As are all Subaru models, every 2010 Legacy is equipped with standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, which sets the Legacy apart among midsize sedans. All-wheel drive is rare in the midsize segment, and only Legacy makes it standard, according to Subaru.
All 2010 Legacy 2.5i models are powered by a revised, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine that, for the first time, is teamed with a new 6-speed manual transmission or the available new Lineartronic CVT. The CVT is standard in the Legacy 2.5i Limited, where it is also equipped with a manual mode and steering wheel paddle shifters. The 2.5-liter engine delivers 170 hp at 5600 rpm and 170 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm.
Legacy 2.5GT models get a significant boost in performance from a 2.5-liter turbocharged/intercooled engine (based on the Impreza WRX engine) teamed to a new standard 6-speed manual transmission. A larger turbocharger increases boost, and a new exhaust uses a low-density catalyst for reduced backpressure. With 265 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, Subaru claims that the 2010 Legacy 2.5GT models can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds.
On all "3.6" models, a new 3.6-liter, horizontally opposed H6 engine replaces the previous 3.0-liter H6, now producing 256 horsepower and 247 lb.-ft. of torque, compared to 245 hp and 215 lb.-ft. of torque for the previous 3.0-liter engine. The 3.6-liter engine is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission, and can now run on regular unleaded fuel, unlike the 3.0-liter unit that required premium fuel.
All Subaru Legacy models for 2010 are equipped with Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), which combines stability and traction control capability. Also, all 2010 Legacy models are equipped with standard 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and brake assist. The new 2010 Subaru Legacy features a MacPherson strut front suspension and a new double-wishbone rear suspension, replacing the previous multi-link configuration to provide improved ride, stability and handling, according to Subaru. Legacy 2.5i and 2.5i Premium models feature 16-inch wheels (alloy on Premium); the 2.5GT models are exclusively equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/45R18 tires. Legacy 3.6R models have 17-inch alloy wheels with 225/50R17 tires.
The all-new 2010 Legacy sedan incorporates Subaru's "Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame" safety structure, which, the automaker says, forms the foundation for crash protection and occupant safety in the new-generation 2010 Legacy. A new engine cradle design improves front-impact safety, Subaru says, and the 2010 Legacy features greater use of high-strength steel. High-strength front seat frames also provide enhanced protection against whiplash in a rear-end collision, the automaker claims. With the entire seat optimized for a rear-end collision, Subaru has replaced the previous active front head restraints with a more comfortable design.
The new Legacy's safety equipment includes a full complement of air bags: dual frontal-impact air bags, front-seat side-impact air bags, and front and rear side curtain air bags. The intelligent dual-stage front air bags use sensors to detect the presence and weight of a front passenger and also the driver's distance from the steering wheel. In the event of a collision, the system determines front air bag deployment strength for optimal occupant protection.
Subaru offers three different Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive systems in the 2010 Legacy line, each tailored to the engine and type of transmission. In Legacy 2.5i models equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, the 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. Legacy 2.5i models equipped with the Lineartronic CVT use an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch to actively control 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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