Subaru has really hit the target for the 2015 Legacy sedan. When shopping for a midsize family vehicle, what do moms and dads need? Subaru checks all the boxes. At a bargain price around $25K, the AWD 2.5i Premium version with optional Eyesight package is among the safest sedans on the market, both in terms of avoiding a crash and in crashworthiness as well. It’s bigger and wider than before, meaning more space for drivers, kids in back and cargo. Fuel economy has improved as well, up to 26 mpg city and 36 highway for the 2.5L engine. Safety, value, space and fuel economy, a pretty solid combination! Subaru checks some “wants”, too. Interior and exterior styling have been improved considerably, as have the controls, touchscreen and electronics. While it’s not going to get looks like a Tesla sedan, it’s definitely sharper than the current Accord and Camry; on par with Fusion and Sonata for appearance. Standard AWD is great for rain and snow. Performance can be had in the 3.6R Limited trim that has decent power.
As for Eyesight, it’s arguably the best frontal crash prevention system on the market. It earned a “Superior” rating from the IIHS and avoided a crash altogether on both the low-speed and high-speed autobrake tests. A very impressive feat matched only by other Subaru models with EyeSight and a couple luxury models that cost nearly twice as much or more. Eyesight now includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane departure warning. For the 2015 Legacy, it is also bundled with Blind Spot detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert as well. The updated system on the new Legacy gets smaller, color cameras with a 40% increased detection range and wider angle of view. It now operates up to a 30mph differential from the vehicle in front, up from 19mph in the previous system, and adds brake light recognition as well.
That all sounds impressive enough. But we’ve seen many other manufacturers force you to the most expensive trim level and then add a pricey options package to get an inferior system, adding $10,000 or more to the cost. So what does Subaru charge to get this top performing safety system? $1,195. Yup. That’s it. But wait, you have to get a loaded 3.6R Limited edition to add that package, right? Nope. The 2.5i Limited and even the affordable 2.5i Premium trims can add Eyesight as a single option! Now that IS impressive. Other auto makers should really wake up and start being competitive with their safety features, especially on vehicles marketed to families. Kudos to Subaru for making this technology available to more families to protect their precious cargo.
Now standard on all 2015 Legacy trim levels are great safety-related features like a backup camera, bluetooth hands-free cellphone connection and a new rollover sensor to deploy the side curtain airbags. A new driver seat-cushion mounted airbag helps keep the occupant in position to reduce the risk of abdominal seatbelt injuries and leg injuries. Active Torque Vectoring is now standard on the Legacy and helps control that power in curves, too. Eyesight equipped models also get steering responsive foglights to enhance illumination in turns. Like all Subarus, AWD is standard.
Last, but not least, the ’15 Legacy aced the IIHS crash testing, earning a Top Safety Pick for all trim levels. Models with optional Eyesight earn a Top Safety Pick+ award. The Legacy not only earned the top overall rating, but also earned the top “Good” result in each and every test and sub-category measure. Impressive. In the equally important NHTSA government safety ratings, the Legacy and Outback also earned 5-stars in all five crash test evaluations and a 5-star rollover rating (4-stars for Outback), resulting in a 5-star overall rating. Only one or two other vehicles achieved the top rating in every single evaluation from both agencies, and you have to spend over $46,000 on a 2015 Hyundai Genesis with the Tech Package to match these essentially perfect crash avoidance and crash protection ratings. Impressive Indeed!
The Back Seat:
Have two or three kids? No problem. The back seat is now a bit wider and with careful selection, will fit adjacent or three-across carseats a little easier than before. The configuration is similar to the 2015 Subaru Outback as well. The main possible concern is that the seat cushions and seat backs are contoured. This is typical of many midsize sedans that have shifted away from flatter bench seating that made installing carseats easier. While more comfortable for adults, these contours may cause some issues with certain carseats, especially taller and wider front-facing models. Overall, nothing particularly problematic for a midsize sedan, though the LATCH anchors are more recessed than average. The fused driver-side and center buckle stalks could present difficulties in certain situations with adjacent carseats/passengers in those positions. The rear seat does offer a split folding feature and the trunk is a very reasonable 15 cubic feet.
The 3.6R Limited is a pretty nice package. My tester came equipped with Moonroof/Navigation package for a total MSRP of $33,380 including $795 destination charge. Fuel economy is 20 city, 29 highway on regular gas. I achieved a hair under 20 mpg in suburban driving. What about performance?