Subaru, a brand known for its all-wheel-drive, crunchy, love-centric ad campaigns and turbocharged engines, also wants to be known as a sedan company. It made this much clear during Thursday's 2014 Chicago Auto Show when it unveiled its all-new 2015 Legacy.
Why? Sedans sell.
Most mainstream brands sell more of their respective midsize sedans than anything else on the lot, and therefore take the segment very seriously. This kind of competition has made it hard for a smaller company like Subaru to keep up.
The outgoing Legacy was a well-conceived car but never made it onto many shoppers' lists: In 2013 the Toyota Camry outsold this midsize Subaru by nearly 10 to one.
Subaru hopes this 2015 Legacy will change that. The all-wheel-drive sedan boasts impressive fuel economy that matches that of its front-drive peers, and newfound doses of refinement, style and safety.
Under the hood of will be a choice of four- or six-cylinder engines. The base offering will be the 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder engine that makes 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. It's rated at 26 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, gains of two and four mpg respectively over the previous Legacy.
Buyers looking for extra power still have the six-cylinder version to consider. The Legacy 3.6R Limited still comes with a 3.6-liter inline six-pot that makes the same 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy on this model rises to 20 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway, up from 18 mpg and 25 mpg previously.
A CVT will be the only gearbox available with both engines, and is a large component of the Legacy's impressive fuel economy. So too is the sleeker, more upscale body design of the 2015 Legacy, which Subaru says is 10% more aerodynamic than before. Four-cylinder models also benefit from active grille shutters that open and close based on the car's speed for greater efficiency.
The footprint of the new Legacy doesn't change, but interior and trunk space are up slightly. Standard gear includes a 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, active torque vectoring for better handling, backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity and USB port.
A longer list of options will be available, including a navigation system, heated and perforated leather seats, heated rear seats, LED trim lights, 12-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo system, and steering-responsive fog lights.
Subaru's innovative EyeSight camera system will also continue to be available. This setup uses stereo camera technology for adaptive cruise control, cross-traffic monitoring, lane-departure warning, and pre-collision braking. The system is the highest-rated front crash prevention system by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Subaru said. All Legacy models are expected to earn the agency's highest Top Safety Pick Plus designation.
The 2015 Legacy will cruise into dealerships in the summer. Pricing wasn't announced, but will likely fall in line with the outgoing model's range of $22,390 for a base 2.5 model with CVT to $29,690 for the 3.6R Limited.