2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Review

The base 2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i, even without options or CVT, is an affordable, well-equipped mid-size sedan perfect for any small family

Following a week with the 2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i, it comes as a bit of a shock as to why more Canadians aren’t flocking to this mid-size sedan considering the main rivals like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord both eclipse the Legacy in sales. With a standard full-time AWD system, smooth handling, ample cargo, and perhaps the best design in its class, plus a starting MSRP CAD of $23,995, the Legacy deserves some props (a Legacy or Chevy Malibu for the same price? Hmmmm).

Legacy Power

The 2011 Subaru Legacy is available in three trims including the 2.5i (as per my test vehicle); the Legacy 3.6R with 256-hp and 247 lb-ft of torque, starting at $31,895; and the bad boy Legacy 2.5GT, the turbocharged version producing 265-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque priced at $38,595.

Without a larger displacement nor turbo, the base Legacy 2.5i, with a horizontally opposed, 4-cyclinder Subaru Boxer engine, still puts out a respectable 170-hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission comes standard, or the optional CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission) with paddle shifters, as equipped in my Legacy. Not all paddle shifter equipped rides are created equal, in my experience, where response is often slow (unless we’re talking sports coupes, of course). But the Legacy shifts on point and feels good. Not gimmicky.

2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Review

Subaru’s celebrated full-time AWD setup finds its way in the base 2011 Legacy 2.5i, along with the Vehicle Dynamic Control system and Traction Control System. 16-inch aluminum wheels are standard on the 2.5i with four total wheel options offered, from 16-inch steel to the sportier 18-inch aluminum set.

Exterior Styling

The 2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i exterior styling is straightforward yet stylish and sporty; successfully avoiding the try-too-hard conundrum. For 2011, the Legacy sits a little taller and 30mm longer then the previous generation, both features contributing to efficiencies including less wind noise and increased space utilization, respectively. Folding side-view mirrors are also new for 2011; so are the rear doors that open 78% wider than the previous version…a very (very) welcome attribute for (new) dads like myself installing the baby car seat, particularly without the seat mount. The Sport Package on the 2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i (priced at $27,995 with 6-speed manual) adds front fog lights; 17-inch wheels with Bridgestone Turanza all-season rubber; and power tiltling/sliding sunroof, to name just a few. Also, gone is the Harvest Gold Metallic for the incoming Caramel Bronze Pearl and Sky Blue Metallic available for the 2.5i.

Interior

For 2011, the Legacy cabin finds improved features including more efficient centre console storage via the all-new electronic parking brake systems replacing the space-hogging brake lever; redesigned front seats to help reduce whiplash in a rear collision; and the seatback of the front seats tweaked to provide further rear passenger leg/knee room. A few standards in the 2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i include fully automatic headlights; heated front seats; premium cloth upholstery; and a 4-speaker audio system with an auxiliary audio input and steering wheel controls, to name a few.

2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Review

Package upgrades

Three available packages for the 2011 Legacy 2.5i add a plethora of features but certainly add to the final price. These include the Convenience Package available on the 2.5i CVT version only (i.e. voice-activated blueconnect Bluetooth hands-free); the Sport Package (i.e. 17-inch wheels, Sirius Satellite Radio, iPod/MP3 audio integration); and the Limited Package offered only with the 2.5i with CVT (i.e. 9-speaker Harman Kardon system with a 440-watt amplifier, woodgrain interior, plus an added MultiMedia option with rear-view camera, GPS…).

2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Review

Takeaway

Starting at $23,995 CAD for this base model, the 2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i, even without options or CVT, is an affordable, well-equipped mid-size sedan perfect for any small family. With the full-time AWD and attention to the minor tweaks with huge impact, such as the wider rear door openings and sculpted seats for added rear passenger space, Subaru continues to add value.

Learn more – Subaru Legacy

Shooting motors professionally since film was a thing, Amee's work has been published in various outlets including NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, SuperStreet, GlobeDrive, MotorTrend, and others. He's a writer, editor at TractionLife.com, AJAC member, and full-time digital marketer at Traction Media working with national brands. Find him traveling, spending time with his kids and family. Or golfing, badly.