First Drive: 2013 Subaru Outback and 2013 Subaru Legacy Review

Updated and Refreshed, we get behind the wheel of the new 2013 Subaru Outback and 2013 Subaru Legacy vehicles

MISSISSAUGA, ON – Subaru Canada recently unveiled their updated 2013 Outback and 2013 Legacy vehicles. Both the Outback and Legacy see significant changes for 2013, including extensive redesign both inside and out; an increase in fuel economy; increased driving performance with the debut of the new 2.5i Subaru Boxer engine, including better low-to-mid range torque; and Subaru’s preventative safety system called EyeSight, originally found in their premium models and now available in Subaru’s intermediate sedans as well.

Also see: Subaru Reviews

Subaru has hit all the marks with their 2013 Outback and 2013 Legacy, taking an already capable and reputable product and making it better—lower price-points, increased power with better fuel economy, improved exterior styling and more upscale interiors, to name a few, the 2013 Outback and Legacy will certainly hit the ground running. Current Subaru fans will rejoice, while a whole new crop of AWD aficionados will surely give both the 2013 Outback and Legacy some strong consideration in the coming years.

Updated Exterior Styling

Subaru stepped it up on the exterior styling front. The Legacy finds an overall sportier and sharper look via redesigned headlamps, front grill, and lower front fascia with fog lights. The 2013 Outback retains it’s outdoorsy persona, now with even more rugged styling cues which also includes redesigned headlamps, grill, and fascia, but above all, the Outback finds a new roof rail with built-in cross-bar. This new roof rail includes an adjustable rear crossbar to accommodate lengthier objects including kayaks—certainly a welcome edition for the active, Outback fan. Also new for 2013, stylish 17-inch alloy wheels found on both models.

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Overall, both the 2013 Legacy and Outback look more refined, with more pronounced styling cues, adding a good dose of style arguably missing in previous versions.

More Refined Cabin

If you’re familiar with Subaru interiors you’ll immediately notice a higher quality, more sophisticated vibe inside both the 2013 Legacy and 2013 Outback models, courtesy of an improvement in both design and higher quality materials. The centre console and instrument panel finds a refreshed look and redesigned to create a more intuitive, stylish, and overall better functioning experience in the cockpit.

The Legacy finds dark shine wooded ornament throughout the cabin, while the Outback sees light mat wooden ornament. This introduction of wood instills this upscale feel while maintaining the robust, rugged capabilities Subaru is renowned for. The Outback Limited trim will also offer a new electro-luminescent instrument cluster that has been integrated within the multi-information display (also displaying EyeSight in equipped models).

Better Driving Performance & New Engine

An improved body and chassis provides both the 2013 Outback and 2013 Legacy with a stiffer, firmer ride dynamic. Overall, the two models are graced with reduced body-roll, improved handling and ride, and a better steering feel with updated steering attributes. Rear support beams have been added in conjunction with updates to the front strut mounts, all rendering a stiffer yet comfortable drive with reduced body-roll.

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Add a new double-overhead camshaft (DOHC) 2.5-litre SUBARU BOXER engine with new CVT into the mix and both models gain improved low-to-mid range torque as well. This new engine produces greater low-end torque across a broad speed range, making it more responsive in everyday driving.

Both models find a gracious bump in power too—173 hp and 174 lb.ft. of torque (up from 170 hp and 170 lb.ft of torque in the outgoing models).

An 8% percent increase in fuel economy, coupled with an increase in power, is always a good thing.

New EyeSight Driver-Assist System

Originally equipped in Subaru’s premium models only, EyeSight now finds it’s way into the intermediate sedans as well, and that’s a very good thing.

Essentially, EyeSight detects obstacles in front of a car and limit potential damage in an impact, using a stereo camera design (mounted in the overhead, rear-view mirror cluster) developed by Subaru to provide a detection angle wider than that of a radar-based system. This system works with the vehicle’s adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking system, and vehicle lane departure warning setup.

The entire EyeSight system is quite remarkable, providing a more safe and comfortable driving experience—but perhaps too comfortable. If used appropriately (i.e. not relying on EyeSight alone to prevent collision…and let’s hope people don’t), as far as preventative safety goes, EyeSight is certainly worth it.


Considering that over 95% of Subaru vehicles are still on the road, coupled with high retained value, the Japanese automaker is certainly doing things right. And, they’re doing things right in Canada too; last year selling 7000 units and 3000 units of the Outback and Legacy, respectively. Now, with the extensive 2013 model year redesign and improvement in quality materials and features, Subaru’s loyal customer base may grow to a much broader market.

The 2013 Subaru Legacy now starts at $23,495 CDN MSRP (that’s a $400 price reduction from last year); the 2013 Subaru Outback starts at $28,495 (a $500 price cut); for the 2.5i 6MT entry-level trim in each model.

Learn more – Subaru Outback

Learn more – Subaru Legacy