Tested: Subaru Legacy GT

An updated family sedan is a rarity these days, as manufacturers concentrate their efforts on crossover vehicles.

As sedans shrink in popularity, many car makers drop them from their portfolio when it comes time for an update or replacement.

 

Subaru, never one to follow the beaten path, has bucked the trend of dropping the sedan from its lineup

The brand has given the Legacy sedan a serious makeover for 2023.

The seventh generation Legacy is available in three trim levels: Touring ($32,995), Limited ($36,995), and GT ($41,995). All get a facelift with new front clip (bumper, grill and headlights).

 

2023 Subaru Legacy GT
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

The Legacy’s features also include the new generation of the company’s award-winning EyeSight safety system, automatic emergency braking, and the StarLink system now enables over-the-air updates. Other across-the-line updates include a heated steering wheel, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto function, an updated infotainment system, wireless phone charger, front and rear USB outlets, remote trunk release, and an automatic dimming rear mirror with compass and HomeLink.

The Limited now comes with a 12-way power driver’s seat, updated voice-activation controls for the navigation system that find precise locations with just three words, and redesigned alloy wheels.

 

2023 Subaru Legacy GT
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

But the big news for the Subaru Legacy is the GT trim.

It now justifies the extra $5,000 and GT tag, with a smaller yet more powerful turbocharged 260-horsepower, 2.4-litre engine, putting out 277 lb-ft of torque. Previously GT meant only some trim changes and the same engine as other trim levels. The Touring and Limited models continue to come with that normally aspirated 182-horsepower, 186 lb-ft, 2.5-litre engine.

The GT also gets a revised suspension, unique steering tuning, and a wide-angle camera for the EyeSight system. There are subtle visual clues this is the high-end model – red accents in the grill, unique alloy wheels, aluminum alloy pedals, heated and ventilated front seats, floor mats with GT logo, supple Nappa leather upholstery, dual exhaust outlets, and mirrors and antennae painted dark grey.

 

2023 Subaru Legacy GT
Photo: Subaru Canada

 

The Legacy is on the upside of the mid-size market.

It offers spacious and comfortable accommodations front and back. Those in the rear seat enjoy more head and knee room than common in this size vehicle.

 

2023 Subaru Legacy GT
Photo: Subaru Canada

 

The instrument panel is dominated by a 30-cm infotainment screen. The portrait-style layout has a band across the top allowing you to identify and scroll through multiple pages. You can access information on everything from steering angle to the weather forecast. The bottom has a permanent display of HVAC settings. It is not the quickest-reacting system on the market, but very large icons and clear fonts mean less time off the road for your eyes.

 

2023 Subaru Legacy GT
Photo: Subaru Canada

 

Smaller yet more powerful turbocharged engine struts its stuff

The new and much more powerful engine allows the Legacy to strut its stuff. Very similar to that used in the rally-related WRX, and larger three-row Ascent. It does not need premium fuel and the exhaust note is quieter than in the WRX.

I am not a fan of continuously variable automatic transmissions, but this one is better than most. The engineers have done a nice programming job, reducing the number of situations where you encounter the annoying drone associated with CVT’s under heavy throttle use.

 

Improved agility in the fast lane and in the corners – AWD takes worry out of winter

Subaru’s are known for their supple, long travel suspension, notable in the ability to absorb road imperfections without resorting to a wallowing ride and excessive lean in the corners. The GT retains this virtue, but through “sport tuning” adds a bit more stiffness and resultant improved agility when driven quickly.

 

2023 Subaru Legacy GT
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

Another well-deserved Subaru advantage is the excellent all-wheel drive system. One of the best on the market, it takes the worry out of winter and is a major factor in the brand’s loyal following.

 

2023 Subaru Legacy GT
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

The competition may be disappearing but the Subaru Legacy sedan, especially in GT guise, reminds us how dynamically superior sedans are to taller and heavier crossovers. The refresh of the tastefully designed Legacy, make it an attractive proposition for those not swayed by the masses.

 

FACTS & FIGURES – 2023 Subaru Legacy GT

 

PRICE

Base: $41,995

As tested: $43,845 including freight

 

SAFETY

Reverse automatic braking, EyeSight driver assist system, rear/side vehicle detection, automatic emergency steering, auto-dimming rear view mirror, rear cross traffic alert

 

INFOTAINMENT

30-cm touch screen, 12-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, GPS-based navigation and satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, front and rear USB-C outlets, wireless phone charging, steering responsive LED headlights with automatic high beams

 

STANDARD EQUIPMENT

Nappa leather upholstery, Heated front and rear seats, ventilated rear seats, heated steering wheel, front view camera, power tilt/slide sunroof, heated power mirrors, power driver’s seat with memory, 18-in alloy wheels, dual zone automatic climate control, automatic climate control, cruise control

 

SIGNIFICANT OPTIONS

none

MECHANICAL

Turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder, 260 horsepower, 277 lb.-ft. of torque, regular fuel recommended. Continuously variable automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 10.1 / 7.5

 

DIMENSIONS

Length, 4,855; mm; width, 1,840 mm; wheelbase, 2,750 mm; weight, 1,718 kg

 

COMPETITION

Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda6, Toyota Camry

 

 

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