2010 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT Limited

There was an involuntary eye roll when I saw the front of the 2010 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT Limited.

There was an involuntary eye roll when I saw the front of the 2010 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT Limited.

There it was, for all practical purposes—and one would assume that the primary reason for buying the Legacy would be practical purposes, an assumption underscored by the fact that the Legacy was named as one of the “Best Family Cars for 2010” by Parents Magazine and Edmunds.com—a family sedan. The sort of car that you’d buy for a variety of reasons, including the fact that you want to be different from the people on your block who have Camrys and Accords parked in their driveways. And because you really think that the idea of a Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system is something that you’d really like to have, particularly when ferrying the kids around in precipitous conditions. And because you sort of like the idea that it is a car that has more German styling cues than Japanese, despite the name. To say nothing of the idea that you’re getting a car that hails from Indiana.

A family sedan. One for all the right ideas. One for all the right reasons.

But then, lo and behold, I spotted it: A hood scoop. Yes, a hood scoop. A real one, not like one of those faux side vent appliqués that seem to be ever so popular. While all cars like to breathe better, it struck me that the scoop was probably like a spoiler on the back of a family sedan.

 

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Thus the eye roll.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

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And I discovered that in spades when I drove the Legacy. The 2.5-liter turbocharged/intercooled engine, mated to a six-speed manual transmission, gets affer it like no family sedan you’ve ever driven or realized. The engine puts out 265 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It is the sort of car that makes you want to take the kids to soccer practice or make a run to the store for milk or drive to your in-laws or. . .do just about anything in.

Of course it has a scoop. It needs to breathe deeply.

If I have to quibble, it might be that the engine asks for premium unleaded. But then recognizing that the numbers are 18/25 mpg—and all that exhilaration—so what if you have to skip a venti double-caff latte or two?

And speaking of economic issues: Know that this is a pricier car than your run-of-the-mill midsize sedan, but the level of drivetrain tech is sufficient to warrant the extra money. After all: If you’ve got to commute, you might as well enjoy it.

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So here’s the thing: This is a car that is visually attractive, that allows you to be a grown-up yet to get the sort of kick that you’d get from a WRX except that as you know that the kid down the street has one you can’t get one of them, that is full of the requisite amenities (especially if you check the box for Option Package 8, which brings in the moonroof, navi, rear vision camera, etc.), and a good size trunk (14.7-cu-ft) in which to put the groceries, because you’ll be looking for every excuse to drive the Legacy.

Selected specs

Engine: 2.5-liter, DOHC four, horizontally opposed (Boxer); turbocharged, intercooled

Engine material: Aluminum block and heads

Horsepower: 265 @ 5,600 rpm

Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 2,000 to 5,200 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Drivetrain: Continuous all-wheel-drive

Wheelbase: 108.3 in.

Length: 186.4 in.

Height: 59.3 in.

Width: 71.7 in.

Curb weight: 3,477

Steering: Rack-and-pinion, engine-speed controlled variable power assist

Fuel economy: 18/25 mpg

MSRP (without delivery): $29,995