2013 Subaru Legacy

2013 Subaru Legacy

EyeSight Optional

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD – With all the talk about the BRZ and  WRX/STI it is easy to forget that Subaru makes more mainstream models that are almost the official cars of Vermont and Maine.

That distinction once fell on Saabs, but with the demise of the Swedish auto maker customers now head down to the Subaru store attracted by the standard all-wheel drive. That is no small thing in areas where folks have their wood in for the winter and the first big snow storm is right around the bend. Now if the folks in far Northern New England could just get their beloved hockey games back. (Hockey Night in Canada on the CBC is a big TV draw.)

At any rate, after a week in the Legacy sedan I can report it is a serious player in the hotly contested family sedan market. It will hold its own against the Honda Accord and other class rivals.

For 2013 Suby introduced the Eyesight Driver Assist program that incorporates several features that heretofore were only available in higher priced autos. And it does so with a twist. Mounted on either side of the interior rearview mirror are two cameras, instead of the more common radar, that keep an eye on the road ahead.

In essence they are the eyes of the adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking system, and lane departure warning. There is a nifty feature that tells an inattentive driver that the car in front of them at the traffic light has moved on. In these parts, the driver behind will hit the horn to underscore the idea that it’s time to move ahead.

All this is available only on top-of-the-line Limited models and comes as part of a $3,940 option package. If one is not drawn to such systems and their incessant beeping, a button inconveniently located to the lower left of the dash panel will switch it off. Selected parts of the system can also be turned off by two buttons located overhead such as the drive you crazy beeping from the lane departure device.

Some select features in that huge package are a fine Harmon Kardon, 440-watt, 9-speaker audio system. Subys of old were not known for quality sound systems. The rear view camera was also a nice touch along with the sun roof, (now called a moonroof), and a so-so navi system.

The test car came with a 2.5-liter, 173 horsepower four mated to an excellent Continuously Variable Transmission that was quick to downshift, as it were, to extract all of the horses and king’s men that the four had to offer. Those seeking more GO could check the box for the 256 horsepower six that comes with a 5-speed automatic.

Yet around town and out on the highway, the base engine had all the clout that typical customers might want with an EPA rating of 24-32 mpg on regular petrol. In a week of suburban and interstate driving I recorded 25 mpg.

Inside, owners who pop for the Limited Edition will find a very upscale feel and long-ride comfortable seats with voracious heaters. (There is nothing worse than a Vermonter with a cold butt.)

Instruments are easy to read in all circumstances, the    ride and handling were fine, and the car was particularly quiet on the interstates. Not that long ago, Subys were rather noisy, emitting an almost industrial sound when cruising on high speed roadways.

All this was wrapped up in a solid well-built vehicle known for its long life in some of the worst climates. I do wish there was an option package that included all the goodies on this car without the EyeSight system. But for those drawn to such things, I do applaud Subaru for making them available at this price range.

So what is the bottom line? In the case of the test car, $30,677 with delivery and that is in line with rivals. A base Legacy model starts at $20,295 on up to $28,895 base price for a Limited with the more powerful six.

Truth be told I have a soft spot for the brand. Years ago living in the woods of Bradford, N.H., I figured I needed something that would get me through the winter and to the office everyday regardless of the weather. I traded for one of the original Brats and put 88,000 trouble free, fun miles on what Mrs. Auto Writer and I called the “goat.”

FYI, the first winter I had it, we escaped without ever getting a major snowstorm. Nice Job Suby!

 

 

Auto News for Nov. 23

Black Friday is here and JD Power & Associates have some good news for auto makers. They are predicting a 12 percent sales increase for the industry in November. The actual figures come out early next month.

Right around the corner is the L.A. Auto Show. Acura says it will unveil a production version of the top of the line RLX sedan. “Jewel Eye” LED headlamps, and a new communication system, (O Joy), are promised.  Audi will introduce four new TDI clean diesel models to the U.S. market. Jaguar is promising the world debut of the XFR-S that it claims will be the fastest and most powerful Jaguar ever. BMW should turn heads with its i8 concept roadster. The plug in hybrid is said to hit 60 from a standing start in 4.6 seconds Total powertrain output is 354 horsepower.

 

Press day previews will be held Nov. 28-29 and the show opens to the public on Nov. 30

The Ford Focus has won a top safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Buick is considering a new logo – the first change in ten years. It now consists of three side-by-side shields in a circle.

Auto News for Nov. 23

Black Friday is here and JD Power & Associates have some good news for auto makers. They are predicting a 12 percent sales increase for the industry in November. The actual figures come out early next month.

Right around the corner is the L.A. Auto Show. Acura says it will unveil a production version of the top of the line RLX sedan. “Jewel Eye” LED headlamps, and a new communication system, (O Joy), are promised.  Audi will introduce four new TDI clean diesel models to the U.S. market. Jaguar is promising the world debut of the XFR-S that it claims will be the fastest and most powerful Jaguar ever. BMW should turn heads with its i8 concept roadster. The plug in hybrid is said to hit 60 from a standing start in 4.6 seconds Total powertrain output is 354 horsepower.

 

Press day previews will be held Nov. 28-29 and the show opens to the public on Nov. 30

The Ford Focus has won a top safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Buick is considering a new logo – the first change in ten years. It now consists of three side-by-side shields in a circle.

Auto News for Nov.21

The Saab 9-3 might take to the roads after all. You may have never heard of the outfit, but National Electric Vehicle of Sweden is the owner of Saab’s assets. Company officials told Reuters they are mulling over production of a gas powered 9-3 if supplier deals can be hammered out.

Nissan has cut the price and increased the range of its all electric Leaf in an effort to increase sagging sales. Nissan now says the new model will go on sale here in the first quarter of the New Year.

Volkswagen is recalling about 2,500 model year 2012 & 2013 Beetles to fix an air bag problem. Check with your dealer.  A device that is supposed to detect the presence of a child seat may fail, allowing an air bag to inflate in an accident – something that could be harmful to young riders.

Nationwide is out with some helpful parking lot driving tips just ahead of Black Friday. “Be aware of what others around you are doing and expect the unexpected” was the top tip in my book. Remember it is virtually impossible for drivers parked next to a large SUV or van to see oncoming parking lot traffic. Don’t know about where you live but parking lots at malls and shopping centers around here were mobbed yesterday.

GM Chief Dan Akerson will auction off his absolutely gorgeous 1958 Corvette convertible to benefit Habitat for Humanity. The auction will be held Jan. 18 by Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona. Proceeds will go towards the rehabilitation of a Detroit neighborhood.

There will be no column tomorrow but Auto News will resume on Friday as the digestive process continues…A very happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Auto News for Nov. 20

Ford will introduce a 1.0-liter, three cylinder EcoBoost engine in the 2014 Fiesta. Output is 123 horsepower with 148-lb-ft of torque. Already available in Europe, Ford said it should be the most fuel efficient non-hybrid available here in the U.S. but it is not talking exact numbers yet.

GE will purchase 2,000 Ford C-MAX plug-in hybrids as part of its plan to convert half of its global fleet of vehicle to alternative fuels. It is Ford’s largest ever plug in electrified vehicle fleet sale.

It may not stir many car buffs, but the Toyota Camry was the top selling car in this country last month. The Honda Accord was second.

The news that the Hostess Twinkie may not be dead yet, got this writer to thinking about what cars should be revived from the past. Providing they could be outfitted with today’s safety equipment, the original Subaru Brat, the Porsche (VW) 914, the ’57 full sized Ford and Chevy would all be nice to see on the road again. Going out on a limb, a neighbor’s ’62 Chrysler Imperial with the flashlight like rear tail lamps always caught my eye. It was a time of continually outrageous designs, the likes of which we may never see again.

Auto News for Nov. 19

There is a heart-warming story out of Fort Kent, Maine, a rural community in near the Canadian border. A raging fire destroyed the small GM outlet but quick thinking on the part of the owner, who refused to throw his arms up in the air and just quit, had the business up and running the next day with help from rival dealers. (He grabbed the computer server and ran!) Residents packed a special town meeting to approve a measure that will make it easier to rebuild once winter is over. At this holiday time, it is a great story of a small New England town coming together to help one of its own. It’s a story that will renew your faith in your fellow citizens. Read more at:

http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121119/RETAIL07/311199982/fire-fire-then-what

Gas prices are going your way. The Lundberg Survey says nationally the price is down seven cents a gallon in the past two weeks. Drivers in Memphis pay the least, at $3.04 a gallon. That is good news indeed for those planning Thanksgiving travel.

Reuters says vehicle sales rose 5.3 % in China in October. GM sales rose 10.5% while Audi was up a whopping 31%.

Coming next summer is a breath taking Lamborghini Aventador convertible. It will cost north of $300,000, post a zero to 60 time of 3 seconds flat with a top seed of 217 miles per hour that just cries out for a weekend at a good track. Power? Well there is a bit, at 691 horsepower from a V12 that also offers a scant (!) 509 lb-ft of torque. Okay this isn’t a car for the masses, but this picture alone is a good way to wrap up this edition of Auto News. Besides, we can dream, can’t we?

 

 

 

 

Auto News for Nov. 18

 Lugnuts:

 Not that it really matters, but Hostess Twinkies outlasted the Edsel… If you want tiny lights that look like outer space in the headliner of your Rolls Royce the option will set you back more than $12,000 according to Jalopnik.  You can lease an entire Smart Car for $99 a month… Sales of Volvo trucks rose 8% in October yet auto sales, from a separate company, were down 14.3% in North America. Perhaps a stronger effort was needed to put James Bond in an XC60… Bull Information, they are into mobile computing, just hired a guy named Custer as its marketing director while GM signed up Digital Air Strike… Didn’t want you to miss the press release that said the global radiator market will grow 5.8% … Another proclaimed that “Better drivers pay less for car insurance…” Quickcom says its logo will appear on Vodafone McLaren Formula 1 race cars. Don’t forget to call home after turn two… Arctic Cat has expanded its board of directors. More people who can’t stay home and be lazy on snow days… The swallows will always return to San Juan Capistrano. To make sure customers do, the Residence Inn has installed an electric car charging station… From the “I’m Shocked” envelope – Alcoa is congratulating Tesla on the all-aluminum Model S being named car of the year by Automobile Magazine… The Speed Channel is partnering with iPowow… Green Automotive announced an order from Brown Bus Sales… Prudential and its giant rock logo signed a deal with GM that claimed its trucks were built “like a rock”… One headline proclaimed that natural gas is the fuel of the near future. Don’t follow to close behind… You are out in the middle of nowhere and there isn’t a Caribou or Starbucks in sight. No problem, just pull over and buy some Cracker Jacks. It will introduce a line of snacks next year that contain coffee and caffeine.