2006 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT Limited Sedan
October, 2006

The Good  Fast, quiet engine.  Smooth transmission.  All wheel drive. 

The Bad  Low seating position.  Lack of headroom.  Vents cannot be controlled fully.  Low legroom in front seats. 

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Subaru, the perennial favorite for folks roughing it in snowy conditions continues to do well this year with many offerings and the all new B9 Tribeca which we recently tested.  The Legacy model line tested here goes way back and still retains its original sedan like look and low slung appearance.  Forester and Outback sales continue to do well as people seek a more fuel efficient large vehicle as compared to a SUV.  The legacy model ranges in price from $20,000 to over $30,000 and is available in sedan and wagon trim styles.

 The sporty nature of the Legacy can easily be seen upon looking at the exterior.  The overall exterior appearance is a bit outdated and reminds us of a Chevy Impala at times.  A sporty front hood with air scoop and a large spoiler does give the Legacy GT a fast appearance, however the eagle like front end is not very much in style right now.  Buyers are looking for something more unique and fluid or even voluptuous.  Large sporty rims and thin tires give the side profile a sports sedan appearance.  A dual exhaust tipped rear end also denotes the extra sporty performance in the GT model. 

Interior parts are styled quite nicely with use of soft touch materials on upper and lower door panels and the dash.  Everything is made to look like leather even when it is not true leather. Flush surface treatments, a soft foam upper dashboard, soft foam door trim and, on Legacy 2.5 GT Limited models, aluminum door sill cover plates, provide a premium appearance. Seats are large and bolstered well for sporty driving.  Front seats even have large shoulder bolsters to be supportive everywhere.  Dark grey plastic is used on the center console and doors however real metal trim would have suited the sporty nature of this Legacy much more so.  The frameless design of the doors makes for easier entry and more open space when getting in.  On our test model front seats are powered with a 8 way drivers seat and a 4 way passenger seat.



Lacking is a button to open the rear trunk on the trunk itself and so you must go to the driver's door to find the unlocking latch on the floor or use the key fob button.  Our key fob also required 3 clicks to open all the doors when usually 2 should do it.  In the Subaru you have to click, then wait, and then click again.  Hopefully there is some way to change this feature to automatic unlocking of all doors. 

            The stereo and climate controls are easy to use and styled much like a home stereo system.  The digital readout is difficult to read in direct sunlight and the covering does cause moderate glare.  We found the stereo to be weak and not heart thumping loud.  Dual heated front seats work well and the dual climate control system keeps each side uniquely warm or cold.  We would like to see the emergency brake handle located out of sight, perhaps in a foot pedal or something more flush with the center console as it detracted from the overall interior design theme.  Rear seats are comfortable with long lower cushions for better thigh support.  The large and thick front seats made the rear cabin feel a bit tight and hindered the frontal view of the road.  Trunk space is deep enough for most items and with folding rear seats can be extended for longer items. 

Subaru's 2.5 Liter turbocharged/intercooled Boxer engine powers the Legacy GT.  It produces 250 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 250 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 3,600 rpm.  This is mated to a 5 speed shift gate in our test car.  A automatic with shifting feature is also available. 

            Behind the wheel the Legacy is a sporty and nimble car.  Because it has all wheel drive, the vehicle moves with smoothness, there is no pulling or pushing feel from the front or the rear.  The sports car like feel also is derived from the low profile tires which allow you to feel cracks in the road and the increased noise levels inside.  The steering is quite sharp offering intuitive reactions to your commands. 


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At high speed on the highway the engine keeps the Legacy moving at a quick pace with plenty of power.  The vehicle feels light and easy to push forward for passing.  The ride is smooth and sporty.  The only improvement would be to lower noise levels inside for a more luxurious ride however we think that engineers have made the Legacy GT with a sporty ride in mind.  The ride height is quite low to the floor. 

While driving we found the clutch to be difficult to engage.  It has to be pushed all the way to the ground to work, when engaging at the halfway point would be more suited to the length of travel the pedal makes.  The gears shifter is also not smooth and is difficult to engage, it has a notchy feeling and is not as smooth as the best we have tested.  You have to feel your way around much more so and be in doubt as to whether you have actually gotten it into gear or not. .  Legacy 2.5 GT Limited models feature a quicker steering ratio (15:1 compared to 16.5:1 in other Legacy models) and standard 17 x 7-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 215/45 R17 all-season tires.

Front seats are very thick and yet not exactly made for larger adults and wide people.  Legroom is scarce up front as well because seats do not move back all the way so you cannot fully stretch your legs even if you are under 6 feet tall.  Since you sit low to the ground your knees are pushed up and that is not a comfortable driving position. 

     The climate control system is quiet and has dual zone automatic temperature control.  Inside one quirk we found what that the air vents could not be fully closed so it is more difficult to fully direct air where you want it to go. 



The temperature control doesn't always work well as if it is 50 outside and you want it to be 70 inside, the system will pour hot air inside even if the inside is hotter than 70 due to sun or heat buildup after parking.  The system doesn't check to see what the temperature is inside the car.  This is a fault with the vehicle system which can only be fixed by letting in cold air manually.  We just thought this hinted at the outdated nature of the Legacy. 

The sound system is simple with a CD changer built into the dash.  The fault with the sound system was that it would not get very loud at all.  Perhaps it lacked a amplifier, however a more robust system is really necessary.

On long trips the seats mean everything.  In the legacy we found the seats to offer mediocre support.  One quirk was that the headrests did not adjust to many levels, and so are pretty useless unless you are quite tall or quite short.  The rear seat is more comfortable than the front.  The grab handles in the doors are made for short arms and need to be pushed forward, even in the rear seats.  It would also be good for the doors to have more storage space.  Good quality can be found in the roof material made of knit fabric.  Auto dimming rear view mirrors are also a good feature.  Also quite good were the head lights which were very bright at night.


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 Legacy models feature as standard equipment front seat side impact air bags and side curtain air bags that offer additional head protection for front and rear occupants.  Intelligent dual-stage deployment front air bags use sensors to detect the presence and weight of a front passenger and also the driver's distance from the steering wheel.  The system determines front air bag deployment strength for optimal occupant protection. All Legacy models for 2006 feature active front head restraints, which can help reduce potential whiplash injury in a rear collision.

A three year 36,000 mile basic warranty is offered.  The powertrain is warranted for 5 years or 60,000 miles with a 5 year and unlimited mileage rust warranty.  Roadside assistance is provided during the warranty period of 3 years as well. 



Our Subaru Legacy starts off at a price of $28,795.  The only option was the popular equipment group 1A with auto dimming rearview mirror and compass for $304.  Add $625 for destination and the grand total comes to $29,724.  The Legacy is assembled in Lafayette, Indiana.  EPA gas mileage on the window sticker is rated at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway.  We averaged 22 mpg in mostly highway driving. 

Stiff competition in this segment has made the Legacy a rarity on roads in America.  We feel that a tweak in design to make the vehicle larger, with a taller cabin and more interior room would greatly help sales.  With choices from VW and Toyota as well as Mazda and Chrysler, the buyer definitely wins in this competitive market. 


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Download Apple QuickTime viewer here

View a video of the interior and exterior.  Click Here

Right click and 'save link target as' to Download a full version of this review for iTunes Click Here



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Base Pricing






Automatic, 5-Spd w/SportShift



Popular Equipment Group 1 Includes Inside Automatic Day/Night Mirror w/Compass & Security System Shock Sensor.



Armrest Extension, Center



Mirror, Inside Automatic Day/Night w/Compass



Navigation System, GPS GT Limited



Radio Equipment, Amplifier & Subwoofer (PIO) i, GT Limited



Radio Equipment, Sirius / XM



Restraint System, Rear Side Impact Air Bag Sedans, Wagons



Sun Shades, Manual Rear Side • Wagons




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COMPARISONS 2006 Subaru Legacy
2.5 GT Limited 4dr Sedan AWD w/Black Int. (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
Sport 4dr Sport Sedan AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
2006 Hyundai Azera
Limited 4dr Sedan (3.8L 6cyl 5A)
2006 Audi A4
2.0T quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
2006 Volkswagen Passat
3.6 4Motion 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
MSRP $28,795 $27,995 $26,835 $30,340 $31,900
Invoice $26,782 $25,833 $24,151 $28,143 $29,413
Basic 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Drivetrain 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 10 yr. / 100000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi.
Roadside 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 4 yr. / Unlimited mi. 4 yr. / Unlimited mi.
Rust 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 7 yr. / Unlimited mi. 12 yr. / Unlimited mi. 12 yr. / Unlimited mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders flat 4 inline 4 V6 inline 4 V6
Base Engine Displacement 2.5 liters 2.3 liters 3.8 liters 2.0 liters 3.6 liters
Valvetrain 16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Variable Valve Timing Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard
Compressor turbocharger turbocharger   turbocharger Not Available
Horsepower 250 hp @ 6000 rpm 274 hp @ 5500 rpm 263 hp @ 6000 rpm 200 hp @ 5100 rpm 280 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque 250 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm 280 ft-lbs. @ 3000 rpm 255 ft-lbs. @ 4500 rpm 207 ft-lbs. @ 1800 rpm 265 ft-lbs. @ 2750 rpm
Driven Wheels all wheel drive all wheel drive front wheel drive all wheel drive all wheel drive
Tires P215/45ZR17 Z
all season
P215/45R18 Y
P235/55R17 V
all season
215/55R16 H
all season
235/45R17 H
all season
Wheels alloy
17 x 7 in.
18 x 7.0 in.
17 x 7.0 in.
16 x 7.0 in.
17 x 7.0 in.
One-Touch Power Windows 1 4 2 4 4
Navigation System   DVD navigation system - Optional   DVD navigation system w/voice activation - Optional DVD navigation system - Optional
Turning Circle 35.4 ft. 36.8 ft. 37.4 ft. 36.4 ft. 35.8 ft.
City 20 mpg. 20 mpg. 19 mpg. 22 mpg. 18 mpg.
Highway 26 mpg. 26 mpg. 28 mpg. 31 mpg. 27 mpg.
Length 186.2 in. 186.8 in. 192.7 in. 180.6 in. 188.2 in.
Width 68.1 in. 70.1 in. 72.8 in. 69.8 in. 71.7 in.
Height 56.1 in. 56.3 in. 58.7 in. 56.2 in. 58 in.
Weight 3365 lbs. 3589 lbs. 3629 lbs. 3549 lbs. 3829 lbs.
Wheel Base 105.1 in. 105.3 in. 109.4 in. 104.3 in. 106.7 in.
Ground Clearance 5.9 in. 4.9 in.   4.2 in. 5.2 in.
Front Headroom 37.5 in. 38.7 in. 40.2 in. 38.4 in.  
Rear Headroom 36.5 in. 37.1 in. 38.2 in. 37.2 in.  
Front Shoulder Room 54.4 in. 56.1 in. 57.9 in. 55.1 in. 55.7 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 53.7 in. 54.9 in. 57.1 in. 53.4 in. 54.6 in.
Front Hip Room 51 in. 54.7 in. 55.5 in.    
Rear Hip Room 52.6 in. 54.1 in. 55.1 in.    
Front Leg Room 44.1 in. 42.3 in. 43.7 in. 41.3 in. 41.4 in.
Rear Leg Room 33.9 in. 36.5 in. 38.2 in. 34.3 in. 37.7 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 11.4 cu.ft. 12.4 cu.ft. 16.6 cu.ft. 13.4 cu.ft. 14.2 cu.ft.



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Copyright © 2006