Test Drive: Sedans Like Subaru Legacy Still Have A Seat At The Table

While automakers continue to roll out trucks and SUVs, there’s still a desire for sedans, as evidenced by their sales numbers. 

Data from the first quarter 2023 shows that sedans and other types of cars made up 21.4% of the 3.6 million new vehicles sold, up from 19.6% in fourth quarter 2021, according to the Automotive News Research and Data Center. This marks a slight increase after years of decline. This shift is noteworthy since the share of cars has been on the decline in the U.S. since 2002.

Inflation has also caused some people to tighten their car budget and look for a more fuel-efficient ride, according to Capital One Auto Navigator. “That’s good news for sedans, which tend to cost less and sometimes return better gas mileage than comparable crossovers,” per Capital One. 

Indeed, sales of the 2023 Subaru Legacy midsize sedan were up 106.9% in September, with 2,727 models delivered to customers compared with 1,318 sales in September 2022. The Legacy sedan is up 14.4% in the first nine months, with 19,622 models sold to customers in 2023. 

There are reports that Subaru of Indiana Automotive, where the Legacy is manufactured, may be considering rebalancing its North American production capacity so the automaker can build more electric vehicles in the U.S. factory.

But for now, the vehicle offers a lot for the money. The 2023 Subaru Legacy Sport model that we test drove starts at $33,895 and includes the nicely powered 2.4L DOHC Turbo Subaru Boxer engine with auto start stop. With a sport-tuned suspension, the Sport version is meant to be more fun to drive. A red stripe in the grill and red stitching in the seat upholstery is special to the Sport edition. 

Fuel economy is 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway for an average of 26 mpg combined. 

The vehicle also features a good number of standard equipment and safety features, some which might be associated with an SUV, like symmetrical all-wheel drive. 

While some drivers might find the Driver Focus Distraction Mitigation System annoying, if you bear with its prompts, it will make you a more attentive and safer driver. 

The safety system also includes a vigorous blind-spot detection with red cross-traffic alert. But be forewarned: If you are trying to pull out of a driveway and a garbage can is at the curb nearby, the car will automatically brake very hard because it “sees” it and is trying to prevent a collision. 

The seats were comfortable even after a 600-mile weekend road trip from Detroit to Chicago.  The adaptive cruise control with lane centering worked like a charm, even in stop-and-go traffic and construction zones. 

The car was easy to parallel park on tight city streets, yet still had a surprising amount of cargo space. We fit an impressive 10 medium -ized boxes and two small carryon suitcases in the back with the seats folded down. 

A helpful no-cost feature was a lever in the trunk area that allowed a user to push the back seats into the down position without opening up the rear seat area.

It’s little touches like this that make the Subaru Legacy feel like a thoughtful and driver-friendly vehicle worth considering while you still can. 

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