For those trading up from this car’s predecessor, the latest Subaru Legacy’s handling might come as quite a shock. With all-wheel drive, the Legacy retains excellent all-weather traction, but whereas the previous car turned with a nimbleness that few estate cars could match, this one produces a surprising amount of body roll while suffering from a lack of steering precision – a combination that gives the impression that the Legacy is going to understeer badly in hard cornering and discourages attempts to drive the car with any enthusiasm.
The truth is actually quite different – at the extreme, the Legacy grips strongly and remains neutrally balanced – but it doesn’t matter because you have to drive the Legacy beyond what feels comfortable in order to discover this.
You could conclude that such a set-up has its merits – namely, an underlying reserve of ability but with a soft set-up providing a comfortable ride. And this would make sense if the Legacy rode sufficiently well, but it doesn’t. It is certainly not firm or bouncy, but over rough surfaces – and especially at slow to medium speeds – the suspension vibrates loosely and noisily.
Furthermore, over roads that ask tough questions of a car’s body control, the Legacy’s soft set-up can too easily be caught out. In its dynamic abilities the Legacy is far from a bad car and in some ways it continues to impress, particularly with its ability to carry speed regardless of road conditions. But in its efforts to bring the Legacy to a broader audience, Subaru has sacrificed some of the Legacy’s driver appeal. It isn’t as entertaining to drive as its predecessors, but nor is it significantly (or sufficiently) more comfortable.