And in what we can only chalk down as an impressive economy of scale, Subaru has managed to price its products pretty closely with front-wheel-drive versions of rival models. The 2014 Legacy starts at a base price of $21,090. Load a moonroof and Subaru's breakthrough EyeSight accident-avoidance suite into a Legacy Premium, and you add up to around $27k—which still sounds like a great deal considering all you get (yes, things like adaptive cruise control, heated seats and mirrors, and a power driver's seat).
But Subaru didn't spring for such things with the rather basic 2014 Legacy that we drove earlier this winter. At just $26,418, it epitomized what Subaru has become best known for: providing simple, honest all-wheel drive transportation for the family.
Sharp on the outside; looking dated inside
The Legacy might not turn heads, but it's good-looking and on the outside doesn't look all that dated—even though it was last redesigned for the 2010 model year. Its profile is conservative but handsome, and the chiseled sheetmetal line running from the front fenders all the way to the rear lights—a cue that looked perhaps too heavy-handed five years ago—fits right in today.
Inside, the lack of excessive chrome and brightwork is noted, and much appreciated. There's only one exception. The brushed-metal-on-plastic look of the center console, as well as the audio system and interface altogether look like they were beamed in from 2004—not even 2010. It's reasonably functional, though; the system sounded quite good on FM or satellite radio, and it's modern enough to include USB inputs as well as Bluetooth audio streaming that played well with my iPhone.
We wonder, though, why the large, lidded compartment that you get at the center of the dash is above, not below, the climate controls—pushing them farther downward from the line of sight. Although we'll concede that it's a pretty useful storage space. You get another big bin farther down, by the way, as well as a lidded center-console bin large enough for a DSLR camera.