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STYLING | 8 out of 10
It's not flashy, but the utilitarian exterior and strong, stable body lines communicate reliability and trustworthiness
design language might seem a bit bland and generic for some tastes
pleasantly conservative in a way that should still look good after it's paid off
The Auto Channel
might not be the most exciting midsize sedan, but it looks tasteful and modern
More mainstream, less quirky.
The redesign two years ago means the 2012 Subaru Legacy has grown several inches in most directions compared to previous generations of this mid-size sedan. It's now very much in line with the best-selling cars in the segment, including the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
From the side, an angular snout with swept-back headlights and a distinctly arched roofline taper down to a trunk that looks stubby but actually has quite a lot of room inside. A thin brightwork strip highlights the arch. Exaggerated wheel-well arches break up any slabby appearance, at the expense of looking somewhat cartoonish on a plain-Jane sedan. The body also has two character lines; one runs from the edges of the winged grille (outlined in chrome) into the hood, ending at the front pillars. The other defines the beltline by running from the ends of the swept-back headlights along the sides, arching over the front wheelwell and continuing the length of the car.
It's tough from a distance to tell the base 2.5i model from the high-end 3.6R, with its six-cylinder engine and more luxury appointments. Inside, the 2012 Legacy features an upright center stack finished in silver metallic plastic. It's flanked by ventilation grilles that evoke the upward, winged theme of the grille-and-headlamp front aspect, and the sound system is placed high up on the dash. The trip computer is usefully close to the driver's field of vision, and like most Subaru instruments, the gauges are simple, round, and easy to read. The entire cluster, in fact, is fairly self-explanatory; it does its job well without drawing attention to its design.
The 2012 Subaru Legacy is a cohesive design with a few nice details--especially inside--but it's bland and some may see its exaggerated wheel arches as slightly cartoon-y.