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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
'Good,' frontal offset; 'good,' side impact; ‘good,’ rear impact; ‘good,’ roof strength; 'acceptable,' small overlap frontal
Top Safety Pick+
Not rated, overall; four stars, frontal; not rated, side crash; five stars, rollover
even sensors to measure the driver's distance to the steering wheel to control [airbag] inflation strength offer further protection
The Auto Channel
The Legacy's all-wheel drive system is an asset on snowy and rainy highways; but on top of that it includes several key active-safety options.
With a new, optional EyeSight system for 2013, a stereo camera system provides adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and pre-collision braking. The suite of 'driver assist' features can greatly increase safety and perhaps cut the chances of an accident. For instance, EyeSight can detect pedestrians or objects in the vehicle path and activates the brakes to come to a complete stop if the speed is about 19 mph or less. At speeds above that, the system can help reduce the speed (and force) of impact. Also, Lane Departure and Sway Warning helps remind the driver if they may be distracted or drowsy, while Adaptive Cruise Control lets you set a designated following distance.
The Legacy has for years been a safety leader, but it's no longer at the top in all tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), has given the Legacy its top rating of 'Good' across all categories--including front, side, and rear impact tests, plus the roof strength test. For 2013 it earned an 'acceptable' rating in the new small overlap frontal test, but that still earned it the new IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation.
In the federal government's NCAP tests, the Legacy has earned four out of five stars for front impact, and five of five stars for rollover safety, but it hasn't been given an overall test because of the lack of side-impact results.
The 2013 Subaru Legacy doesn't at all skimp in general safety features either; front and side airbags, side-curtain airbags that cover the window opening, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, and electronic stability control are all standard. The electric parking brake also provides a Hill Holder system that prevents the car from rolling when starting on steep inclines.
Crash-test ratings for the 2013 Subaru Legacy aren't perfect, but responsive handling and surefooted all-wheel drive help make up for that; so does a new EyeSight suite of active-safety features.