The 2014 Subaru Legacy has about the same footprint and interior space as volume-leading mid-size sedans like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. But its five-year-old styling is both conservative and exaggerated, with slab sides broken by huge, cartoonish wheel arches and an aggressive hexagonal grille flanked by swept-wing headlamp shapes. Alloy wheels aside, there's not a lot of exterior difference between the base 2.5i model and the highest-end Limited version.
And the lines are sufficiently square and basic that against the swoopy Hyundai Sonata or the elegant new Ford Fusion, the Legacy simply vanishes.
Inside, though, the Legacy does far better. The cockpit is nicely proportioned, and from the driver's seat, the Legacy's various controls are intuitive. The simple, round gauges sit in a binnacle behind the steering wheel, the climate controls are self-explanatory, and the audio system sits high in the center stack between wing-shaped vents.
Subaru has toned down the most extreme shapes of the sweeping interiors it launched on the earlier Tribeca and then the last generation of Forester. While you'll never mistake the Legacy for a German car inside, it all works nicely. On high-end models, there's now a bit of glossy dark-wood trim for a touch of elegance to add to the practicality.