What an all-weather trooper
Our car, in Twilight Blue Metallic—a color that looked more like gray in some lighting—fit right in with a particularly messy, wet-and-windy winter week. The all-wheel drive system assured that we never missed a beat for traction, and given some strong crosswinds, the steering felt confidence-inspiring, and the cloth heated seats were comfortable and welcoming in the cold.
The character of the powertrain remains one of the items for which you're either going to cross the Legacy off the list, or find it kind of...charming, as we do. The 173-hp, horizontally opposed 'flat' four-cylinder engine definitely has character; it lopes along at idle and thrums at around 2,500 rpm at mild acceleration with the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) until you ease off with your right foot. Mash it down for passing, and the CVT responds faster than in some other models, bringing the revs up quite quickly.
The bright side is that the engine has plenty of torque in the low to mid rev range, and even in moderate acceleration the engine won't be racing. But if you're in that mood, grab one of the steering-wheel paddles and you can click through six ratios; it's not as quick and responsive as the shifts that you get in the WRX or the Forester XT, but it allows you to lock in a ratio down a long grade or for a steady ascending series of corners.