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2020 Subaru Legacy GT's comfy, spacious, punchy

2020 Subaru Legacy GT
2020 Subaru Legacy GT - Contributed
Subaru’s latest Legacy is a joy in the snow.

Earlier this winter, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) named the new Subaru Legacy “Canada’s Best New Large Sedan.” after an intensive and methodical testing and evaluation program.

As one of the jurors on this awards program, and by pure fluke, news of the all-new Legacy’s category win broke part-way through a week-long test of said particular car.

I wasn’t surprised.

Here’s a big, comfortable, sturdy sedan that’ll comfortably swallow four adults and their gear. It’s got a mile-long safety achievements list that includes some very cutting-edge stuff, and an AWD system that’s always on the ball.

My tester was the loaded-as-she-goes GT, complete with a 260-horsepower, flat-four turbo, and it came in a tick over $39,000.

The cabin is roomy, sprinkled generously with storage cubbies and charging ports, and trimmed nicely with stitching and leather and metallic bits for a high-end feel. The vertically-oriented touch-screen gives the top-line cabin a high-tech visual punch.

The big-screen system proves easy to navigate and manipulate before long. There’s even a handy infographic display that clearly shows which safety systems are active, which are not, and what they do. Slick stuff.

The drive is comfort-first.

The suspension performs beautifully on even very rough roads, keeping quiet and composed under fire. On the highway, it’s soft but not lifeless. You’ve got numerous better options if you’re after something sporty and sharp, though Legacy GT is completely unbothered by a brisk jaunt down one’s favorite empty camp road after a few inches of powder.

My biggest smiles came from experiencing how much power the AWD system and Blizzak rubber could transmit to the hard-packed beneath in heavy-footed driving. Equipped thusly, Legacy GT positively chomps into the snow and sees you off in a hurry, if you like. Even in snow deep enough to stick a front-drive in place, Legacy GT just calmly claws its way through.

It’s all fully automatic and no driver bandwidth is required. Obey the laws of physics, of course.

The turbo engine is a high-torque powerhouse with a pleasing power surge, though heavier footed drivers will want to avoid excessive use of the turbo to keep fuel bills reasonable.

There is temptation, however. There’s a pleasing ‘slingshot’ feel to the acceleration, with power swelling up as the turbo gets into its game. The sound is fairly restrained, but you’ll catch a whiff of the signature boxer engine growl. The CVT transmission is smooth and refined, but enthusiast drivers will wish for a more precisely-defined feel to kick-down and up-shifting.
Note that the transmission is fairly noisy when cold, with a loud whine accompanying its operation for the first few moments of a cold morning drive.

The LED headlights are very powerful. Steering is light and friendly, but the turning circle is a bit hefty. The trunk is generous, though some may wish it as a tad deeper. Others will wish for trunk closer handle. Without one, it’s salty mittens all winter long. 

All said, if you’re after something big, comfy, safe, punchy, and good in the snow, you’ll likely find Legacy GT a spacious and well-sorted offering. Here’s a big sedan with many strengths, few weaknesses, and Subaru’s winter-driving swagger on full display.

The specs

Model: 2020 Subaru Legacy GT
Engine: 2.4L flat-four boxer turbo, 260 horsepower
Drivetrain: Symmetrical AWD
Transmission: Continually Variable Transmission (CVT)
Features: LED headlights, automatic lights, heated and cooled front seats, touch-screen
with navigation, automatic climate control, push-button ignition, EyeSight Safety System with Driver Monitoring
What’s hot: spacious and comfy, great in the snow, punchy and pleasing engine, extensive safety content, excellent headlights
What’s not: sportier drivers will wish for a more precise feel, no  trunk-closer handle, thirsty when pushed

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