2010 Subaru Legacy

Rating: 4

Damage: $30,990
Power: 265hp, 258 lb.-ft.
0-60: 5.7 seconds (est.)
Gas Cash: 18 city, 25 hwy
Miles Driven: 85

Back in ’89 when Subie first took a crowbar to the midsize car market here in America, the stalwarts, like Camry and Accord, already had their devotees. But Subaru one-upped its competitors by offering a fun-to-drive whip with power going to all four wheels. Fast-forward to the Legacy’s platinum anniversary and you can bet their game has remained the same, this time with the potential to oust German rivals.

Before you even shake hands with the Legacy’s six-speed manual, it’s not hard to judge its character. Take a walk round the totally new exterior and hear it speak volumes about what you’re about to buckle into. The front fascia, when painted in the darker of Subaru’s nine colors for the Legacy, looks aggro and athletic. Its profile—thanks to shameless wheel arches at all four corners—spells out that all wheels are always powered. But as you get around to its rear, the Legacy gets unhurried and civil. Which, depending on your mood, dictates how easy it is to go from deft to docile.

After you turn the ignition over and the blue gauges do their samurai sweep, cog up through the gears. If you don’t have the optional nine-speaker, 440-watt Harmon Kardon system blaring, you can hear the turbo, the fist-size source of all your G-force fun—whoosh. Accelerating out of turns is where the new Legacy earns its performance cred, and its silent-as-a-vacuum cabin can easily be put up against any German car. Thanks to new underpinnings, the car remains as planted as a sequoia when romped. Just don’t uproot it; it’s still a family sedan. JACK CHINELLI