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Long Term Update 7: 2010 Subaru Legacy GT

The Transmission Grumbles Continue

Ron Kiino
Jul 6, 2011
Photographers: Motor Trend Staff
I recently took the Legacy over to Ladin Subaru in Thousand Oaks for its 22,500-mile maintenance, a $155.99 job that included an oil change, tire rotation, and full inspection. Thus far, over 23,000 miles of reliable service, the Legacy has visited the dealer three times, racking up a total maintenance tab of $487.30. Cheap? Not exactly. Our dearly departed long-term 2009 Acura TL SH-AWD, another high-horsepower all-wheel-driver (from a “premium” brand, mind you), amassed a three-visit maintenance tab of $434.92.
Photo 2/11   |   2010 Subaru Legacy GT Front Three Quarters
The Legacy GT’s Achilles heel, I must say, is its transmission. For those not in the know, the GT – the Legacy line’s high-performance iteration – comes exclusively with a 6-speed manual. I’m generally fine with an exclusive transmission, be it a manual, automatic, or dual-clutch, as long as it’s really good. Alas, the Legacy’s is not. Even with the $654 short-throw kit installed, the 6-speed remains notchy, imprecise, and disengaging, the last both literally and figuratively. And those short throws? They’re indeed shorter, but not by much and still too long. Remedy? In my opinion, it’s simple – swap in the 6-speed from the Impreza WRX STI. Yes, I realize the STI’s is an expensive hand-built tranny, but our Legacy costs $34,539. Surely, Subaru can figure out a way to absorb the STI 6M’s cost without upping the GT’s price. Since Subaru has made the GT’s manual a focal point of the car, the transmission ought to be both worthy and laudable. Here’s to hoping.
The rest of the car, however, is quite good. Besides some low-end turbo lag, the 2.5-liter boxer has plenty of guts, revs smoothly, and even sounds pretty sweet. The ride is downright cushy, making long trips a breeze. If anything, I wouldn’t mind a modest stiffening of the suspension, to make tackling back roads more fun. Speaking of back roads, the Legacy has no problem hustling through them, but it wallows a bit much when the pavement proves moderately undulating. And I love the cruising range of the GT. Thanks to a 18.5-gallon fuel tank and 25 mpg highway, the Legacy can go 463 miles between fill-ups.

Our Vehicle
Months/mi in service 14/25,440
Avg econ/CO2 22.8 mpg/0.85 lb/mi
Energy consumption 148 kw-hr/100 mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $487.40 (3-oil change, rotate tires, 2-replace cabin air filter)
Normal-wear cost $0

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