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Subaru’s Legacy is unique in the midsize sedan segment, not just because it is the only entry with standard AWD, but because it also comes with a standard CVT and a price tag that’s just $355 higher than the least expensive entry, the VW Passat. When you factor in the value of the AWD system and the fact that the inexpensive Passat comes with a 6-speed manual for that low price, the Subaru packs in about $2600 in extra value. This value proposition is the key to understanding Subaru in general and the Legacy in particular.

With $1,800 to $3,000 more drivetrain than any other base midsize sedan standard, how does Subaru keep the MSRP so low? That’s a good question.  I suspect profits at Subie are a hair lower on base trims but much of the difference is simply a matter of priorities. Every car company adds or removed features to make the books balance and the Legacy is no different. Base models have more hard plastics in the rear cabin area, the car is overall one of the smaller entries in the segment, we don’t have rear air vents standard and instead of moulding two bumpers for the 2.5L and 3.6L models, Subaru sticks a filler panel on the right side cutout if you get the smaller engine. All of these tradeoffs allow Subaru to deliver the CVT and AWD for $21,695 in 2015 and $21,745 in 2016. But there’s more about the Legacy that marches to a different drummer.

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