This Subary Legacy Premium (with all weather package - cloth heated seats are a true winner) 2.5l packs a lot of features for the price - right at MSRP $24,000 according to Subaru's website. The CVT and boxer work together well, although I felt with a heavier load it was slightly weak. Great visibility and comfort are other reasons to consider this over its CamCord competitors in its class. This car absoultely should be on the shopping list for mid-size sedans.
Driving position & visibility
I found the Legacy very easy to see out of - the upright driving position is excellent and the large mirrors help minimize blind spot. The power seat was easy to manipulate to a comfortable position in relation to the controls, pedal and steering wheel.
Rear seat room & comfort
I had two tall passengers with me - even with the front seat pushed back to accomodate for height (6'4" guy and 5'10" woman), they said the backseat room was quite decent and no complaints on our hour+ long drive. The cloth seats are well padded and the fabirc was breathable - cool for summer and insulating for winter.
My 2013 was in a color Subaru calls "Caramel Bronze Pearl" - make no mistake; this car is BROWN. I got a number of (positive) comments on it - it is distinctive without being in your face, and even in a dark parking garage, you can tell it is not another beige/silver/gray. Unfortunately, looking at Subaru's website, it appears this color is not offered for 2014.
Controls and instruments
The instrument panel is very orderly and easy to comprehend. Subaru did away with the coolant temperature gauge - frankly, they aren't that useful anyways for 98% of owners, with manufacturers programming the gauge not to move at all in the "normal" operating range. A blue coolant light tells you when the engine is cold. Instead, Subaru put in a useful instant MPG meter - much more useful than the "instant fuel economy" digital readout (that can also be selected in the center stack; I left it on average fuel ecomony when driving it). The steering wheel buttons are quick to learn and intuitive; stereo has real knobs and buttons; HVAC controls are straightfoward and easy to manipulate.
I mostly drove the car on the highway with some suburban / urban mixed in - the ride is firm without being stiff, handling potholes and wavy pavement with aplomb. Some gravel roads did not faze the car in the least bit. The ride feels substantial - like a car much heavier - and stable.
Audio & nav systems
The bluetooth on the radio would not automatically connect to my iPhone - every time I started the car, I had to tell it (a few times) to connect to my phone. I did not find a setting that commanded the car to connect automatically - but in all the rentals I have driven in the past year (at least 15), I can't think of any other car that had the same issue. Once connected, it worked fine and the quality was adequate.
Controls and instruments
I gave the car good marks on controls, which mostly they are, but Subaru made a one egregious error. The trunk popper is on the left side of the IP, hidden down low and not lit at night - with other buttons nearby, it is difficult to hit the button without poking around down there.
The base 2.5l 4 cylinder boxer is pleasant and works well the CVT for the most part. However, it did not feel like the car had all of its 173HP / 172 lb/ft of torque. In passing situations, the engine had to wind out and although smooth, took longer to come up to speed than I expected. I'm not sure if it was the engine or the CVT that dulled the ability of the engine to pull stronger.
The steering, although insulated, was reasonably accurate and did not push back even with the AWD system.
The car computer told me that I got over 30MPG in mostly highway with passengers and AC, including some idling time, and the highway time was at a "spirited" speed (75MPH limits were somewhat adhered to). It appeared the car was full of gas when I picked it up (sometimes the gauge moves 3 miles after leaving the rental car facility) and the amount of gas I refillled it with correlates very closely to the computer's average. That is pretty darn close to the EPA numbers, or exceeding them considering the workload on the car.
If I was in the market for a $25k sedan, this would probably be towards the top of my list. I would happily drive this car long distances.