By Marc Lachapelle
Going against the current at this year’s Detroit show, Subaru was riding the wave of an excellent year that saw a rise in sales as well as market share. Officials had stories of “honest long-term value, reliability and strong retained value” and of customers coming to the brand while moving from large SUVs to more efficient vehicles such as the Outback. But there was also mention that “people forget we have been making sedans.” The carmaker’s core model is indeed the Legacy sedan which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2009.
More than 3.6 million of these cars have been built in Subaru’s plants in Japan and Indiana since 1989. To underscore the importance of the Legacy sedan, Subaru unveiled the Legacy Concept, a virtual giveaway of an upcoming all-new Legacy.
Introduced as “a global mid-size sedan with interior space to fit four adults in comfort” this concept is built around versions of Subaru’s trademark boxer engine – in 3.6-litre form – and “symmetrical” all-wheel drive system. Painted in gleaming “Ultimate Silver”, the mid-size sedan has muscular flanks with strongly-accentuated wheel arches and front grille that looks disturbingly Chevrolet-like, in spite of Subaru’s claim that it conveys its new graphic signature. One has yet to detect a coherent design theme with the carmaker’s recent creations.
With its “striking four-seat layout” and the interior, as often in concepts, is pure design hyperbole not very likely to make it into the production model. The seats are draped in Pearl White leather “with a blue sheen” while the black metallic leather on the door trim creates contrast. The center console features a large touch-screen display that groups controls for the major systems. In all likelihood, the production version of the Legacy will be introduced at the New York auto show next spring.