The new Legacy.
PHILADELPHIA: The 2018 Subaru Legacy ups the quality, safety and refinement levels, but thankfully keeps the firm's renowned boxer engine at its core and with it, its core customers very happy.
Subaru is getting ready to unveil a new compact SUV - the XV - at next month's Geneva motor show that it hopes will help it drive further into the booming crossover market.
However, despite the seemingly insatiable demand for all things SUV-esque, Subaru hasn't lost focus of who its core customers are, and at the Chicago Auto Show it will be officially launching the 2018 Legacy.
It promises sharper, cleaner styling front and rear to highlight its sporting potential. Inside, the highest specification models will get some premium materials, fits and finishes including real stitching on the dashboard and door panels. Sound proofing is denser, the air conditioning is more responsive and there's also a new infotainment system on offer.
It has an 8-inch touchscreen, uses software from industry leader Nuance for the clearest voice recognition and supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also has Subaru specific apps for finding local events and parking spaces, and even a programme for monitoring and suggesting improvements to driving style to conserve fuel.
However, what remains largely unchanged is the boxer engine sitting way down under the bonnet for improved centre of gravity and therefore all-round handling. Available as a 2.5-litre 175hp flat-four or 3.6-litre flat six with 256hp on tap, both powertrains come with Subaru's smart, rally-developed all-wheel-drive system as standard, making it the only car on sale in the US in its segment to do so.
In terms of safety, the car can now autonomously brake while reversing as well going forward. Adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring are all also either standard or optional equipment.
Despite being the smallest of the Japanese carmakers, Subaru has been building up a steady momentum over recent years and even walked away with the 2016-17 Japan car of the Year award for its new Impreza. It's the second time it's won the award. The first time was for the Legacy, back in 2003.
The 2017 Chicago Auto Show opens on Feb 9.