The Legacy had a full tank of fuel and only 50 miles on the odometer. Emerson and I transferred our travel gear, loaded the six-disc CD changer, and checked our notebook of maps and directions. We cranked up the Eagles, then took off for Maine.
Our journey's first stage consisted of interstate highways and turnpikes. Some had cracked and pitted roads, and others were smooth. One of the differences that we noticed right away (besides "Hotel California" sounding better than ever before on the harman/kardon®1 sound system) was the ride. The suspension soaked up highway bumps with muffled thumps. You know you've hit a bump, but the suspension transmits that information without harshness.
Shifting took some familiarization. After years of driving primarily five-speed manual transmissions, I sometimes left that sixth added forward gear untapped. Reaching for the shifter to downshift when slowing was awkward due to habit. Driving through the mountains of New Hampshire's Presidential Range the second day of our trip finally cured me of awkward sixth-gear shifting.
By the seat of the pants, acceleration in the new Legacy 2.5GT was very quick – enough for Legacy to keep its reputation as a performance "sleeper" by surprising unsuspecting poseurs. The turbo reacts with little lag. This fifth-generation Subaru sports sedan clearly reflects its performance heritage.
Although not as tortuous as some of the Western highways I've traveled the last few months, New Hampshire's Kancamagus Highway gave us plenty of opportunity to corner, climb, and brake. With a wary eye out for deer and moose (and squirrel), we traveled east to west to the foot of the escarpment atop which the Old Man of the Mountain once surveyed the land. With a sense of loss for the famous natural profile that broke apart in 2003, I showed Emerson where the Great Stone Face once was.
Stopping quickly at scenic turnouts posed no concern with the Legacy. Its Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive handled the dirt, sand, gravel, and pavement that we encountered as expected from a Subaru. In addition, we drove in rain on flat, black pavement that appeared slippery with oil, through which the car gave me a familiar confidence.
Curves with the Legacy were a joy, with little feeling of body roll. The suspension seemed well configured for someone who likes to tour any kind of road.
Despite the frequent turbocharged bursts of speed and tourist stops as well as the mountainous terrain, we managed more than 28 miles per gallon for the trip.