The 2010 Legacy is visibly larger than its predecessor. That was obvious when our 3.6R was parked next to a 2008 version in the Subaru parking lot.
The increase in size translates into more interior space, too, which was demonstrated several times during the four days of our journey.
The 3.6R's mechanical features contribute significantly to its personality. The engine and transmission work together to provide powerful acceleration with smooth shifts. One caution is to rely on the speedometer – not the seat of your pants – to determine your speed, because you don't feel like you're traveling as fast as you are.
Downshifting is a delight, because the transmission "blips" the throttle to match transmission speed with road speed. The result is like downshifting with a manual transmission, using the accelerator to do the same thing – only it's smooth every time. It's so smooth, and the cabin is so quiet, that passengers hardly know that the driver is using the steering-wheel paddles to downshift.
The paddles function whether the transmission is placed in "D" or "M" – Drive or Manual mode. After downshifting with the transmission in D, it returns to higher gears automatically when reapplying the accelerator.
Nothing daunted the 6-cylinder engine. Whatever the road had to offer, we had more than enough power to handle it. Low-end torque was particularly impressive, pulling this Legacy to speed quickly and without drama.
The suspension also tackled all but the meanest of potholes without complaint. Following other vehicles in the group, we knew when to expect occasional dips in the pavement. They never unsettled the car's handling.
The interior's design reflects the exterior's more stately styling. The chrome-trimmed instrument panel, crisply styled steering-wheel-mounted controls, and the center part of the dashboard (navigation screen, audio system controls, and digital climate control) contribute to its mature appearance, as does the woodgrain patterned accent trim.
The cabin had plenty of space for our travel needs – drink bottles, two power outlets (one for the citizens band radio and one for an adapter plug used to power a laptop), and storage space for other bits and pieces.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the interior was its quietness. For four days, we rode over all types of pavement and didn't miss a beat in our conversations. You can talk at normal volume without distraction.