The Inside

The cabin boasts more conventional lines and adult-friendly room, with a number of welcome changes. The doors now have window frames, yielding a more substantial thunk when you shut them. The backseat gains 4 inches of legroom, Subaru says, and it's about as roomy as the Accord's, which has been a benchmark for backseat comfort since its 2008 redesign.

Still, I can't shake the feeling that the interior feels low-rent. Too many areas Ч the wood trim, the silver-painted center controls, the italicized gauges Ч look trendy, chintzy almost, as if Subaru picked style over substance in a dozen small ways. (To be fair, other Cars.com staffers found the interior quality more to their liking.) The center controls feel needlessly crammed together, and major dials like volume and stereo tuning are too small to find without looking away from the road. The leather upholstery falls closer to Mazda6 territory than to Accord or Camry cowhide. Small gripes, perhaps, but the sum of them all determines whether a cabin feels like something $20,000 to $30,000 ought to get you. Relative to an Accord, Malibu or Fusion, the Legacy's interior feels a few grand short.

Drivers of various sizes should find the space adequate, thanks to long adjustment ranges for both seats. The front seats have less padding than the Fusion's or Camry's chairs, however, and my back grew sore over a few long interstate trips. Shorter drivers should also note that the center armrest doesn't extend forward to accommodate their elbows, as several competitors' armrests now do.

Cargo volume, at 14.7 cubic feet, is comparable to that of an Accord or Camry. If you're looking to pack in suitcases or golf clubs, the Mazda6 and Fusion lead the pack with more than 16 cubic feet apiece.

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