That's what Subaru loyalists did, and the powers-that-be made requested changes in the fifth generation of the Legacy sedan for 2010.
You actually can power down the side window and rest an arm on the top of the door, a feat that you can't perform in many cars today. And rear-seat passengers can cross or stretch legs in an extra 4 inches of room.
Loyalists also asked for more places to store things. Enter a variety of nooks throughout the cabin, including bottle holders in the doors; map pockets in the doors and behind the passenger seat; stowage under the armrest, along with a 12-volt power plug and auxiliary plug and a slot for an electrical cord; an open bin in the console behind the gearshift; and a covered bin in the center of the dash, though its door sticks out when open and tends to munch on fingers and knuckles when putting items inside.
Fans also wanted better mileage. Legacy is offered in Premium and Limited models, with a choice of a 2.5-liter, 170-horsepower 4-cylinder, a 2.5-liter, 265-hp turbo 4 and a 3.6-liter, 256-hp 6.
We tested the 2.5i Premium with its 170-hp 4, which was tweaked to deliver higher mileage. It's rated at 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway, a significant boost from 20/26 last year. With the fuel tank expanded to 18.5 gallons from 16, range tops 500 miles.
But that's when teamed with an optional ($1,000) continuously variable automatic transmission. Our test car had a 6-speed manual rated at 19/27, not only considerably less money than the automatic, but also 1 mpg less in the city than the 5-speed manual for 2009.
Unless you've found one road not under construction, with its constant braking and shifting, we'd opt for the CVT and its better mileage.
While Legacy boasts bigger dimensions for a wealth of added room, the 170-hp 4 needs an extra shot of adrenaline for the energy to pull out and get around 18-wheelers on the interstate, as well as to keep up with the flow of traffic on city streets.
The 265-hp turbo 4 is marked up from 243 hp last year and is the choice for performance and spirited movement, while the 3.6-liter 6 replaces a 3-liter 245-hp 6 and is the choice for smoothest acceleration and quiet operation.
A new double-wishbone rear suspension is meant to quiet and smooth the ride, which still can be a bit bouncy at times. Can't fault handling, thanks to full-time all-wheel drive that keeps the radials planted firmly below. While many automakers now offer all-wheel-drive sedans, that has been Subaru's stock in trade across the board for decades.
Stability and traction control are standard and contribute to good road manners, though this is an economy car, and the 16-inch all-season tires will scrub the pavement in a sharp turn at speed.
Nice touches include perhaps the widest-opening deck lid in the industry, which exposes a deep and massive trunk. Levers in the trunk release rear seatbacks if you need more cargo space in the cabin -- moving three rooms of furniture comes to mind. And grab handles over each door are appreciated even with the wide openings that make for easy entry/exit.
Then there's hill-holder control that keeps Legacy in place when starting on steep inclines. And kudos for putting control buttons for the hill holder and trunk release in easy-to-see-and-reach spots on the dash to the left of the steering wheel.
The Legacy 2.5i Premium starts at $20,995, or $800 less than the 2009 despite being larger and offering more amenities, such as anti-lock brakes; AM/FM stereo with single-disc in-dash CD player, radio data service and auxiliary input jack; air conditioning; readouts for clock, trip computer and outside temperature; cruise control; sunglasses holder in the overhead console; and power locks/windows/mirrors/driver's seat.
Read Jim Mateja Sunday in Rides. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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