2020 Subaru Legacy First Drive Review : Fast And Better

Subaru is a brand best known for off-road-ready crossovers and tasty performance sedans. But buried in this popular lineup is a humble four-door sedan, the Legacy, that struggles to garner the same level of attention, all while given the thankless task of slugging it out with the likes of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. But the 2020 Subaru Legacy, straight off a healthy redesign, is poised to make a bigger impact.

Looking to enhance the Legacy’s appeal, Subaru made some smart improvements to the car while keeping its stand-out feature, standard all-wheel drive system. With a new technology suite, thoughtful cabin layout, and new turbocharged engine option, the 2020 Legacy is the most compelling version of the car to date.

Car and Driver tested the latest Legacy and revealed that it is clearly still not recognizable as a Subaru, yet it displays a leaner, more athletic physique with flared fenders over all four wheels. The new Legacy’s well-trimmed cabin keeps the old car’s straightforward design but with flourishes and soft-touch plastics that make it appear far more premium. Passengers will find plenty of space in both front and back.

They also sampled a midrange Limited and a top-of-the-line Touring XT, the latter equipped with rich brown-colored nappa leather upholstery. The cabin is shared with the Outback, and all but the base Legacy come with Subaru’s latest infotainment system and a large 11.6-inch vertically oriented display. The entry-level car gets a dual-screen setup with two 7.0-inch displays, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the lineup. Subaru is also making its EyeSight suite of driver-assistance features standard; the package includes adaptive cruise control with lane centering, automated emergency braking, and lane-departure warning.

This seventh-generation Legacy marks the return of turbocharging to the lineup, with reborn XT models boasting a 260-hp 2.4-liter boxer engine which was revealed by Autoblog. That turbo-four ably replaces the previous 3.6-liter flat-6, including zippier acceleration (Subaru figures a swift 6.1 seconds from 0-60 mph) and a solid jump in fuel economy, to 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. A 2.5-liter naturally aspirated boxer-four, first seen on the 2019 Forester, which delivers 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. It’s good for an 8.4-second sprint to 60 mph. Active grille shutters help lift its fuel economy to 27 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. That’s midpack among midsize sedans, but don’t forget the standard all-wheel drive, a feature that inevitably trades some fuel efficiency for all-weather traction.

Starting below $24,000, the Legacy ascends through six trim levels, topping out with the turbocharged XT Touring at $36,795. The lineup’s sweet spot may be the Legacy Limited, at $30,645.

Even in the salad days of sedans, the Legacy was a below-the-radar player. Today, Subaru sells more than four Outbacks for every Legacy, with the latter finding only 40,000 takers last year. Between its comfort, features, leading-edge safety and one-of-a-kind standard AWD, this 2020 Legacy deserves more love from whatever sedan fans are left.

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