April 18, 2019

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Overall Rating:

Subaru is fortunate to be one of the small group of carmakers that enjoy a cultlike following. Unlike most of them, however, Subaru won that status without a comprehensive lineup of exceptional performance cars. Yes, the thin sliver of car buyers who are enthusiasts have long embraced Subaru’s rally-inspired WRX models, but the Japanese carmaker has mainly earned its reputation by offering standard all-wheel drive across its lineup and targeting the highest possible safety ratings. It’s not surprising, then, that Subaru would follow this strategy exactly with the Legacy as a way of helping it make its mark in a highly competitive market segment. It’s one of the only cars in its segment to offer all-wheel drive for less than $30,000, and it earned the highest possible crash-test ratings from both U.S. agencies that do such testing. By other metrics, however, it struggles. Its performance on the track and during everyday driving fails to impress, the interior design and materials are dated, and several upscale features that have become common in mass-market cars are missing completely from Subaru’s family sedan. In ways large and small, the Legacy has failed to keep up with the rest of its class, which has been rapidly improving.

What’s New for 2018?

The Legacy is refreshed for 2018, with some exterior tweaks and a wide variety of changes to its interior, infotainment system, and safety equipment. Outside, a lower and wider grille and a tailpipe newly integrated into the rear differentiate this Legacy from the previous model. There are also two new wheel designs and two new paint colors: Magnetite Gray Metallic and Crimson Red Pearl. Among the many interior changes, Subaru has made the dashboard clock larger, the air conditioning is now more effective, the center console has been redesigned, and there is a new gray interior trim color. The standard infotainment system has a slightly larger screen than was available in 2017, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard. The Legacy’s chassis has also been tweaked for an improved and quieter ride. In keeping with Subaru’s safety-conscious image, the standard backup camera now includes gridlines that move when you turn the steering wheel, and adaptive headlamps are newly available.

Trims and Options We’d Choose

Neither the Legacy’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine nor its 3.6-liter six-cylinder powertrain are anything approaching powerful, even compared with its mass-market rivals. We’d skip the more expensive 3.6-liter engine and choose the 2.5i Premium trim instead. That model starts at $25,155 and includes the following standard features:

• All-wheel drive
• 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
• 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

A suite of active safety features including automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and high-beam assist is available for $1545, bringing the total price to $26,700.

Base Price Comparison

In Depth: 2018 Subaru Legacy

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