2019 Legacy New Car Test Drive
Subaru Legacy received significant upgrades for the 2018 model year. Often overlooked, the 2018 Subaru Legacy is in the fourth year of its sixth generation. When it was all-new for 2015, The Car Connection named it Best Car to Buy. Legacy remains the only midsize sedan with all-wheel drive as standard equipment.
Legacy's styling gets lost in the crowd that includes the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Then again, they get lost in the crowd that includes the Legacy.
For 2018, Subaru spiffs the styling, with C-shaped headlamps and a new grille, along with a sportier rear fascia. Legacy owners will notice the change, others may not.
The cabin materials are higher quality on 2018 Legacy models, with real stitching on most trims. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto become standard equipment. New infotainment capabilities are available. Optional LED headlamps move with the steering. There are also some small engineering and design changes for 2018.
The Legacy is as big as a midsize car can be, without it being called full-sized. The government sets 120 cubic feet in the cabin and trunk as the midsize limit, and the Legacy comes in at 119.6, after Subaru added a couple inches of width and 1.6 inches to the wheelbase for this generation. So it's heavy for a midsize, about 3500 pounds, but the weight doesn't show.
The powertrain in the Legacy 2.5i is a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder making 175 horsepower and mated to an excellent continuously variable transmission (CVT) with paddle shifters.
The Legacy Limited uses a 3.6-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder making 256 horsepower, but it's not our choice because it's thirsty and its torque doesn't match its size. It's rated by the EPA at 20/28/23 miles per gallon City/Highway/Combined.
The four-cylinder 2.5-liter comes in with much better scores: 26/36/30 mpg, thanks partly to active grille shutters that manage airflow and aerodynamics. Considering that it's four-wheel drive, those high numbers take on more meaning; the AWD four-cylinder Ford Fusion gets 5 less miles per gallon, while the front-wheel-drive Honda Accord and Chevrolet Malibu get 4 less. If you want the maximum fuel mileage from a midsize sedan, there's the Toyota Camry Hybrid, rated at 43/39/41 miles per gallon. But in snow or ice you'll want that Subaru.
The NHTSA gives the Legacy five stars in crash safety, while the IIHS gives it top scores in every tests, including the notoriously difficult small-overlap frontal test, to earn its coveted Top Safety Pick+. The IIHS also rated the Legacy's available forward collision safety systems on the Legacy Superior.
Subaru's EyeSight safety system bundles together active safety equipment including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alerts can be added. For 2018, EyeSight Driver Assist Technology uses the system's cameras to automatically trigger high beams.
The 2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5i ($22,195) comes with cloth upholstery, manual air conditioning, rearview camera, 6.5-inch touchscreen with infotainment and internet streaming, Bluetooth, USB ports.
Legacy Premium ($24,295) adds a power-adjustable driver's seat, keyless ignition, an 8.0-inch infotainment system, heated front seats, upgraded six-speaker audio system, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control. Options for the Premium trim level include Subaru's active safety suite, dubbed EyeSight, moonroof, and navigation.
Legacy Sport ($26,345) has 18-inch wheels, moonroof, two-tone cloth upholstery with accent stitching, carbon fiber touches on the dashboard, and LED foglamps.
Legacy 3.6R Limited ($31,945) features the six-cylinder engine and a revised suspension, with leather upholstery, power-adjustable passenger seat, Harman Kardon premium audio, blind-spot monitors, and LED headlights.