2018 Subaru Legacy
Mid-cycle facelift adds new convenience and safety techby Ciprian Florea, on LISTEN 23:47
Introduced at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, the sixth-generation Subaru Legacy received its mid-cycle facelift exactly three years later, at the same event. Redesigned inside and out, the current Legacy carried over with the same four- and six-cylinder boxer engines, but gained a host of new technologies and active safety features. The facelift leaves a rather soft print on the midsize sedan styling-wise, with the most significant upgrades having been operated in the technology department. The sedan now features better materials, smartphone integration, and new apps, among other features. The revised Legacy arrived just as Subaru of America posted its eighth consecutive year of record-breaking sales.
Although Subaru isn’t the kind of automaker you’d expect to challenge giants like Toyota, Volkswagen, or General Motors, the Japanese firm is definitely on a roll that will lead to biggest investments in brand-new cars in the future. The Legacy is still some three years away from a complete redesign, but needless to say, the four-door is still up for a good battle in this crowded segment. Sure, with the brand-new Camry almost in showrooms and the current Accord setting new benchmarks in the midsize market, the Legacy could use a fresh look and better tech, but it’s not as dated as it seems. Find out how it stacks against competition from Toyota, Honda, Ford, and Nissan in the review below.
Updated 06/23/2017: Subaru revealed prices for the 2018 Legacy that will arrive into retailers this Summer. Check the "Prices" section for the full details.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Subaru Legacy.
2018 Subaru Legacy
Horsepower @ RPM:175 @ 5800
Torque @ RPM:174 @ 4000
0-60 time:6 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:130 mph
Subaru claims it made quite a few changes for this facelift, but a quick look at the sedan reveals that the revised Legacy is very similar to the outgoing model. Still, we have to give Subaru credit for adding a wider front grille and lower bumper openings, and C-shaped headlamp LED patters with new horizontal lines that suggest the piston motion of a Boxer engine.
A quick look at the sedan reveals that the revised Legacy is very similar to the outgoing model.
The Japanese firm also introduced "Konoji" daytime LED running lights, optional fog lamps, and a revised rear bumper with integrated tailpipes for a more premium appearance. The facelift also brought two new exterior colors — Magnetite Gray Metallic and Crimson Red Pearl — and new wheel designs.
All told, it hasn’t changed much in this department for the 2018 model year, but that’s not to say that the current Legacy looks old. Sure, it might not be as sharp as its newer competitors, but it should remain appealing for a couple more years.
The Legacy has some pretty stiff competition to go against, including the Toyota Camry (left). The best-selling vehicle in this segment as well as the best-selling passenger car in the United States, the Camry was redesigned from the ground up for the 2018 model year and the new sedan may the model that will reshape the midsize market and take it closer to the premium realm. Redesigned with elements borrowed from the luxury Lexus brand, the new Camry looks sportier and more upmarket. Its features are sharper and more muscular, while the options list includes blacked-out trim and quad exhaust pipes for an emotional appearance. The new Camry is pretty much in a league of its own and the Legacy will have a hard time getting the attention it deserves.
The Camry was redesigned from the ground up for the 2018 model.
The Camry’s main competitor and essentially the only midsize that threatens Toyota’s supremacy in this segment, the Honda Accord (left) got a massive makeover in 2015. Sportier, more elegant, but also a bit larger for a more upscale look and roomier interior, the Accord is nearly as impressive as the latest Camry and a more stylish option compared to the Legacy. The aggressive front fascia design and the stylish, coupe-like rear section are the main features that make the Accord such an appealing proposition. Two years old as of 2017, the Accord doesn’t feel dated compared to its rivals and will probably stand the test of time with help from the mid-cycle refresh that it will receive soon.
|Honda Accord||Toyota Camry||Subaru Legacy|
|Track (front/rear) (Inches)||62.8/63.0||62.4/62.0||62.2/62.8|
Note: 2017 Toyota Camry specifications listed here.
While the exterior gained only a few nips and tucks, the interior received a lot more attention.
While the exterior gained only a few nips and tucks, the interior received a lot more attention. Subaru not only added new premium materials and real stitching for Premium and higher trims, but also redesigned the center console, the steering wheel, and added high-gloss black trim and silver bezels. Customers can now select gray upholstery in addition to the existing black and ivory options.
The air conditioning system was also revised so that it cools the cabin more quickly and provides more uniform temperature throughout.
Subaru also added the latest Starlink Multimedia system with Bluetooth, iPod control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The carmaker also added the latest Starlink Multimedia system with Bluetooth, iPod control, and smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Optionally, buyers can have TomTom navigation and two USB ports for rear-seat passengers. The new 6.5-inch infotainment screen, which replaces the previous 6.2-inch unit, is quicker and has new apps including Magellan NAVI, eBird, Best Parking, YELP, Glympse, RightTrack, and Quick Guide. The optional and brand-new eight-inch infotainment display has a faster CPU for optimum performance.
Subaru claims that the Legacy’s cabin is also quieter thanks to various upgrades. For instance, the Lineartronic CVT on 2.5-liter equipped cars now uses a quieter, ultra-short-pitch chain, and adjustments to engine timing under acceleration that reduce powertrain noise. The reshaped exterior mirrors, the new sound-insulating inner film glass in the front doors, and thicker rear wheel aprons also help reduce noise entering the cabin.
Finally, the revised Legacy is equipped with standard welcome lighting that activates cabin illumination and exterior lights when the driver approaches or departs the vehicle. The automatic locking doors are also included in the standard package.
The Camry is impressive on the inside as it is on the outside. Although it doesn’t seem to be based on Lexus’ current styling language, the cabin is definitely fresh and a significant departure from the previous Camry. The new dashboard feels modern and more upscale and was designed to give the driver the feeling that he’s sitting in a sports car. The sedan also comes with new seats with improved ergonomics and lateral support, the company’s latest Human Machine Interface system with a 10-inch heads-up display, a seven-inch screen in the instrument cluster, and an eight-inch infotainment display with navigation and air conditioning. Toyota also offers new Entune 3.0 multimedia system on all models. Features include App Suite connect, Connected Navigation Scout GPS Link with Moving Maps on four-cylinder and hybrid models, while the V-6 also gets the new Dynamic Navigation system with improved map accuracy and wireless map updates.
Straightforward and simple, the Accord's interior is pleasing to the eye and feels a bit more modern when compared to the Legacy.
Straightforward and simple, the Accord’s interior might not be as sporty as the Camry’s, but the design is pleasing to the eye and feels a bit more modern when compared to the Legacy. The main touchscreen has been updated to a seven-inch unit and it’s backed by the 7.7-inch display above, while the A/C controls are placed below, along with a thin display. The upper screen provides access to audio settings, turn-by-turn directions, incoming calls, and parking sensors alerts. The lower display has GPS information and allows multiple gestures like swipes, pinches, and taps. All trim levels come with the Multi-Angle Rearview Camera and Expanded View Driver’s Mirror, while the Touring model gets auto high-beam headlamps, a first for the Accord. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were also introduced on the latest model, but these feature come standard on EX and above trims. Better materials, more soft-touch surfaces, and new upholstery options round off the interior.
As far as dimensions go, we can see that the Legacy is worthy competitor for the Camry and Accord, despite not being the "roomiest sedan in the midsize segment" as claimed by Subaru. Specifically, the Legacy offers a bit more headroom and legroom up front and more shoulder room and hiproom in the rear. Cargo room is inferior to its competitors, but total passenger volume is better by at least one cubic-feet.
|Honda Accord||Toyota Camry||Subaru Legacy|
|Headroom front/rear (Inches)||39.1/37.5||38.8/38.1||40.0/37.0|
|Legroom front/rear (Inches)||42.5/38.5||41.6/38.9||42.9/38.1|
|Shoulder Room front/rear (Inches)||58.6/56.5||58.0/56.6||58.1/57.3|
|Hiproom front/rear (Inches)||55.6/54.7||54.5/54.5||55.5/55.0|
|Cargo Volume (cu ft)||15.8||15.4||15.0|
|Passenger Volume(cu ft)||103.2||102.7||104.6|
Under the hood, the Legacy carries over mostly unchanged. The same 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 3.6-liter six-cylinder boxer engines are offered, generating the same output as in the outgoing model.
Specifically, the 2.5-liter four-pot, which uses an Active Grille Shutter system to improve fuel economy by reducing wind resistance, cranks out 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. The larger 3.6-liter six-cylinder available in the more expensive trims comes with the same 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of twist on tap.
The same 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 3.6-liter six-cylinder boxer engines are offered, generating the same output as in the outgoing model.
Both engines mate to company’s Lineartronic CVT transmission, as well as the already iconic Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. A retuned ECU provides the CVT with more responsive and smoother acceleration, but there’s no specific information about performance improvements. The AWD system carries over unchanged and uses an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch to actively manage torque distribution based on acceleration, deceleration and available traction. The system automatically directs up to 100 percent of available torque to the wheels with the best grip.
Toyota has yet to release precise information about the Camry’s new drivetrains, but we do know that the sedan will continue to use naturally aspirated four-cylinder and V-6 engines. It’s also safe to assume that they will have higher power ratings. For instance, expect the 2.5-liter four-banger to generate more than the 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet coming from the outgoing engine, while the 3.5-liter V-6, which probably shares most internals with the V-6 in the Highlander and Sierra, should deliver at least 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. All told, both unit will be significantly more powerful than what you can get in the Subaru Legacy. Unlike the latter, the Camry also comes with a hybrid drivetrain. The redesigned model gained a new gasoline-electric combo that uses a CVT with a new Sport Mode, and a battery pack under the rear seat for a more balanced feel. Again, specs aren’t yet available, but Toyota claims that it will achieve best-in-class fuel economy ratings, with "Prius-like efficiency," which should be around 54 in the city and 50 mpg on the highway.
Honda Accord engine
The Legacy is behind both its competitors in terms of horsepower and torque. At the same time, there's no hybrid option.
Similar to the Camry, the Accord can be had with one of three drivetrains in the United States. The gasoline lineup includes two engines. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder cranks out 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque and comes standard in all but the range-topping EX-L V-6 trim. In the Sport model, the same unit generates 189 horses and 182 pound-feet. Moving over to the 3.5-liter V-6, it’s rated at 278 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of twist. The hybrid model combines a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 143 horsepower and 129 pound-feet with an electric motor that generates 181 horse and 232 pound-feet. Total system output is rated at 212 horsepower, while fuel economy is estimated at 49 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. Not as good as what the Camry Hybrid is expected to deliver, but definitely solid.
The most important thing to notice here is that the Legacy is behind both its competitors in terms of horsepower and torque. At the same time, there’s no hybrid option. Essentially, the Legacy’s main strong point in this section is the all-wheel-drive system.
|Honda Accord 4-cyl||Honda Accord V-6||Toyota Camry 4-cyl||Toyota Camry V-6||Subaru Legacy 2.5||Subaru Legacy 3.6|
|Engine||2.4-liter In-Line 4-Cylinder||3.5-liter V-6||2.5L Duratec 16V I4 Engine||2.5-liter, 4-cylinder||3.5-liter, 6-cylinder||2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer||3.6-liter six-cylinder boxer|
|Horsepower||185 HP @ 6,400 RPM||278 HP @ 6,200 RPM||178 HP (est.)||280 HP (est.)||175 HP @ 5,800 RPM||256 HP @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque||181 LB-FT @ 3900 RPM||252 LB-FT @ 4900 RPM||170 LB-FT (est.)||260 LB-FT (est.)||174 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM||247 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM|
|Transmission||6-Speed Manual||6-Speed Manual||Direct Shift eight-speed automatic||Direct Shift eight-speed automatic||Lineartronic® CVT||High-torque Lineartronic CVT|
|Curb Weight||3,170 Lbs||3,543 Lbs||3,470 Lbs||3,697 Lbs|
|Fuel economy City/Highway/Combined||23/32/26||21/33/25||TBA||21/31 (est.)||25/34/29||20/28/23|
While the engines haven’t changed a bit and the transmission is pretty much the same, the chassis has been revised for a more comfortable ride, enhanced agility, steering, and brake feel. A set of retuned dampers reduce initial impact of bumps as well as body roll through turns, while the smoother, more linear response from the electric power steering and a firmer, more direct brake pedal feel make the sedan more engaging to drive. Granted, the Legacy is by no means a BMW M5, but it’s a pretty dynamic proposition compared to most of its competitors.
One of the safest sedans in this segment, the Subaru Legacy is equipped with frontal and side impact airbags for the driver and passenger, as well as side curtains for first- and second-row seats.
Active features include the Reverse Automatic Braking (RAB) and newly available Steering Responsive Headlight (SRH) system. RAB can detect objects in vehicle’s path and convey audible warnings to the driver.
The award-winning EyeSight Driver Assist Technology includes Pre-Collision Braking, Vehicle Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist.
Also new for 2018 is the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), which detects pressure changes at each tire. The Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross Traffic Alert indicator lamp is now larger. All Legacy trim lines come standard with a rear-view camera.
The award-winning EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, optionally available on most trims, includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, Vehicle Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist. Models with EyeSight also get Blind Spot Detection/Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which includes Lane Change Assist. All Legacy models are equipped with Incline Start Assist and the electronic Hill Holder System that holds the vehicle in place until the driver applies the throttle.
The current-generation Legacy is a Top Safety Pick+ vehicle, earning "Good" ratings in all five crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The sedan all earned a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Pricing for the revised Subaru Legacy starts from $23,055, which makes it $1,060 more expensive than the outgoing model. Upgrade from the base 2.5i model to the 2.5i Premium and the sticker jumps to $25,155. Next in line is 2.5i Sport, which retails from $27,205, while the 2.5i Limited comes in at $29,955. Finally, the 3.6R Limited is priced from $32,805.
|Model/Trim||Transmission||Applicable Option Code||MSRP||MSRP + $860 destination and delivery|
|2.5i||CVT||’01, 61, ’02, 62||$22, 195||$23,055|
|2.5i Premium||CVT||11, 71, 12, 72, 14, 74, 15, 75||$24,295||$25,155|
|2.5i Sport||CVT||11, 17||$26,345||$27,205|
|2.5i Limited||CVT||21, 24||$29,095||$29,955|
|3.6R Limited||CVT||21, 23||$31,945||$32,805|
|Alloy Wheel Package||$350||Moonroof Package||$1,195|
|EyeSight® + Blind Spot Detections & Rear Cross Traffic Alert (BSD/RCTA) + High Beam Assist||$1,545|
|EyeSight® + BSD/RCTA + High Beam Assist + Moonroof Package + Navigation System||$3,140||EyeSight® + BSD/RCTA + High Beam Assist + Navigation System + Reverse Auto Brake||$2,095|
|EyeSight® + High Beam Assist + Navigation System + Reverse Auto Brake||$1,595|
|EyeSight® + High Beam Assist + Navigation System + Reverse Auto Brake + LED Headlights + Steering Responsive Headlights||$2,095|
Toyota has yet to release pricing information about the Camry, but it’s expected to start from around $24,000, only a grand more than the outgoing model. If this proves to be the case, it will cost as much as the revised Subaru Legacy. The Honda Accord, on the other hand, retails from $22,455, which makes the base model around $1,500 more affordable. On the flipside, the range-topping Accord starts from $35,955, a whopping $4,300 more than the top-of-the-league Legacy 3.6R Limited.
|Honda Accord LX 6MT||$22,455|
|Honda Accord LX CVT||$23,255|
|Honda Accord Sport 6MT||$24,515|
|Honda Accord Sport CVT||$25,315|
|Honda Accord Sport CVT w/ Honda Sensing||$26,315|
|Honda Accord Sport SE 6MT||$25,515|
|Honda Accord Sport SE CVT||$26,315|
|Honda Accord EX 6MT||$25,830|
|Honda Accord EX CVT||$26,630|
|Honda Accord EX CVT w/ Honda Sensing||$27,630|
|Honda Accord EX-L CVT||$28,920|
|Honda Accord EX-L CVT w/ Navi & Honda Sensing||$30,920|
|Honda Accord Hybrid||$29,605|
|Honda Accord Hybrid EX-L||$32,905|
|Honda Accord Hybrid Touring||$35,955|
|Toyota Camry||$24,000 (est.)|
|Subaru Legacy 2.5i||$21,995 (est.)|
|Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium||$23,995 (est.)|
|Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport||$25,995 (est.)|
|Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport||$25,995 (est.)|
|Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited||$31,640 (est.)|
What the Other are Saying
KBB gave the Subaru Legacy an 8.3 out of 10 overall rating in its review, awarding 7.8 for driving dynamics, 8.0 for comfort & convenience, 7.3 for design, and 8.5 for safety. On the good side, KBB says that "Yes, there’s all-wheel drive, and even though AWD isn’t unique to Subaru anymore, its system is among the very best. But beyond that, the Legacy is comfortable, quiet, offers good fuel economy and reliability, all in a package with plenty of interior space and with excellent safety scores." On the flipside, the outlet notes that "there is no hybrid version of the Subaru Legacy, so those looking for extreme fuel savings will need to shop the Camry, Accord or Ford Fusion hybrids. And while the Legacy is conservatively handsome, other cars like the Fusion or even the Chevrolet Malibu are better-looking."
The Japanese sedan scored a less impressive rating with Car and Driver, which gave it only 2.5 stars out of five. However, the outlet praised the Legacy for its comprehensive list of standard features, powerful engines, and comfortable interior. "With standard all-wheel drive and a suite of available safety tech at a price that undercuts less-equipped competitors, the Legacy is an undeniably smart buy. It’s also a solid performer, with a 2.5-liter, 175-hp flat-four or an optional 3.6-liter, 256-hp flat-six, both paired with a continuously variable automatic. The interior is comfortable, but the infotainment system lacks the latest in smartphone integration." The smartphone integration issues was obviously solved with the 2018 model year update.
MotorTrend, which gave the Legacy 3.5 out of five stars, claims the sedan is "an attractive choice for those who deal with inclement weather on a regular basis. The interior is simple, yet comfortable, and both engines are relatively efficient." On the other hand, it wasn’t too happy with the fact that the Legacy "doesn’t offer an eco-friendly hybrid or diesel option. And while all-wheel drive does add peace of mind, there’s little else that sets the Legacy apart from segment standouts like the Camry and Honda Accord."
Finally, Edmunds had this to say about the Legacy: "If you live with the muck, guck and general unpleasantness of winter driving, adding the Subaru Legacy and its standard all-wheel drive to your test drive list is a must. And even if you don’t, there are enough additional benefits to make it a solid pick when the sun is shining." The publication also listed "standard all-wheel-drive," "excellent outward visibility," "high-tech safety features," and "top crash test scores" on the "pros" list. On the "cons" side, we have "slower acceleration than almost every competitor" and "stiffer ride (except Legacy Limited)."
Essentially the only midsize made by an American company in this review, the Fusion is a solid choice, but not as popular as the Camry and Accord. Older than two, having been launched for the 2013 model year, the Fusion was updated for 2017 with revised body panels and a reworked interior. Although not as sporty as its Japanese rivals, the Fusion is an elegant choice that provides everything a family man may need in a sedan. The Fusion is up to date as far as tech goes, using the latest SYNC3 system, a rotary shift dial, and a Platinum trim with premium features. Under the hood, there are four gasoline options, the most you can get in this niche. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder pumps out 175 horsepower and 175 pound-feet, while a 1.5-liter EcoBoost delivers 181 horses and 185 pound-feet. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost is nearly as powerful as the V-6s from the competition at 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet, while the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 puts the Sport trim atop everything else you can buy right now at 325 horses and a whopping 325 pound-feet. Ford also offers hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. Pricing for the Fusion starts from $22,120, while the Hybrid and Energi retail from $25,295 and $31,120 respectively.
Learn more about the Ford Fusion here.
Yet another Japanese midsize that runs for a similar sticker, the Nissan Altima is the oldest model in this comparison. But even though it was introduced in 2012, the Altima gained a significant facelift in 2015, so it’s fairly fresh compared to the Subaru Legacy. It now has a sportier design that includes almost all of Nissan’s trademark cues, a well-appointed interior, and a selection of two engines. The base unit is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder rated at 179 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, while the optional 3.5-liter V-6 cranks out 270 horses and 251 pound-feet. Like Subaru, Nissan has yet to launch a hybrid drivetrain for the Altima. Even though it’s not the sportiest midsize out there, the Altima is a solid choice if fuel economy is your main concern, with the four-cylinder model returning up to 27 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. Pricing starts from 22,500 for the base Altima 2.5 trim, while the range-topping 3.5 SL retails from $32,690 before options.
Find out more about the Nissan Altima here.
Good-looking, well-equipped compared to similarly priced alternatives, comfortable, and fitted with a state-of-the-art all-wheel-drive system, the Legacy is definitely a smart buy. However, Subaru has a long list of requirements that it can’t check with the current sedan. For starters, it loses customers looking for sportier looks to Toyota and Honda and it obviously can’t match the performance that Ford is offering with the Fusion Sport. The lack of a hybrid drivetrain is also problematic. Although hybrid sales aren’t exactly solid right now, an important chuck of the midsize market is clearly moving in that direction and an electrified Legacy is definitely necessary. For now, the Legacy remains a good option, but I don’t see Subaru breaking any sales record in the midsize market anytime soon.