Subaru redesigned the Legacy, introducing the seventh generation for the 2020 model year. The Legacy now has a new platform plus new technology, safety features, and powertrain options. It competes against the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry. Although reviewers don’t love everything about it, Consumer Reports ranks it No. 1 in midsize cars. The 2020 Subaru Legacy has plenty of positives and is worth a second look.
Subaru’s platform makes for a comfortable ride
The new global platform from Subaru gives the Legacy a soft suspension and good isolation, according to Cars.com. Its design provides riders with a very comfortable experience. The 2020 Legacy shares the same platform and powertrains with the 2020 Subaru Outback.
As in past years, all-wheel drive is still a standard feature for the 2020 Legacy. Most competitors don’t even have all-wheel drive as an option. The Nissan Altima does offer all-wheel drive, but it comes standard with front-wheel drive.
The Subaru Legacy’s spacious and comfortable interior
The 2020 Subaru Legacy has plenty of space in the front and rear seats, with lots of head- and legroom for adults. The front seats are very soft and comfortable while still being supportive, and the rear seats can hold two car seats. There are lots of spots for storing small items as well. Cars.com does say the interior’s design is “nondescript.” Edmunds describes the Legacy as “terrifically utilitarian.”
The 2020 Subaru Legacy includes a vertical 11.6-inch touchscreen on all trims except the base model. It does also include knobs, which make changing the volume or tuning even easier. The screen can be customized and can be set as a split-screen to display one function at the top and a different function at the bottom of the screen. Climate controls appear at the bottom of the screen.
Because the Legacy’s touchscreen is vertical, it has a few quirky issues since some functions are designed for a horizontal layout. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto end up having very small icons, and the backup camera only appears in the top half of the screen. In addition, the built-in navigation system causes the touchscreen to be less responsive. When zooming in, not all street names are visible. Edmunds adds that the voice controls for the system are “useless.”
The Subaru Legacy includes numerous driver-assistance features with some quirks
There are plenty of standard safety and driver assistance features in the 2020 Subaru Legacy. Features include the EyeSight suite of driving aids – front collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure alert.
These great features don’t always perform perfectly, though. The Legacy’s lane-centering system turns off easily. It’s intended to turn off if there’s a vehicle right in front or if the system doesn’t see lane lines. However, the lane-centering system sometimes turns off other times too, and it sends out a lot of beeps and warning lights when it does, which can be surprising to the driver.
The driver attention function isn’t perfect either. It sometimes alerts the driver even when attention hasn’t wavered. Forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control are both too sensitive.
Sluggish acceleration and decent fuel economy
The 2020 Legacy’s standard engine is a 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder, producing 182 hp. It’s paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). According to Cars.com, it’s pretty hard to accelerate from a stop, and it initially doesn’t have much power, even when trying to floor it. The CVT transmission makes odd sounds, and the automatic engine start-stop “shudders.”
The start-stop function also doesn’t have its own disable button, which would be nice to have since the system is “intrusive,” according to Edmunds. The Legacy can go from 0 to 60 MPH in 8.5 seconds, which is a bit slower than similar competitors. There is a more powerful engine available – a new turbocharged 2.4-liter engine that generates 260 hp.
The EPA gives the 2020 Subaru Legacy a fuel efficiency rating of 27 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined. This is a few miles per gallon less than its competitors; however, the Legacy’s fuel efficiency is reduced by its all-wheel drive.
The front-wheel-drive Nissan Altima gets 28 mpg in the city, 39 mpg on the highway, for a combined 32 mpg. The all-wheel-drive Altima is closer to the Legacy, though, rated at 26 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined.
The 2020 Subaru Legacy offers a comfortable ride and cabin, but it comes in a sedate design. It provides a number of great technology and safety features, even if they don’t function perfectly all the time. The numerous positives are partly offset by its slow acceleration and lower than average fuel efficiency. The positives outweigh the negatives, though, so it’s worth consideration.