2020 Subaru Legacy Review

This is the seventh-generation Legacy and it’s all-new for 2020, built on the Subaru Global Platform.

The look is quite similar to the outgoing model but a little more refined. The trunk surface has been raised, the fenders are slightly wider, there is a new frameless hexagonal grille in the front and the headlights and taillights are a little sleeker. All-in-all, I’d say it’s a very nice improvement.

That Subaru Global Platform boasts a structure that is 70-percent stiffer in both torsional and front-suspension rigidity and 100-percent stiffer in both front lateral flexural and rear subframe rigidity compared to the previous Legacy’s platform.

In terms of safety tech, the Legacy has it in abundance. Standard on all trims is EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System, optional on Limited and standard on both XT trims, uses a dedicated camera and facial recognition software to identify signs of driver fatigue or driver distraction. Reverse Automatic Braking and Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are all added to the mix.

The revamped interior is the star of the new Legacy. An all-new tablet-style 11.6-inch full HD multimedia infotainment interface does away with the regular interiors of the past and brings Subaru to the forefront of interior design. I was immediately blown away by the esthetics of the smooth surface with a brushed aluminum trim. I also like that the gear shifter is a standard unit rather than an electronic one as we see many automakers doing these days.

All STARLINK multimedia systems for the 2020 Legacy offer a high-resolution touchscreen, new on-screen controls for audio, HVAC and vehicle features, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, audio streaming connectivity, AM/FM stereo, rear-view camera, SiriusXM (4-month free subscription) and SiriusXM Travel Link (3-year free subscription).

I was very excited to test this new system during my week with the Legacy but there were few hiccups I need to report. The first was screen delay if the vehicle was cold. When it’s – 20 degrees outside and you want to blast the heat as quick as possible, a delay in screen time can be frustrating. Equally frustrating are the small climate controls at the bottom of the touchscreen that (obviously) won’t work if you are wearing gloves. The seat heat requires several taps on the screen and then several more when you want to reduce it or turn it off after a while. All of this can lead to driver distraction and is not an improvement over physical buttons and manual dials. In an ideal world, the brand would add knobs below the screen for HVAC and seat heat while keeping everything else the same.

Under the hood there are two new engines available to choose from. The standard naturally aspirated 2.5-litre engine delivers 182 horsepower at and 176 lb-ft of torque and the optional 2.4-litre turbocharged engine which delivers more performance at 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a Lineartronic CVT with manual mode and steering wheel paddle control switches, the 2.4-liter BOXER can launch it from 0-100 km/h in about 6.1 seconds according to Subaru. The Legacy was a great performer with solid road feel and handling, coupled with off-road and poor weather prowess which is perfect for Canadian winters. With standard Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, it’s always had a leg up on other sedans that only offer rear or front-wheel drive. The CVT does diminish that fun feeling a little, however.

If you need more utility, the Subaru Outback is essentially a raised station wagon version of the Legacy and gives you SUV functionality with car-like driving characteristics for only a couple thousand more dollars. I also much prefer the wagon to the sedan because the trunk on the Legacy was a bit dodgy. Several times it came down to hit my arm after being opened. There is also no handle with which is grab and pull it down.

The 2020 Legacy starts at a reasonable $28,358 and goes up to $41,058 for the top-of-the-line Premier GT trim.