Subaru Continues to Build on its Legacy

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Chatham, Mass. – Built on the global platform supporting virtually the entire Subaru product lineup, the all-new for 2020 fourth-generation Legacy, whether in sedan or station wagon form, continues its tradition of offering a solid, safe, reliable, economical all-weather package.

The original 1989 Legacy not only provided Subaru with a competitor against the likes of Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, it also provided the platform for products like the Impreza, Forester, Crosstrek and Outback which helped turn Subaru into a significant player in the U.S. automotive market.

Subaru introduced its new global platform in 2017 first with the revamped Impreza, then the updated Crosstrek and Forester followed in 2019 with the all-new, three-row Ascent sport utility vehicle, before redesigning the Legacy and Outback for the 2020 model year.

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We spent the past week driving Cape Cod in a 2020 Legacy Premium with one [major] option package (adding blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless access with push-button start and LED fog lights), a solid example of the reworked product range.

And it was a very comfortable week.

Comfort from the feeling of familiarity and security – the Legacy just feels right even if so much of it has changed in the evolution from its beginnings late last century. Every item, every design feature is different from the original, but it feels familiar and is unmistakably a Subaru Legacy.

Global platform provides solid underpinnings

The new platform provides a structure stiffer than in the past. Along with contributing to a strengthening the suspension and lowering the center of gravity, the Legacy’s improved body rigidity provides more responsive steering and handling, a smoother and quieter ride, and heightened hazard avoidance in emergency situations. Crash protection, too, is markedly improved, as the new body absorbs over 40-percent more energy in front/side crashes than the current model.


The four-wheel independent suspension is MacPherson-like struts, internal rebound spring, aluminum lower L-arms and stabilizer bar up front and double wishbone with subframe, coil springs and stabilizer bar at the rear.

The brake system incorporates a mechanical vacuum pump power-assisted four-wheel disc with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), four-channel/four-sensor anti-lock (ABS), Brake Assist Control, Brake Override system and Auto Vehicle Hold (AVH). Up front are dual-piston calipers and 12.4-inch ventilated rotors, while single-piston calipers are paired with 11.8-inch discs in the rear.

The Premium comes with black alloy wheels measuring 17×7.5 inches and are shod with 225/55R17 97V all-season tires.

All-new power train including legacy all-wheel drive

Like virtually all Subaru models (except the low-volume, shared-with-Toyota BRZ rear-wheel-drive sport coupe), the new Legacy starts with standard all-wheel drive (AWD). Power to the four wheels comes through the Lineartronic® CVT (continuously variable transmission) with new 8-speed manual shift mode and steering wheel paddle shifters.

The 2.5-liter direct-injected four-cylinder boxer engine has been thoroughly redesigned from previous iterations. It produces 182 horsepower and 176 pounds-feet of torque (a new for 2020 series of XT Legacy versions include a turbocharged 2.4-liter boxer four producing 260 hp and 277 lb.-ft. of torque).

The added power for the 2.5L engine, though, does not come at the expense of fuel economy, which during our time behind the wheel was an impressive 34.2 miles per gallon, better than the 30 mpg overall/combined rating of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (which also rated it at 27mpg city, 35mpg highway).

Driver comfort enhanced by Subaru’s signature ADAS

Subaru’s EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology, its unique advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) suite, is standard across the Legacy range and enhanced for 2020. Included in the standard feature complement are new Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering; Pre-Collision Braking (AEB) and Throttle Management; and Vehicle Lane Departure and Sway Warning.

The standard EyeSight Assist Monitor provides a head-up display with EyeSight warnings and system status on the windshield.

As mentioned earlier, the Premium we drove included an option package which added blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert to the ADAS bundle, further increasing the vehicle’s driver’s comfort and safety.

Technology fills the cabin

The standard 11.6-inch tablet-like multi-functional Subaru Starlink display dominates the interior of the redesigned Legacy, adding an aura of modernity. It includes on-screen touch controls for the automatic, dual-zone climate-control, audio and vehicle features (including ADAS); smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard); Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming, along with SiriusXM® satellite radio and Travel Link®.

Four USB ports, two in front, two for rear-seat passengers, and a pair of 12-volt outlets help keep mobile devices fully charged.

The seats are heated up front, with the driver’s having 10-way power adjustment. Also heated are the outside mirrors and the windshield-wiper area (for de-icing).

Like I mentioned, I have had extensive time driving Subaru products during the past 30 years, especially versions of the Legacy and Outback. They remain one of the better overall values on the market: the comprehensively equipped Legacy Premium we drove had a delivered MSRP of $26,895, which for a vehicle of this size, roominess, comfort and solid reputation for reliability is terrific!

Next week TBR Drives the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.