So, I’m flipping through the April 2020 issue of Consumer Reports - the Auto Issue - and slowed down at the “Top 10” list. When I came to the mid-size sedan, I kind of expected to see the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, or Hyundai Sonata – all excellent cars. But instead, was listed the Subaru Legacy. Given some time with the redesigned 2020 edition, I could not agree more.
Evolutionary Handsome Design
By no imagination is the Legacy the sexiest sedan in its class, but it is an evolutionary design from the previous generation that is certainly handsome in its own right. Up front are the brand’s large grille, curve-following LED taillamps, and a more taut appearance for hood and fenders. The side profile is relatively boring, but dressed up with enhance body sculpting, 18-inch wheels, and chrome trim around the windows. LED taillamps finish off the rear. The high roofline pays off in ample interior space and the overall look is more dynamic than previous generations.
Interior design has become one of the Legacy’s most enticing features. Passengers notice the 11.6-inch tablet style touchscreen in the center dash to intuitively control infotainment that includes Harman Kardon audio, Tom Tom navigation, and automatic climate control. It steps up with soft leather seats, stitched dash coverings, and plush door panels. Heated front seats, rear seats, and steering wheel add comfort – as do extendable lower driver’s seat cushions and power moonroof. Connect with wireless charging, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Wi-Fi hotspot. I’ve recently driven luxury cars that are not as nice.
Passengers feel safe, too. Beyond a stiff body structure that soaks up impacts, our Limited edition is loaded with the latest safety gear. Subaru’s EyeSight system employs twin cameras above the rearview mirror to drive lane keep assist, adaptive cruise, forward collision warning with auto brake, and blind spot detection. Add to that lane centering steering, reverse auto braking, and a front camera to aid when exiting alleys or parking garages.
Efficient All-Weather Power
Beneath the hood of our car is a 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine delivering 182 horsepower and 176 lb.-ft. of torque. That should pretty much put to rest any notion of drag-racing, but it’s not slow and cruises energetically given an efficient continuously-variable transmission that can be manually shifted through eight pre-set gear ratios. If you desire more power, step up to the newly available 260 horsepower turbo-four. Both powertrains connect to standard all-wheel-drive with torque vectoring, meaning the system slightly over-rotates the rear to sharpen handling during cornering. Ease the throttle to see 27/35-MPG city/highway.
There may be more stylish mid-size sedans, but none feel better. The previous generation rode fine, but engineers completely re-worked the suspension to give Legacy more the feel of an Audi than an affordable Japanese family car. It is plush without being sloppy, gliding over rough pavement that would jolt competitors. It’s also pretty quiet. I could do without auto stop/start that pauses the engine at rest, but at least you can dig through screens to defeat it. And when you wake up to a half-foot of snow, you trudge on into work without a worry given standard AWD.
Perhaps the Legacy’s best attribute is its price. The car starts at $22,745, rising to $32,690 as tested. That is a lot of content packed into a very nice package. Making it even better is the fact it’s assembled in Lafayette, Indiana. I often disagree with Consumer Reports, but they nailed this one. Sedan well-done!
2020 Subaru Legacy Limited
- 5 passengers, AWD Sedan
- Powertrain: 2.5L H4, CVT trans
- Output: 182 hp/176 lb.-ft.
- Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
- Wheels f/r: 18”/18” alloy
- Brakes f/r: disc/disc
- Must-have features: Interior, Ride
- Fuel economy: 27/35-MPG city/hwy
- Assembly: Lafayette, IN
- Base price/As-tested: $22,745/32,690