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2020 Subaru Legacy Preview

  • Bigscreen tech
  • Lots of safety gear
  • Turbo’s back
  • Standard AWD
  • Where’s the Outback?
  • Good, not great mpg
  • Sedate looks
From wallflower to tech standout, the 2020 Subaru Legacy has come a long way.

With its 2020 Legacy, Subaru adds some flavor to its mid-size sedan thanks to a turbo engine underhood and a Tesla-like 11.6-inch touchscreen on its dashboard.

Those upgrades may not matter as much for the redesigned Legacy as they will for the next-generation Subaru Outback due a few months later. But, we digress.

When it goes on sale this fall, the 2020 Subaru Legacy will be offered in base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring trims with a choice of two engines underhood.

The Subaru Legacy XT nabs from the automaker’s Ascent a 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-4 engine rated at 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that the automaker says is good for a 6.1-second 0-60 mph sprint. Even with its underhood muscle and standard all-wheel drive, Subaru estimates the Legacy will earn 24 mpg city, 32 highway when it’s tested by the EPA. Those figures don’t match the 25/34/29 mpg earned by the turbocharged engine in the 2019 Nissan Altima, but that version is front-wheel drive only.

The flat-6 engine that powered upmarket versions of the last Legacy has been discontinued.

Most Legacys will likely leave the automaker’s Lafayette, Indiana, assembly plant with a revamped 2.5-liter flat-4 rated at 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque that also uses a CVT to send power to all four wheels. Subaru estimates that engine will deliver up to 35 mpg on the highway once it’s tested by the EPA. That figure is 1 mpg behind the 2019 Altima with all-wheel drive.

The new Legacy has a stiffer structure that Subaru says cuts road noise at speed by as much as 3 db. Base trims ride on 17-inch alloy wheels while higher-spec Legacys including the Sport trim use 18-inch wheels. Curiously, the Legacy Sport makes use of the 182-hp engine, not the turbo-4. The turbo is reserved for Limited XT and Touring XT trims only and it’s not accompanied by a sportier suspension.

Outside, the Legacy’s styling doesn’t stray far from its predecessor. Its front end is sleeker and its roofline drapes into its trunk lid at a steeper angle than the outgoing model. Subaru hasn’t unveiled the new Outback, but it’s easy enough to imagine the Legacy with chunkier tires, a wagon body, a big roof rack, and unpainted side cladding.

The new Legacy rides on the same 108.3-inch wheelbase as last year’s version and stretches 190.6 inches from bumper to bumper, about 1.5 inches longer than before.

2020 Subaru Legacy features and safety
The Legacy’s dashboard looks similar to the Ascent and Forester, except with one major difference: its screen.

An 11.6-inch touchscreen that absorbs infotainment and climate controls is standard on all but the base Legacy. (That trim uses dual, stacked 7.0-inch touchscreens with climate controls built into the lower display.) Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard regardless of screen size and baked-in navigation is optional with the big screen.

The screen is integrated vertically into the Legacy’s dashboard and is surrounded by knobs for volume and tuning and buttons for some basic climate control functions. Harman Kardon speakers and an LTE wi-fi antenna that turns the sedan into a mobile hotspot are optional. The Legacy offers up to four USB ports.

All 2020 Legacy sedans feature standard adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, and active lane control. Blind-spot monitors and a forward-view camera are optional.

Higher trims also offer a driver-monitoring system that uses an infrared camera to keep tabs on the driver’s eyes. It detects a drowsy driver or one whose eyes are looking away from the road for an extended period, it admonishes with an audible tone but doesn’t take control of the vehicle. The driver-monitoring system debuted in the 2019 Subaru Forester.

Subaru has not announced pricing for the 2020 Legacy.  


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