2020 Subaru Legacy Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Feb 07, 2019
  • Redesigned from the wheels up
  • Larger and quieter interior
  • Stronger vehicle architecture for improved driving dynamics and safety
  • More powerful engines, paired with standard all-wheel drive
  • New luxurious Touring trim level with Nappa leather seats
  • Enhanced EyeSight driver assist and collision avoidance systems
  • New Starlink big-screen infotainment system
  • On sale in the fall of 2019


Subaru has completely redesigned its family sedan, which debuted at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. The redesigned 2020 Legacy goes on sale in the fall of 2019, and will be offered in Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, Limited XT, and Touring XT trim levels.

Exterior Features

Displaying a more refined version of the automaker’s “Dynamic x Solid” design philosophy, the new 2020 Subaru Legacy looks terrific. The car’s tailored styling is conservative enough to appeal to people who prefer not to draw attention to themselves, yet is rakish enough to draw buyers seeking an attractive, sporty look for their next midsize sedan.

2020 Subaru Legacy
2020 Subaru Legacy

Get the Sport trim level, and the Legacy wears unique design details. This car is more show than go, though, because it has the standard engine and not the new turbocharged engine upgrade.

For more power and performance, the Limited XT and Touring XT are required. Upscale Touring trim is new for 2020, signaled by satin-plated outside mirrors, chrome door handles, and gloss black pillar trim.

Interior Features

Subaru says the new Legacy’s interior is “cavernous,” thanks in part to increases in front and rear passenger space.

Occupants face a multi-layer dashboard design, dominated in most trim levels by a new 11.6-inch vertical Starlink infotainment touchscreen display. Soft-touch surfaces enhance the cabin’s sense of quality, and some trim levels offer genuine double stitching. Dash and door panel colors match the seats for a premium appearance.

Subaru has also taken steps to reduce the cabin’s noise, vibration and harshness levels. From structural improvements and better weather-stripping and sealing to thicker windows and use of acoustic glass, the result is a claimed reduction in interior noise of 3 decibels.

Sport trim equips the Legacy with aluminum pedals and red exposed stitching. Limited and Touring XT trim offer 10-way power front seats, an adjustable driver’s seat thigh support, and heated front and rear seats with three levels of temperature. They also heat up to the shoulders for added comfort. As an option, the Limited offers a heated steering wheel. Touring XT trim includes that feature, along with ventilated front seats.

Trunk space remains about the same, rising from 15 cubic-feet to 15.1 cu.-ft. However, the trunk floor is 1.4 inches longer, and Subaru says the cargo area will hold four full-size rolling suitcases without a problem. The car also comes with standard mounting brackets on the roof to accommodate cargo-carrying accessories from your local Subaru dealership.

Under the Hood

For 2020, the Legacy moves to the latest Subaru Global Platform, which debuted a few years ago under the current Impreza and also forms the foundation for the Ascent and Forester crossover SUVs.

In all but the Touring XT trim, the standard engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine lifted from the Forester. Subaru nearly rebuilt this engine when it debuted in that model, and it makes 182 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 176 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm.

Automatic engine stop/start is standard, along with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) upgrades to reduce engine horsepower loss by 32%, according to Subaru. The result is acceleration to 60 mph in a respectable 8.4 seconds, based on the automaker’s claim. Subaru also predicts fuel economy of 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, thanks in part to standard active grille shutters.

Choose Sport trim, and the Legacy adds SI-Drive with Intelligent, Sport, and Sport Sharp driving modes. But the real fun resides in the Limited XT and Touring XT. They’ve got the turbocharged 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that Subaru uses in the larger 7-passenger Ascent SUV.

With 260 hp at 5,600 rpm and 277 lb.-ft. of torque available from 2,000 rpm to 4,800 rpm, the Legacy XT delivers acceleration to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, according to Subaru. Fuel economy estimates, provided by the automaker, are 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The Legacy XT also has a high-torque version of the CVT, complete with a manual shift mode and shift paddles for the transmission’s eight programmed ratios.

All 2020 Legacys are equipped with standard all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring. Standard wheels measure 17 inches in diameter, and some trim levels offer 18-inch wheels as an upgrade.

The new vehicle architecture lowers the car’s center of gravity, and in combination with a new, lighter, and stronger MacPherson strut front and double-wishbone rear suspension design, is said to improve the ride and handling. Subaru also equips the 2020 Legacy with 4-wheel-ventilated-disc brakes.


In addition to enhanced driving dynamics, the Legacy’s new platform contributes to improved safety. Thanks to significant increases in torsional stiffness and rigidity, Subaru says the new Legacy boasts a 40% improvement in terms of crash energy absorption in both front-impact and side-impact collisions.

Standard equipment includes Subaru’s EyeSight suite of driver assistance and collision avoidance technologies. For 2020, EyeSight is enhanced with a new lane centering function for the U.S. market, complementing the adaptive cruise control system and other driver aids.

Available for the Limited and standard for the Touring XT, Subaru’s DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System uses a camera and facial recognition technology to detect a drowsy or a distracted driver, issuing an alert to pay better attention or take a break from driving.

Depending on the trim level, the new Legacy also offers LED steering responsive headlights, reverse automatic braking, blind spot detection with lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert systems.


Standard equipment for the base Legacy trim level includes a new high-resolution 7-inch infotainment system that incorporates both the multimedia and climate controls on the display. Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, and Starlink SmartDeviceLink are included, along with four free months of satellite radio service and three free years of SiriusXM Travel Link service.

A new 11.6-inch tablet-style Starlink infotainment system debuts in the 2020 Legacy, and is standard for all but the base trim. It integrates the multimedia controls, climate controls, and vehicle setting menus, and is equipped with Near Field Communication smartphone pairing. Owners can configure the screen’s app icons in whatever way they wish, and in-vehicle Wi-Fi is offered for the first time in the Legacy. Subaru also supplies two control knobs, one of which is for volume.

Optional for these trims, and standard with the Touring XT, the new Starlink infotainment system offers navigation with three free years of map updates, as well as split-screen capability.

Three Starlink Connected Services packages are available for the 2020 Legacy. Safety Plus is free for the first three years of ownership, and includes SOS emergency assistance and automatic collision notification, among other features.

Safety Plus & Security Plus adds several remote access functions, including engine starting as well as climate control and heated seat activation. A vehicle locator is a part of this package, and parents of teenaged drivers will like the boundary, speed, and curfew alerts. This package includes a free 6-month trial period.

Subaru also offers a Concierge Package with in-vehicle assistance with a variety of tasks.

Additional upgrades include an available 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system with Clari-Fi music restoration and eco-sensitive GreenEdge speakers. A new Front View Monitor is also available, showing a 180-degree view of what’s in front of the Legacy on the infotainment display.


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