2019 Subaru Legacy

Starting Price: $23,430 | Price yours

Above Average: Resale, standard EyeSight driver assist, fuel economy, standard AWD

Below Average: Acceleration with 4-cylinder, no height adjustment for passenger seat

Consensus: A safe, reliable sedan with impressive fuel economy, interior room and the added benefit of standard all-wheel drive.



2019 Kia Optima

Starting Price:  $23,820 | Price yours

Above Average:  Standard driver assist systems, feature set, engine options, standard warranty, luxurious SX trim

Below Average: Some interior parts on lower trims, 1.6-liter engine struggles at times, hybrid fuel economy lags behind rivals

Consensus: A family sedan with an appealing look, roomy interior and impressive feature set, plus one of the best standard warranties in the business.


The Subaru Legacy and Kia Optima represent two sides of the same coin. They both qualify as 5-passenger midsize sedans with pricing starting well below $25,000, and both earn good marks for fuel economy, safety and resale. The Legacy comes standard with all-wheel drive, the Optima with front-wheel drive. The Legacy’s standard 4-cylinder engine isn’t terribly powerful, but neither is the Optima’s, even less so with the 1.6-liter turbo. Both models offer more powerful engines, but only on upper level trims. Both cars come standard with an impressive list of driver assist systems and infotainment features, although the Optima offers a few more perks in its driver assist package and a better infotainment setup. The Optima offers more creature comforts than the Legacy, with options like a 360-degree monitor, panoramic sunroof and 12-way power passenger seat (the Legacy only offers a 4-way adjustable passenger seat). The Optima also comes with a longer standard warranty, with 5 years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper and a 10-year/100,000-mile plan covering the powertrain.

Subaru Legacy Advantages

Resale, standard AWD, rear-seat legroom

Kia Optima Advantages

Hybrid model, more engine options, front-seat legroom, more upscale features, warranty


Roomy cabin, good safety scores, high-tech infotainment and advanced driver assists, good fuel economy, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Final Recommendation

Unless you need the year-round security of all-wheel drive, we’d go with the Optima. It offers more features, more powertrain choices including a hybrid and plug-in hybrid, a nicer interior and a more aggressive look. With top marks for safety and resale, plus its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, its hard not to like what the Optima has to offer. 

  2019 Subaru Legacy 2019 Kia Optima
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.5-liter flat-4 2.4-liter I4
Horsepower 175 hp @ 5,800 rpm 185 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 174 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 178 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission Continuously Varibale  Automatic, 6-spd
Fuel Economy 29 mpg (25 city, 34 hwy) 29 mpg (25 city, 36 hwy)
Also Available 3.6-liter flat-6 2.0L turbo I4,1.6L turbo I4, hybrid, 7-spd AT
Warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 stars 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 108.3 inches 110.4 inches
Overall Length 189.1 inches 191.1 inches
Width 72.4 inches 73.2 inches
Height 59.0 inches 57.7 inches
Turning Diameter 36.8 feet 35.8 feet
Headroom, Front 40.0 inches 39.8 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.6 inches 37.8 inches
Legroom, Front 42.9 inches 45.5 inches
Legroom, Rear 38.1 inches 35.6 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 58.1 inches 58.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 57.3 inches 56.4 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 104.6 cu. ft. 104.8 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 15 cu. ft.  15.9 cu. ft.
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