2020 Subaru Legacy First Look
- 7th-generation Legacy built on Subaru Global Platform
- 2.5-liter flat-4 with 182 bhp, or a turbo 2.4 with 260 bhp
- Infotainment features large tablet-style screen
- On sale this fall
- Six AWD models available
- Pricing TBA, current Legacy starts at $22,545
Subaru has taken the wraps off its all-new 2020 Legacy sedan. This 7th-generation Legacy is now based on Subaru’s Global Platform, a significantly more rigid chassis with improved stability and safety along with significantly reduced noise, vibration and harshness levels.
It’s all about the chassis
With additional ultra-high-strength steels and significantly more structural adhesives, the 2020 Subaru Legacy is 70 percent stiffer than the previous car in torsion, and the mounting areas for its front and rear suspensions are 100 percent stiffer. Stoutness is further enhanced by a new crossmember in the floor filled with a lightweight but rigid foam. This crossmember is a first for Subaru, as is a full inner frame that makes the 2020 Legacy’s chassis considerably stiffer and lighter than the previous conventional unibody. Also, the management of crash energy is considerably improved, making the new Legacy—with MacPherson struts in front and double wishbones in the rear—considerably safer for all five occupants.
Two engine choices
The 2020 Subaru Legacy will be offered with two engines. The new XT models are powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-4 producing 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 277 lb-ft of torque from 2,000 to 4,800 rpm. This engine mates to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a manual mode and shift paddles on the back of the steering wheel. Subaru says the XT hits 60 mph in 6.1 seconds while also returning EPA mileage figures estimated at 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway. A thinner oil in the CVT is now used to reduce horsepower loss.
Standard in the 2020 Legacy is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter flat-4 engine. Yes, it’s the same powerplant as in the 2019 Forester, and it’s a good one. This direct-injected boxer engine puts out 182 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 176 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. Also mounted to a CVT, it propels the new Legacy to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds while returning impressive EPA fuel economy of 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway. Active grille shutters help highway fuel economy.
Inside the new Legacy’s upscale interior, a large 11.6-inch multimedia screen draws the most attention. It’s the largest screen ever in a Subaru, and it’s standard on Premium, Sport and Limited models. Via this portrait-oriented touchscreen, the Legacy driver can control the multimedia system, along with its HVAC and vehicle settings. As with a smartphone, apps can be moved and configured based on personal preference.
When Navigation is ordered (it’s optional on Premium Sport and Limited, standard on Touring), the TomTom system offers three years of free map updates and a split-screen display that can show, for example, navigation and audio controls simultaneously. Rotary dials, including one for audio volume, control the StarLink system. The base Legacy has dual 7-inch screens for the multimedia and HVAC, respectively. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and onboard WiFi provides internet access for the first time in a Legacy.
Thanks to revised weatherstripping, reshaped side mirrors and new sound-insulating glass, the 2020 Subaru Legacy is much quieter inside (by 3 dB at highway speeds) and a better place to appreciate the optional 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. Interior spaciousness has improved a bit, with increases in front shoulder and hip room plus rear legroom. Connectivity is enhanced by four USB ports (two front, two rear).
The new Legacy design
Subaru designers sought a sleeker Legacy that appears to be in motion, even when it’s stopped. Have they succeeded? We think so. The 2020 Legacy is bit thicker in profile, with a raised trunk that blends gracefully with the C-pillars. Wider fenders help to emphasize the 17- or 18-inch wheels, while the frameless hexagonal grille and lower intake add a sporty flair.
An alternative to an SUV?
With its standard all-wheel drive and an additional 1.4 inches cargo floor length, the 5-seat 2020 Subaru Legacy might make a decent foul-weather alternative to a midsize crossover SUV. After all, the trunk can hold four fullsize roller bags, and the roof has standard mounting brackets that allow for the installation of a rack to carry a storage box, tray, or even a canoe.
The 2020 Legacy arrives this fall. Pricing has not been announced. The current 2019 Subaru Legacy starts at $22,545 plus $885 delivery.