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2018 Subaru Legacy

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2018 Subaru Legacy Expert Review

By Matt Degen

KBB Expert Rating: 8.2

The 2018 Subaru Legacy tends to fly under the radar, but a closer look reveals it is a smart choice for many sedan buyers, and the best choice for some. Like nearly every other Subaru, the Legacy's secret sauce is its all-wheel drive (AWD). While the Legacy has no lack of competitors in better-known rivals like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, only one other midsize sedan -- the Ford Fusion -- even offers AWD. With the Legacy, it's standard, which makes this Subaru a favorite in cold-weather states. Far from a one-trick pony, the Legacy also has an excellent reputation for efficiency, safety, reliability and resale value. It's also among the few midsize sedans left to still offer a 6-cylinder engine.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you live where it regularly snows or traction is otherwise compromised, the 2018 Legacy is almost a no-brainer. Other appealing aspects include a starting price just over $23,000 that includes an automatic transmission and standard tech such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If ultra-high fuel economy is your priority, look to a hybrid version of the Camry, Accord, Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Kia Optima or Hyundai Sonata. If you want a manual transmission, try the Accord or Mazda6.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.2
  • 7.7
  • 7.9
  • 7.2
  • 8.4
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#8

out of 11

Fuel Economy

#6

out of 11

Horsepower
View all rankings
2018 Subaru Legacy Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

For 2018, the Subaru Legacy gains new Starlink infotainment systems that include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and updated grille and interior aesthetics. Revisions to the engine-control unit (ECU) grant smoother acceleration, while other modifications have been made to reduce body roll and interior noise.

Driving the Legacy
2018 Subaru Legacy Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

Like all Subarus, the 2018 Legacy uses a "boxer-type” engine, where the pistons are parallel to the ground, instead of in a V or vertical. This puts the weight of...

... the engine lower, giving the Legacy surprisingly nimble handling. The standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder offers similar power as other 4-cylinder cars in this class, but the continuously variable transmission (CVT) actually makes it feel more responsive than you'd expect from 175 horsepower. Still, it's no rocket with that engine, and if you need more, the 3.6-liter 6-cylinder available in the Limited offers a more robust 256 horsepower that makes short work of passing and accelerating, albeit at the expense of fuel economy. Around town the Legacy is comfortable and quiet, with a relaxed ride, but it still handles quite well in corners. Kudos also to the driver's-seat position and outward visibility.

CARPLAY AND ANDROID AUTO, STANDARD
These integration systems for Apple and Android phones are becoming increasingly popular on new cars, but they're not always standard. For the 2018 Subaru Legacy, they are, even on the lowest trim level.

PIN-CODE ACCESS
If you're an adventurous type who doesn't want to be encumbered by keys -- a surfer or runner, for instance -- this feature is for you. It allows you to leave the keys securely locked in the car and regain entry via a passcode on the door.

2018 Subaru Legacy Details
2018 Subaru Legacy Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Upgraded for 2018, the Legacy sedan offers a contemporary, roomy and comfortable cabin for its five passengers. Updates this year include a new steering wheel and a new color choice: gray, in addition to the existing black and ivory. The Starlink touch-screen infotainment systems gain size -- 6.5 inches or 8.0 inches -- and speed thanks to a faster CPU. Our back appreciated the 10-way-power adjustable driver's seat and its impressive lumbar support that is standard on all but base models, while the rear seat has lots of legroom. At exactly 15 cubic feet, the Legacy's trunk is big.

Exterior
2018 Subaru Legacy photo

The Legacy's exterior also gets a light makeover for 2018, most notably in the grille, which now has the Subaru logo and horizontal lines running through the middle. The Legacy remains on the conservative end of the midsize-sedan styling spectrum. It doesn't have the pizazz of a Kia Optima or the all-new Toyota Camry, but boasts its own sense of confidence and strength. We think it will hold up well over the years. The 2.5i Sport model goes for a slightly more aggressive vibe with a new trunk spoiler and gloss-black grille. Six-cylinder Legacy 3.6R Limited models include dual exhaust outlets.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The least expensive Subaru Legacy 2.5i model includes all-wheel drive with torque vectoring for optimal traction, 6-way manual-adjust driver's seat, folding rear seats, and a 4-speaker infotainment system with 6.5-inch screen, AM/FM stereo with USB input and Bluetooth connectivity, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. For $2,100 more, the 2.5i Premium is more recommendable, adding 10-way-power driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, heated side mirrors, windshield-wiper de-icer, and upgraded infotainment system with 8-inch display, dual front and rear USB inputs, and 6-speaker audio system with CD player. This trim also offers navigation and Subaru's EyeSight driver-assist technology.

Optional Equipment

Continuing the trim climb, Legacy 2.5i Sport models add push-button start, 2-tone interior, power moonroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, the PIN-code access system (see Favorite Features) and 18-inch wheels. Legacy Limited models venture into premium territory with leather interior, 12-speaker harman/kardon audio system, power front-passenger seat, heated rear seats, and blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert. Optional on all but the base models is the EyeSight system, which adds features like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and even a system that automatically brakes when in reverse to avoid a collision.

Under the Hood
2018 Subaru Legacy Engine photo

The standard engine in the 2018 Subaru Legacy is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that puts out 175 horsepower. The upgrade, available only in top-line Limited models, is a 3.6-liter 6-cylinder with 256 horsepower. Both engines are known as "boxer" configurations, because the pistons are parallel with the ground, and the way they move in and out is similar to a boxer's fists. It's more than just a conversation piece though, as this configuration reduces vibration and lowers the Subaru's center of gravity for a more planted feel. The standard continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) uses a special shift algorithm, making it feel more like a regular automatic transmission. All models also include steering-wheel-mounted paddles that allow you to shift through six preset gear ratios.

2.5-liter flat-4
175 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
174 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg

3.6-liter flat-6
256 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
247 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg

The 2018 Legacy has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $23,055 for a base 2.5i model. At $25,155, the better-equipped and more recommendable 2.5i Premium is a good value. Legacy Sport models start at $27,205, and the 2.5i Limited begins just shy of $30,000. If you want a 6-cylinder Legacy, it starts at $32,805 and can rise past $34,000 with the EyeSight package. The Legacy's starting price is just below that of front-drive rivals, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. With production of the Chrysler 200 ending, that leaves the Ford Fusion as the only other mainstream midsize sedan to offer AWD. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Subaru. The Legacy is expected to hold its value extremely well. In fact, the 2017 model took the top spot among midsize sedans in the Best Resale Value Awards.

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