Subaru continues to live up to its safety plus standards in a fit and trim sedan that plays nicely with top rivals while adding gutsy turbo power that makes a big difference.
What it lacks in stylish looks, it more than makes up for in standard driver assists in a comfortable five passenger that won’t break the bank.
Standard all-wheel drive
Top safety scores
Outdated sheet metal
Options get pricey
No plug-in or hybrid version available
Our gussied-up Legacy Limited tester included the 2.4-liter turbo pushing out 260 ponies, a 78 horsepower jump from the base flat four engine and a full two seconds quicker in the run-up to 60 miles per hour from a dead stop.
With all this extra power and a plethora of high-end optional equipment, the driveway price is just $35,370, one of the best bargains out there including a continuously variable transmission along with active torque vectoring and quick ratio steering. The former parses power electronically to each wheel as needed while the latter adjusts steering ratios.
Available trim levels include the Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, Limited XT and Touring XT with a starting price of $23,820 to $37,070 with all-wheel drive included across the lineup.
As you move up the trim ladder, touchscreens grow from 7 to 11.6 inches. Fortunately, the larger screen comes with hard buttons for many adjustments while climate changes are left to touch. Screen navigation is styled after the Tom-Tom variety while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto appear in smaller containment boxes for a less attractive experience.
While you can spend less, we recommend our mid-thirties Limited tester with turbo for added zest when you need it along with luxury cabin and amenities found in high-end luxury cars.
Safety features include adaptive cruise with pre-collision throttle management, lane departure and sway warning, reverse automatic braking, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, ABS with brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, eyesight driver assist with automatic emergency braking, anti-theft alarm and engine immobilizer, brake override with electronic brake force distribution and a driver distraction mitigation system.
Considering the Legacy is competing with best sellers’ Camry, Accord, Mazda 6, Hyundai Sonata and Kia K-5, the Legacy is attractively priced and includes full Nappa leather interior, Harmon-Kardon premium sound, 10-way power driver’s seat and eight-way power passenger seat both heated and cooled with manual extended thigh cushions.
There is thicker sound-insulating material in the front windows for a hushed ride and an eight-speed manual mode to alter the smooth CVT experience.
At highway speeds, the turbo-powered Legacy delivers an athleticism that few sedans possess. Suspension is adequate for most road conditions while precise steering guides the car in normal driving. Body roll is minimal in turns and braking pressure feels strong.
Fuel consumption is EPA rated at 27 combined with the turbo and 30 non-turbo so you can opt for the smaller engine and save bucks.
Be sure to test drive rivals before making your buying decision.
What was reviewed:
2021 Subaru Legacy Limited XT
Engine: 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder, 260 horsepower
EPA mileage per gallon: 24 city, 32 highway, 27 combined
Assembled: The Legacy is assembled in Lafeyette, IN. U. S. / Canadian parts content 50 percent. Major source of foreign parts, Japan, 35 percent. Country of origin, engine and transmission – Japan.
Crash test ratings: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the Legacy five stars, its highest rating, for overall, side crash and rollover protection and four stars for passenger protection in a frontal crash. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the Legacy a Top Safety Pick and gave the Legacy a “Good” rating, its highest in small and moderate overlap collisions, side, roof strength, head restraints and seats and a “Superior” rating in crash avoidance and mitigation in vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to pedestrian collisions.
Warranty: 3 year/36,000-mile bumper to bumper; 5 year/60,000-mile powertrain.