Used Car Review

2010 Subaru Legacy: Used Car Review

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author photo by Joe Tralongo June 2016

The 2010 Subaru Legacy sedan makes a smart choice for families or individuals who prioritize reliability, quality, fuel economy and safety. As large and roomy as a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, the Legacy has a huge back seat and a massive trunk. It also boasts excellent safety ratings, and thanks in part to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), it gets impressive fuel economy. Best of all, where the Camry, the Accord, the Sonata and the Malibu are all pulled around by their front wheels, the Legacy comes standard with one of the best all-wheel-drive (AWD) systems in the industry.

What We Like

Standard AWD; good fuel economy with the 4-cylinder; roomy rear seat; powerful 6-cylinder option; excellent safety ratings; strong resale value

What We Don't

Four-cylinder model feels slow; complex navigation and audio system; beige-colored cloth seats are a magnet for stains; no automatic transmission for the turbocharged 2.5GT

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

Subaru outfitted the base 2010 Legacy 2.5i with a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed boxer engine good for 170 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy with the 6-speed manual is a respectable 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, while the CVT earns an even better 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy.

The Legacy 3.6R features a 3.6-liter 6-cylinder boxer engine paired with a traditional 5-speed automatic transmission. Producing 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque, this engine is rated at a mere 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.

The sporty 2.5GT trim is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that dishes out 265 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The only available transmission is a 6-speed manual, which returns fuel-economy figures of 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2010 Legacy is offered in three trims: 2.5i, 3.6R and 2.5GT.

The Legacy 2.5i comes with a 6-speed manual transmission, 16-inch wheels with plastic covers, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack, air conditioning, power windows, power mirrors, power door locks, remote keyless entry and a manually height-adjustable driver's seat. Standard safety features include 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic traction and stability control plus front, front side-impact and side-curtain airbags. The CVT automatic is the only available transmission.

The Legacy 2.5i Premium adds a 10-way power driver's seat including power lumbar support, 16-in alloy wheels, a driver's-side auto up/down power window and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Optional equipment for the Premium trim includes the CVT, steering-wheel paddle shifters, a 9-speaker 440-watt Harman Kardon audio system with Bluetooth capability, a power sunroof and the All-Weather package, which adds heated front seats, heated side mirrors and a windshield-wiper de-icer.

The 2.5i Limited brings leather seats, the All-Weather package, 440-watt Harman Kardon audio with a 6-disc CD changer, 17-in alloy wheels, a 4-way power passenger seat, Bluetooth, wood trim, automatic climate control and the CVT transmission.

The 2.5 GT Premium features the same equipment as the 2.5 Premium plus a turbocharged engine, a 6-speed manual transmission, a hood scoop, 18-in alloy wheels, enhanced brakes and dual chrome exhaust tips.

The 2.5 GT Limited adds the same equipment as found on the 2.5 Limited, plus the GT Premium's wheels, brakes and hood scoop.

The 3.6R is powered by a 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine teamed to a 5-speed automatic transmission. The 3.6R carries the same equipment as the 2.5i, but it rides on 17-in alloy wheels and has body-colored side mirrors and an auto up/down driver's window.

The 3.6R Premium adds the 2.5i Premium equipment plus the All-Weather package.

The 3.6R Limited includes the same equipment as the 2.5i Limited.

Optional on the Limited trims are a power sunroof and voice-activated touchscreen navigation.


The Subaru Legacy holds excellent resale value, on par with the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry and far better than the Chevrolet Malibu, the Ford Fusion and the Nissan Altima. The 3.6R holds slightly stronger values than the 2.5i, with the hard-to-find GT landing somewhere in the middle.

To get a good idea of the Legacy's price range, we suggest using the used car values at You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are currently for sale in your area.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the following recalls for the 2010 Subaru Legacy:

A recall was issued regarding defective Takata front-seat airbag modules. Degradation of the inflators may allow metal fragments to break away upon airbag activation and strike occupants, possibly resulting in serious injury or death.

A recall was issued for cars with the 6-speed manual transmission due to the omission of an oil-lubrication hole during manufacturing. Lack of oil to the gears can lead to transmission failure and possibly a crash.

Further recalls include a problem with puddle lights that may short out resulting in smoke or fire, a windshield wiper motor overheating and possibly leading to a fire, a crack in the CVT transmission's coolant hose resulting in loss of coolant and a possible defect in the steering-wheel roll connector.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, they'll fix the car at no charge to you. You can also check the NHTSA website; simply enter your vehicle's identification number for a list of performed recall repairs.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

The NHTSA gave the 2010 Legacy a 5-star overall rating, with five stars in the rollover, front- and side-impact crash tests. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2010 Legacy its highest rating of Good in all categories and named it a Top Safety Pick.

All Subaru Legacy models left the factory with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. If you purchase your Legacy through Subaru's certified pre-owned vehicle program, the powertrain warranty period is extended to 7 years/100,000 miles, and owners have the option to buy plans that will cover electrical issues, steering, suspension, brakes, air conditioning and the fuel system.

Other Cars to Consider

2010 Honda Accord -- The Accord remains the gold standard in this class, offering excellent safety, resale and reliability ratings, but no AWD or turbo model.

2010 Ford Fusion -- The Fusion is also highly rated, although it's slightly smaller than the Legacy. AWD is optional, and we like Ford's navigation and audio setup much better. There's also a hybrid model.

2010 Toyota Camry -- The Camry isn't very exciting to look at, but it's a solid performer that can match or beat the Legacy in every category that matters. Although the Camry doesn't offer AWD, it does come in a hybrid version.

Autotrader's Advice

If power isn't a big priority, we think most people will be quite pleased with the performance and fuel economy of the 2.5i Premium with the All-Weather Package. We strongly suggest avoiding models with the beige interior, as the seats are prone to showing stains and dirt. If you want leather, the Limited trim is the only way to get it.

Find a Subaru Legacy for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2010 Subaru Legacy: Used Car Review - Autotrader