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2016 Subaru Legacy: Used Car Review

When you buy a previously-owned 2016 Subaru Legacy, you’ll be getting three cars in one. From a pricing perspective, you’ll be spending roughly the same amount of money as you would buying a new compact sedan, but getting a larger and better-equipped family car. The Legacy is exceptionally safe, with excellent crash-test scores and optional driver assists like the EyeSight collision-avoidance system. And lastly, you’ll be getting a sedan that comes standard with all-wheel drive, a feature that helps improve handling in all types of weather, yet doesn’t come at the cost of fuel economy or performance.

While the Legacy may not be the fastest or best-handling midsize sedan, it does offer a number of compelling reasons to buy. The Legacy is well-equipped even in base guise and downright luxurious in Limited form. Subaru’s family sedan also enjoys excellent safety and reliability ratings, plus exceptional resale values. If you’re looking at a used Honda Accord, Toyota Camry or Ford Fusion (the only one of the three that offers the option of AWD), a 2016 Subaru Legacy deserves a shot.

For 2016, the Legacy received some modest upgrades. All models received auto on/off headlights and wipers, while the Premium and Limited trims gained Subaru’s Starlink safety and security package. The EyeSight system added lane-keep assist to its roster of driver assists.

What We Like

Roomy rear seat; standard AWD; good fuel economy; EyeSight driver assist; excellent crash-test scores; smooth ride; great resale value

What We Don’t

4-cylinder engine isn’t very powerful; glossy infotainment screen shows glare and fingerprints; 6-cylinder engine only offered on most expensive trim

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

Subaru offers two engine options for the 2016 Legacy sedan, both mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The first is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder producing 175 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. This engine delivers fuel economy estimates of 26 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

Upgrading to the 3.6-liter 6-cylinder brings a significant increase in power, with 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy figures remain good, at 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Legacy sedan comes in four trim choices: the 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited.

The base Legacy 2.5i includes a CVT automatic transmission, a 6.2-inch color touchscreen with the Starlink infotainment setup, a rear backup camera, Bluetooth, automatic headlights with wiper activation, USB and auxiliary inputs, 17-in steel wheels with full covers, a tilt-telescopic steering column, cruise control, a rear defroster and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat.

The 2.5i Premium gains 17-in alloy wheels, the All Weather package (heated front seats, heated side mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer), a 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a vehicle-information display plus a 7-in infotainment touchscreen with gesture control, a 6-speaker stereo and SiriusXM satellite radio.

Optional equipment for the Premium includes the Subaru EyeSight system (adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning and braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist and steering-responsive fog lights), blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a power moonroof and navigation.

The 2.5i Limited brings leather seating, a power passenger seat, a 12-speaker 576-watt Harman Kardon audio system, two-position memory for the driver’s seat and mirrors, 18-in alloy wheels, blind spot monitoring, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, wood interior trim, side-mirror-integrated turn signals, fog lights and rear-seat air vents.

The 3.6R Limited includes the same features as the 2.5i Limited but with the larger 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine, HID low-beam headlights, larger front brake rotors and dual stainless steel exhaust tips.

Optional equipment for the Limited includes EyeSight, keyless access and start with PIN code, a power moonroof and navigation.


The 2016 Subaru Legacy holds exceptionally strong resale values, slightly higher than the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, and much better than the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Mazda6 and Nissan Altima. The Legacy’s high resale figures mean that getting a good deal will require you to do your homework, especially in areas where the Legacy’s AWD traction is in high demand. 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, or NHTSA, has issued the following recalls for the 2016 Subaru Legacy:

A recall was issued regarding a possible oil leak from the CVT transmission.

A recall was issued regarding possible loss of steering control due to an improperly machined steering column.

A recall was issued for a situation where improperly tightened securing nuts may allow the driveshaft to separate from the rear differential.

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, will 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

As for safety, both NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) give the Subaru Legacy their highest marks, including five out of five stars in NHTSA’s front-end, side-impact and vehicle-rollover tests. The IIHS calls the 2016 Legacy a Top Safety Pick+, as the vehicle earned Good ratings in every crash-test category and a Superior rating in the crash-avoidance and mitigation test when equipped with the optional EyeSight system.

All Subaru Legacy sedans leave the factory with a fully transferable 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 car undergoes a 152-point inspection and offers 24/7 road-side assistance plus a 3-month free trial subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio. The CPO powertrain warranty period is extended to seven years and 100,000 miles, and owners have the option to buy plans that will cover electrical, steering, suspension, brakes, air-conditioning and fuel-system parts.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Honda Accord — The Accord is a roomy, comfortable sedan with excellent reliability and resale figures. Although it doesn’t offer the option of AWD, the Accord’s fuel economy is slightly better than the Legacy’s.

2016 Ford Fusion — The Ford Fusion has less hip and shoulder room than the Legacy but delivers a more enthusiast-oriented driving experience. AWD is optional, as is a hybrid and plug-in hybrid option. The Fusion offers superior infotainment and audio options and more high-tech features, such as Active Park Assist automatic parallel parking.

2016 Hyundai Sonata The Hyundai Sonata is more stylish than the Legacy, has lots of room for five passengers and offers an abundance of standard and optional equipment. Engine options include a turbocharged 4-cylinder and hybrid powertrain. Buy a CPO Sonata and you’ll get Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty reinstated. AWD, however, is not on the menu.

Autotrader’s Advice

We’d opt for either a Premium or Limited with the optional EyeSight system. If you can afford the Limited, the leather interior, Harman Kardon audio and larger wheel/tire package make the Legacy all that much nicer. The 3.6R’s extra power is nice for passing and towing, but most will find the 2.5’s performance more than adequate.

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Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo is a longtime contributor who started in the industry writing competitive comparison books for a number of manufacturers, before moving on in 2002 to become a freelance automotive journalist. He’s well regarded for his keen eye for detail, as well as his ability to translate complex mechanical terminology into user-friendly explanations. Joe has worked for a number of outlets as... Read More

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