While sedans continue to fall out of favor with the car-buying public, the 2019 Subaru Legacy thrives. One reason is the car’s standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a confidence-boosting feature unavailable on many Legacy competitors, and one particularly useful in places where winters are fierce. Providing excellent traction in both dry and wet conditions, the Legacy’s all-wheel drive setup doesn’t come at the cost of fuel economy or affordability. And while the Legacy does offer a 6-cylinder for those who crave power, we honestly believe the standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder has enough pep to satisfy most owners.
The Legacy is priced in line with such popular front-drive models as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. And while the Legacy’s handsome styling isn’t groundbreaking, we feel it falls right in line with popular sedans such as the Chevrolet Malibu and Hyundai Sonata. The Legacy also scores well in the areas of comfort and safety, with a modern upscale interior and cutting-edge safety features such as Subaru’s EyeSight safety system. Tack on an excellent service and resale record, and we think the Legacy is more than capable of playing in the big leagues. See the 2019 Subaru Legacy models near you
What’s New for 2019?
For 2019, Subaru adds EyeSight to every Legacy regardless of trim level. The system includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. The base trim gets an upgraded STARLINK 6.5-inch radio with single CD player and SiriusXM satellite radio. The 2.5i Sport trim gains blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection and lane-change assist, while the Premium and higher trims now come standard with an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
What We Like
Excellent fuel economy with standard AWD; ample passenger room; standard EyeSight safety system; upscale interior; competitive pricing
What We Don’t
Styling still a little anonymous; no turbo engine option for the Sport trim; touchscreen too easily shows fingerprints
The 2019 Subaru Legacy offers two engines, both of which are mated to a standard continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and standard all-wheel drive. Most Legacy models will be equipped with the sedan’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, which makes 175 horsepower. With that engine, fuel economy stands at 25 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, which are strong figures for an AWD car.
Drivers looking for more power should consider the Legacy’s 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine. That power plant features 256 hp and returns 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The Legacy is offered in four trim levels: A base-level 2.5i model, a mid-level Premium model, the Sport and a top-end Limited version. The 2.5i, Sport and Premium models only use the sedan’s 4-cylinder engine; drivers who upgrade to the Limited can choose between the 4-cylinder and the 6-cylinder.
Opt for the 2.5i ($23,430) and you get EyeSight, automatic headlights with wiper activation, a backup camera, Bluetooth, a 6.5-in color touchscreen with Subaru’s Starlink infotainment and security system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM satellite radio, 5-in LCD display, power accessories and steering-wheel audio controls.
Upgrade to the 2.5i Premium ($25,580) and you get heated seats, heated mirrors, windshield wiper de-icers, a 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 17-in alloy wheels and an 8-in touchscreen.
The 2.5i Sport trim ($27,680) adds 18-in alloy wheels, a dark-gray front grille, a body-color trunk spoiler, LED fog lights and folding turn-signal side mirrors. Inside, a 2-tone interior features black cloth seating with blue stitching and piano black and carbon-fiber trim.
Topping the Legacy lineup is the 2.5i Limited ($30,130 for the 4-cylinder; $32,430 for the 6-cylinder 3.6R Limited). The trim adds a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, perforated leather upholstery, a 4-way power passenger seat, a power sunroof, keyless access with push-button start, heated rear seats, rear-seat A/C vents, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, a power passenger seat, driver’s-seat memory, larger alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control and wood-grain trim. The 3.6R Limited adds the 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine and dual stainless steel exhaust tips.
Options on the Legacy include a navigation system, a power sunroof, keyless access with push-button start, high beam assist, rear cross-traffic alert, a blind spot monitoring system and, on 2.5i Limited trims, steering responsive LED headlights.
The 2019 Legacy includes a long list of standard safety features, from stability and traction control to side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, a backup camera and automatic headlights. Standard driver assists include adaptive cruise control, forward-collision alert with automatic braking and lane-keeping assist, with optional rear cross-traffic alert, reverse automatic braking and a blind spot monitoring system.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Legacy its best rating of five stars in all categories, including the front, side-impact and rollover tests.
The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awards the Subaru Legacy a Top Safety Pick+ rating, an award only given to vehicles that ace every one of its rigorous crash tests.
Behind the Wheel
Most Legacy models will feature the brand’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, with Subaru projecting that the 2.5i Premium will be the sedan’s most popular trim. The 4-cylinder is hardly a hot-rod engine, but that’s not the point. Instead, it offers a surprisingly smooth driving experience (even by CVT standards) and excellent fuel economy, even with the heavy standard all-wheel drive.
Shoppers who opt for the 6-cylinder will get a lot of extra power on tap, though the Legacy’s smoothness doesn’t go away with the larger power plant. Unfortunately, 6-cylinder models are pricey, and they drink a lot more fuel than those with the smaller 4-cylinder.
Around corners, the Legacy feels composed, though it’s not as sporty as its smaller Impreza stablemate. Still, the driver’s seat is a great place to be, largely because it’s so comfortable, a fact that also applies to the Legacy’s back seats and passenger seat (all of which are roomy for a midsize sedan). Visibility is also excellent in all directions, much like in many of the Legacy’s rivals.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Dodge Charger — The Charger is a more performance-oriented sedan, powered by its rear wheels but offering the option of all-wheel drive. It’s equally roomy inside, and it offers numerous upgrades, but its resale and reliability scores can’t compare to the Legacy.
2019 Honda Accord — The Honda Accord is the family sedan gold standard, offering sleek styling and modern technology in addition to its legendary durability and roomy interior. The Accord is also competitively priced and includes generous standard equipment (but no AWD option).
2019 Audi A3 — The Audi A3 is smaller than the Legacy and will cost a few thousand more, but it offers optional all-wheel drive, more tech features and a more aggressive driving experience.
Used Subaru Outback — A 2013–2016 Outback gives you all the room, safety and comfort of the Legacy sedan but with more cargo room and additional ground clearance for light off-road adventures. Models from 2013 on may be equipped with the EyeSight safety system.
The 2019 Legacy is one of our favorite midsize sedans, and the 2.5i Premium model is our favorite version. Worth every penny of its price increase over the base-level Legacy 2.5i, the Premium offers more standard equipment and allows you to choose from options such as a navigation system, a power liftgate and a power sunroof. For drivers who really want the extra power, the 3.6R Limited is also a viable option, as it does a great job combining sporty and luxury qualities. Find a Subaru Legacy for sale