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2021 Subaru Legacy vs. 2021 Toyota Camry: Which Is Better?

Among midsize sedans, you can get all-wheel drive if you choose wisely as shown by the 2021 Subaru Legacy and 2021 Toyota Camry. But which is better?

2021 Subaru Legacy

2021 Subaru Legacy


Base Price: $23,730 / Read our 2021 Subaru Legacy Review

What we like: Standard AWD, EyeSight suite of driver and safety assists, affordable price

What we would change: Add a manual transmission option, improve the CVT response, sharpen the styling

Overview: Last year’s redesign of the Legacy brought a new level of refinement to the interior. This midsize sedan also benefits from a stiffer structure, more responsive chassis, and better sound insulation. The flat-4 normally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder provides adequate power, but its responsiveness is hampered by the continuously variable transmission. We prefer the 250-horsepower turbo engine.  Also on the plus side is standard AWD. The look of the Legacy is a bit understated in comparison to the edgy exterior of the Camry.

What’s new for 2021: There are few changes this year following last year’s redesign. Among them are front headlights that track with the steering and a rear seatbelt reminder.

Features and technology: The 2021 Subaru Legacy comes in a choice of six trims: base, Premium, Sport, Limited, Limited XT, and Touring XT trim levels.

Base models come with the EyeSight Assist Monitor with advanced adaptive cruise control, lane centering, pre-collision braking, lane-departure warning, and sway warning. Also included are Starlink with dual 7-in screens, engine start/stop, hill-hold assist, automatic climate control, LED headlights with steering response, automatic high-beam assist, power fuel-door lock, full power accessories, 17-in steel wheels, 60/40 split/folding rear seat. Legacy offers active torque vectoring, remote keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel and Bluetooth connectivity. The only available factory option is 17-in alloy wheels.

High trim models offer amenities including leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, navigation, a larger 11.6-inch touchscreen, surround-view camera, wireless charger, and a premium Rockford Fosgate audio system.

What does the future hold: Subaru will likely make few changes to the 2022 model, while a mid-cycle refresh will probably occur the following year. See 2021 Subaru Legacy models for sale near you

2021 Toyota Camry

2021 Toyota Camry

Base Price: $25,000 (est.) / Read our 2021 Toyota Camry Review

What we like: Choice of powertrains including V6 and hybrid, available AWD, sporty TRD trim, Toyota reliability, and resale

What we would change: Make the styling less fussy, add a PHEV variant

Overview: Toyota is one of the benchmarks in the segment for reliability and resale. It’s not content to rest on those laurels by upping its game considerably with the Camry. While its styling may be a bit edgy, the chassis delivers solid handling and Toyota remains the only competitor to offer V6 power in the category. It also offers a fuel-efficient hybrid option and added AWD to the portfolio. However, if you opt for the latter, you have to make do with the less powerful base 4-cylinder engine. We also like the fact that Camry has room in the lineup for a sporty TRD variant.

What’s new for 2021: Updated  7- and 9-inch infotainment touchscreens. Toyota also adds its Safety Sense 2.5+ system, the latest version of its standard active and driver-assistance suite. The Camry also gets a slightly restyled front end.

Features and technology: There are no fewer than nine trim levels of the Camry and that’s after dropping the base L trim. Buyers can choose from LE, SE, XLE and XSE models in both standard and hybrid variants. Toyota also offers blacked-out Nightshade trim and the performance-oriented TRD model with a tauter suspension. LE and XLE are equipped for comfort, SE and XSE more sporty in execution.

The base LE includes an 8-way power driver’s seat, 60/40-split/folding rear seats, an alarm system, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The newly updated standard infotainment system includes a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa integration. SE models add sport seats, 18-in wheels, single-zone automatic climate control, and SofTex vinyl upholstery.

What does the future hold: With the addition last year of AWD and the TRD trim, we expect Toyota to stand pat on the current Camry lineup for the foreseeable future.  See 2021 Toyota Camry models for sale near you

Legacy vs Camry: Strengths comparison

Subaru Legacy Benefits: Standard AWD, reliability, good resale value

Toyota Camry Benefits: Availabile V6, 8-speed automatic transmission, hybrid option

Legacy vs Camry: Which is better?

We like the fact that the Legacy comes with AWD as standard equipment. But the Toyota Camry is better here for its wider choice of powertrains including a hybrid, the AWD option, and the 8-speed automatic transmission. It might cost a bit more for the Toyota, but you’ll see a return in strong resale value.

Find a Subaru Legacy for sale or Find a Toyota Camry for sale

2021 Subaru Legacy 2021 Toyota Camry
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.4-liter Flat-4 2.5-liter I4
Horsepower 182 hp @ 5,800 rpm 203 hp @ 6,600 rpm
Torque 176 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm 182 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission CVT 8-speed automatic
Fuel Economy 30 mpg (27 city/35 hwy) 32 mpg (28 city/39 hwy)
Also Available 2.4-liter turbo Flat-4 3.5-liter V6; I4 Hybrid; AWD
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 star 5 star
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 108.3 inches 111.2 inches
Overall Length 190.6 inches 192.1 inches
Width 72.4 inches 72.4 inches
Height 62.2 inches 56.9 inches
Turning Diameter 36.1 feet 37.4 feet
Headroom, Front 39.4 inches 38.3 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.3 inches 38.0 inches
Legroom, Front 42.8 inches 42.1 inches
Legroom, Rear 39.5 inches 38.0 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 58.1 inches 57.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 57.4 inches 55.7 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 105.5 cu. ft. 100.4 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 15.1 cu. ft. 15.1 cu. ft.

Matt DeLorenzo
Matt DeLorenzo
Matt DeLorenzo is an author who specializes in writing news, advice, and car reviews. A member of the North American Car of the Year jury, he has spent more than four decades covering the auto industry and has held key posts at industry and consumer publications including Automotive News, AutoWeek, and Road & Track. He is also an author of automotive books including Modern Chrysler Concept... Read More about Matt DeLorenzo

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