By Nauman Farooq
If you ask the American automakers, the mid-size sedan segment is dead! Ford and Chrysler have already pulled out of this segment, and General Motors isn’t far behind.
However, the Germans, the Koreans, and the Japanese are still in it – but is it the right move, and how long can this segment last?
Subaru thinks the world has not gone all SUV/CUV, and hence still has sedan offerings. I just spent a week in their latest – the 2020 Legacy Limited, to see if it’s any good!
Styling: About 30 years ago, the world first got introduced to the Subaru Legacy – and with its sharp styling and impressive features, it attracted buyers from all over the globe.
For 2020, we get the brand new, seventh-generation model of the Legacy. Its styling is subtle, not overly aggressive or opinion splitting as some of its rivals (ahem… Toyota Camry, Honda Accord), but look at it closely and you’ll find some neat design details – such as its LED headlights, and its snazzy alloy wheels (which are standard on all trim levels, except the very base).
Its styling might not make people turn their heads, or give it a double-take, but most times, it is better to fly under the radar than be in everyone’s view!
Interior: The 2020 Legacy might be subtle on the outside, but step inside and it really starts to shine! Over a decade ago, Subaru’s were often criticized for having dull, boring interiors, made from cheap plastics. Then they started to listen, and the quality started coming up!
The 2020 Legacy possibly has the nicest interior of any Subaru. The quality is not just good when compared to other non-premium mid-size sedans, but it can shame a few premium luxury vehicles as well.
So, the fit and finish is superb, but that’s not all! Subaru was quite late in offering infotainment tech on their models, but they have truly caught up now. My Legacy Limited had a 11.6 inch, tablet-style, touch screen, infotainment system that had everything from built in GPS to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. This screen and all its functions take some time to figure out, but it is very good, and among the best in its class.
But that’s not all, the 2020 Legacy also provides a generous amount of space for five passengers, and its 428 litre trunk can swallow all their shopping, too. In short, the new Legacy offers a wonderful place to spend time in.
Powertrain: The 2020 Subaru Legacy is available with two engines. My tester had the base 2.5L, naturally-aspirated, boxer-four cylinder engine, which produces 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. Power is fed to all-wheels through a CVT automatic.
The upgrade motor is a 2.4L, turbocharged, boxer-four cylinder engine, which produces 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, also paired to a CVT. No manual gearbox is offered anymore, on any trim, with either engine; which is a shame!
Performance & Driving Dynamics: Given that my tester had the non-turbo motor, the performance wasn’t its strong point. It still has good get-up-and-go from a standstill, but acceleration starts to lag over 60 km/h. I did some 0 to 100 km/h testing with the 2020 Subaru Legacy Limited, and the best time I achieved was 9.67 seconds – slower than the current Honda Odyssey minivan!
What this vehicle lacked in straight-line speed, it more than makes up for it in the corners. This new Legacy, just like most Subaru models, handles extremely well. The speed you can carry into the corners is astonishing, and the ride quality over broken tarmac is possibly the best I’ve ever come across – it feels like a hovercraft.
Its electric-assist power steering unit does lack feel, but its light steering weight makes the car easy to toss into bends. Subaru has made a name for itself in rallying, and it sure feels like what they learned in racing has been applied to their road cars.
So, if you’re looking for a vehicle that can master all roads in any weather, look no further than this! If you’re looking for a vehicle that is safe and makes highway driving quite stress free, than you’ll also like the new Legacy. Subaru’s ingenious EyeSight system keeps an eye on traffic and pedestrians, and its adaptive cruise control let’s you sit back and relax on the highway. It can also keep you in your lane with the car providing steering input – although personally, I didn’t like using this feature, and preferred to just use the adaptive cruise.
For those looking for a very quiet car, this Legacy would also do the job, because thanks to the wonderful application of sound-deadening materials, this is one of the quietest cars I’ve been in, in a long time!
Fuel Economy: In my fuel economy test (where I drive a vehicle 170 km on the highway + 130 km in the city) the vehicle averaged 8.3 L/100 km. For a mid-size sedan that is not a hybrid, and has all-wheel drive, that is extremely good!
So, if you don’t like spending much time or money at gas stations, you’ll like the new Legacy.
Pricing: 2020 Subaru Legacy pricing starts from $26,395 and goes up to $39,095 for the fully loaded Premier GT model.
My tester, the Limited with the 2.5i motor had an “as tested” price of $34,295 (plus freight/PDI, dealer fees, and taxes).
Verdict: Subaru hasn’t given up on the mid-size sedan segment; in fact, their offerings are getting better and better. This new Legacy is realistically all the car you’ll ever need for taking care of your daily chores, and it’ll do it comfortably, quietly, and efficiently.
Those who have abandoned the mid-size sedan segment, I think they’ve made a mistake, as this new Subaru Legacy proves, that a sedan still makes a lot of sense!