2021 Subaru Legacy

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Updated: November 13, 2020

2021 Subaru Legacy

With all the hoopla over the Outback and Forester, it’s easy to forget about the 2021 Subaru Legacy. That’s a shame, as the mid-size sedan remains a compelling pick among the dwindling choices in its niche.

The 2021 model comes on the heels of the 2020 full redesign, so changes are few. The biggest update is newly standard LED lighting.

The latest Legacy carries on Subaru tradition with complimentary all-wheel drive and a flat-4 engine displacing 2.5 liters. It makes 182 horsepower that gets filtered through a CVT. The EPA says all this hardware is good for 27 mpg city, 35 highway, 30 combined.

Subaru also offers a peppier 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-4 with the pricier trims. This engine makes 260 horsepower, enough to drop the 0-60 mph time down to about six seconds. Gas mileage drops commensurately, to 24/32/27 mpg.

Subaru’s suite of driver-assist features, known as EyeSight, is standard on every Legacy. The collection includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitors come standard on the three priciest trims.

The IIHS and NHTSA both gave their top marks to the Legacy for crashworthiness.

Model Lineup

All prices include a $1,050 destination charge.

The base legacy starts at just $23,820. The base equipment includes all-wheel drive, cloth upholstery, a 6.5-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android auto, and 17-inch wheels.

The $26,070 Premium trim is next up the ladder. Additional standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control, an 11.6-inch touchscreen, a 10-way power driver’s seat, and heated front seats.

The Sport trim costs $28,020 and adds a helping of racy touches, such as black 18-inch wheels, dark trim, a two-tone interior with red-accented cloth upholstery, a trunk spoiler, and multiple drive modes.

The Limited costs $30,820 and is the most expensive model to be equipped with the 2.5-liter engine. It gets 12-speaker audio, leather upholstery, blind-spot monitors, and keyless entry.

The Limited XT adds two letters and turbocharger for $35,370. Besides the turbo 2.4-liter, it gets a power moonroof, heated steering wheel, and a driver distraction mitigation system.

The Touring XT is the most expensive Legacy at $37,070. It also gets the turbo engine, along with luxuries like heated and cooled front seats, nappa leather, chrome door handles, and chrome power-folding side mirrors.

Exterior

The Legacy is handsome and understated, but there’s enough chisel in its shape to keep it from looking bland. Good luck differentiating this generation from the prior one, though. The tidied-up front end is about the biggest giveaway that this is the current generation.

That said, we imagine the typical buyer won’t care all that much about the Legacy’s resemblance to its predecessor. Some might even breathe a sigh of relief at its uncluttered design.

Interior

The Legacy went upscale in its latest redesign, and the cabin of the 2021 model is replete with relatively high-quality materials and switchgear. It’s all draped in and around a well thought-out interior design that is at once airy, inviting, and comfortable.

Go one step up from the base model and the included 11.6-inch touchscreen gives off more than a whiff of luxury. This is the biggest screen offered in the segment, dwarfing the 8.0-inch units found in the competition. It doesn’t have the crispest graphics in town, nor the fastest operating speed, but the underlying software is easy to learn and navigate. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and SiriusXM radio offer plenty of streaming options. On top trims, this infotainment is rounded out by a 12-speaker Harman-Kardon audio system that sounds pretty slick for the price point.

The Legacy is laid out to seat five and can do so better than most sedans. Rear-seat leg room measures out to 40 inches, and head room is excellent, too.

Cargo space isn’t quite so ahead of the class, but its 15 cubic feet puts it right in the thick of the competition.

Driving Impressions

The base flat-4 in the Legacy lacks some refinement and smoothness that inevitably makes it feel less polished, but performance is acceptable. The CVT that delivers power to all four wheels is more refined than most other CVTs, too.

The turbocharged 2.4-liter makes 260 horsepower and is markedly quicker and more fun. It can scoot to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, but even around town the extra oomph is tangible when pulling away from red lights or snaking a gap through traffic.

The most significant feature of the Legacy is its standard all-wheel drive. It is the only car in the segment to exclusively come with the winter-beating drivetrain, and very few competitors even offer it as an option. The system gives the Legacy a sure-footedness both in dry and inclement weather. Take a corner a bit too hard and the system helps out with its standard torque-vectoring technology, though it’s by no means a sports car.

Though it doesn’t have the sporty moves, it does offer an excellent ride that is soft, smooth, and composed. With a few suspension tweaks, the Legacy could be more sportier than it is, but we think buyers will be happiest with how it’s tuned already.

Final Word

With its bargain base price, a nicely-crafted interior, and spacious and airy cabin, the 2021 Subaru Legacy makes for a fine all-weather sedan. We’d love the turbo, but its high price would have us happily settling for Premium trim.

 

—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection