Aside from some subtle exterior styling changes, the 2020 Legacy looks much like the 2019 model. Continuing with tradition, the base price includes all-wheel-drive. Photo: Subaru

What you should know: Subaru Legacy

Subaru has its utility vehicles, but this all-wheel-drive sedan could be its best value

Sedans in general are somewhat of a hard sell lately, but that shouldn’t necessarily be the case with the 2020 Subaru Legacy. Providing space and security for five passengers is its primary function, and transporting them over a variety of terrain is well within its comfort zone.

Other mainstream automakers have tried offering all-wheel-drive as an option to their non-luxury sedans, with mixed results, but Subaru’s growing success partially rests on its Symmetrical AWD that’s standard in all models, except the BRZ sport coupe. And Subaru does so while still remaining competitively priced.

The seventh-generation Legacy isn’t significantly different from the previous iteration, but subtle changes to both ends of the car as well as restyled fenders and doors combine to make for a more appealing package.

As with most of the lineup, including the also-new 2020 Outback wagon, the Legacy is constructed using the Subaru Global Platform that’s claimed to do a better job providing comfort, driving agility and collision protection. The front and rear suspension components have also been engineered to deliver more precise handling and fewer jarring incidents on rough roads.

The new Legacy is now fractions longer between the front and rear wheels as well as in overall length and width. The cabin provides about the same ample legroom and headroom as before, but the dashboard has a more organic look and feel. All Legacy models except for the base come with a vertically orientated 11.6-inch touch-screen that somewhat resembles an Apple iPad. And since it’s not angled toward the driver, the various communications, infotainment and ventilation settings are fully accessible to front passengers and visible to those in back. The base Legacy comes with a seven-inch screen.

For 2020, the engine choices consist of a 2.5-litre four-cylinder that puts out 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. It’s standard in all but the top two trims, which are fitted with a turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder producing a healthy 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet.

Both engines connect to continuously variable transmissions with eight simulated gears controlled by steering-wheel paddle shifters. (An actual shift lever is located in the centre console.)

For best fuel economy, the base 2.5 is rated at 8.8 l/100 km in the city, 6.7 on the highway and 7.9 combined.

The AWD’s active torque vectoring system applies light braking to the inside front wheel when cornering, allowing the car to turn better.

At $28,600 (including destination charges and fees), the base Legacy Convenience comes with a partial lineup of dynamic safety technologies such as emergency braking, adaptive cruise control (maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front) and lane-departure warning.

The Touring gets dual-zone climate control, heated front seats (power-operated for the driver), windshield de-icer and 17-inch alloy wheels that replace the steel versions.

The Limited gets 18-inch wheels, a unique grille and rear bumper, aluminum pedal covers and LED fog lights. A power passenger seat and auto-leveling and pivoting headlights are also part of the equipment list.

The Limited GT and the Premier GT come with a power moonroof and distracted-driver mitigation, along with the turbo four-cylinder (the same engine is used in the seven-passenger Subaru Ascent utility vehicle).

As the sportiest choice, the turbo GT trims deliver plenty of zip and they hold tight in the curves with minimal body lean. The Legacy’s cabin is also a quiet place with very little bothersome road or wind noise. The one complaint would be the numb steering that somewhat detracts from the car’s driving enjoyment.

That quibble aside, the Legacy’s mix of comfort, spaciousness and performance is equal to, or better than, other midsize sedans, with the added benefit of all-weather and all-road mastery.

What you should know: 2020 Subaru Legacy

Type: All-wheel-drive midsize sedan

Engines (h.p.): 2.5-litre DOHC H-4 (182); 2.4-litre DOHC H-4, turbocharged (260)

Transmission: Continuously variable (CVT)

Market position: Amongst its peers, the Legacy is the only sedan with standard all-wheel-drive: It’s also included in nearly every Subaru, which has helped the automaker steadily increase sales and market share.

Points: New styling varies slightly from the previous edition, but is still more attractive. • Interior appointments are near-luxury and the various controls are easily mastered. • Base engine delivers decent power, but the turbocharged engine steals the show. • All Subaru needs to do now is add a hybrid version to the lineup.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (std.); emergency braking (std.); inattentive driver alert (opt.)

L/100 km (city/hwy) 8.8/6.7 (2.5); Base price (incl. destination) $28,600

BY COMPARISON

Nissan Altima

Base price: $29,950

Nissan’s midsize sedan matches the Legacy with standard all-wheel-drive.

Kia Optima

Base price: $30,300

Great style, a roomy interior and non-turbo, turbo and hybrid engine choices.

Honda Accord

Base price: $30,300

One of the most popular sedans offers two turbo I-4 engines plus hybrid option.

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today!

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

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