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Entry price: $22,745

Price as tested: $30,090   

Likes: New generation, spacious interior, entry cost, AWD history.

Dislikes: Full throttle engine noise, CVT, turbo models expensive.

This week, we’re driving the new seventh-generation midsize 2020 Subaru Legacy, a four-door sedan that debuted in 1989 and is the automaker’s flagship sedan. Along the way, Legacy has been a trendy choice thanks to its popularity with numerous generations, including teens heading to college all the way to retired baby boomers.

All Legacy models are built on the Subaru Global Platform, this one located in Lafayette, Indiana. As home to Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) North American, it is responsible for production of the Ascent, Impreza, Legacy and Outback models.

The Global Platform incorporates Subaru’s world famous Symmetrical all-wheel-drive (AWD) system with always evolving chassis strength and safety dynamics. This proven global build ideology results in all Subaru models featuring similar build integrity and drivetrain designs with passenger safety a main priority. With employees, associates, and vendor contractors totaling some 5,900 individuals, SIA is perfect stateside example of workforce strength, environmental stewardship and top quality end products.

Included for 2020 are six Legacy trims starting with the entry Legacy at $22,745, followed by Legacy Premium at $24,995, our tester Legacy Sport at $26,945, and Legacy Limited at $29,745. 

These models are all powered by the 2.5-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine with direct fuel injection. If you want more gusto, two more pricey Legacy models arrive with Subaru’s new 2.4-liter turbocharged four starting with the Limited XT at $34,195 and top line Touring XT at $35,895.  

Mechanically, these two Legacy engines might be comparable in size but that’s where similarity stops. The direct fuel injected 2.5 develops 182 horses and 176 torque resulting in 27 city and 35 highway MPG estimates, which is very good for midsize cars. If you want the more powerful 2.4 Turbo, however, horsepower vaults up to 260 horses and 277 torque although fuel mileage drops to a still respectful 24 city and 32 highway. The six-cylinder model available through the 2019 year is discontinued.

Both engines connect to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) called a Lineartronic with a paddle shift eight-speed manual mode. I’ll give Subaru credit for window dressing its CVT to imitate a numerous gear automatic, but in the end it’s still a CVT and when not in “manual” mode acts like a normal CVT that really doesn’t have any gear ratios. 

New standard fare items on the ’20 Legacy include EyeSight Assist with windshield head up display, LED headlights, Auto Start-Stop for better fuel efficiency, 1-cu. ft. more of passenger volume, and 1.4 cu. ft. more in rear seat legroom. 

Unavailable on lower price models is a Driver Focus Distraction Mitigation that can identify driver fatigue/distraction. It becomes an option on Limited and is standard on the turbocharged XT models.  

If you’re looking for an AWD mid-size vehicle that delivers good to excellent fuel mileage, Subaru Legacy is a popular choice. 

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.

 

Auto Bits

When will advanced safety features be standard?

Recently at the MIT MediaLab, the New England Motor Press Association held its annual conference on advanced vehicle technology. The panel included executives involved in incorporating autonomous, semi-autonomous and infotainment technologies in our cars. The panelists came from auto manufacturers, professional associations, suppliers, academia and consumer advocacy organizations.

What has become evident over the last seven of these conferences is that we’re on an endless march toward at least some level of autonomy, but the point at which we’ll be reading newspapers behind the steering wheel is a long, long way off.

The level of autonomy we have today, though, is helping in a lot of ways. 

It’s what the SAE describes in its J3016 standard as “Level 2.”

Level 2 automation still requires that a human be in primary control of the automobile, but in some situations, the technology can provide steering, braking or acceleration support, and will center the vehicle in the lane and provides adaptive cruise control functionality that works with the lane centering function.

Craig Fitzgerald/BestRide.com

 

Did You Know

The autonomous NAVYA shuttle accommodates 15 passengers — 11 seated and four standing.