Introducing the Updated 2018 Subaru Legacy
The Subaru Legacy sets itself apart among midsize sedans as being the only option that comes standard with all-wheel drive. The sixth-generation Legacy sedan arrived for the 2015 model year, and for 2018 it has been refreshed with a new look, and a whole lot more.
But just what does a refresh entail? And how significant of a redesign is a “refresh?” We’ll dive deep into the latest version of Subaru’s five-passenger mid-size sedan. Read on to learn more and see if it’s a significant enough update to have you consider it in a competitive set of sedans.
Type of Vehicle
Revealed at the Chicago Auto Show, the Subaru Legacy rides on the same platform as the Outback wagon, and both are rather large cars. They have standard all wheel drive and plenty of headroom, legroom, and cargo space.
The exterior redesign is actually very subtle, with revised lower grille openings and a new, responsive LED headlights that turn with the steering wheel. The real changes are below the surface, with new interior design, and new tech features.
Interior Features and Design
The current 2017 Legacy has a perfectly fine interior, and is available with many upscale features. But while it has a look that is certainly utilitarian, it isn’t exactly upscale. No more with the 2018 model, which has a redesigned center stack with a cleaner look.
It is available with an 8-inch touch screen, and even the climate controls have been moved for more intuitive operation. The Legacy also gets a new steering wheel design, giving the Legacy a sporty feel from behind the driver’s seat.
The centerpiece of the Legacy’s new cabin is the updated StarLink touch-screen infotainment system. It has vivid color graphics, and easy-to-use menu navigation. The standard screen is a 6.5-inch screen (up from 6.2 inches), while a new available 8-inch display is one of the larger units among midsize sedans.
There new Legacy also features dual USB ports, Bluetooth hands-free calling, music streaming capabilites, iPod control, voice control, and new-for-2018 support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The top-tier touch screen also has TomTom navigation, backed by three years of free map updates.
There are also a host of apps to operate within the StarLink system, including Yelp, Eventseeker local event listings, Glympse real-time location sharing, and even a parking spot locator. There is even an app called eBird, which advises on local bird sightings and locations. Seriously.
The Legacy features 15 cubic feet of trunk space. That’s about average for the class, but is outshined by the trunks of cars like the Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata. So while the Legacy’s trunk space is adequate, there are certainly options with more space.
Those specs are for the 2017 model, but considering the revisions of the Legacy have only been major in the dash design and extremely minor on the exterior, the trunk space is expected to continue to be a similar size.
There are a whole host of new safety features to discuss on the 2018 Legacy, including the aforementioned Steering Responsive Headlights. As the name suggests, the headlights turn with the steering wheel. It also features automatic headlights, which turn on and off the high beams as vehicles approach or not.
For 2018, the Legacy also adds reverse automatic braking, which detects objects in the vehicle’s patch when backing up. It will make audible warnings to the driver. It also has visual warnings that show if there are objects in the path of the vehicle when reversing.
Then there’s the EyeSight system. Subaru’s high tech safety suite is comprised of cameras and sensors to provide adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and more.
EyeSight also has an innovative feature that senses when vehicles pull away from in front of you. Say you are at a stoplight that goes green and the vehicle in front of you pulls away while you remain stopped. It will make an audible warning to the driver. While we don’t condone distracted driving, this is a common sense way to keep others from being held up by a distracted driver at an intersection.
The base Legacy 2.5i’s four-cylinder engine provides 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. Move up to the 3.6R and its six-cylinder engine makes 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. These power figures are the same as last year, which are respectable numbers for midsize sedans, though the four-cylinder has been considered underpowered on the highway.
Power is sent through a continuously variable transmission to standard all-wheel drive. Subaru says the ECU has been retuned for 2018 to allow the CVT to provide smoother and more responsive acceleration. You can also use paddle shifters to operate simulated “gears” on the CVT, which allows the Legacy to feel rather quick.
Ride and Handling
In addition to the CVT tweaks, Subaru revised the suspension and the ride of the Legacy. The stated goal is to do a better job absorbing bumps in the road, while simultaneously reducing body roll in hard cornering.
The electronic power steering has been retuned for a more linear, more natural feel, and the brakes have a firmer, more direct feel. The overall result should make the Legacy more engaging to drive.
The driving dynamics of the current 2017 Legacy are poised, but far from sporty. These tweaks should help the Legacy address these criticisms involving the ride and handling qualities.
Pricing for the 2018 Subaru Legacy has not yet been announced, but lets examine the current 2017 Legacy pricing for reference. The base MSRP of the 2017 Legacy is $21,995, and is one of the more affordable midsize family sedans.
The top end 3.6R Limited model starts at $31,640, which is also one of the more affordable price ceilings in the segment. We can expect incremental increases in pricing for the ’18 model.
The 2018 Subaru Legacy is expected to go on sale this summer.