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2016 Subaru Legacy Review

The 2016 Subaru Legacy has two rows of spacious seats and impeccable safety scores. However, it finishes near the bottom of the competitive midsize car class because of its underwhelming engine, uncomfortable ride, and low reliability score.

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy seats
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Outstanding fuel economy estimates
  • Underpowered base engine
  • Lacks agility and ride comfort




Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Subaru Legacy Overview

Is the 2016 Subaru Legacy a Good Used Car?

The 2016 Subaru Legacy is a good used car. The Legacy has a high safety rating, great fuel economy estimates, spacious seats, and standard all-wheel drive. However, its poor reliability rating makes it difficult to recommend. Also, other midsize cars offer more capable base engines and more-engaging rides.

Why You Can Trust Us

We based our Subaru Legacy review on more than 20 professional evaluations, as well as crash test results, cost of ownership estimates, and reliability ratings. We've also included fuel economy estimates, safety features, performance specs, and more to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry, and we've been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. To keep our reviews buyer-focused and impartial, we don't accept pricey gifts or expensive trips from automakers, and an outside party handles all advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Subaru Legacy?

According to more than 450 listings on our site for the 2016 Legacy, you can expect to pay between $14,000 and $27,000 for this vehicle. The average list price is $20,000. Keep in mind that prices vary depending on which model you choose, as well as the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Subaru Legacy Cost to Own?

The 2016 Legacy's five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are about $21,551, or around $4,300 a year. That's about average for the midsize car class. By comparison, the higher-ranked 2016 Toyota Camry’s five-year cost is a little more than $22,900.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Legacy?

A new 2018 Subaru Legacy starts at $22,195, which is one of the lowest starting prices in the midsize car class. Still, that's about $2,200 more than the average price of a used 2016 Legacy. 2018 models include an update to the display screen (from 6.2-inches to 6.5-inches), a refreshed exterior design, and improved driving dynamics. If these changes don't matter to you, you're probably better off saving your money and going with a used 2016 Legacy instead.

Read about the new Subaru Legacy »

The 2018 Chevrolet Malibu is a more budget-friendly new car that retails for about the same price as an average 2016 Legacy. The Malibu starts at $21,680 and offers great safety scores, a spacious rear seat, and a fuel-efficient base engine. However, you'd likely want to step up to a higher trim, as the Malibu base model doesn’t offer many standard features. Check out the Chevrolet deals page for possible cash back deals and incentives that could lower the price of the latest Chevy Malibu.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Subaru Legacy?

J.D. Power gives the 2016 Legacy a below-average reliability rating of 2.5 out of five. Most 2016 affordable midsize cars earn a three or above.

Read more about Legacy reliability »

2016 Subaru Legacy Recalls

At the time of this writing, there are three recalls on the 2016 Legacy. The first involves the possible loss of steering ability. The second deals with the possible detachment of a drive shaft from the rear differential, which can then strike the fuel tank and result in a fuel leak. The third recall addresses a transmission oil leak. Make sure that any applicable recalls are addressed before you buy.

See more information on Subaru Legacy safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Subaru Legacy Is Best?

The 2016 Subaru Legacy is part of a generation that began with the 2015 model and includes the 2018 Legacy. The 2016 Legacy added lane keep assist but was otherwise largely unchanged from 2015. Unless lane keep assist is a must for you, save some money and look for a 2015 Legacy.

You could save even more by shopping for a 2013 or 2014 Legacy, but they have smaller cabins, are less fuel-efficient, and don’t have as many active safety features as the current generation.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Legacy »

Which Used Subaru Legacy Model Is Right for Me?

The Subaru Legacy comes in four trims: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, and 3.6R Limited. The 3.6R Limited is the only trim that features the six-cylinder engine, so it's the clear choice unless you can put up with the weak four-cylinder base engine. If you are OK with the four-cylinder, then the 2.5i Premium narrowly edges out the 2.5i Limited trim in terms of value. With the exception of a few high-end features like leather upholstery and the Harman Kardon audio system (which are standard in the Limited), the Premium comes with or offers all of the noteworthy features you can get in the Legacy. These include an upgraded audio system with six speakers, a 7-inch touch screen, dual USB ports, satellite radio, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated exterior mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

See 2016 Subaru Legacy trims and specs »

What Does Subaru's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Subaru offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Subaru extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. Subaru provides no additional coverage for CPO vehicles, so buyers receive the remainder of the original three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty. However, buyers can purchase additional coverage. Every CPO Subaru must pass a 152-point inspection. Additional benefits like owner loyalty discounts, a one-year Starlink Safety Plus trial subscription, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Subaru warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Subaru’s CPO program isn’t particularly robust. Among affordable automakers, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and many others have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Legacy?

The 2016 Subaru Legacy has one of the highest safety ratings among midsize cars. It earned five out of five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The only standard active safety feature in the 2016 Legacy is a rearview camera. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and Subaru's EyeSight are available. EyeSight is a suite of safety features that includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and pre-collision braking at speeds of under 30 mph.

See Legacy safety scores »

2016 Subaru Legacy Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Subaru Legacy or 2016 Honda Accord?

The 2016 Honda Accord is available in coupe and sedan body styles. It features a stylish interior with two rows of supportive seats and plenty of tech options. It also has a high safety rating. Buyers have a choice between the base four-cylinder engine and a V6, both of which produce decent power. The Accord has even better gas mileage than the Legacy. When equipped with the available CVT, it gets 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.

Which Is Better: 2016 Subaru Legacy or 2016 Toyota Camry?

The 2016 Toyota Camry has one of the highest reliability ratings among midsize sedans, and it has a lower average sale price than its Subaru rival. The Camry has two rows of comfortable seats that offer plenty of head- and legroom. The Camry isn't a sports sedan, but its engines provide ample power, and the ride is smooth. It also gets good gas mileage for a midsize car, though not quite as good as the Legacy.

Compare the Legacy, Accord, and Camry »

2016 Legacy Performance

How Does the 2016 Subaru Legacy Drive?

The Subaru Legacy has a 175-horsepower four-cylinder base engine mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission. A 256-horsepower six-cylinder engine is available. The base engine is underwhelming, and the stronger six-cylinder provides only mediocre acceleration. All-wheel drive is standard in the Legacy, which is a rare treat that few other midsize sedans offer. The ride gets a bit bumpy over poor-quality roads. The Legacy’s handling is poised, but this sedan will never be called fun to drive.

Does the 2016 Subaru Legacy Get Good Gas Mileage?

This Subaru stands out for its gas mileage: 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Those are terrific ratings for a midsize car – particularly one with all-wheel drive.

Read more about Legacy performance »

2016 Legacy Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Legacy Seat?

The Subaru Legacy sedan seats five. Both rows of seats are roomy, and it's easy to find a comfortable driving position. However, the seats may not offer enough support for some drivers, and rear-seat headroom is tight for taller riders.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Subaru Legacy?

The Legacy has two full sets of LATCH connectors on the second-row outboard seats, plus an additional upper tether on the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2.5i Premium model’s LATCH system a Marginal rating for its ease of use, noting that the lower anchors are buried deep in the seats. The LATCH system in the 3.6R Limited trim received an Acceptable rating for ease of use because its standard leather upholstery provides easier access to the lower anchors.

2016 Subaru Legacy Features

Standard features in the Legacy include a USB port, Bluetooth, and an infotainment system with a 6.2-inch touch screen and smartphone app integration. Available features include a moonroof, satellite radio, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, navigation, and an upgraded infotainment system with voice recognition and a 7-inch touch screen. The Legacy's infotainment system is straightforward, and there are physical controls for many audio and climate functions if you don't want to use the touch screen. If you do like touch screens, the Legacy's won't disappoint; the graphics are sharp and the menus are easily navigable.

See 2016 Subaru Legacy specs »

Read more about Legacy interior »

2016 Subaru Legacy Dimensions

Subaru Legacy Cargo Space

The 2016 Subaru Legacy has 15 cubic feet of trunk space, which is typical for the class. It comes standard with split-folding rear seats. Reviewers say the trunk is large and has a wide opening for easier luggage loading.

2016 Legacy Length and Weight

The 2016 Subaru Legacy is about 15.7 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,457 to 3,666 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Subaru Legacy Built?

The 2016 Subaru Legacy was built in Indiana.


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