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2017 Subaru Legacy Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Subaru Legacy was new.


Performance: 7.8

The 2017 Subaru Legacy has poised handling, but its driving dynamics are far from sporty. On rough roads, the Legacy's ride can be a bit harsh. The Legacy's base four-cylinder engine feels underpowered on the highway. Its available V6 is a bit stronger, but still sluggish from a stop. The transmission is smooth and quick, particularly when you use the paddle shifters.

  • "The 2016 Subaru Legacy comes up a bit short in the way it drives. It's slower and less cushy than many other rival sedans." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "From the moment you roll on the throttle mid-corner, the lack of torque steer reminds you the Legacy is no front-driver. Combine that with the much better-than-average steering, and my initial reaction was, 'Hey, this is like a big WRX!'" -- Motor Trend (2015)
  • "The Legacy is one of those cars that isn't obviously sporty, but it conducts itself with more composure than you might think." -- Autoweek (2015)

Acceleration and Power

Powering the 2017 Subaru Legacy is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 175 horsepower. A 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that has 256 horsepower comes in the Legacy 3.6R Limited. All models come standard with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which drives like an automatic. The base 2017 Legacy earns 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, which is good for the class and especially impressive for a midsize sedan with all-wheel drive.

The Legacy’s base engine is underpowered, producing weak acceleration. The available six-cylinder delivers stronger acceleration for highway driving and passing maneuvers but still isn’t particularly quick off the line. The CVT is responsive and quick when more power is needed, which is a rare compliment for this kind of transmission.

  • Both the four- and the six-cylinder engines are quiet and smooth, but acceleration is lackluster." -- Edmunds
  • The 3.6 definitely improves things, but still left us wanting for more. Grunt off the line isn't great, but the six-cylinder is plenty strong for passing maneuvers." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "Subaru might just be building the best CVT available today, perhaps because it does a stellar job pretending its CVTs don't feel like CVTs. The stepped gears react quickly to paddle shifting -- the only way to manually switch gears on a Subaru automatic -- and the power is always right there, ready to be used." -- Autoweek (2015)

Handling and Braking

The Subaru Legacy comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is notable since the few rivals that even offer it only do so as a pricey option. The Legacy’s all-wheel drive is great for inclement weather, helping you maintain road grip. Although the 2017 Legacy feels fairly composed, body lean is noticeable around turns. Additionally, if you want sporty driving dynamics, there are options in the class that will better suit you, including the Mazda6 and Ford Fusion. The Legacy’s brakes offer plenty of stopping power. Ride comfort is generally good, but the car can feel unsettled over rough roads.

  • "The Legacy owes its excellent all-weather capability to its standard all-wheel-drive system, a trait that differentiates it clearly from its competitors. The Ford Fusion and Chrysler 200 both offer all-wheel drive as well, but it's optional and then only with the pricier, more powerful and less efficient engines." -- Edmunds
  • Around corners, the Legacy feels composed, though it's not as sporty as its smaller Impreza stablemate." -- Autotrader (2016)
  • "Brakes are the same ventilated discs all around regardless of which engine is chosen, and they stop the car with confidence." -- Autoblog (2015)

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