2018 Subaru Legacy

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MSRP: $22,195 - 31,945

2018 Subaru Legacy Review

The 2018 Subaru Legacy finishes near the bottom of our midsize car rankings. This Subaru has a quality interior, but its performance isn’t as engaging as that of many cars in the class. It also has a poor predicted reliability rating.




Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 8.2
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Spacious seats
  • Great crash test ratings
  • Weak base engine
  • Mediocre handling and ride quality
  • Low predicted reliability rating

New for 2018

  • Updated styling
  • Larger standard display screen
  • Retuned driving dynamics

Is the Subaru Legacy a Good Car?

The Subaru Legacy is a fine car, but many of its competitors are better. The Legacy comes standard with all-wheel drive (even offering AWD as an option is rare for a midsize sedan), and it has a comfortable, spacious interior. It also earns terrific ratings in crash tests. However, the Legacy’s powertrains are uninspiring, and many rivals have better handling and ride quality. Many competitors also have higher predicted reliability ratings.

Should I Buy the Subaru Legacy?

Just because a car is decent doesn’t mean that it’s the best buying option. Good vehicles permeate the highly competitive midsize car class, so if you're considering the Legacy, you might want to look at some top competitors as well. The Honda Accord finishes much higher than the Legacy in our midsize car rankings. It’s more fun to drive, and it has a nicer interior. The Chevrolet Malibu also outranks its Subaru rival, and while its performance isn’t anything special, it does offer more features than the Legacy. Other good choices include the Toyota CamryFord Fusion, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima, and Mazda6. If you want a midsize sedan, these are all worth a look.

Compare the Legacy, Accord, and Malibu »

Should I Buy a New or Used Subaru Legacy?

There have been few major changes to the Legacy since its current generation began with the 2015 model year. However, for 2018, the Legacy gets a refreshed exterior design, a retuned suspension, and improved driving dynamics. The car also has a larger standard infotainment screen than the 2017 model, at 6.5 inches versus 6.2 inches. If none of these changes make a difference to you, and you're open to driving a used car, you can likely save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used Legacy.

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Subaru Legacy. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Subaru Legacy »

We Did the Research for You: 32 Reviews Analyzed

We base our vehicle rankings and reviews on professional test driver reviews, as well as quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings. We studied 32 Subaru Legacy reviews for this overview. This 2018 Subaru Legacy review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2015 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our team has more than 75 years’ worth of combined experience in the automotive industry, and we’ve been ranking vehicles since 2007. To keep our reviews objective, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Subaru Legacy Cost?

The Subaru Legacy has a base price of $22,195. That’s among the lowest starting prices in the class. Even some of the middle Legacy trims like the 2.5i Premium and 2.5i Sport cost less than some rivals’ base trims. The 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited are the Legacy trims that offer the most features. They also have the highest price tags, costing around $29,000 and $32,000, respectively. Those are still reasonable prices for the top trim in a midsize sedan.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

Subaru Legacy Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Subaru Legacy or Honda Accord?

The Honda Accord toes the line between performance and comfort, and it’s definitely more fun to drive than the Legacy. The Accord is completely redesigned for the 2018 model year. The Accord’s interior styling and materials are top-notch, and both rows of seats have room for adults. However, the Honda isn’t available with all-wheel drive, while the Legacy comes standard with it. Overall, the Legacy can’t match the Accord’s all-around quality.

Which Is Better: Subaru Legacy or Chevrolet Malibu?

The Chevy Malibu is a better all-around car than the Legacy. It rides more smoothly, has more comfortable seats, and offers a plethora of easy-to-use features. Some of these features, such as an onboard Wi-Fi connection and advanced safety features like semi-automatic parallel parking assist and pedestrian detection, are not offered in the Legacy. Both models earn great safety scores and both get good gas mileage, though the Chevrolet’s ratings are marginally better. Though it may not be as cost-effective, the Malibu is superior enough to justify paying its higher price.

Compare the Legacy, Accord, and Malibu »

Legacy Interior

How Many People Does the Legacy Seat?

This Subaru seats five people. Both rows of seats are comfortable. The rear seats have plenty of legroom, and the front seats have plenty of side support to keep you in place around turns. Driver visibility is great in all directions.

Legacy and Car Seats

The Legacy’s LATCH system is user-friendly. There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The tether and lower anchors are all easy to find and use.

Legacy Interior Quality

The Subaru Legacy’s cabin has a straightforward design that’s highly functional. The cabin materials are generally high-end, and there are soft-touch materials on many surfaces.

Legacy Cargo Space

The Legacy has plenty of small-item storage throughout the cabin, and its trunk is 15 cubic feet. That’s enough space for a few sets of golf clubs or a small cooler and some beach chairs. Split-folding rear seats are standard, letting you transport some larger objects.

Legacy Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Legacy’s standard features include Bluetooth, a USB port, and the Starlink infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Available features include a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, a moonroof, and an upgraded Starlink system with navigation and an 8-inch touch-screen display.

The Starlink system is generally easy to use. The touch screen’s graphics are sharp, and the on-screen buttons are large and easy to see. The screen is responsive to inputs as well.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Legacy Performance

Legacy Engine: More Tortoise Than Hare

The Legacy comes standard with a 175-horsepower four-cylinder engine that is generally underwhelming. Its acceleration is poor, and it doesn’t have enough juice for highway maneuvers. The available 256-horsepower six-cylinder engine moves the Legacy more easily, especially at highway speeds, though it still feels a little slow.

Legacy Gas Mileage: Better Than AWD Rivals

The Legacy gets good fuel economy for an all-wheel-drive midsize sedan. It earns 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with the base engine, but those ratings drop to 20/28 mpg city/highway with the available six-cylinder.

Even though it comes with all-wheel drive, the Legacy’s annual fuel cost is about the same as it is for front-wheel-drive rivals like the Chevrolet Malibu.

Legacy Ride and Handling: Capable, but Not Sporty

The Legacy has pleasant driving dynamics, though other midsize cars are more athletic. It’s composed on winding roads despite having plenty of body roll, and the strong brakes provide good stopping power. Ride quality is fine most of the time, but if the pavement is rough, the ride will be too.

Read more about performance »

Legacy Reliability

Is the Subaru Legacy Reliable?

The 2018 Subaru Legacy earns a predicted reliability rating of two out of five from J.D. Power. That’s a below-average rating for a vehicle in general, and it's one of the worst ratings in the midsize car class.

Subaru Legacy Warranty

Subaru backs the Legacy with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Many other midsize cars have similar warranty terms.

Read more about reliability »

Legacy Safety

Legacy Crash Test Results

The 2018 Subaru Legacy earns a five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also earns a rating of Good (the highest rating) in every category tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Legacy Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in the Legacy. Available active safety features include blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, and Subaru's EyeSight suite of safety features, which includes lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and pre-collision braking at speeds less than 30 mph.

Read more about safety »

Which Subaru Legacy Model Is Right for Me?

There are five trim choices for the Subaru Legacy. The best choice is the top-of-the-line 3.6R Limited. It’s the only trim to feature the six-cylinder engine; the rest feature the Legacy’s underpowered four-cylinder. As the top trim, the 3.6R Limited also comes with or offers just about every feature you can get in a Legacy, so you’re paying for more than the stronger powertrain. If you can't stomach the added fuel costs of the six-cylinder engine, the 2.5i Limited is the next best choice.

Subaru Legacy 2.5i

The Legacy 2.5i, which is the base trim, has a starting price of $22,195. It comes standard with Bluetooth, a USB port, and the Starlink infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. It doesn't offer any other notable infotainment or driver assistance features.

Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

The Legacy 2.5i Premium starts at $24,295. In addition to the base trim’s features, the Premium comes with heated front seats. You can add a moonroof for $1,195.

An option package that includes Subaru’s EyeSight, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert costs $1,545. There’s also an option package for $3,140 that includes the moonroof, the EyeSight package, and an upgraded Starlink system with a larger touch screen and navigation.

Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport

The Legacy 2.5i Sport has a starting price of $26,345. The Sport comes with a moonroof, push-button start, and some styling upgrades. One option package is available for $2,095. It includes EyeSight, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, reverse automatic braking, and an upgraded Starlink system with a larger touch screen and navigation.

Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited

The Legacy 2.5i Limited starts at $29,095. The Limited comes with leather upholstery, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. The Limited offers the same option package you can get in the 2.5i Sport.

Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited

The Legacy 3.6R Limited has a starting price of $31,945. This trim is the only one to come with the six-cylinder engine, and it is otherwise nearly identical to the 2.5i Limited. The same option package is available, but it costs $500 less in the 3.6R Limited.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Subaru dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Subaru deals page.

See 2018 Subaru Legacy specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Subaru Legacy is a decent car with a spacious interior and standard all-wheel drive, but it’s not the most dynamic car on the road. Even some of its strong points are things that other cars in the class do better. As a result, the Legacy finishes in the lower tier of our midsize car rankings. You can probably find another sedan in this class that you’ll like better.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Subaru completely redesigned the Legacy last year. The company maintained the midsize sedan's all-wheel-drive capability and capacious interior while making meaningful improvements in fuel efficiency as well as infotainment and safety technologies. A sleeker, more modern look helps the Legacy turn more heads than before, too." -- Left Lane News (2016)
  • We like the Subaru Legacy, and we're well aware of how well owners like it: Subaru's brand loyalty is among the best in the business. But this is an intensely competitive segment loaded with excellent choices … which hold slight (but significant) advantages over the Legacy in areas such as styling, technology and driver enjoyment." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "Although not without its faults, the 2015 Legacy remains the only vehicle in the segment to offer standard all-wheel-drive while still returning up to 36 mpg on the highway (on par with most front-wheel-drive competitors). This unique powertrain story coupled with a higher-quality interior, attractive pricing, and relevant in-vehicle electronics have elevated the Subaru Legacy into a genuine competitive posture with entrenched nameplates like Camry, Accord and Altima." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
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