$18,971 - $24,709

2018 Subaru Legacy Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Subaru Legacy was new.


Performance: 7.7

The 2018 Subaru Legacy is a capable driving machine, but it’s hardly impressive or fun to drive. The base engine is weak, and the available six-cylinder is functional but still on the slow side. Handling is capable but not sporty, and the ride is hit or miss. Not many midsize cars have all-wheel drive, but it comes standard in this Subaru.

  • "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

The Legacy’s base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that puts out 175 horsepower. It feels weak, and acceleration is sluggish. The better engine choice is the available 3.6-liter six-cylinder, which produces 256 horsepower. The six-cylinder won’t throw you back in your seat when you hit the gas, but it has enough power for most driving maneuvers, including passing and merging. A responsive continuously variable automatic transmission comes standard.

With the base engine, the Legacy earns an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Those ratings are average for a midsize sedan in general, but they’re great compared to class rivals equipped with all-wheel drive. With the six-cylinder, those ratings drop to 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

  • The standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder offers similar power as other 4-cylinder cars in this class, but the continuously variable transmission (CVT) actually makes it feel more responsive than you'd expect from 175 horsepower. Still, it's no rocket with that engine, and if you need more, the 3.6-liter 6-cylinder available in the Limited offers a more robust 256 horsepower that makes short work of passing and accelerating, albeit at the expense of fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The main drawback to the Legacy is engine choice. The Legacy's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is economical but not very powerful. You get more power from the 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine, but it's still not as quick as other sedans with upgraded engines, and it's thirsty." -- 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)

Handling and Braking

Like most Subarus, the Legacy comes standard with all-wheel drive. This is a notable plus for the Legacy, as other midsize cars typically come standard with front-wheel drive, and many don’t even offer all-wheel drive.

The Legacy’s ride is comfortable over smooth roads, but as pavement quality declines, the ride gets rougher. This Subaru is poised around turns, but there is noticeable body lean. The brakes are sturdy, and road grip is excellent.

  • This Legacy is no sport sedan, but it has easy-to-control manners, despite considerable body roll around turns." -- Edmunds
  • "Around town the Legacy is comfortable and quiet, with a relaxed ride, but it still handles quite well in corners. Kudos also to the driver's-seat position and outward visibility." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • Around corners, the Legacy feels composed, though it's not as sporty as its smaller Impreza stablemate." -- Autotrader (2016)

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