2022 Subaru Legacy

2022 Subaru Legacy Test Drive Review: Underappreciated Competence

The seventh-generation Subaru Legacy debuted for 2020 to almost no fanfare, as the sedan market rapidly dwindles and crossovers complete their takeover. Subaru's midsize sedan may be highly important in other markets, but in the US, staples of the segment like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord run rampant in the sales charts comparatively. But just because others outsell it doesn't mean the Legacy is a bad sedan. On the contrary, it's one that deserves a lot more respect and attention than it gets.

Subaru's advantage of all-wheel-drive is no longer unique in the midsize sedan segment, with competitors like the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry now offering this feature to attract cold-weather buyers. But the Legacy is the only competitor willing to pair AWD with a potent engine in XT trims - a 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer-four with 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque on tap. Combine power, all-weather confidence, and an abundance of space with Subaru's advanced safety systems and impressive gas mileage, and suddenly, you have an under-the-radar sedan that's a whole lot more than meets the eye.

Read in this review:

2022 Subaru Legacy Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2021 Legacy?

While the seventh-gen Legacy was all-new for 2020, Subaru didn't rest on its laurels, adding safety enhancements for 2021. For the 2022 model year, the Japanese automaker has made further small, but meaningful improvements, looking to make the Legacy a stronger sell against the competition without drastically increasing the price. On the base model, 17-inch alloy wheels boast a black machine finish, previously a $350 option but now included as standard. Higher up in the ranks, the Premium trim gets rear ventilation, while the Sport is the recipient of a power moonroof, blind-spot detection, reverse automatic braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. These upgrades are accompanied by a minor price increase, while certain trims retain last year's prices entirely. Tungsten Metallic has been dropped from the exterior paint palette.

Pros and Cons

  • Security and stability of standard AWD system
  • Luxury-level ride comfort
  • Spacious and comfortable cabin
  • Smooth turbocharged engine
  • 11.6-inch touchscreen modernizes the interior
  • Overwhelming safety technology
  • Boring styling
  • Trunk size is only average
  • Infotainment is a bit laggy
  • Safety technology can be overbearing
  • Stop/start system is horrendous

Best Deals on Legacy

2022 Subaru Legacy Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$22,995
Premium
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$25,245
Sport
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$28,790
Limited
2.5L Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$29,945
Limited XT
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$34,495

Legacy Exterior

In the list of automotive style icons, you'd struggle to find a Subaru. Evocative design is simply not an aspect of the Japanese marque's philosophy that ranks highly. To that end, the Legacy is a completely inoffensive but rather bland sedan to look at. The base version comes with steering-responsive LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels in black with a machine finish, and a single exhaust outlet. Higher up in the range, the Legacy is jazzed up with features such as a power tilt/sliding glass moonroof, LED fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, and dual stainless steel exhaust outlets. The Sport variant uniquely comes with a trunk spoiler and its own sportily styled grille, but this still does little to truly liven up its design. Even finished in red like our tester, the Legacy would blend into any parking lot.

2022 Subaru Legacy Front View CarBuzz
2022 Subaru Legacy Rear View CarBuzz
2022 Subaru Legacy Frontal Aspect CarBuzz
See All 2022 Subaru Legacy Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Compared with the Honda Accord, the 2022 Subaru Legacy is a bit narrower and not quite as long, but it's taller than the Honda. Key dimensions for all Legacy cars include a length of 190.6 inches, a width of 72.4 inches excluding the mirrors, a height of 59.1 inches, and a wheelbase that stretches to 108.3 inches. The Legacy's base curb weight ranges from 3,500 pounds for the entry-level version to 3,790 lbs for the range-topping Touring XT.

  • Length 190.6 in
  • Wheelbase 108.3 in
  • Height 59.1 in
  • Max Width 72.4 in
  • Front Width 62.2 in
  • Rear Width 63.4 in
  • Curb Weight 3,489.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

A couple of flashy colors could have gone some way to livening up the Legacy's appearance, but you won't find any such choices for the base version, which is restricted to a rather demure color palette of Abyss Blue Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, Ice Silver Metallic, Magnetite Gray Metallic, and Crystal White Pearl. Moving up to the Premium introduces Crimson Red Pearl and Brilliant Bronze Metallic. The rest of the range retains a largely similar palette, with some colors falling away depending on the trim. None of the shades significantly change the fact that this is a rather dull sedan, but then again, its unpretentious personality will find favor with some.

  • Abyss Blue Pearl
  • Ice Silver Metallic
  • Magnetite Gray Metallic
  • Crystal White Pearl
  • Crystal Black Silica
  • Crimson Red Pearl
  • Brilliant Bronze Metallic

Legacy Performance

Depending on which of the two engine options you go for, the Legacy offers either tepid or reasonable performance. The base 2.5-liter Boxer four-cylinder engine doesn't offer much grunt with 182 horsepower, and independent tests have shown it'll take around eight seconds to reach 60 mph with the vehicle taking its time getting to top speed. The base Toyota Camry is hardly a ball of fire but it's quicker than this Legacy, while other rivals offer turbocharged engines at entry-level. Much more convincing is the Legacy's available 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer four-cylinder engine with outputs of 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, which will complete 0 to 60 in just over six seconds. Some competitors are still quicker than that, but a test drive of this variant demonstrates that it will be fast enough for most buyers. Unlike many rivals, every version of the Legacy is equipped as standard with all-wheel drive, whereas you'll need to pay extra for this setup on the Nissan Altima or Toyota Camry. It's also worth noting that AWD is locked to the base engines on those rivals.

2022 Subaru Legacy Front Angle View CarBuzz
2022 Subaru Legacy Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2022 Subaru Legacy Engine Bay CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

Not everyone is in a constant hurry to get from point A to point B, and for them, the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine in the Legacy will be just fine. It produces 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque and is exclusively paired with a Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). This transmission includes an eight-speed manual mode with paddles mounted on the steering wheel, but even so, it still maintains the traditional rubbery feel of a CVT. Around town, the base engine is fine, but merging onto the highway at increased velocities will require a heavy right foot.

The 2.4-liter turbocharged four-pot makes a much more generous 260 hp and 277 lb-ft, and also comes with a CVT transmission. It not only provides significantly more punch but sounds less strained than the 2.5L, too. There is some turbo lag to deal with, but the CVT changes ratios quickly to mitigate the responsiveness or lack thereof. Just don't expect a sporty experience, because the CVT operates smoother rather than quicker with its ratio changes.

Of the two, both are good enough for daily use, but if you can stretch to at least the Limited XT trim to get the turbo power plant, it's the engine we'd easily recommend here.

  • Engines
    2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas, 2.5L Flat 4 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

With such dull exterior styling, we expected the Legacy to drive like a retirement home on wheels. This is not the case. Subaru tuned the steering with surprising accuracy, making the driver feel connected to the experience. The suspension feels supple, absorbing impacts like an old-school luxury car. This might be the most comfortable mainstream mid-size sedan on the market today. Combined with the highly-insulated cabin, the Legacy wouldn't seem out of place in a luxury automaker's lineup. It's no WRX, but the Legacy can hustle through corners, especially with the grip from the Symmetrical AWD system. That same system comes into play during winter driving, where the AWD will keep the Legacy going when competing sedans will be left at the bottom of icy hills. There is no specific sport or snow mode, but you can take control of the transmission using wheel-mounted paddle shifters. However, we felt it best to leave the Legacy to its own devices, and enjoy the comfort.

While driving, Subaru's Driver Monitoring System watches to make sure you keep your eyes on the road using a sensor mounted on the dash. For those who see this as an invasion of privacy, you can put a piece of tape over it to stop it from functioning. The system commits to its job, beeping at the slightest sign of distracted driving. Parents will love this feature for their teen drivers, but owners who hate the annoyance of incessant beeps may hate the Legacy. All of the safety features feel a bit overbearing, like a helicopter mom wrapping their child in bubble wrap to go down a playground slide. Most of the systems can be turned off or changed to a less intrusive setting, but it's nice to know they are there.

Legacy Gas Mileage

Considering that every Subaru Legacy comes with a heavier all-wheel-drive system by default, its fuel economy ratings are pretty decent. The base 2.5L will return EPA-rated figures of 27/35/30 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. Going for the turbocharged Legacy will see those numbers drop to 24/32/27 mpg, although we only managed around 21 mpg during our week of testing. Equipped with an 18.5-gallon gas tank, the Legacy will manage a maximum range of around 555 miles in mixed driving conditions. Prior reviews of the base Honda Accord show that it's lighter on juice than the Legacy, but again, the Subaru comes with a much heavier AWD system whereas the Honda only sends its power to the front wheels.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    18.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 27/35 mpg
* 2022 Subaru Legacy CVT

2022 Legacy Interior

In last year's Subaru Legacy review, we found that the Japanese marque had successfully created a comfortable and classy interior that is one of the highlights of the midsize sedan. Once again, it's not the flashiest cabin in the segment, but it gets the fundamentals right with plenty of space, solid materials, and many features. Notably, the available 11.6-inch touchscreen StarLink infotainment system is one of the biggest in the segment and clearly displays large icons and images from the camera system. Across the range, the Legacy comes standard with features such as advanced adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, a keyless entry system, and lane departure warning. Work through the trims and luxury items like power-adjustable front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot become available.

2022 Subaru Legacy Dashboard CarBuzz
2022 Subaru Legacy Infotainment System CarBuzz
2022 Subaru Legacy Glove Box CarBuzz
See All 2022 Subaru Legacy Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Legacy boasts interior dimensions suitable to seat four people comfortably, or five if needed. Subaru didn't bother giving the Legacy a coupe-like roofline, so it gives occupants plenty of headroom. Front riders receive 39.4 inches of headroom (37.3 inches with moonroof) while back seat passengers get 37.2 inches. Legroom is equally generous, with 42.8 inches in the front and 39.5 inches in the rear. The class-leading Honda Accord manages to trump the Legacy on rear space, but by less than one inch. The seats are comfy, the view good on all sides, and there really is little to fault from a comfort perspective.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.8 in
  • Front Head Room 39.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 39.5 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.2 in

Interior Colors and Materials

As is often the case for an entry-level model, the base Subaru Legacy only comes with a single color choice for the cabin: Slate Black cloth seats. Buyers will need to go for at least the Premium to get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter handle, with this level also availing cloth seats in either Warm Ivory, Slate Black, or Titanium Gray. Here, as on some other trims, your choice of exterior color will affect the available interior color scheme; for instance, Crimson Red Pearl can only be paired with the Slate Black seats. The Sport comes with two-tone Charcoal Gray cloth with red contrast stitching, while the Limited is the first to introduce leather upholstery in the same color choices as the Premium. The range-topping Touring XT comes with upscale Nappa leather upholstery in Tan. This version also has high-grade leather with silver stitching covering the steering wheel and a rear center console storage box finished in simulated leather.

Legacy Trunk and Cargo Space

The Legacy is a fairly large midsize sedan, so the trunk capacity of 15.1 cubic feet is a bit of a disappointment. For example, the Honda Accord's trunk measures 16.7 cubes. That said, the Legacy has a bigger trunk than the Mazda 6 and it'll easily swallow four large roller suitcases. There is a usefully wide trunk opening along with a low liftover height, both of which make loading and unloading cargo easier. For bigger items, the rear seatbacks can fold flat in a 60/40-split configuration.

In the cabin, there are many places to stash smaller items such as the clever dual-tier center console, well-sized door bins, another small bin ahead of the shifter lever, and a cubby on the passenger-side dashboard. There is an overhead console for holding a pair of sunglasses, and eight cup and bottle holders scattered throughout the cabin.

2022 Subaru Legacy Front Seats CarBuzz
2022 Subaru Legacy Second-Row Seats CarBuzz
2022 Subaru Legacy Trunk Space CarBuzz
  • Trunk Volume
    15.1 ft³

2022 Legacy Infotainment and Features

Features

Even at its base price, the Legacy comes specified with LED cornering headlights, a six-way manually-adjustable driver's seat, transmission paddle shifters, manual air conditioning, a rearview camera, and safety gear such as adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. Moving up to the Premium adds niceties such as a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, rear air vents as a new addition for 2022, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability. Pricier configurations of the Legacy get quite luxurious with trim-specific amenities including an auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless access with push-button start, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and a power-adjustable front passenger seat. A power tilt/sliding glass moonroof is standard on the Sport for 2022, as well as the top two trims. A comprehensive suite of safety technologies on upper trims comprises a driver distraction mitigation system, reverse automatic braking, blind-spot detection, lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Infotainment

The Legacy's dashboard changes significantly depending on which infotainment system you opt for. On lower trims, two seven-inch touchscreens are divided by a thin row of physical buttons, with the top screen controlling the radio and the lower unit housing climate controls. The Premium trim level and up get a plus-sized 11.6-inch StarLink infotainment system. We love the size and layout of the screen, but the graphics look childish and the responsiveness is far from immediate. Both systems offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and both include physical volume and tuning knobs. Features such as Pandora, Aha, Yelp, iHeartRadio, Magellan navigation, and SiriusXM satellite radio all come standard as well. Four speakers are standard on the base model, with the Premium and Sport getting two more speakers. Reserved for the Limited, Limited XT, and Touring XT, a Harman Kardon premium sound system with 12 speakers and 576 watts sounds the best, by far.

If you're still into listening to your music from CDs, Subaru has curiously only equipped the Touring XT with a CD player.

Legacy Problems and Reliability

Subaru has been kind of hit or miss when it comes to the Legacy's reliability rating over the last couple of years, with the new model scoring lower than the old one in J.D. Power's quality and reliability stakes and well below rivals from Honda and Kia. The good news is that there have been no recalls for 2021 or 2022 models, and only two for 2020 variants.

The Legacy can't match the warranty coverage of Korean rivals Hyundai and Kia. It comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, and a five-year rust perforation warranty, regardless of mileage covered. Subaru also offers a Wear Item limited warranty for three years or 36,000 miles, with items such as brake pads and clutch linings covered.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Legacy Safety

The latest Subaru Legacy safety ratings will give parents peace of mind. The NHTSA doesn't have a review of the 2022 model yet, but the identical 2021 model scored five stars across the board. Likewise, the IIHS's rating of the sedan is high, with the Legacy attaining a 2021 Top Safety Pick + award.

Key Safety Features

All Subaru Legacy models come equipped with a generous list of safety features. A comprehensive suite of nine airbags protects occupants in the event of a crash, including a driver's knee airbag and side curtain airbags for front/rear occupants. Added to this, the Legacy comes with a collapsible steering column, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, traction control, tire pressure monitoring, and LED daytime running lights. Subaru's EyeSight driver-assist features include adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, sway warning, and lane-keep assist. Higher up in the range, the Legacy has reverse automatic braking, blind-spot detection, a DriverFocus distraction mitigation system, lane-change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. All variants come with a rearview camera, while the top-spec Touring XT benefits from a 180-degree front-view monitor.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2022 Subaru Legacy sedan a good car?

Without the selling point of being the only all-wheel-drive option in its segment, some of the appeal has been taken away from the Subaru Legacy. Subaru must now lean on its excellent safety features and cushy ride comfort as key drivers to get customers in the door. These might suffice for some, but others may get turned off by the Legacy's bland styling, especially in an era when even the Toyota Camry looks exciting by comparison.

The Legacy struggles to jump off the page in any eye-popping way, but it does everything competently while quietly beating most of its competitors in comfort and refinement. Nissan and Toyota may finally offer AWD on the Altima and Camry, but if you like your grip to come with more than just basic power, the Subaru Legacy remains your only option. We wish Subaru would have taken some bigger risks with the Legacy, particularly in the styling front, but it ends up being a competent cruiser that we'd still highly recommend, even if other rivals are more exciting.

🚘What's the Price of the 2022 Subaru Legacy?

With a few select updates made for 2022, pricing for the Subaru Legacy in the USA has increased on some trims while remaining unchanged on others. At the base end of the spectrum, the Legacy has an MSRP of $22,995 excluding a destination and handling charge of $960 in most US states. It's followed by the Premium at $25,245 while the Sport sees one of the biggest price increases at $28,790. The Limited has a cost of $29,945 while opting for the turbocharged engine will set you back either $34,495 in Limited XT guise or $36,195 in Touring XT form.

2022 Subaru Legacy Models

The 2022 Subaru Legacy sedan is offered in a choice of six trim levels: base, Premium, Sport, Limited, Limited XT, and Touring XT. All versions share a CVT transmission and Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. The non-XT trims are powered by the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 182 hp and 176 lb-ft. Both of the top two trims are equipped with the more powerful 2.4-liter turbocharged four-pot with 260 hp and 277 lb-ft.

The base version comes with 17-inch alloy wheels with covers, LED cornering headlights, a six-way manually-adjustable driver's seat, and cloth upholstery. This model features the Subaru Starlink dual seven-inch infotainment display and a four-speaker sound system.

One step up is the Premium which adds the 11.6-inch touchscreen interface, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, rear climate vents, a six-speaker sound system, and heated front seats.

The Sport lives up to its name. Its exterior is bolstered by 18-inch alloy wheels in a black finish, a body-color trunk spoiler, LED fog lights, and sporty bumpers, while inside it has aluminum alloy foot pedal covers and sport cloth upholstery with red stitching. Additional upgrades have been made for 2022 including a power moonroof, reverse automatic braking, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist.

Next in line is the Limited which features an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated outboard rear seats, and reverse automatic braking. This model does without the moonroof present on the Sport.

Along with the bigger engine, the Limited XT comes with a heated steering wheel, a power moonroof, dual tailpipe outlets, navigation, and a driver distraction mitigation system.

Finally, the top-line Touring XT gains a 180-degree front-view monitor, leather upholstery in Tan with Tan door-panel trim, ventilated front seats, and a rear center console storage box covered in simulated leather.

See All 2022 Subaru Legacy Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The reason for the increase in price on some trims for the new year is because several options from last year have now been made standard. That's why for 2022, there are no packages available on the base spec or the Sport model. You can, however, add a CD player for $399, an auto-dimming rearview mirror for $245, and auto-dimming side mirrors for $273.

The Premium offers more upgrades in the form of two packages. A $1,000 package adds keyless entry, push-button start, LED foglights, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert while a $2,595 package upgrades the infotainment to the 11.6-inch suite and adds a power moonroof. On the Limited, this infotainment suite comes standard but can be upgraded with a $2,045 package that adds the Harman Kardon sound system, navigation, and other amenities like a power moonroof and heated steering wheel.

🚗What Subaru Legacy Model Should I Buy?

We're suckers for a more powerful engine, which is why we wouldn't stop until we reached either the Limited XT or Touring XT trim levels, both of which include a turbocharger. Less than $2,000 separates the top Touring XT trim level from the Limited XT we tested, so we'd recommend going all out if you are already willing to spend up for the turbocharged options. The Limited XT includes all of the Legacy's key features, plus some opulent options such as Nappa leather, ventilated front seats, and a front-facing camera. With no further packages to add, you'll be in for just over $36,000.

2022 Subaru Legacy Comparisons

Subaru Impreza Sedan Subaru
Honda Accord Honda
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Subaru Legacy182 hp27/35 mpg$22,995
Subaru Impreza Sedan 152 hp23/31 mpg$18,795
Honda Accord 192 hp30/38 mpg$24,970

2022 Subaru Legacy vs Subaru Impreza Sedan

Starting at just $18,795 for the base model, the Subaru Impreza is a smaller sedan than the Legacy yet retains the symmetrical all-wheel-drive system as standard. Sadly, the Impreza is saddled with an underpowered 152-hp 2.0-liter engine that doesn't allow the driver to exploit the car's agile chassis. It's not nearly as plush and refined inside as the Legacy, either. That said, it does offer the choice of a manual transmission. With a trunk capacity of just 12.8 cubic feet and three inches less rear legroom, the Impreza isn't as practical of a sedan for a large family. It also lacks the technology that's present in the Legacy, such as that expansive 11.6-inch touchscreen. If it were up to us, we'd prefer a low-spec Legacy to a range-topping Impreza, especially considering they go for similar prices.

See Subaru Impreza Sedan Review

2022 Subaru Legacy vs Honda Accord

The 2022 Honda Accord hasn't changed dramatically from last year's model and it remains one of the top contenders in the class. It now benefits from a standard eight-inch touchscreen display across the lineup, though. Two turbocharged engines do duty in the Accord range and the smaller of these units is peppier than the Legacy's base engine. Although Honda has dropped the manual gearbox from the Accord range, it does offer a smooth 10-speed automatic that is better than the Legacy's CVT. The Accord has a bigger trunk, is more enjoyable to drive, and is expected to be more reliable than the Legacy. However, whereas the Subaru has standard AWD across the range, the Honda doesn't offer this option at all. Partially due to this, the Accord is consequently quite a bit lighter than the Legacy and more fuel-efficient, too. The latest Legacy is a car that Subaru can be proud of, but the Accord is a more complete midsize sedan.

See Honda Accord Review

Subaru Legacy Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2022 Subaru Legacy:

24
Photos
$22,995 - $36,195
Price Range (MSRP)
Subaru Legacy
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