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2018 Subaru Legacy

$22,195 - $31,945
Price Range (MSRP)
Subaru Legacy

2018 Subaru Legacy Review

by Roger Biermann

The Subaru Legacy is a comfortable midsize sedan. It's also part of a dying breed of cars that used to roam city streets and highways en masse. The midsize sedan has seen a steady decline in popularity, in stark contrast to the SUV, that has seen relentless growth across the globe, and it makes sense when you think about it. The humble sedan can't match the SUV in terms of versatility. Despite this rather bleak fact, the Subaru Legacy still has a few die-hard fans, lurking in the leafy suburbs of name-a-town-ville, and it actually outsold the likes of Volkswagen's CC, and Chrysler's "also-ran" 200 last year. The Legacy isn't a technological marvel, but that's exactly why the people who buy them love them. Instead, the Legacy offers confident and reliable motoring without any fanfare or fuss, and did we mention it's safer than a cyclist on a Swiss road?

2018 Subaru Legacy Changes: What’s the difference vs 2017 Legacy?

The Legacy gets a temperate touch-up for 2018. Going from front to back, the Legacy receives mild changes to its exterior, making it look slightly sportier. The Sport trim looks the most aggressive of the bunch, but the bark is most definitely louder than the bite. Some of the more pertinent additions to the feature list include LED headlights on the higher trim models, as well as a larger eight-inch display screen that now incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. New optional extras for 2018 are abundant, but the highlights are the full leather upholstery, heated front seats, Harman Kardon Audio, and bigger alloy wheels. Subaru did pay close attention to the way the Legacy drives, and for 2018, they have improved the brake pedal and steering feel, as well as tweaked the suspension to deliver a more comfortable ride and new sound-deadening techniques have lowered engine and road noise.

Pros and Cons

  • Permanent all-wheel means surefooted road holding
  • Class-leading safety levels
  • Quiet and comfortable on the open road
  • Roomy interior
  • Holds its value
  • The CVT gearbox is sluggish and noisy
  • Uninspiring engine
  • Struggles to establish its own identity
  • Gas mileage could be better in manual spec

Legacy Exterior

The Legacy's exterior styling has never been based on attracting much attention, and the 2018 model retains that philosophy but does admittedly get a few sportier touches here and there.

The Sport trim adds even more pizazz, but unfortunately, it is mostly cosmetic, and the four-cylinder engine definitely can't match the exterior's promise of performance. What Subaru has done is to try and scoop up a few more sales by following the industry trend of slapping sporty appearance packages on non-sporting models. The 2018 Sport model's color-matched wing mirrors and Limited trim's full LED lighting make a big difference when compared to the previous year's Legacy, while a power sunroof is still equipped from the Premium trim. Wheels range from 17-inch steel wheels on the base model, upgrading to alloy wheels on Premium models, and 18-inches on Sport and Limited trims.

2018 Subaru Legacy Three Quarter Front Right Side View In Motion
2018 Subaru Legacy Three Quarter Front Right Side View In Motion
2018 Subaru Legacy Three Quarter Front Left Side View
See All 2018 Subaru Legacy Exterior Photos

Dimensions

As a midsize sedan, generous proportions are expected from the Legacy. It measures in at a length, width, and height of 188.8-, 72.4-, and 59 inches respectively which are on par with Ford's Fusion. A wheelbase of 108.3 inches is unchanged across the Legacy range. The Legacy tips the scales at 3,514 lbs in base trim, making it 42 pounds heavier than a base Fusion, an impressive feat considering the Subaru is all-wheel drive. Curb weight ranges with trim, engine, and equipment levels, however, with the heaviest Legacy weighing in at 3,748 lbs.

Exterior Colors

You won't find Ford Orange Spice or Honda Energy Green on the exterior color option list, instead, you're greeted with a range of eight sensible hues that complement the Legacy's middle-of-the-road styling. You can choose from Crystal Black Silica, Ice Silver Metallic, Twilight Blue Metallic, Tungsten Metallic, or Crystal White Pearl as carry-over colors from last year, or select one of three new hues including Crimson Red Pearl, Dark Blue Pearl, and Magnetite Gray Metallic. Darker colors do the Legacy justice, but with three interior color options to choose from, the combinations can get quite interesting (a Crimson Red Pearl exterior accompanied by a Warm Ivory interior will send out a clear message that you're here for the management role).

  • Crystal Black Silica
  • Crimson Red Pearl
  • Ice Silver Metallic
  • Magnetite Gray Metallic
  • Twilight Blue Metallic
  • Crystal White Pearl
  • Dark Blue Pearl
  • Tungsten Metallic
  • Heritage Blue Metallic

Legacy Performance

If you want outright performance then you'd be better off looking elsewhere, as the Subaru Legacy ain't no highway bomber. Instead, it delivers just enough to get you around comfortably, and delivers exactly the kind of performance that Legacy drivers of old have come to know and love. The Boxer engine still gives a slight rumble in protest to cold morning starts, and the CVT auto is a love or hate type transmission, but we'll take a closer look at these in a second. Of the two available engines, the larger 3.6-liter flat-six is the motor of choice for the power-hungry, but with 256 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque on tap from the big-six, a 0-60 mph sprint of seven seconds dead seems sluggish, though still a marked improvement on the near-ten-second effort of the four-cylinder. What may sway buyers, however, is Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, standard on the Legacy, while rivals make do with front-wheel-drive as the norm and AWD only optional.

2018 Subaru Legacy Three Quarter Front Right Side View In Motion
2018 Subaru Legacy Three Quarter Rear Right Side View
2018 Subaru Legacy Engine

Engine and Transmission

Under the Legacy's hood, you'll find either a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engine producing 175 hp and 174 lb-ft or a beefier 3.6-liter six-cylinder alternative delivering 256 hp and 247 lb-ft. The 2.5 four-pot will most likely be the engine of choice and delivers enough performance to do the job of merging and overtaking, although you'll have to stomp on the accelerator more often than some of the more powerful competitors. The bigger 3.6 six-cylinder Boxer motor delivers respectable performance, and with standard all-wheel-drive will gently push you back in your seat when launched with slight jollity, but you'll pay dearly at the fuel pump.

Both engines are mated to Subaru's continuously variable transmission (CVT) that has been updated with revised software to deliver smoother performance, and that is accomplished to an extent, but stop and go driving still proves spasmodic. Once you get up to speed, the CVT gearbox does a fine job of mimicking a traditional auto box thanks to eight programmed ratios. The Legacy feels responsive in normal city driving conditions, but when the gas pedal is pinned, the CVT fails to inspire confidence, and the lack of power, especially from the 2.5-liter four-pot, doesn't help matters. The Legacy would be great with the WRX's turbocharged powertrain but the bulk of the Legacy's target market won't miss the extra shove. Pity though; a Legacy Turbo would've made a great sleeper.

  • Engines
    2.5-liter Flat 4 Gas, 3.6-liter Flat 6 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Thanks to a few drivetrain updates, the Subaru Legacy drives better than ever before. Improved brake pedal and steering feel as well as a re-tuned suspension setup makes the Legacy more adept at communicating what's happening at the wheels. Long-distance driving is a pleasure thanks in part to the reduction in road and engine noise.

Suspension tuning on this car was clearly designed to offer comfort over pure sports car handling, but the all-wheel-drive system coupled with torque vectoring tech makes the Legacy predictable and engaging but makes the lack of power more obvious. This car then gives the driver a well-balanced driving experience that is comfortable on the open road but won't fall on its face through a section of twisty backroads.

The 2018 Legacy also does a good job of coming to a stop, and the brakes provide serious stopping power with consistent responses, easy modulation, and predictable brake feel.

Legacy Gas Mileage

You'd expect the Legacy to be a thirsty beast, especially since the mid-sized sedan spins all four wheels, but the four-cylinder 2.5-liter delivers respectable figures with city/highway/combined fuel consumption estimates of 25/34/29 mpg. According to Subaru, these numbers are helped along by active shutters found in the grille that regulate airflow to the engine. The Legacy is more frugal than most of its competitors, but equip the six-cylinder and things take a turn for the worse with estimates of 20/28/23 mpg on the same cycles. An 18.5-gallon gas tank is equipped to all Legacy models, with 2.5-liter models boasting the greatest range of 536 miles in mixed driving conditions.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    18.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 25/34 mpg
* 2018 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sedan

Legacy Interior

The Legacy's interior has always been a predictable place where comfort and simple design wins over radical styling and quirks. 2018 sees the Legacy retain most of the old spec interior's look and feel, but some nice touches have been added in the form of real stitching on the dash, seats, and door panels (in the case of the Sport trim, the stitching is blue, and it looks good). Air vents sit slightly higher on the 2018 model and the controls for the A/C are easy to use. In true Subaru fashion, the design is clean and functional. Blue lit gauges and metallic or woodgrain inserts add a touch of class, and you won't struggle to find what you're looking for on the dashboard. You'll find a speedometer, odometer, engine coolant temp gauge, tachometer, trip odometer and trip computer behind the manual tilt-adjustable steering wheel. Seating space is generous, and seats are comfortable, making the Legacy an ideal commuter.

2018 Subaru Legacy Second Row Folded
2018 Subaru Legacy Glove Box
2018 Subaru Legacy Glove Box
See All 2018 Subaru Legacy Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Despite the Legacy's positioning as a comfortable mid-sized sedan, the seats still hint at the brand's sporty heritage. Front passengers are embraced by reclining front bucket-style seats featuring height and tilt adjustable whiplash-reducing head restraints, and a driver's seat with six-way adjustment. These seats offer good support and prove comfortable over long distances. The 2018 Legacy will seat five adult passengers comfortably and provides ample legroom and headspace for front and rear passengers, with six-foot-tall adults comfortably accommodated in the rear on a supportive bench, with more than ample headroom and an abundance of legroom to really stretch out.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The 2018 Legacy comes with a choice of three seat upholstery/color options, namely Slate Black Cloth, Titanium Gray Cloth, and Warm Ivory Cloth. The full black interior turns the interior into a somber affair, while the Ivory color scheme looks outdated and dreary. The Titanium Gray is a good compromise and suits the clean layout of the Legacy's insides. The car is fitted with full carpet floor covering including good quality front and rear floor mats, as well as carpet trunk lid/rear cargo door trim. The use of quality materials can be seen and felt throughout, but some small bits of cheap plastic still make an appearance. A leather-wrapped steering wheel can be found in all but the base trim 2.5i model.

Legacy Trunk and Cargo Space

Subaru has pushed the interior space to the maximum limit for a midsize sedan thanks to some widening and a slightly lengthened wheelbase over the previous generation. The Legacy's cabin and trunk space measure 119.6 cubic inches, a hair under the government-set limit of 120 - above which the Legacy would officially be classified as full-size. The trunk measures 15 cubic feet, and in real-world terms, it will swallow a big day at the grocery store. 60/40 split rear seats open that space up even further, making the Legacy quite a capable carrier.

Small but handy storage bins and pockets are scattered around the interior; door pockets are slim but include bottle holders, and a generously sized front bin and center console offers practical storage for personal belongings.

2018 Subaru Legacy Luggage Space
2018 Subaru Legacy Second Row Folded
2018 Subaru Legacy Rear View
  • Trunk Volume
    15 ft³

Legacy Infotainment and Features

Features

Subaru has given the 2018 Legacy a few tech updates for 2018, but the functionality and layout of the infotainment system should still be recognizable to those in the know. The 2.5i base comes equipped with a rearview camera, manually adjustable seating, cruise control, and manual air conditioning. Dual-zone climate control is equipped to anything higher than Premium, as can an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ten-way power-adjustable heated front seats, and on the highest trims, heated rear seats. Subaru's EyeSight driver assistance systems are available on all but the base model, comprising adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane-keep assist systems. Blind spot detection is standard on the Limited model and optional on the Premium and Sport derivatives.

Infotainment

Subaru's updated infotainment system is a pleasure to use and integrates seamlessly with Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto. For 2018 the aptly named Starlink system provides automated updates and a re-worked interface. Internet streaming and Bluetooth connectivity are features we've come to expect on most cars in this class. The standard 6.5-inch screen delivers crisp visuals and can be upgraded to an eight-inch version for even easier navigation. Audio performance is average; a four-speaker system delivers acceptable levels of bass tone and clarity, and the Premium trim model adds another two speakers for a good overall sonic experience. An optional Harman Kardon sound upgrade delivers premium sound quality from a dozen speakers. Optional on all Legacys with the eight-inch setup, the Starlink system can be upgraded with navigation functionality.

Legacy Problems and Reliability

The Subaru Legacy has had one recent recall. The recall was issued due to a software error that causes the low fuel warning light to stop working at the low fuel level, causing the miles-to-empty reading to be inaccurate. A total of 43,064 Legacy sedans were recalled. Despite this, the Legacy is on par with the competition in terms of reliability, and earned a respectable score of 78 from J.D. Power, performing better than the Volkswagen Passat and Toyota Camry. Consumer reviews also point to a car that offers trouble-free motoring. Aiding this is a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Legacy Safety

The Subaru Legacy is one of the safest cars on the roads, and this is one of its biggest selling points. The NHTSA gave the 2018 Legacy an overall rating of five stars, scoring full marks for all categories. This trend continues with the IIHS giving the Legacy the coveted Top Safety Pick+ denomination for 2018. So what does all of this mean? If you're looking for a safe family sedan, you can't do better than a Legacy.

Key Safety Features

The Legacy's impressive safety scores are thanks to careful design and development from Subaru, including high levels of available assistive technology. The list of safety features is a long one, and would impress even the most severe hypochondriacs; optional LED steering responsive headlights turn in the direction you're steering, while a reverse camera viewed through the infotainment display and a rear cross-traffic alert system warns you of any approaching cars while you're backing up. Blind-spot detection and lane-change assist do the same job while you're moving forward, and there are adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist available as part of the EyeSight suite of features. Inside, passengers are kept safe from serious injury thanks to a total of eight standard airbags, including front-seat cushion airbags.

Verdict: Is the 2018 Subaru Legacy a good car?

Like any car, the 2018 Subaru Legacy does some things better than others and fails to impress in certain categories. Legacy owners will tell you that their favorite thing about owning one is the good visibility and superior safety standards followed by the driving dynamics and exterior styling. The Legacy isn't the prettiest or the fastest midsize sedan on the market but offers buyers a no-nonsense family car that drives well, has plentiful room and doesn't burn a ton of gas - six-cylinder aside. Other cars in the same class do a lot of things better, but the Legacy just seems like a solid, reliable bet. The Legacy's biggest downfall could be the fact that its sibling, the Subaru Outback, offers more or less the same package, but adds more ground clearance and a handy amount of extra cargo space.

What's the Price of the 2018 Subaru Legacy?

The 2018 Legacy has an MSRP starting at $22,195 for a base 2.5i model while the better equipped (and better value proposition) 2.5i Premium will cost you $24,295. Next up is the Sport trim that starts at $26,345, and the top of the line Limited will see you coughing up just under $30k at $29,095. Opting for the six-cylinder 3.6R Limited will push that price up to $31,945 and can go even higher if you opt for the excellent EyeSight safety package. The 2018 Subaru Legacy just manages to slip below the asking price of most of its biggest rivals, including the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

2018 Subaru Legacy Models

The Legacy comes in a surprisingly wide range of trim levels, giving buyers five models to choose from: 2.5i base, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Sport, 2.5i Limited, and 3.6R Limited.

The base model 2.5i comes equipped with AWD, 17-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, manual, AM/FM stereo, a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, remote keyless entry, and cloth seat trim.

Stepping up to the 2.5i Premium sees the addition of 17-inch machined aluminum wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, SiriusXM AM/FM/HD/Satellite radio, and a larger eight-inch infotainment screen.

The 2.5i sport adds a few interior touches such as blue stitching and adds a power glass sunroof, 18-inch machined aluminum wheels, front fog lights, push-button start, and sporty exterior styling tweaks.

From there, the 2.5i Limited receives leather seat trim over and above the Sport's features, while adding blind spot monitoring, upgraded suspension, heated rear seats, and a 12 speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

If you want to go all out, the 3.6R Limited should be your choice. The 3.6R offers all the luxuries of the Premium but gets some extra grunt thanks to a 3.6-liter flat-six engine as well as adaptive LED headlights.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.5i
2.5-liter Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$22,195
2.5i Premium
2.5-liter Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$24,295
2.5i Sport
2.5-liter Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$26,345
2.5i Limited
2.5-liter Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$29,095
3.6R Limited
3.6-liter Flat 6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$31,945
See All 2018 Subaru Legacy Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The entire range gets the same exterior and interior options, the most notable being auto-dimming exterior mirrors at $200, a fog light kit for $333, an auto-dimming mirror with Compass and Homelink for $330, and remote engine start for $489.

The EyeSight package adds a whole host of added tech and is worth considering if you want to make your Legacy as safe as possible. This $1,595 option will add an eight-inch LCD touchscreen; GPS navigation, SiriusXM NavTraffic (subscription required), the excellent EyeSight system featuring adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, high beam assist, reverse automatic braking, and a high-grade instrument cluster with color LCD display.

What Subaru Legacy Model Should I Buy?

Firstly, the 2.5-liter engine, although underpowered, gets the job done, and doesn't drain bank accounts at the gas station, so it should be your first choice. If you must have the extra power and don't mind spending the extra bucks on gas, then, by all means, get the big six. In terms of options and features, the 2.5i Premium with the added EyeSight package for $1,545 will give you the best value for money and guarantee that you and your family will be extra safe while traveling. Dual-zone climate control, heated seats, and an eight-inch touchscreen interface all add extra comfort and functionality, while EyeSight's driver assistance systems are integral to the Legacy's impeccable safety scores.

2018 Subaru Legacy Comparisons

2018 Subaru Legacy
2018 Subaru Legacy

2018 Subaru Legacy vs Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is world-renowned for its reliability and a reasonably high level of comfort and luxury. The 2018 Camry builds on that image and remains one of the most appealing midsize sedans on the US market. The Camry has crisp, modern styling that makes the Legacy feel dated, and comes with a lot of safety tech as standard, but is eternally typecast as a generic choice, which is rather unfair to a car that does almost everything really well. The Camry beats the Legacy in terms of fuel consumption by quite a margin, but the Subaru makes up for that with its AWD system that inspires more confidence on the road. The Legacy also brings better interior materials and a class-leading safety record to the table. The Subaru is a roomier place to sit in and provides more legroom front and back. The Camry starts with a base price that's almost two grand dearer than the Subaru as well, making it a tough choice. But on drivability, the Camry is better, and it sacrifices little on other aspects, making it a more impressive all-rounder.

See Toyota Camry Review

2018 Subaru Legacy vs Honda Accord

If the Legacy is to succeed, it'll need to be good enough to rival the class-leading Honda Accord. The Accord offers a superior range of engine options, consisting of 1.5- and 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines pushing out respectable 192 hp/192 lb-ft for the former and 252 hp/273 lb-ft for the latter. The Subaru's 2.5 and 3.6 naturally aspirated engines seem archaic in comparison and offer less drivability. Both are capable on the road, but the Subaru's AWD system makes it the more surefooted of the two in adverse conditions, while the Accord is more involving to drive in general. The Subaru's CVT is better than Honda's offering, but the Accord also comes with the option of a six-speed manual or ten-speed auto. Subaru's Starlink infotainment system is the better of the two, but the Accord's interior is more spacious and of a higher-quality. The Accord sips less fuel and returns a combined 34 mpg, while the Legacy with its fuel sucking AWD system returns 30 mpg. The base model Accord costs almost one and a half grand more than the Legacy, but it's money well spent, as the Accord is a superior all-rounder.

See Honda Accord Review

Subaru Legacy Popular Comparisons

See All 28 Comparisons

2018 Subaru Legacy Video Reviews