\This car is surprisingly nice to drive.
There are so many midsize sedans on the market, it is easy to overlook cars like the 2021 Subaru Legacy. Never the most exciting model in its class, the Legacy is one of the few mainstream sedans to offer all-wheel-drive as a standard feature. Subaru last redesigned the Legacy for the 2020 model year, and it carries over into 2021 with a few minor improvements.
To determine if the Legacy still stands out amongst the crowd now that its biggest selling point is no longer a class-exclusive feature, with other models like the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry now offering AWD as an option, we tested a Limited XT trim to find out what else Subaru got right.
Though we didn't test the top Touring XT trim, which adds niceties like ventilated Nappa leather seats, we still found the Legacy's interior to feel highly premium. These seats are perhaps the plushest in the entire midsize segment, making the Legacy a lovely place to spend a few hours on a road trip. The cabin is also shockingly quiet on the highway, outclassing many compact luxury sedans in this regard. Subaru did a great job with the layout, offering plenty of little cubbies and bins to store your miscellaneous items.
If you like Tesla's giant touchscreen, the Legacy should appeal to you. At 11.6 inches, Subaru's Starlink infotainment system is the largest in the segment. The controls are intuitive to use, though the response time can lag behind some rivals. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are on hand to make the experience even easier, and the system comes tied to an excellent Harmon Kardon audio system with 12 speakers.
Subaru also takes safety very seriously, which is why the Legacy always feels like it is watching out for you. Even the base model includes adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, lane departure alert, sway warning, and lane-keep assist as standard. In the Limited trim, you also get Subaru's driver attention assist feature, which watches to make sure you are paying attention to the road ahead. We must warn you, though, if you hate when a car constantly beeps at you, the Legacy might not be for you.
You might not tell by looking at it, but the Legacy is surprisingly fun to drive. The car rides on Subaru's new Global Platform, which is more rigid than the previous generation. Subaru says the platform enables more responsive steering and better rigidity, and in our opinion, that's not just an empty marketing claim. The steering is shockingly accurate, and thanks to the symmetrical AWD system, you can hustle the Legacy around corners with ease.
Although it is no longer the only vehicle in its class to offer AWD, Subaru is the only company to offer four driven wheels with the big engine. While Nissan and Toyota lock the AWD Altima and Camry with their smaller engine options, Subaru offers a turbocharged 2.4-liter boxer four-cylinder with a healthy 260 horsepower.
Buyers of midsize sedans care about how much space the car has, and here, the Legacy does not disappoint. The trunk offers 15.1 cubic feet of space, which is roomy but not class-leading. Likewise, the rear seats provide a generous 39.5 inches, trumping most other vehicles in the segment. It is worth noting that while the Legacy offers plenty of space, the Honda Accord outsizes it in the back seat and trunk.
We came away generally impressed by the Legacy, but the car's drab exterior might turn some buyers away. Conservative customers who don't want their car to make a flashy statement will love the Legacy, but everyone else might be disappointed by it. Even with a red paint job, the Legacy gets lost in the crowd and could easily be mistaken for another vehicle brand. We'd like to see Subaru offer an STI appearance package to make the Legacy look more exciting.