By on February 4, 2017

2018 Subaru Legacy Exterior, Image: Subaru

Subaru has refreshed its Legacy for 2018 and the updated sedan will make its debut at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show.

It’s tough to spot all the 2018 Subaru Legacy’s updates, but the Japanese automaker assures us they exist. Subaru has revised the Legacy’s sheetmetal, front and rear, for a sportier appearance, while upgrading the interior with more premium materials. Subaru’s engineers have also focused on making the Legacy’s ride smoother and quieter.

2018 Subaru Legacy Hero Shot, Image: Subaru

Heading to dealers this summer, the 2018 Subaru Legacy continues with the same two engine options as before: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 175 horsepower is standard equipment, while those wanting more performance can opt for a 3.6-liter six-cylinder Boxer engine with 256 hp. A Lineartronic CVT is the only available transmission, though Subaru says a retuned ECU on the 2018 model provides the CVT with more responsive and smoother acceleration.

New driver-assist features include available Steering Responsive Headlights (SRH), which aims the lights into turns as the driver steers. Limited models with EyeSight will also use the system’s cameras for High Beam Assist, automatically turning the high beams on and off depending on traffic conditions.

The Legacy gains the automaker’s latest Subaru Starlink Multimedia system — which debuted in the new 2017 Impreza — with Bluetooth wireless capability, iPod control, and smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The standard 6.5-inch system is an upgrade from the previous 6.2-inch system, and offers quicker performance to go with the larger screen. Available as an option is an 8-inch display with a faster CPU to greatly increase startup speed.

Pricing for the 2018 Subaru Legacy will be announced closer to its arrival at dealerships.

A version of this article originally appeared on AutoGuide.

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34 Comments on “2018 Subaru Legacy Refresh is a Game of ‘Spot the Changes’...”


  • avatar
    make_light

    Subaru doesn’t seem to get things right until midcycle refresh- this is what it should have been from beginning. Outside still too boring, but the minor interior changes make it look MUCH more cohesive and upscale.

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      Subaru did make the outside less boring, or at least more cohesive, for the refreshed 2003 Legacy with Special Edition package. We still have our ’03 SE 5-speed wagon. Unlike the 2000-02 Legacys and the base ’03 Legacy, the SE cars had body-color mirrors, door handles, rub strips, etc., as well as 16-inch alloy wheels in place of 15″ steelies. The SE package was also a great bargain in terms of added equipment, to the extent that Legacys without the package became special-order cars.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    CVT means no interest for me.

    Fake gear shifts are even more offensive than the rubber band feeling.

    In order to make a CVT palatable for me, they need to have buttons corresponding to peak torque, peak HP, peak boost, peak economy, etc. Peg the RPMs to optimize for one of the above attributes and the CVT becomes “worth it” in my opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      A CVT is supposed to do that itself, thus the annoying droan from the Nissan.

      The Accord’s CVT seems to do its job of keeping the engine unobtrusive and in the background. Don’t know about a Subies, haven’t been to PNW in a few years LOL.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Appealing car in a lot of ways. Decent chassis and handling, a pretty good interior, and AWD for those of us who could use it but don’t want a cuv. Nicely priced as well.

    But Subaru should just buy power trains from someone else if they are too recalcitrant to update these boxers properly. Really poor performance from both. Output from a 1998 2.5L? 165HP. Twenty years (ie 20, ie 10+10, ie 3-4 car generations) and it’s 175HP and among the slowest in the segment with a cvt that will be sure to remind you of that.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      EZ36, their boxer 6 cylinder, makes something like 260hp. I would prefer this engine over FA’s or FB’s but I believe it consumes oil just the same.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        True, but 260hp from 3.6 liters is falling a bit behind the curve. Regardless, 260hp should be plenty in a midsize sedan, but hooked to that CVT it can’t put any distance between itself and a 4-cylinder Camry from a stop until 40mph. Honda and Nissan can make a car quick with a CVT, not sure what the problem with Subaru is.

      • 0 avatar
        Wildroot

        256 HP as it had been since introduced in 2010. I am not aware of them burning oil, my 2016 3.6 does not. Neither did my 2013 2.0 Impreza. They say it is hard to break in an engine properly with a CVT but I used the manual mode to get what I wanted.

        • 0 avatar
          nels0300

          I had a 2013 Impreza with a manual transmission and it used about a quart per 3k miles. Not cool for a brand new car.

          The oil burning is definitely an issue, there was a 100+ page thread on it in a Subaru forum.

          My wife’s manual transmission 2013 Forester also burns oil.

          2 for 2 on late model Subaru oil burners for our family.

          • 0 avatar
            bullnuke

            Subaru will replace the short block for free if it uses > 12oz per 1200 miles on FB/FA engines. All they ask is to do an oil consumption test (you can witness the levels at beginning and end) and, if it consumes more that the 12oz of oil after 1200 miles, they replace the short block. I did it, they replaced the short block and now it uses about 8oz in 7000 miles. Took all of one day to be done. BMW’s and Audi’s are much worse – try and get them to replace an engine for free or even acknowledge that there is a problem.

          • 0 avatar
            nels0300

            Yeah, I know the story.

            Didn’t want major surgery on my brand new car, that’s one of the reasons it’s gone.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Are they keeping the manual transmission in Canada?

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      I would assume not, if “standard” in the following quote means “only”:

      “However, the brand claims that retuned software for the standard continuously variable transmission makes it more responsive and offers smoother acceleration.” (http://ca.motor1.com/news/135089/2018-subaru-legacy-sedan-refreshed/)

      Of course, it could be that this Canadian site is mistakenly referring to U.S.-market cars. But I fear the manuals are gone even in Canada, because sales of all Outbacks and Legacys together in Canada in 2016 were fewer than 15,000 (https://carcostcanada.com/news/11435/2017_Subaru_XV_Crosstrek/).

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Does high beam assist take traffic in consideration, or just ambient light level?

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      I can’t speak to Subaru’s implementation, but other manufacturers’ competing systems detect the headlights and taillights of oncoming and leading vehicles, respectively, and dim the high beams accordingly. They also typically take ambient light into account, such that the high beams are only engaged when it’s truly dark out and not at, say, twilight, when low beams suffice. Works quite well in my experience.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    WOW 6 MORE HP FROM THE H6!

    I still don’t know what they expect to be the engine in their three row Outback they’re working on.

  • avatar
    Von

    Sonata in front, Camry in the back.

    It should be a decent enough car though.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      The close resemblance between Subaru, Hyundai, and even some Ford front clips is remarkable.

      Sonata:
      https://a.tcimg.net/v//colorid_images/v1/1391067/640×480/f3q

      Legacy:
      https://services.edmunds-media.com/image-service/media-ed/sharp/?quality=70&format=jpg:progressive&image=/subaru/legacy/2017/evox/2017_subaru_legacy_sedan_25i-sport_tds_evox_4_500.jpg

      Taurus:
      https://carsoid.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2017-Ford-Taurus.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        You’re asking a lot of front clip designers for sedans given their iron-clad mandate:

        “Here’s a fish head without eyes or mouth.
        Knock yourselves out but it has to stay a fish head.”

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          What about a squid head, sir?

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “What about a squid head, sir?”

            Not an option per CAFE and my fave song:

            youtube.com/watch?v=JKDtUzRIG6I

        • 0 avatar
          Von

          They could go with something like the predator grill, but I complain about that, too.

          But still, I do expect better from a whole team of people who call themselves professionals and spend lots of time on this to come up with something…better. And this is not a critique of Subaru in particular, it’s pretty much most of the mainstream car makers.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’d actually consider a Subaru if they brought back Vee or inline engines. They are as stubborn as Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      Wildroot

      Not sure if they ever had vee engines. And their only inline would have been the 3 cylinder in the Justy. Flat 4s as long as I can remember back to the early 70s. And the spare tire used to be under the hood with the engine.

  • avatar
    MLS

    Exterior is agreeably less ungainly than Subarus past. But is it just me, or is that refreshed interior still way behind the midsize curve?

    Working at a progressive company in New England, I see a ton of Subarus in the office parking lot, but I’ll never understand the appeal.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “I see a ton of Subarus in the office parking lot”

      So 2/3rds of a Subaru = progressive workplace?

      What would a whole Subaru indicate, vapor mill?

      • 0 avatar
        MLS

        Had to look up what a vapor mill was.

        I’m not sure whether the statistical mode of my colleagues’ collective vehicle fleet is Audi Q5 or Subaru. But the point was, Subarus are present at a rate far exceeding the carmaker’s market share.

    • 0 avatar
      Synchromesh

      Appeal is there. I have a WRX. If you can point me in a direction of a car that’s relatively cheap to maintain, very reliable, has great amount of space, all the toys, awd, manual and a powerful tunable engine for $27K new I will consider it to replace my car. Had it for 5 years and it’s still great!

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Wouldn’t look half bad if the front wheels got pushed out about six inches. I guess that’s a drivetrain limitation, but it’s a shame.

    • 0 avatar
      Wildroot

      I agree. That and the pedestrian safe fenders. Ugliest part of the car. It is the flat motor/AWD packaging. Even at 6’2″ I have a hard time seeing over the fenders for parking.

  • avatar
    Wildroot

    I enjoy my 2016 3.6. This isn’t enough to make me want a new one. I know it isn’t the fastest sedan out there but it is more than enough for everyday driving. Aside from not seeing over the bulbous fenders while parking, to me the only flaw is having an older engine design. Now it is just getting older.

    • 0 avatar
      HEOJ

      Sort of in the same boat, have a 2010 Legacy 3.6 that I love but the changes they made for the 2015 version turned me off of the car a bit. CVT and they got rid of the 40/60 RWD biased full time AWD the 3.6 used to have a replaced it with FWD until it needs to be AWD system the 4 cylinder CVT cars have had since 2010, boooo.

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