2020 Subaru Legacy Debuts In Chicago With Turbocharged Engine
The 2020 Subaru Legacy made its debut at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show on Thursday. While most casual observers will probably assume the model has undergone a mild visual refresh, what’s actually on display is an entirely new vehicle.
Whereas previous incarnations of the Legacy provided more of an upscale WRX experience, the outgoing sixth generation saw the car fitted with a livable continuously variable transmission and engine options that moved it away from anything that could be described as truly sporting. Fortunately, Subaru is attempting to remedy that for the 2020 model year.
Now riding atop the Subaru Global Platform, the seventh-gen Legacy gains structural integrity and turbo power. While base models retain the current 2.5-liter flat four, the optional 3.6-liter six-cylinder unit has been replaced with something smaller and more capable, utilizing forced induction.
Split by trim, the standard mill produces 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque in base, Premium, Sport, and Limited versions of the Legacy. Meanwhile, the new 2.4-liter boxer turbo delivers 260 ponies and 277 pound-feet of torque by the time your tachometer hits 2,000 rpm. However, that engine’s reserved for the Limited XT and Touring XT trims. Obviously, Subaru still intends to keep all-wheel drive standard across the board.
While we would have liked to see Subaru call the more powerful Legacy the “2.4GT spec.B,” as a nod to the old 2.5GT spec.B, the mandatory inclusion of CVTs across the model range made us a little less eager. There’s also the matter of 260 hp being less impressive today than it was in 2007. Subaru claims the new Legacy XT can still reach 60 mph in a very respectable 6.1 seconds, but so can a well-maintained spec.B making less power.
However, Subaru has done more than tweak the sedan’s powertrain. Ultra high-tensile-strength steel, new assembly methods, and even some changes in the manufacturer’s choice of foam and adhesives works together to improve structural rigidity. According to Subaru, rear subframe stiffness is now 100 percent higher than on the previous model while torsional and front suspension rigidity is said to be up by 70 percent.
Despite being heavily revised with new stabilizer bars and springs, the basic suspension setup will still be familiar to Subaru faithful. Up front, the Legacy receives a reworked MacPherson strut while a double-wishbone setup handles the rear. Subaru claims the alterations should create a noticeable improvement in both responsiveness and comfort.
Visually, the 2020 Legacy doesn’t do much for us. Edges have been softened, but this only serves to make the model appear slightly older than it actually is. Our guess is that Subaru hoped to establish an inoffensive and timeless design but only managed to achieve the former. We don’t hate it, but there isn’t much to cling to.
Things are better inside. Higher trimmed cars receive a 11.6-inch Starlink multimedia infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and optional navigation while lesser trims get a more basic 7.0-inch unit. A 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system is also available, along with heated leather seats (even in the back). Wheel options are limited to 17 or 18-inch rounds wrapped in all-season rubber.
Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance suite comes on every Legacy, offering forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping with centering, and adaptive cruise control. However, the Touring grade adds a front-view camera. Optional driver assistance features include Subaru’s DriverFocus system, blind-spot monitoring, rear automatic emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert.
The 2020 Subaru Legacy goes on sale this fall. Expect prices to be roughly the same as the outgoing version, with base models starting under $25,000 after destination.
[Images: Subaru; © 2019 Tim Healey/TTAC]
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