By on February 7, 2019

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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37 Comments on “2020 Subaru Legacy Debuts In Chicago With Turbocharged Engine...”

  • avatar

    The turbo torque curve plus CVT likely means that the 2020 Legacy turbo will actually be much more pleasant to drive than the less than 200 hp naturally aspirated 4. To me that’s a win.

    Plus that torque curve likely means it will spank the H6 in driveability.

    As someone said of the new Legacy on another site: “That’s a darn nice Saab you got there.”

  • avatar

    Interested to see a low trim interior which isn’t coated in leather that way. The styling is just there, and puts me in mind of an Accord from 2015 from side view. While in theory seeing the H6 disappear is sad, that mill is so outdated and thirsty that I don’t think it’ll be missed much.

    • 0 avatar

      Interior looks very like your typical Chevy. May look good on photos but cheap in execution. Subaru never were famous for its interiors.

      As a whole very generic design by Japan Inc. They better hire European designer but then it will look like European car.

  • avatar

    That appears to be a really well-done interior from the photos. The integration of the ubiquitous screen is one of the best I’ve seen recently.

    I just wonder how the Sube faithful will handle all that horsepower…

    • 0 avatar
      cimarron typeR

      I see a comparison test between this and the Altima, really no other AWD players. I read somewhere Altima AWD VCT is coming soon also.I think it’s a great looking car , but I’m not sure who at Honda and Subaru thinks the throwing star wheels circa 1995 would come back in style.
      I’m sure when gas hits 3.50 a gallon again I’ll see more of these.

      • 0 avatar

        AWD has been available in the Ford Fusion for a few years now, on multiple trim levels. Too bad the Fusion will be gone within a couple of years.

        I hate the wheels as well and I believe the styling of the new Legacy is a step back from the previous model.

  • avatar

    Those interior color schemes are a straight lift from the appealing ’09 Malibu. Wards Auto World gave Chevy “best interior” honors that year for them.

    Comedic Ending: Typical of GM, they then ditched them for the model run’s later years (along with the dashtop storage bin, the front-fender side marker light, the woodgrain trim on mid-tier models, etc.) in a cost-cutting move.

  • avatar

    I like my Subaru but the company are making it very difficult to replace it and stay in the family. My 2012 Legacy GT Premium wagon already has more power than the new one and doesn’t have a CVT. What I want is either a legacy wagon or the Levorg (basically a WRX wagon) with the currently Japan only 2 litre DIT engine with 300hp and 300lb.ft coupled to a manual or an auto. No cvt.

  • avatar

    CVT is a deal breaker.

    Someone ping me when they go back to a traditional auto, a DSG type gearbox, or a manual transmission.

  • avatar

    Im sad the H6 is gone. It was outdated but another non turbo 6 bites the dust. And as I’ve said before, no turbo 4 feels as nice as a 6, even if you feed me the line the turbo 4 has more power.

    So, going through mentally here … does that leave the Toyota Camry as the only mainstream sedan now available with a 6 cylinder? Or the Fusion Sport, which will die next year? You mightbe able to throw the Passat there? Or is that a class up? And can you still get the V6?

    Honda Nissan Mazda Chevrolet I think no more V6.

    It is too bad. Prefer them any day to a turbo 4.

  • avatar

    I do wonder what, if any, impact turbozzz will have on the inevitable blown head gasket?

    • 0 avatar

      Well, with the old turbo engines, and I have one in my 2008 LGT, there were essentially zero blown head gaskets. The block was stronger around the cylinders and they had DOHC. It was the naturally-aspirated single-overhead cam engines that had all the issues. I goose my engine every day because it eggs you on to have a blast and have had no problems since Jan 2008, use only dino juice oil and have never needed to add an extra quart of oil between changes. Been a damn fine car for me.

      There’s a couple of other TTAC commenters who have one of the 2005 to 2009 LGT’s, and they have had the same problem I have – nothing decent to replace it with.

      I can hardly believe Subaru have actually done the right thing and put a turbo that keeps revving beyond 5,000 rpm back in the Legacy. Now I just have to wait to try one out. It may not be beautiful, but at least it doesn’t look like a wet dog like all the other Subarus have for years.

      The WRX and STI are loud and hard-riding, and I don’t like them much. This Legacy hopefully will be quiet like mine and have a half-decent ride.

      Looking forward to getting behind the wheel, gotta tell you!

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        Yo. 07 LGT wagon here. Closest replacement is the TourX and it has ugly plastic trim and start/stop that can’t be disabled. So, I still hold onto my wagon.
        Not sure if you have gone to stage 2 or not, but man do they come alive. It makes me wonder if the CVT will be able to handle the tuning the 4th gens 5eats can.

        I’m certainly interested. We’ll see what it costs…

        • 0 avatar

          ’05 LGT wagon (auto) here. Looking at Stinger GT1/2 or STI or maybe Charger SRT. This legacy is a possibility, but only if the tuners figure out how to get the CVT to behave. I hear the WRX CVT actually shifts nicely. Now if it could just handle stage 2…

      • 0 avatar

        Interesting, thanks.

      • 0 avatar

        how many miles on yours and which transmission?

  • avatar

    Subaru appears to be the latest casualty in the war against ugly hubcaps. Honda was the first casualty.

  • avatar

    The last all-new vehicle I remember that moved to a new platform but kept the all-new body so similar to the outgoing model that everyone thinks it’s just a refresh, is the 1998 Cadillac Seville. Can anyone think of any other examples?

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Assuming this will serve as the bones for the new Outback, hopefully, they’ve worked on the road noise aspect. There was a discernable difference with the 2015 new model; wishing this one is better yet.

    Also Subaru – blind spot and cross-traffic should be standard.

  • avatar

    It’s basically a polished off larger Impreza sedan, that’s a good thing. Just like how current gen owners of the Impreza chose it over the Civic because the interior is more functional and grown up, I see a small but sensible contingent choosing this over the Accord because the roof doesn’t slope into your passenger’s heads and the because it will still look sensible after whatever wildly not-family-esque version of the Accord and Camry turn up next.

  • avatar

    Subaru loves Volvo

  • avatar

    Sorry Subaru (and TTAC), I stopped reading at ‘mandatory CVT.’

  • avatar

    Front end looks like a 2016 sonata while the outgoing one looked lile a small taurus..its vanilla…whatev. Im glad to see the base engine get a power bump. When I test drove the 16 legacy the lack of powwr was my only complaint. Im glad the 6 is gone. It didnt add much performance for the price… It didnt really fit thw legacy and made it too nose heavy.

  • avatar

    From the side it looks like the 2013-2017 Accord, the wheels are a copy of a 2018 Accord EX-L.
    Whenever you look at Subaru trim levels, it seems like you need to spend a lot more for every little thing they put on it in comparison to other cars in that segment.
    I live in NYC, on my last trip to Maine, I could not ignore the sea of Subarus there, seems as if Subaru took up all market share there (:-)

  • avatar

    I’d take a Legacy Wagon with the turbo. No, the Outback is just not the wagon I’m looking for.

  • avatar

    I’ve owned four new Subaru’s. The Legacy will not be my fifth….

  • avatar

    I don’t find those nearly as offensive.

  • avatar

    Beige is back!

  • avatar

    I looked at this car and it is in every way better than the Malibu. However, I will support the home team for now and purchase the demo model Malibu. Besides, the Malibu I am looking at has only 700mls on it and is cheap.

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