Three decades after rolling out the first Legacy, an all-new model launches this midsize sedan’s fourth decade. This month, the 2020 Legacy rolled out at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, which is just 125 miles from where it will be built at a Lafayette, Indiana, manufacturing plant.
Generation Seven: 2020 Subaru Legacy
The seventh-generation Legacy’s introduction comes as the market for midsize sedans continues to shrink. In fact, a number of competitors have left or are leaving the segment, including the Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger, Mitsubishi Galant, and soon the Ford Fusion. Consumers want crossovers, models already popular with Subaru. That said, this maker of mostly all-wheel-drive vehicles still sees life in the segment.
Besides fewer competitors going forward, what is also helping Subaru is sharing its vehicle architecture across more model lines. Indeed, the 2020 Legacy rides on the Subaru Global Platform, which in 70-percent stiffer torsional and front-suspension rigidity as well as 100-percent stiffer lateral flexural and rear subframe rigidity. Further, Subaru increased structural adhesiveness nearly four-fold. In all, the new model demonstrates gains that will improve crashworthiness, offer improved handling, and deliver a smoother and quieter ride.
Here are the highlights of the 2020 Legacy:
1. Six trims for the choosing. You’ll find Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, Limited XT and Touring XT trims when the 2020 Legacy rolls out this fall. Every model features standard all-wheel drive, the only model in this segment that can make this claim. In fact, all-wheel drive is available on only two other models: the Ford Fusion Sport and the Nissan Altima.
2. Two engine choices, including a turbo. Returning for 2020 is a 2.4-liter Boxer four-cylinder engine. It has been upgraded to produce 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, numbers which should be adequate for most drivers. But most drivers aren’t the ones drawn to the previously available V6, which has been discontinued. In its place is a turbocharged 2.4-liter Boxer four-cylinder engine with an output of 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers beat the V6’s 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. Both of the 2020 engines work with a continuously variable transmission.
3. Improved tech features. What’s a new model without improved tech features? The Subaru Legacy delivers with its new 11.6-inch display screen, a tablet-like device that is sure to please. Subaru integrates its communication system with Starlink technology, which supplies Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto smartphone compatibility on its screen. That screen also controls other functions, include climate and audio. Navigation is also available and is powered by TomTom. Wi-Fi connectivity is another available feature.
4. More premium touches. The auto show display model revealed just how upscale a Legacy can be. It is as if Subaru raised the look to offer a bridge between luxury and mainstream, a trend we’ve seen in models such as the Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima. For instance, the Touring trim is outfitted with genuine Nappa leather, which delivers a luxurious look and the comfort to go with it. The interior roof pillars are wrapped in high-gloss black molding and chrome plating dresses the door handles. The Sport edition has aluminum pedals and red stitching on the instrument panel. Other changes include three levels of heating for the available heated front seats.
5. Safety enhancements galore. You’d expect Subaru to defend its top-tier safety rating when designing a new Legacy. The new model does just that. New this year is a Front View Monitor, which captures images within the driver’s blind spot and displays a 180-degree view on the color display. This is helpful for pedestrian detection and parking. Other driver-assist features include LED steering responsive headlamps on the Limited and Touring trims, reverse automatic braking, and blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert.
More Details to Follow
There are a few things about the 2020 Legacy that aren’t yet known. It appears slightly larger than the outgoing model, but we weren’t supplied with model specifications, including wheelbase and overall length. It does, however, sit slightly lower to the ground and that’s no small feat for an all-wheel-drive sedan.
Pricing won’t be announced until nearer this vehicle’s release date. We could see a slight boost in cost for the base model, with larger increases at the top of the model range.