2016 Subaru Legacy Review

Pros & Cons

  • Standard all-wheel drive in a segment where it's extremely rare to even be an option
  • excellent outward visibility
  • high-tech safety features work well and are widely available throughout the lineup
  • top crash test scores.
  • Slower acceleration than almost every competitor
  • stiffer ride (except Legacy Limited) than many competitors.
List Price Range
$8,995 - $20,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Sliding off the road into a ditch can really ruin your day. If that's a potential scenario for you during the winter, you should add the 2016 Subaru Legacy and its standard all-wheel-drive system to your test-drive list. Plus, the Legacy offers enough additional benefits to make it a solid pick during those months when the sun is shining. Check out its other virtues below.

Vehicle overview

If you're itching to see a lot of Subarus (and who isn't?), go to where it rains and snows. All-wheel drive, standard in all Subaru models save the BRZ sport coupe, has made Subarus popular in places like New England and the Pacific Northwest. But Subarus have always had something of a quirky nature, and while that may boost sales in Oregon, it has kept the Legacy from being a major player in the competitive midsize sedan market.

Subaru has tried to broaden the Legacy's appeal in recent years by making it feel more like a mainstream car. A 2015 redesign saw improved passenger and cargo space along with a significant upgrade to cabin materials and electronics controls. Subaru also boosted the Legacy's fuel economy, which had previously been a notable drawback for the car.

But there are many quirks that remain for the 2016 Subaru Legacy. Chief among them is its standard all-wheel drive. True, some competing midsize sedans offer it, but usually only on upper trim levels or with more powerful engine options. It's not only standard on the Legacy, but it doesn't come at the expense of a higher price or mpg figure. Another quirk is the horizontally opposed "boxer" engines (a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a more powerful 3.6-liter six-cylinder), which have their benefits and detriments, but ultimately are most notable for how few companies employ them. Both engines come exclusively with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with steering-wheel-mounted paddle switches that attempt to mimic a manually shifted six-speed.

The 2016 Subaru Legacy comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is an unusual and potentially desirable trait for a modern family sedan.

We like the Subaru Legacy, and we're well aware of how well owners like it: Subaru's brand loyalty is among the best in the business. However, this is an intensely competitive segment loaded with excellent choices, among them the 2016 Ford Fusion, 2016 Honda Accord, 2016 Mazda 6, 2016 Nissan Altima and 2016 Toyota Camry, which hold slight (but significant) advantages over the Legacy in areas such as styling, technology and driver enjoyment. We think the overlooked Legacy is nevertheless indeed worth a look, especially if you do live in a place where it rains and snows in significant amounts.

We Recommend

There's a good chance you're considering the all-wheel-drive Legacy because you live somewhere chilly during the winter. If so, you're going to want the seats, mirrors and windshield wipers heated, along with dual-zone climate control. To get that, you need at least the 2.5i Premium trim that also adds most of the Legacy's available infotainment features. We also recommend opting for the EyeSight accident avoidance technology.

2016 Subaru Legacy models

The 2016 Subaru Legacy is a five-passenger sedan available in four trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited (the numbers reference engine size).

Base 2.5i models come with 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, air-conditioning, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD and satellite radio, an iPod/USB interface, an auxiliary audio jack, and smartphone integration with Pandora and Aha audio streaming. A 6.2-inch touchscreen display controls most entertainment and phone functions. There are no factory-installed options for the 2.5i model.

The 2.5i Premium adds 17-inch alloy wheels, heated exterior mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded gauges, a telematics system (Starlink Connected) and an upgraded audio system with a 7-inch touchscreen display, satellite ratio, six speakers, dual USB ports, voice commands and Internet-connected music, news and weather applications.

Available options for the 2.5i Premium include a sunroof, a navigation system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, adaptive foglights, rear cross-traffic and blind spot warning systems, additional connected services and Subaru's EyeSight system. The latter combines adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane departure intervention, forward collision warning and forward collision mitigation with brake intervention.

Upgrading to the 2.5i Limited trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a comfort-tuned suspension, leather upholstery, a four-way power passenger seat, driver memory settings, heated rear seats, power folding side mirrors, a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Available options are nearly identical to those offered on the Premium, but keyless ignition and entry is also available.

Standard and optional equipment for the 3.6R Limited follows that of the 2.5i Limited, with the addition of a six-cylinder engine and xenon headlights.

2016 Highlights

The 2016 Subaru Legacy's steering system has been revised for better feel. On the Limited model, Subaru says it also retuned the shock absorbers for a smoother ride. Premium and Limited trims get cloud-based infotainment applications and connected services, including one-button emergency assistance and automatic collision notification. Another safety change for 2016 is that the optional EyeSight system now includes lane departure intervention.

Performance & mpg

The 2016 Subaru Legacy offers two engines: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a 3.6-liter six-cylinder. The base 2.5-liter horizontally opposed ("boxer") four-cylinder produces 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. The six-cylinder boxer generates 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Both engines pair with the only available transmission: a CVT with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. All-wheel drive (AWD) is standard.

During Edmunds track testing, a Legacy 2.5i Premium ran from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds. That's rather lackluster, as many rivals accomplish the same sprint in less than 8 seconds.

The EPA rates the four-cylinder Legacy at 30 mpg in combined driving (26 city/36 highway), an impressive result in this class especially considering that all-wheel drive normally drags fuel economy down a point or two. The six-cylinder Legacy returns 23 mpg combined (20 city/29 highway), which is a bit less than the fuel economy of several competitors with upgraded engines, though, again, most don't offer AWD.

Safety

The 2016 Subaru Legacy comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, a rearview camera, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and seat cushion airbags that deploy from the seat bottom to help keep occupants in place in a frontal collision.

On the Premium and Limited trim levels, the Outback comes with Starlink Connected Services, which includes emergency assistance and automatic collision notification. This can be enhanced with the optional Safety Plus and Security Plus upgrade, which adds remote vehicle access, remote vehicle locating and stolen vehicle recovery.

Optional is Subaru's EyeSight system that bundles lane departure warning, lane departure intervention, forward collision warning and forward collision mitigation with automatic braking. EyeSight can also detect pedestrians and is capable of braking the Legacy if the driver takes no evasive action against potential frontal collisions.

In government crash testing, the Legacy earned a top five-star rating for overall safety performance, with five stars in the frontal- and side-impact categories. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Legacy received a top score of "Good" in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, small-overlap frontal offset, side-impact and roof-strength testing. The Legacy's seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Legacy 2.5i Premium stopped from 60 mph in a short 114 feet, a better-than-average performance for this segment.

Driving

Both the four- and the six-cylinder engines for the 2016 Subaru Legacy are quiet and smooth, but acceleration is lackluster. On the upside, though, the Legacy's standard all-wheel-drive system gives it plenty of capability in bad weather. The standard CVT that comes with either engine also does an excellent job of getting the most out of the two power plants. Although it can essentially mimic a broad range of gearing for maximum mileage, this CVT is also programmed to deliver noticeable "shifts" to make it feel more like a traditional transmission.

The 2016 Subaru Legacy comes up a bit short in the way it drives. It's slower and less cushy than many other rival sedans.

Last year, we noted that the Legacy's ride wasn't as cushy as some of its competitors. Subaru has retuned the shock absorbers on the Limited model, which already had a suspension tuned for better ride comfort. But the volume-selling 2.5i and Premium models remain unchanged, and we suspect the Legacy's ride quality will still be relatively unrefined when driving over big bumps. Around turns, the Legacy is precise and easy to drive, but a significant amount of body roll or lean prevents the car from feeling truly sporty.

Interior

Subaru's no-nonsense approach to car design is reflected in the simple and straightforward interior design of the 2016 Subaru Legacy. Materials quality has improved compared to earlier versions of the Legacy, with more cushioning at common touch points like the armrests and center console. The optional touchscreen navigation system has crisp graphics and is pretty easy to use thanks to smartphone-like operation and large icons.

Cabin materials are class competitive and its controls are generally easy to use.

There is plenty of front headroom, and we've found the front seats to be comfortable. In back, the Legacy offers slightly less headroom and legroom than the Honda Accord and Ford Fusion, and its 15-cubic-foot trunk trails the competition slightly as well, a compromise Subaru chalks up to the space required for the Legacy's all-wheel-drive system. That said, the differences are slight and the Legacy is still suitably roomy for a family sedan.

One thing we like about the Legacy is its excellent outward visibility -- no small feat in an age of high door lines and bulky pillars that result from modern safety standards. Firm, supportive seats and a slightly higher driving position make the Legacy Subaru's most comfortable sedan yet.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Subaru Legacy.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Swapping my Mercedes E class for a Legacy
holtgrj,10/26/2015
2.5i 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
My key requirements are cost and safety. True cost to own over 5 years between the Mercedes and the Legacy for 5 years is about $25K. Safety options only lack the adaptive headlights. SAFETY: The Edmunds reviews ignore the fact that you can get Safety Options on the Legacy that just aren't available on any of its competition: AWD (winter safety), Blind Spot detect and avoid, Lane Drift detect and avoid, and Crash Avoidance. Also, the "Deaths per Million Miles" of the Legacy are 0 (the only one in its class). Finally it has all 5 star ratings on the safety tests. If you want safety, you can't beat it in its category. The review should make this clear.
The more things change the more they stay the same
jim monteleone,01/13/2016
3.6R Limited 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)
I bought this car because we have owned foresters for 7 yrs. I just bought a new one for my wife is September, she won't drive anything else. I wasn't lookin for a new car but one of my sedans was totaled in accident in November so I looked at the Legacy. I drove the 2.5 the same as in my wife's Forester. The 4 performs fine in everyday driving but has some transmission lag when punched, since I do a fair amount of freeway driving and merging I choose the 6. The 6 is much smoother. So far I am averaging about 23.8 in mixed driving after 900 miles. Subaru has always been know for their all wheel drive, safety and drive trains. Fit and finish have lagged the Toyota,s and Honda's along with ride. I sold my 2014 Camry XLE to my son whose sedan was totaled. The creature comforts and technology have improved from our 2009 Forester. The legacy holds 4 adults very comfortably and you can fit four sets of clubs in the trunk. The interior and tech are on par with the Toyota's and Honda, . Seats are more comfortable. The newer Subies are bigger. The handling feels compliant with the all wheel drive system, still no sports sedan i.e. Mercedes or Audi. The safety record is unmatched and the eyesight system is state of the art. Visibility is excellent for a sedan. So as usual the all wheel drive system, reliability, and safety are reasons to buy this car. The interior is better and more comfortable than previous models with plenty of room. Disappointing is the road and wind noise, my Toyota was quieter in that respect. I also drove a few used Mercedes and the Buick Regal that are quieter. It's tough to pick up in a short test drive with the Salesman talking. The suspension still feels stiff and my old Camry took the bumps better. I live in the Northeast and you can't beat these cars in the snow, but also great traction in heavy rains. So it depends how you weigh safety , great all wheel drive vs ride. Kinda like it's always been with the Subies, although the creature comforts and tech have improved. Update after 8400 miles, I'm enjoying the car more than ever, the ride feels better now than at first and is very comfortable. The 6 is quiet and performs weel on the freeway.
Great car
steve the pirate,03/14/2016
2.5i Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I struggled with the decision on which car to buy in this segment. For me it basically came down to the Honda Accord and the Legacy, and I really really liked the accord and every publication will tell you it is a MUCH better car than the Legacy, but when it came down to it, the AWD and the interior space is what one me over with the Legacy. The Legacy is slightly bigger, I'm not sure how they compare exactly in measurements but I know when you sit in the drivers seat and reach over to the passenger side the accord is smaller and the arm rest on the accord is much smaller. This is an important aspect for me because I'm 6'3"/225lbs, I need all the space I can get and don't like feeling stuffed into my car. The AWD was important because I work in the medical field and live in Michigan=no snow days. I've had front wheel drive cars before and they were fine, but there is just a little more confidence when you have the AWD that is going to help on those few days a year where you feel like you might die on the way home from work:) Not a big fan of the touch screen, I like the set up on the accord better, and if you have to touch the screen while driving it is a reach for the driver so that isn't convenient. The mileage has not been great, it is saying for the first 700 miles I'm averaging 25.5mpg and I drive a mix of city highway, so certainly hoping that will go WAY up. I do LOVE the car though. Smooth, quick, feels more luxury inside than the price, quiet, all in all I look forward to driving it and am proud to own it. What I learned is that you can read all the reviews from the professionals but until you drive the car itself you won't know if it's a good fit for you. This car might not break the top ten on a lot of lists, and there are a few things I'd change, but it is a GREAT car.
Good safe family car
Lloyd,12/05/2015
2.5i Limited PZEV 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
This is not a fun or sporty car to drive, but it serves it purpose as a safe family sedan. I bought it because of the AWD that Subaru is known for since I live in a hilly area in Northeast. The 2.5 engine lacks power and acceleration. There also seems to be lag accelerating from full stop. Cornering is just ok. The safety features are very good. Blind spot warning came in handy a few times when I pulled out of parking spot and a car suddenly zoomed by or pedestrian running by. Eyesight doesn't work well in fog or sun glare. The dashboard will warn you when Eyesight is turned off. Eyesight will trigger warning if you're cruising and the car infront of you suddenly breaks. Lane departure warning is very sensitive and can trigger erroneously if you drive over a tar line patch on the road. Overall, this is a good safe car and I plan on passing down to my kids once they start driving. It's better that they don't drive a high perfornance car.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2016 Subaru Legacy features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10.1%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2016 Subaru Legacy

Used 2016 Subaru Legacy Overview

The Used 2016 Subaru Legacy is offered in the following submodels: Legacy Sedan. Available styles include 2.5i 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i Limited 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i Premium PZEV 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 3.6R Limited 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A), 2.5i PZEV 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), 2.5i Limited PZEV 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT), and 2.5i Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Subaru Legacy?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Subaru Legacy trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited PZEV is priced between $15,999 and$20,990 with odometer readings between 23149 and81261 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium PZEV is priced between $8,995 and$16,495 with odometer readings between 32513 and146928 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium is priced between $11,999 and$11,999 with odometer readings between 97880 and97880 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited is priced between $15,994 and$15,994 with odometer readings between 65058 and65058 miles.

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Which used 2016 Subaru Legacies are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Subaru Legacy for sale near. There are currently 10 used and CPO 2016 Legacies listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,995 and mileage as low as 23149 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Subaru Legacy.

Can't find a used 2016 Subaru Legacys you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Subaru Legacy for sale - 12 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $20,864.

Find a used Subaru for sale - 12 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $8,682.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru Legacy for sale - 1 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $16,163.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru for sale - 1 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $25,156.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 Subaru Legacy?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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