2017 Subaru Legacy Review
Pros & Cons
- Standard all-wheel drive in a segment where it's 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
$16,877 - $25,998
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Both the four- and the six-cylinder engines 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 continuously variable transmission also does an excellent job of getting the most out of either engine. 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 Limited's upgraded suspension should provide a more comfortable ride than those of the other trims which we found to be a bit firmer than the class leaders. Around turns, the Legacy is precise and easy to drive, but a significant amount of body roll prevents it from feeling truly sporty.
The 2017 Legacy is available with two engines, specified as 2.5i and 3.6R. Both come standard with all-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
The 2.5i's 2.5-liter horizontally opposed ("boxer") four-cylinder produces 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. During Edmunds track testing, it brought the Legacy from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds, making it one of the slowest cars in the midsize sedan segment. The segment average is more than a second quicker. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg combined (25 mpg city/34 mpg highway). That's impressive given that all-wheel drive usually results in a significant fuel economy penalty.
The 3.6R has a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine good for 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Those are low for an optional engine in this segment and acceleration is not surprisingly unimpressive as a result (though still better than the 2.5i). EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg combined (20 mpg city/28 mpg highway).
Subaru's no-nonsense approach to car design is reflected in the Legacy's simple and straightforward interior. 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 easy to use thanks to smartphone-like operation and large icons.
There is plenty of front headroom, and we've found the front seats to be comfortable on longer drives. 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 as well. We doubt that many will find it anything other than sufficiently spacious.
One thing we specifically 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.
Most helpful consumer reviews
2.5i Limited 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
Had a 2014 Accord Sport, Have a 2012 Camry Se. Both cars are pretty much the same. They feel cheap. Got Legacy Limited. The difference is the All Wheel Drive. Instead the the car being pulled, which stinks, all 4 wheels move and the car is much smoother and feels like a luxury car. Front wheel drive is terrible. It also rides softer than both Camry & Accord. It's a huge difference. The front seats are much more comfortable and there's more room width wise. After driving the Legacy, you will never go back to front wheel drive.
2.5i Premium 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
I purchased this car in December and I took advantage of Subaru's zero percent financing. I am very happy with the room under the hood and the roominess of the cabin. I am 6'1 and I am very comfortable driving the car, plenty of room. The car is smartly engineered. The AWD is the best in the business. I live in the northeast so the AWD will come in handy. So far I am very happy with the car. If you are looking for a good, comfortable, reliable and safe automobile at a good price, look no further than the Subaru Legecy. Don't get the base model. You get more bells and whistles starting with the premium edition on up. Update: I have owned the car now for 8 months and my review hasn't changed. I have experienced no issues with the car. Drives well with the changes in the seasons in the northeast. Only season that it hadn't seen yet is fall. It still gets 32 miles to the gallon in mix driving city vs. highway. I am happy that I purchased the Subaru over other cars I was considering.
2.5i Limited 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
Wife and I test drove all the 2017 sedans. Accord was ruled out because the seating was very uncomfortable for both of us. Ford Fusion gas mileage not up to par. Camry was sort of blah. Finally narrowed to Sonata and Legacy (Limited trim for both) . Both are quiet. Sonata has slightly better pick-up, but I thought Legacy handled better. Sonata's warranty was a strong selling point, but the Legacy had all-wheel drive. Final choice based on minor interior things. No options for the Sonata interior color: only black interior with the white/silver/grey exterior, and only beige with the blue/red exteriors. Also the faux wood interior molding on the Sonata beige trim looked cheap. Have had the Legacy for a month and very happy with it. Have now had the Legacy for over 6 months. Remains very comfortable with excellent handling and ride. I find the audio interface poor. The computer frequently does not pick up my voice, and the audio controls are not intuitive. Am a little disappointed with the gas mileage. Overall, I am happy with the car, as the safety features work very well (which was a major selling point of the car). Backup warning when a car is coming out of my site line has saved me a couple of times already. I really like the headlights lighting up the curb in the direction of a turn. Lane departure, automatic cruise control, and blind spot detectors all work flawlessly as well.
2.5i 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)
Update: At 24 months and 36,000 miles no repairs needed. The car gets about 28-30 mpg in mixed city/highway driving for my wife's daily commute and around town use. We have taken several long trips and have seen mileage as high as 38 mpg on the highway, though 32-35 is more typical at a constant 70 mph. The car is also very comfortable for four adults with luggage on long trips, and daily commutes -- hence "the pillow." Road holding in wet and icy conditions is outstanding. We are very pleased with the Subaru Legacy 2.5i. My wife traded in her 2005 Volvo S40 for this 2017 Subaru Legacy 2.5i mostly because the Volvo was getting too expensive to keep repairing -- Volvo parts are ridiculously expensive and the thing is so complicated they had to take the grill off to recharge the air conditioner. So the nice roomy layout under the Legacy's hood is a welcome switch, or so my mechanic tells me. You can actually see and reach the spark plugs without disassembling half the engine. This is actually our third Subaru, the previous two being a 1996 Outback and a 2012 Forester which we still have. The Legacy doesn't handle quite as well as the Volvo but they are such different cars it is not really fair to compare them. However, the Legacy does feel very planted on cloverleaf freeway entry ramps and it is easy to change and hold a line. I give credit to the symmetrical all-wheel-drive, which sounds like advertising but it really does eliminate torque steer. Physics, I guess.The Legacy is much better at absorbing the massive potholes and bumps all over the streets in Chicago and suburbs, which destroyed the Volvo's front end twice in 100,000 miles. The Subaru is at least a match for the Volvo in the rain and I am sure it will be much better in the snow as well. The Volvo was pretty good in snow for a front-wheel-drive car, but our other two Subarus were and are practically snowmobiles. This is a big reason why my wife chose the Subaru. based on previous experience with continuously variable transmissions, I was a little leery of this feature. However, the Legacy's CVT is very responsive and the car moves right out when you need it to. On my wife's 35 mile commute of about half highway and half streets the Legacy is getting about 29 mpg, which is about five or six better than the Volvo got on the same trip. We haven't taken any long road trips yet, but the dash says it hits 35 mpg on the freeway right after a fill up, and so far the dash mpg report has been pretty accurate, within about two percent of miles divided by gallons when we fill it up. The Legacy is much bigger inside than the Volvo, with a very comfortable back seat, though the Volvo had better seats. The lumbar cushion on the base Legacy are not adjustable, and tend to push me out a little farther than ideal on the bottom cushion, though this isn't a hug problem. Much, much better visibility out of the Legacy and the back up camera helps avoid backing into the garage wall. The Legacy is very solid and quiet, much more so than our 2012 Forester. Based on the excellent durability and reliability of our other two Subarus -- no repairs needed at all in 55,000 miles on the 2012 Forester, not even brake pads -- I am hoping this one won't need much work over the next 10 years or so.