2018 Subaru Legacy

2018 Subaru Legacy Review

Along with standard all-wheel drive, the Legacy has safety and tech features that deserve a look.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

Thanks to the Legacy's all-wheel-drive system, Subaru's midsize sedan makes a lot of sense for those living in areas where the weather frequently makes the road slippery. But its available tech and safety features will appeal to anyone.

All-wheel drive is standard on every Legacy. This is the car's biggest differentiator among its competitors; only a few other cars in this class offer it. Otherwise, the Legacy features roomy seating, a comfortable road-going demeanor and the latest in-car technology. Every 2018 Legacy has a 6.5-inch display with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. A larger 8-inch system that supports multitouch and navigation is optional.

The main drawback to the Legacy is engine choice. The Legacy's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is economical but not very powerful. You get more power from the 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine, but it's still not as quick as other sedans with upgraded engines, and it's thirsty. Overall, though, we like the Legacy. Even if you live in a place where it's sunny 365 days a year, the car's mix of features, interior room and safety features makes it a worthwhile choice.



what's new

Revised for 2018, the Subaru Legacy has freshened front and rear styling, higher-quality interior materials, a larger 6.5-inch standard display with smartphone integration, and a more powerful air-conditioning system. Subaru says it's also retuned the Legacy for smoother acceleration, a more comfortable ride quality, sportier steering feel, and reduced wind and road noise at highway speeds.


we recommend

We recommend the 2.5i Premium trim for most Legacy buyers. It comes with most of the features you're going to want or need, such as a power driver front seat, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and the Legacy's upgraded 8-inch touchscreen. Just make sure to get the Premium with the optional EyeSight system that includes some useful and important driver safety aids.




trim levels & features

The 2018 Subaru Legacy is a five-passenger midsize sedan available with two engines and five trim levels: the base 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Sport, 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited. Legacy 2.5i models have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (175 hp and 174 lb-ft) while the 3.6R has a 3.6-liter six-cylinder (256 hp and 246 lb-ft). All Legacys come with a continuously variable automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

The 2.5i feature set includes 17-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a rearview camera, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch touchscreen interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a four-speaker sound system with a USB port, an auxiliary audio jack, a CD player, HD and satellite radio and an iPod interface.

The 2.5i Premium adds 17-inch alloy wheels, an All-Weather package (heated front seats, heated mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer), dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, an additional USB port and six speakers for the sound system.

The 2.5i Sport is pretty similar to the Premium but has 18-inch wheels, LED foglights, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a variety of exterior and interior trim flourishes.

The 2.5i Limited reverts to the Premium's styling but makes certain safety tech standard, such as a blind-spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert. Also standard are an upgraded suspension, power-adjustable front seats, driver-seat memory settings, heated rear seats, leather upholstery and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. With the 3.6R Limited, you also get the six-cylinder engine and turn-adapting LED headlights.

Optional for the Legacy Premium and above is Subaru's EyeSight safety package. Depending on the trim, it can bundle blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, and front and rear collision warning with emergency automatic braking. A navigation system is also optional.



The 2.5i feature set includes 17-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a rearview camera, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch touchscreen interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a four-speaker sound system with a USB port, an auxiliary audio jack, a CD player, HD and satellite radio and an iPod interface.

The 2.5i Premium adds 17-inch alloy wheels, an All-Weather package (heated front seats, heated mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer), dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, an additional USB port and six speakers for the sound system.

The 2.5i Sport is pretty similar to the Premium but has 18-inch wheels, LED foglights, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a variety of exterior and interior trim flourishes.

The 2.5i Limited reverts to the Premium's styling but makes certain safety tech standard, such as a blind-spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert. Also standard are an upgraded suspension, power-adjustable front seats, driver-seat memory settings, heated rear seats, leather upholstery and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. With the 3.6R Limited, you also get the six-cylinder engine and turn-adapting LED headlights.

Optional for the Legacy Premium and above is Subaru's EyeSight safety package. Depending on the trim, it can bundle blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, and front and rear collision warning with emergency automatic braking. A navigation system is also optional.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of the 2015 Subaru Legacy Premium (2.5L flat-4 | CVT automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Subaru Legacy has received some revisions, including suspension and steering changes, larger and more capable infotainment screens, and more extensive noise reduction measures. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Subaru Legacy.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

driving

Acceleration is tepid from the Legacy's four-cylinder engine, but it's pretty smooth and relatively quiet. The continuously variable automatic transmission performs "shifts" so it feels more like a traditional automatic. Handling and steering are acceptable.

acceleration

The 2.5-liter engine makes 175 hp. Expect a zero-to-60-mph time of about 9.5 seconds. This Legacy is one of the slowest cars in the class, and it feels like it out on the road.

braking

Strong performance at our track, stopping in just 114 feet with all-season tires. The brakes never felt all that strong on the road, with a spongy pedal, but they were easy to modulate to come to a smooth stop.

steering

Steering has an intuitive operation and good weighting, and it feels natural in its action. The Legacy turns into corners nicely, but not so quick that it's abrupt.

handling

This Legacy is no sport sedan, but it has easy-to-control manners, despite considerable body roll around turns.

comfort

Seat comfort is excellent front and rear, and we were especially impressed with the soft and grippy cloth material. The cabin is fairly quiet. The engine is subdued in most situations, but it can get loud at high rpm.

seat comfort

The front seats have good cushioning, covered with soft, high-quality cloth. Minimal lateral support. The door and center armrests have thick padding. The rear seats have good comfort and nice upper-back support, although the seatback rake is a bit upright.

noise & vibration

The Legacy has a quiet highway ride with minimal tire noise and barely perceptible engine noise. The CVT is good about not pegging revs during acceleration, which is nice because the engine can get thrashy at high rpm.

interior

It's an airy cabin, with not only ample room for passengers but also slim roof pillars for better visibility. There are plenty of handy small-item storage bins, too.

utility

Cargo volume is generous due to the airy trunk. On the inside, numerous pockets and compartments ensure there's someplace for all your personal belongings.

small-item storage

The door pockets are narrow but feature bottle holders. The good-size front bin has a security door. The armrest bin is easily accessible; the deep compartment in front of the shifter easily holds a phone and wallet.

cargo space

The trunk opens wide to reveal a large opening and holds a decent 15 cubic feet. The rear seats are split 60/40, with a seatback release located in the trunk. The center pass-through is wide but not tall.

technology

With a large standard screen and smartphone mirroring for both Apple and Android phones, the Legacy also features Bluetooth and various apps that use your phone's data connection.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.