Vehicle Review: 2020 Subaru Legacy Limited XT

The newest Legacy provides buyers with exceptional value for the price, without excluding driving enjoyment.

Road testing new cars is always fun, but even more so when I get to jump behind the wheel of a car I’ve wanted to take for a spin. Such is the case with the 2020 Subaru Legacy Limited XT, a sleek sedan with, according to everything I’ve heard, plenty of power and personality. I’m a bit partial to Subaru vehicles. One of my favorite compact SUVs, based on size, practicality and features, is the Subaru Crosstrek. I’m hoping to be equally pleased by Legacy.

2020 Subaru Legacy Limited XT
2020 Subaru Legacy Limited XT. Photo by: Reed Berry

The Looks

At first glance, the car certainly has eye appeal. That puts a smile on my face and that’s a great way to start any road trip. When I say eye appeal, I don’t mean to imply that it’s the most stylish car on the road. It isn’t. But it does have an attractive, sculpted body design, and the big, bold 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels add to the car’s handsome appearance, as do the dual tailpipes.

Interior

As I enter the car, a little of the luster wears off. The interior of my test vehicle, while stylish in design, is a drab gray color that makes me feel as though I am driving nothing more than a rental car. A pop of color on the inside, and some different textures and finishes, would give this car a more upscale look and feel. The interior is intelligently designed and reasonably driver-friendly. I do, however, find both the USB port and auxiliary jack a bit awkward to access as I connect my phone.

2020 Subaru Legacy Sport interior
2020 Subaru Legacy Sport. Photo by: Subaru

The interior is quite comfortable, and there is no lack of space. Passenger volume has increased by nearly one cubic foot and rear passenger legroom has increased by 1.4 inches from the previous model. I always make it a point to jump from the front to the back seat (not while the car is moving, of course) to get the full passenger experience for each vehicle I test. Rear seat passengers in Legacy are treated not only to a comfortable space, but they also have heated seats, A/C vents, dual USB ports and a 12-volt power outlet.

But, now back in the driver seat, I am experiencing – at the risk of offending animal rights activists – a lot of leather. The perforated upholstery is leather trimmed, and the steering wheel and shift handle are both leather wrapped. The steering wheel is heated, as are the front seats. While I’m sure the heated features will be nice in some parts of the country, those of us who enjoy fairly pleasant year-round weather here in SoCal will probably not avail ourselves of them on a regular basis. The power moonroof, however, is another story. A push of a button brings the outside in with tons of natural light and fresh air.

Performance

As I start the engine and pull out into traffic, I’m eager to see what this car can do. Aside from a slight, barely noticeable lag on acceleration, the car has plenty of power. Not surprising, considering this vehicle is equipped with a 260-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder Boxer engine paired with CVT (continuously variable transmission.) Known for its exceptional efficiency and lightweight design, the boxer engine, according to Subaru, got its name because the movement of the engine’s pistons resemble the movement of a boxer’s fists in the horizontal plane.

2020 Subaru Legacy Sport front
2020 Subaru Legacy Sport. Photo by: Subaru

Acceleration is quick and confident and the handling is exceptional. Cornering is sharp and the car seems to handle well on a variety of different road surfaces, from relatively flat, well-maintained freeway lanes to bumpy back alleys. This car provides, without question, the smoothest, quietest ride of any vehicle I’ve driven in recent memory. The four-wheel independent suspension with MacPherson struts up front is certainly doing an admirable job, while sound insulation glass in the vehicle helps keep the noise level low.

Tech

One feature this car has, as do many newer vehicles, is the start/stop engine technology that shuts off the engine when you come to a stop and starts it again when you lift your foot from the brake. Honestly, I find it quite irritating and I doubt that I’ll ever get used to it or find myself actually appreciating it. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to disengage this feature in the vehicle settings, accessible from the touchscreen.

Speaking of the touchscreen, it is HUGE! This vehicle has an 11.6-inch high-resolution touchscreen which, overall, is quite useful, but it does have its pluses and minuses. I like the fact that they found a way to blend it into the design of the dashboard, rather than having it protrude from the top of the dash as in some vehicles. Many of the vehicle’s features that would normally be controlled with buttons on or around the dash are controlled from the touchscreen itself, and that’s quite handy.

2020 Subaru Legacy Limited XT
2020 Subaru Legacy Limited XT. Photo by: Reed Berry

On the flip side, however, the sheer size of the touchscreen makes it a bit of a driver distraction. I’m now torn between the sayings: “Bigger is better” and “Less is more.” The touchscreen does handle a wide variety of tasks, but do I really need something the size of a laptop screen to accomplish such tasks while driving? Also, new owners will be wise to take the time to familiarize themselves with the many touchscreen features prior to hitting the road, rather than trying to figure it out while driving. Technology is a wonderful thing but, when it comes to driving, high-tech features can result in distraction.

That being said, the touchscreen will be your new best friend because not only does it allow you to select your entertainment options, but also controls HVAC and other vehicle features, as well as TomTom navigation. Entertainment consists of AM/FM radio, SiriusXM All-Access Radio, streaming connectivity and HD Radio, as well as smartphone integration for your Apple or Android device.

Not only is the vehicle loaded with comfort and infotainment options, but it is probably one of the safest on the road, given the number of high-tech features. It has many of the features you will find on newer model cars, such as blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist. This vehicle also has the DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System, which actually uses facial recognition to determine if you are fatigued or distracted while driving, as well as EyeSight Driver Assist, which alerts the driver to take evasive action when the distance between two vehicles becomes too short and a crash is imminent.

In addition to the spacious passenger compartment, Legacy has a generous 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space, so there’s ample room for luggage and sports equipment for your next weekend outing or family road trip. And, should your travels take you to where you may need enhanced connectivity, Legacy has an available in-vehicle wi-fi hotspot for high-speed internet access.

The Verdict

Overall, the 2020 Subaru Legacy Limited XT provides quite a bit of driving enjoyment, as well as some very cool tech features, for a vehicle priced in the mid 30s. Legacy is available in six models, ranging from the standard Legacy with a starting price of $22,745 to the top-of-the-line Legacy Touring XT, starting at $35,895.

For more information on Subaru vehicles: www.subaru.com

2020 Subaru Legacy. Photo by: Subaru

2020 Subaru Legacy Limited XT

Price

MSRP: $34,195

Engine type:

DOHC 4-cylinder 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine

Horsepower:

260 @ 5600

Torque:

277 lb-ft @ 2000 – 4,800 rpm

Transmission type:

High-torque Lineartronic CVT (Continuously variable automatic)

Steering:

Electric power-assisted

Suspension:

Four-wheel independent suspension

Front: MacPherson strut; stabilizer bar

Rear: Double-wishbone; stabilizer bar

Brakes:

4-wheel disc ventilated front and rear brakes

ABS with electronic brake-force distribution

Wheels:

18 x 7.5-inch aluminum alloy wheels, black with machine finish

Wheelbase:

108.3”

Overall length:

190.6”

Overall width

72.4”

Overall height:

59.1

Curb weight:

3,779 lbs

EPA Fuel Economy Estimates (City / Highway / Combined):

24/32/27

Fuel Capacity:

18.5 gallons

 

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