The 2020 Subaru Legacy Is Full of Consumer Comforts, But the Drive Leaves Us Flat
Subaru’s seventh-generation, more mainstream mid-size 2020 Legacy sedan comes chockablock with technology and features and gizmos and gadgets, especially in this top trimmed Touring XT trim. It’s lacking lot of that old-school Subaru charm we’ve come to appreciate, though. From the company that builds the STI, the closest thing you can get to “the good old days” in a new car, the Legacy is a significant departure.
Dominating the interior’s landscape is a 11.6-inch touchscreen in the center console. It’s set up like a tablet with several multi-level functions built in, including features like navigation and several different ways of connecting your smartphone to the car — Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, USB ports, etc. But it also manages tasks like HVAC controls and turning on the heated front seats (standard on the Touring, where they are ventilated as well). That means to adjust the heated seats requires selecting the seat icon on the screen, having a new screen open with the actual seat-heat settings in a different place on the screen, making the selection, and then closing the screen…all at a varying pace. The menus load quickly sometimes and not so quickly at other times.
This is both inconvenient and distracting. It’s also ironic because the 2020 Legacy now has a system called DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation, which is standard on XT models and optional on Limited trims. This system uses a camera aimed at the driver and issues a warning if it thinks you’re not focused on the road. It then scolds you on the instrument cluster and 11.6-inch screen…which I know because I was looking at the screen trying to get the heated seats on. It also beeped when I looked at the side view mirror for too long.
Many car buyers, maybe even most, may very well see these things as features, just as they would Subaru’s standard driver assist package called Eyesight. Eyesight includes adaptive cruise control, lane centering assist, pre-collision braking, and lane departure and sway warning. These are not, however, the features enthusiasts seek.
On the plus side, Subaru builds the 2020 Legacy on the new and noticeably stiffer global platform. This latest sedan rolls down the road much quieter than its predecessor, and is free of weird motions over bumps and broken pavement. Wind noise, too, disturbs the cabin less than before, making it easier to carry a conversation on the interstate.
And the new-for-the-Legacy XT turbocharged 2.4-liter horizontal-four (boxer engine) pumps out a healthy 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. You feel the torque right away and it hustles around this 3,800 lb sedan with ease. Considering that, fuel economy is a respectable 24 mpg in the city, 32 on the highway. 27 combined. Not class leading, but competitive.
Unfortunately, fuel economy is partially due to using a continuously variable transmission, or CVT. The best you can hope for with a CVT is that it goes unnoticed; this one gets noticed. The CVT overreacts and gives you surges in acceleration with just light tip-ins of the throttle. More accurately, the CVT is okay, but Subaru’s throttle map is all out of whack. Either way, it is not a linear power delivery, which takes away from an otherwise more refined-feeling car. The default automatic stop/start is also extremely jarring; the car vibrates noticeably when the boxer engine comes back to life, and even jumps slightly. Turning it off requires at least 5 taps on the center screen, navigating deep into a tertiary sub-menu and scrolling through options; the whole sequence has to be performed every time the Legacy is restarted.
What you have here is the kind of car that is becoming more and more common: It’s full of features, but light on both driving feel and user-friendliness. I know Subaru is capable of both, but the Japanese brand apparently came to the same conclusion as most other manufacturers: The general buying public does not care.
On Sale: now
Base Price: $23,645 As-Tested Price: $36,795
Powertrain: turbocharged 2.4-liter H4, CVT*, AWD
Output: 260 hp at 5,600 rpm, 277 lb-ft of torque between 2,000-4,800 rpm
Wheelbase: 108.3 inches
Length/Width/Height: 190.6/72.4/59.1 inches
Curb Weight: 3,790 lbs
Fuel Economy: 24/32/27 mpg (city/highway/combined)
Pros: Comfortable, Spacious, AWD is nice for Michigan winters
Cons: non-linear throttle. CVT. DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System a nuisance
*Continuously Variable Transmission
Source: Read Full Article