Comfortable, practical, and fun to drive – especially when equipped with its available turbocharged engine – the 2023 Subaru Legacy ticks all the boxes without attracting too much attention.
It’s packed with the latest safety features, an impressive infotainment system, and an all-wheel drive system that maximizes traction without exacting a punishing toll at the fuel pump. With a restyled front end for 2023, the Legacy is just a little bolder than before without going overboard.
Although Subarus aren’t known for being sexy, they also aren’t hard on the eyes. For 2023, the Legacy gets a gentle makeover with a new front end that features a more prominent grille and redesigned LED headlights. Meanwhile, the top-of-the-line GT trim tested here adds a red stripe across the grille, but that’s about as aggressive as the Legacy gets in the looks department.
Inside, there’s a definite upscale look and feel, with a pleasing colour scheme and quality materials. A massive 11.6-inch touchscreen serves as the focal point, and it gives the Legacy a bit of a Tesla-esque feel – largely due to its vertical orientation.
Subaru has a reputation for safety, and the Legacy fits right in with the rest of the family by offering a complete roster of advanced safety and driver assistance systems across the lineup. Twin cameras tucked behind the windshield serve as the foundation for forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking functionality, as well as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping, all of which is standard. The system now includes evasive steering assist that can help avoid potential collisions at speeds as fast as 80 km/h.
Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic is standard, too, while the GT trim adds a wide-angle camera behind the windshield. The expanded field of view of the wide-angle lens allows the system to recognize pedestrians and cyclists a bit sooner. The 2023 Legacy gets a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Apart from a few nice-to-have features, the Legacy is very well equipped. Even the base Touring trim comes with a long list of standard features including LED tail-, fog, and headlights; a sunroof; dual-zone automatic climate control; an auto-dimming rearview mirror; a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with two-way lumbar support; heated front seats; and a heated steering wheel. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard across the lineup, as is wireless phone charging, but the smartphone-mirroring system didn’t always connect during testing.
Notable upgrades from the base version include built-in navigation, a CD player (yes, you read that right), 12-speaker stereo (versus the six-speaker system that’s standard), 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather upholstery, and ventilated front seats in the GT trim.
Both front- and rear-seat occupants will find it easy to get in and out of the Legacy. Thanks to the 10- or 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, as well as the tilting and telescoping steering wheel, the driver will have no problem finding just the right sitting position, even on long road trips.
The infotainment system is easy to navigate, and connecting a phone to the system is simple and intuitive (it’s just the dropped connection that proved pesky during testing). Everything feels like it’s in the right place, and there was never a need to scramble for the owner’s manual to figure out how to make something work during testing. The interior is well laid out, well designed, and easy to use.
Compared to other midsize sedans, the Legacy offers more front legroom than the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, and more rear legroom than the Camry. Trunk capacity for the Legacy is on par with what the Camry offers (428 L), while the Accord has a bit more room (473 L). In practical terms, there should be enough room in the trunk for the weekly run to the grocery store, as well as the space you’ll need for luggage when heading off on a family trip.
Seats are firm, yet comfortable, and they provide support in all the right places. Limited and GT models come with an extendable thigh cushion for the driver’s seat. Historically, most Subarus offer a bit of a softer ride. however, this GT tester came off the assembly line with a sport-tuned suspension that tightened up the ride nicely while remaining comfortable.
Touring and Limited models come equipped with a 182-hp engine, while the GT gets a 260-hp turbocharged unit. The latter has a maximum torque of 277 lb-ft, which kicks in from 2,000 to 4,800 rpm.
With that much output on tap, along with all-wheel traction, the Legacy GT is eager and able to pass other vehicles effortlessly at highway speeds, and is also quick off the stop on city streets. Regardless of engine, the Legacy uses an automatic continuously-variable transmission (CVT), while the GT adds selectable drive modes. When set to so-called sport-sharp, throttle response is more direct, lower gears are held longer, and the driver’s smile is that much wider.
Driving Feel: 9/10
Whether dropping the kids off at school, commuting to work, or travelling for hours on a road trip, it’s tough to find fault with the way the Legacy handles. The GT’s 260-hp turbocharged engine is responsive and eager, although it does suffer from a touch of turbo lag. The sport-tuned suspension practically eliminates body roll, and with all four tires digging into the pavement, the Legacy handles corners like an Olympic athlete.
Fuel Economy: 9/10
According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Legacy models with the 2.5L engine are rated at 8.8 L/100 km in the city, 6.7 on the highway, and 7.8 combined. The turbo engine comes in at 10.1 around town, 7.5 on the highway, and 9.0 combined. Consumption was closer to a combined 10.0 L/100 km during this test. Both engines run on regular-grade gasoline.
In comparison, all-wheel-drive Toyota Camry models are comparable (8.2–8.4 L/100 km combined), as are those of the Nissan Altima that features all-wheel drive across its lineup (7.9–8.1 combined). Likewise, all-wheel-drive versions of the Kia K5 are similar (8.2 combined).
You can get a very-well-equipped Legacy Touring for $35,224 (including a non-negotiable freight charge of $1,850). Step up to the Limited and you’re looking at $39,224, while the top-of-the-line Legacy GT will set you back $44,224 before tax.
An all-wheel-drive Camry will set you back between $35,604 to $41,564 before tax, depending on trim, while the Altima ranges from $32,985 to $39,320. The Kia K5 with all-wheel drive is priced between $32,184 and $39,084.
There’s a lot to like about the 2023 Subaru Legacy. Packed with advanced safety features, all-wheel drive, and a host of desirable creature comforts and technologies, it offers a great ride and good value, along with peace-of-mind.
|Engine Cylinders||Turbo H4|
|Peak Horsepower||260 hp @ 5,600 rpm|
|Peak Torque||277 lb-ft @ 2,000–4,800 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||10.1 / 7.5 / 9.0 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||428 L|
|Model Tested||2023 Subaru Legacy GT|
|Price as Tested||$43,945|