Subaru introduced the new seventh-generation 2020 Legacy sedan at the Chicago Auto Show. New features including standard EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, a tablet-style high-definition 11.6-inch SUBARU STARLINK multimedia screen, DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System, and new XT models with 260 horsepower mean the 2020 Legacy offers greater technology, performance, safety and refinement than ever before.
Built on the Subaru Global Platform, which offers increased safety, dynamics and quietness not to mention reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), the Legacy will be available in Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, Limited XT and Touring XT models when it goes on sale at Subaru retailers this fall. New XT designations mark the return of a turbocharged engine to the Legacy lineup, thanks to a 260-horsepower 2.4-liter direct-injection SUBARU BOXER engine, while other models sport an enhanced 182-horsepower 2.5-liter direct-injection BOXER engine. Every 2020 Legacy features a Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), auto stop/start and Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with Active Torque Vectoring.
STOUT STRUCTURE AND SAFETY
Introduced for 2017, the Subaru Global Platform has been optimized for the midsize Legacy, boasting a structure that is 70-percent stiffer in both torsional and front-suspension rigidity and 100-percent stiffer in both front lateral flexural and rear subframe rigidity compared to the previous Legacy’s platform. Notable contributors to the increased stiffness include a 13-percent jump in ultra-high-tensile-strength steel, a 371-percent increase in structural adhesive (compared to initial iteration of the Subaru Global Platform) and, for the first time in a Subaru, a floor crossmember that is filled with a highly rigid and lightweight two-part foam material. In another Subaru first, the Legacy utilizes a full inner frame construction in which only the outer panels are welded to the structure after the entire body framework is assembled, unlike a conventional manufacturing process in which the upper and under bodies are assembled separately and then joined. This new inner frame construction is significantly stiffer and lighter than the previous Legacy’s conventional structure.
The Legacy’s stiffened platform pays multiple dividends in the real world. Along with a strengthened suspension and lowered center of gravity, the Legacy’s improved body rigidity provides more responsive steering and handling, smoother and quieter ride, and heightened hazard avoidance in emergency situations. Crash protection, too, is markedly improved, as the new body absorbs over 40-percent more energy in front/side crashes than the current model. When a crash is unavoidable, the Legacy protects with eight standard airbags, including a driver knee airbag. Subaru expects the Legacy to achieve top safety scores when it is tested later this year, including a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Passive safety is only part of the protection equation, and the Legacy once again leads its segment in active safety technology. Standard on all trims is EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, now equipped for the first time in the U.S. with Lane Centering Function. When using EyeSight’s Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control feature, Lane Centering Function provides steering assist when the vehicle veers outside its lane, helping the driver maintain a direct path. DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System, optional on Limited and standard on both XT trims, uses a dedicated camera and facial recognition software to identify signs of driver fatigue or driver distraction. If the system detects the driver is distracted or dozing off, a warning will display on both the combination meter and 11.6-inch screen to alert driver and passengers.
In another Legacy first, the 2020 model offers a Front View Monitor. Standard on the Touring XT, the Front View Monitor captures images within the driver’s blind spots in front of the vehicle and displays a 180-degree view on the 11.6-inch display, providing safety and assistance when checking road conditions ahead or parking. Additional available driver-assist technologies include LED Steering Responsive Headlamps (Limited, Touring), Reverse Automatic Braking and Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
For the first time since 2012, the Legacy lineup will feature a turbocharged engine. Standard on XT models, the 2.4-liter turbocharged BOXER engine delivers brisk acceleration and robust all-around performance, with 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 277 lb-ft of torque from 2,000-4,800 rpm. Mated to a high-torque Lineartronic CVT with manual mode and steering wheel paddle control switches, the 2.4-liter BOXER launches Legacy XT from 0-60 mph in an estimated 6.1 seconds. Fuel economy for the turbo is equally impressive, with a manufacturer’s estimation of 24/32 mpg city/highway. For 2020, the Legacy’s CVT hydraulic system features a lower viscosity oil that reduces horsepower loss by 32 percent compared to the previous model’s CVT, helping the new model achieve both higher fuel economy and greater driving performance.
Opting for a non-turbo Legacy doesn’t mean sacrificing rewarding performance. The standard naturally aspirated engine is the thoroughly revised 2.5-liter BOXER that debuted in the 2019 Forester. With direct injection and nearly 90 percent of its parts new, the 2.5-liter puts out 182 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 176 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. Paired with a Lineartronic CVT, the 2.5-liter BOXER delivers estimated 0-60-mph acceleration of 8.4 seconds and, with the assistance of standard Active Grille Shutters, manufacturer’s estimated fuel economy of 27/35 mpg city/highway.
Complementing the more powerful and refined powertrains is an all-new suspension that is lighter, stronger and more responsive. The front suspension utilizes MacPherson struts with new internal rebound spring, aluminum lower L-arms and new 23mm hollow stabilizer bar. In back, the rear suspension features a double-wishbone layout with subframe, coil springs and new 19mm hollow stabilizer bar. Combined with grippy V-rated all-season tires on 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels and four-wheel ventilated disc brakes, the 2020 Legacy has achieved the highest levels of dynamic performance and ride comfort in its history.
UPSCALE, TECH-LADEN INTERIOR
Front and center, and highlighting Legacy’s upscale interior, is an all-new tablet-style 11.6-inch Full HD multimedia display, the largest, most advanced infotainment screen ever in a Subaru. Standard on Premium, Sport and Limited, the 11.6-inch Multimedia Plus offers direct touch controls for multimedia, HVAC and vehicle settings, and includes Near Field Communication to its list of features. Like with a smartphone, app icons can be moved and configured based on personal preference. The top-of-the-line 11.6-inch Multimedia with Navigation adds navigation powered by TomTom (3-year free map updates) and voice activated navigation, and is optional for Premium, Sport and Limited and standard for Touring. A Subaru-first split-screen display can simultaneously show two types of information – e.g., navigation and audio – for improved user interaction. Both the Multimedia Plus and Multimedia with Navigation feature two rotary dial knobs, including one for audio volume. The Base model also gets an all-new multimedia system, with dual 7.0-inch Wide Video Graphics Array (WVGA) displays that split multimedia and HVAC controls.
SUBARU STARLINK In-Vehicle Technology offers an integrated cockpit experience by allowing the driver to control entertainment and vehicle settings through a large touchscreen display. All STARLINK multimedia systems for the 2020 Legacy offer a high-resolution touchscreen; new on-screen controls for audio, HVAC and vehicle features; combination meter integration; smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay™, Android™ Auto and new STARLINK SmartDeviceLink™ apps; Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio streaming connectivity; AM/FM stereo; Rear Vision Camera; SiriusXM® All Access Radio (4-month free subscription) and SiriusXM Travel Link® (3-year free subscription); HD Radio® and over-the-air updates as standard.
For the first time in Legacy, available in-car Wi-Fi connectivity provides smooth internet access via high-speed LTE communications, broadening the range of entertainment options available to rear-seat occupants using smart devices. For safety, security and convenience, SUBARU STARLINK Connected Services offers three packages that are among the most affordable in the industry. The STARLINK Safety Plus package includes SOS emergency assistance, enhanced roadside assistance, automatic collision notification, maintenance notifications, monthly vehicle health report and diagnostic alerts (3-year free subscription). For even greater peace of mind, the STARLINK Safety Plus & Security Plus package adds remote engine start with climate control and heated seats (on models equipped with Keyless Access and push-button start), stolen vehicle recovery service, vehicle security alarm notification, remote lock/unlock, remote horn and lights, remote vehicle locator and parenting features including boundary, speed and curfew alerts (6-month free trial). The STARLINK Concierge package adds the convenience of in-vehicle assistance with restaurant and hotel reservations, purchasing tickets for sporting/theater events and scheduling service appointments.
Framing the large multimedia screen is a new multilayer instrument panel featuring a soft-touch wrapped surface with available real double-stitching for a high-quality appearance. The wrapped surface material and stitching employ the same color combination as the seats and door trim for a uniform look and feel. Limited and Touring models feature 10-way power front seats with lumbar support, adjustable cushion length (driver only) and heated front/rear seats. For 2020, seat heaters come with three levels of temperature adjustment as well as extended coverage up to the shoulders for improved comfort. Touring models add ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel, with the latter optional on Limited. An available 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, with Clari-Fi compressed audio restoration technology and GreenEdge high-efficiency speakers and amplifier, delivers premium sound.
Enjoying the high-end audio can be fully realized thanks to a serene cabin that is almost 3 dB quieter at highway speeds. Subaru engineers worked extensively to find ways to reduce unwanted noise coming into the cabin, fitting the Legacy with new door weather strips that feature a baffle in the mid-section and dual lips on the roof side for improved quietness. Even the weather strip mounting structure was modified to reduce mounting variation and improve sound insulation. Sound-insulated glass, which uses a sound-insulating inner film for the windshield and front-door glass, has been adopted, while glass thickness all around has been increased for class-leading quietness.
Comfort and convenience in the Legacy have been optimized, with increases in front shoulder room, front/rear hip room and rear legroom. For powering and pairing personal devices, passengers can utilize four USB ports (two front, two rear) plus one auxiliary input jack in front. Further, all Legacy models except for the Base receive two 12-volt DC power sockets (one in center console, one in glove box).
Following a “Dynamic x Solid” philosophy, Subaru designers incorporated a “Bold in Movement” concept when penning the new Legacy. The result is an expressive, sleek silhouette that appears to be in motion, even when stopped. With larger thickness in profile panel surfaces and a thicker appearance from the raised trunk surface, which has a smooth connection to the C-pillar, the Legacy embodies solid toughness and a dynamic active image. Wider fenders emphasize tire and wheel presence, while a frameless hexagonal grille and a lower grille intake that is molded to evoke the image of an aircraft add width and sportiness to the Legacy’s aggressive stance. A reworked side-mirror design improves not only appearance but also aerodynamics and quietness. The side mirrors can also be interlocked with seat position memory, reducing the time required to adjust mirrors before driving. In addition, the Touring trim offers power folding and reverse interlocked tilt-down functions for the side mirrors.
Epitomizing Legacy’s “Bold in Movement” concept are new Touring and updated Sport models. The Touring, standard with the 2.4-liter turbo BOXER, leverages luxurious appointments inside and out, including genuine Nappa leather (a Subaru first), high-gloss black molding for the pillars, chrome plating decorated door handles and satin tone plated side mirrors. The Sport, standard with the 2.5-liter BOXER, boasts a performance-oriented exterior that features an exclusive rear bumper, front grille with high-gloss black bar, high-gloss black side mirrors, trunk lid spoiler and dark metallic 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the Sport comes with aluminum pedals as well as red stitching on the instrument panel, door trim, seats, shift lever boot and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Sport also adopts an SI-DRIVE switch for varying engine output characteristics between I (Intelligent) and S# (Sport Sharp) modes, with S# offering increased acceleration response.
The Legacy wouldn’t be a Subaru if it didn’t offer the go-anywhere usability that has long been a brand hallmark. With 15.1 cu ft of cargo capacity and 1.4 inches of additional cargo floor length, the trunk in the 2020 Legacy can comfortably hold four full-size roller bags, giving it the functionality to match that of many small crossovers. For additional cargo versatility, the Legacy offers standard mounting brackets on the roof for quick installation of a rack, box or tray, making it easy to load surfboards, canoes and other equipment.
The 2020 Legacy will arrive at Subaru retailers this fall, with pricing announced closer to the on-sale date.