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The 2020 Subaru Legacy is something of a revelation

Executive Wheels: Driving two 2020 Subaru models – the Legacy and the Ascent


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Just a few weeks ago I had two Subarus for back to back weeks, and I just want you to know that I had a great couple of weeks. I have said many times that Subaru should be the “Official Car Company of Colorado” because all of its models (except the BRZ) are perfect for the state – all wheel drive, good/great gas mileage, perfect for hauling all sorts of outdoor gear, great for dogs – and if you look around many, many people in the state have already embraced the brand by buying one.

As much as I loved the 2020 Subaru Ascent Limited LCE – a three-row SUV from Subaru – I am not going to dwell on it, but rather direct you to the review of the 2019 Subaru Ascent I wrote when the then-brand new vehicle was first released in the summer of 2018. The vehicle has not changed at all, I drove the same trim level this time around I drove then, so all of what I wrote then applies now. The only difference is that the base price on the 2019 Ascent Limited model was $38,995; this new 2020 model carries a base price of $39,345. A $350 increase, which is low by industry standards.

I should also mention that Subaru recalled certain Ascents manufactured between Feb. 22, 2019 and May 7, 2019 due to a faulty pressure sensor in the transmission. By all accounts, Subaru handled the recall the way it’s supposed to work, fixed faulty vehicles and altered manufacturing to stop the problem

2020 Subaru Legacy Touring XT

This 2020 Subaru Legacy is another matter, and something of a revelation. The Legacy went into production in 1989, so at more than 30 years we are now talking about a very venerable vehicle. For the first seven years the Legacy came in a sedan and a wagon, but after the launch of the Outback in 1996, has only been sold as a sedan.

And if ever there was an upholder for the benefits of a sedan, this Legacy could easily be the one.

This Legacy – in Crystal White Pearl – is a very handsome sedan that just about anyone would be proud to drive. Add in the fact that all Subarus (except the BRZ) feature all-wheel-drive (AWD) as standard – and this Legacy is one of the few sedans on the market with the feature – we are talking not only a good looking sedan, but perhaps the most versatile on the road.  

You can get a 2020 Legacy at a base price of $22,745 – including AWD, of course – and it comes with a 2.5-liter engine with 182 horsepower (respectable). But the Touring XT trim I drove features a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine with a whopping 260 horsepower that actually felt like more than that. This car can flat out scream if you want it to. Coupled with a high-torque Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission, this sedan also is smooth running and quite fun to drive. I don’t normally like CVT, but here it felt like a regular 6- or 8-speed transmission, as it was quite responsive, and I found it performed like a champ in the city and on the highway. Also, the handling on this car is excellent, which just added to the thrill of the drive.

This model – the Touring XT – is top-of-the-line for the Legacy, so it is loaded with just about everything you can imagine. The tan leather interior was outstanding in all respects -- the look, the feel and the ability to keep you alert on long drives. And, of course, they put heated seats in here – in both the front seats and the rear bench – and added a heated steering wheel to make winter no big deal. Plus, the seats are also ventilated for coolness in the warmer months.  

This car is over the top when it comes to technology – especially the technology related to safety. It used to be that Volvo was thought of as the “safe car company,” but that position has apparently been overtaken by Subaru. It has all the blind spot and cross traffic monitoring, and also a system called EyeSight that “monitors traffic movement, optimizes cruise control and warns you when you're swaying outside your lane.” And the Automatic Pre-Collision Braking feature “can even apply full braking force and bring you to a complete stop in emergency situations.” 

Then there is Subaru DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System, which “helps reduce distracted driving for both new and experienced drivers…an attentive co-pilot along for the ride, available to give a helpful alert if a driver becomes distracted or drowsy.” This car keeps an eye on you, somewhat creepily, and it beeps all the time.

There is plenty of room in this car, and it features a very large trunk, all good things. But I didn’t love everything. The climate control and heated seats operate through the rather large center-dash screen, and many of the operations are distracting. To change the heated seats settings, for instance, you have to tough the screen up to three times, and pay attention. This was not my favorite.

But the front camera is wonderful – rear-view camera in reverse is a given – and while distractive at times, all of the technology is very easy to use.  

So the bottom line here is $36,795 including $900 in destination and delivery. There were no add-ons because, as I said, everything you could imagine is here. That is a very competitive price, especially considering the AWD included, and this is a very, very nice car.

RATING: 4 WHEELS (OUT OF FOUR)

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Jeff Rundles

Jeff Rundles is a former editor of ColoradoBiz and a regular columnist. Email him at jrundles@cobizmag.com.

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