You'd be forgiven if you thought the making its debut at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show is a refresh of the current car. In typical Subaru fashion, the exterior design of this new generation barely changes from the outgoing Legacy. But under the skin, Subaru gave its midsize sedan a thorough makeover. The Legacy arrives underpinned by Subaru's global platform and comes packed with the latest tech features and a new optional engine that could possibly make it a great sleeper.
Perhaps the biggest news regarding the 2020 is the addition of the 260-hp 2.4-liter turbo flat-four from the Ascent, which replaces the 3.6-liter flat-six. An updated 2.5-liter flat-four is standard on all but the Touring trim, which comes exclusively with the turbo engine. A CVT is the only transmission available; the Legacy XT features an updated heavy-duty unit that uses lower-viscosity oil to reduce horsepower loss by 32 percent, according to Subaru. The brand also says the XT is expected to get 24/32 mpg city/highway, which is a significant increase over the outgoing 3.6R. Models with the 2.5-liter flat-four are estimated to get 27/35 mpg, though official numbers from the EPA are still pending.
The 2020 Legacy features a version of Subaru's global platform, updated with 13 percent more high-strength steel, more structural adhesives, and a floor crossmember filled with a rigid yet lightweight foam material. Like other Subaru vehicles on the new global platform, the 2020 Legacy has a lower center of gravity, improved body rigidity, and a new suspension setup that includes control arms in the rear. All-wheel drive with active torque vectoring comes standard on all 2020 Legacy models.
A new iteration of Subaru's Starlink interface debuts on the 2020 Legacy and comes standard with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a rearview camera. An 11.6-inch touchscreen that adds a built-in navigation app from TomTom, NFC functionality, and split-screen capability is optional on the Premium, Sport, and Limited trims and standard on the Touring grade. A 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system will be available on higher trims. The Touring is the new range-topping Legacy model, and it comes standard with Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.
Subaru's EyeSight driver assistance suite comes standard on all models, and a front-view camera is available on the Touring grade. Other available active driver assistance features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear automatic emergency braking. The DriverFocus system that first debuted on the 2019 Forester will also be available on the 2020 Legacy. That feature uses an embedded camera on the dash to monitor the driver's condition.
We'll reserve judgment on the styling until we can see it in person, but at least for now we have a new turbo engine to look forward to.
The 2020 Subaru Legacy goes on sale this fall, and pricing will be announced sometime before it hits dealers.