How Does The 2020 Subaru Legacy Stack Up Against Its 2019MY Predecessor?

Pass by these the latest two generations of the Subaru Legacy sedan on the street and you could be forgiven for thinking that they’re the same vehicles.

Both the all-new 2020 Legacy and the 2019 Legacy are tediously similar in terms of design, and if you’re not up to date with your Subarus, figuring out which is which without looking at minuscule details or interiors could be problematic. Still, there are some nuances to consider.

Go ahead and find the differences

If you’re really trying to separate them, one could argue that the 2020 Legacy looks a bit more elegant than its predecessor, thanks to less angular design elements. It also has wider fenders and a higher trunk surface, which Subaru says results in a more dynamic stance.

Yet, it’s the 2019 Legacy that has slightly more aggressive detailing. It’s a little bit sharper, and fans of older Subaru models might say that it has a more imposing front end than the new car. As for their rear ends, while certainly not identical, you’d be hard pressed to even call the 2020 Legacy’s tail-end design an evolutionary one. It’s more like a sidestep with a pinch of extra style.

Tech is key

There’s no question that the newer Legacy has the better interior. The materials are of a higher quality, the overall ambiance is more elegant and the onboard tech is superior.

Last year, Subaru made the Legacy the EyeSight driver assistance system standard, featuring adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and throttle management, as well as lane departure warning and lane keep assist. Also new was the Starlink infotainment system with a 6.5 inch display, among others. In fact, if you opted for the right spec, you could get an even larger display, measuring 8-inches.

The 2020 Legacy on the other hand comes with a much more impressive 11.6-inch tablet style full HD infotainment display (standard on Premium, Sport and Limited spec models), Starlink in-vehicle tech with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Wi-Fi connectivity, audio streaming, Sirius XM radio, over-the-air updates and more.

As for what the EyeSight system does on the new car, it provides you with Lane Centering as standard, a DriverFocus Distraction mitigation system, front view monitor, LED steering responsive headlights, reverse automatic braking, plus blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert.

Updated engine range

The 2019 Legacy was available with either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Boxer with 175 HP (177 PS) and 174 lb-ft (235 Nm) of torque, or a 3.6-liter six-cylinder unit with 256 HP (259 PS) and 247 lb-ft (334 Nm) of torque – both naturally aspirated. The former had an EPA estimated city/highway fuel consumption rating of 25/34 mpg (9.4 / 6.9 l/100 km), whereas the latter could only manage 20/28 mpg (11.7 / 8.4 l/100 km).

On the latest model you get a revised version of that same 2.5-liter boxer unit, good for 182 HP (184 PS) and 176 lb-ft (238 Nm) of torque, as well as a new 2.4-liter turbocharged engine that produces 260 HP (263 PS) and 277 lb-ft (375 Nm) of torque. The 2020 Legacy with the 2.5-liter engine will average 27/35 mpg (8.7 / 6.7 l/100 km) in the city and on the highway respectively, while the 2.4-liter turbo model has city/highway ratings of 24/32 mpg (9.8 / 7.3 l/100 km).

All things considered, the 2020 Legacy should be a much tougher competitor for the likes of the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or the Mazda6 going forward, especially knowing how much mid-size sedans have grown recently when it comes to onboard tech and overall performance.

  • no25

    How to make the perfect looking Legacy:
    -interior from the 2020
    -front end from the 2019MY
    -rear end from the 2020
    -profile from 2020
    -cupholders from 2019MY (yes, cupholders – I don’t even see any in the 2020 unless that gaping hole is one)

    • NoMan2015

      I think they’re in that gaping hole, but yes I agree 100%. I was about to post something nearly identical (taking some parts from the previous gen and others from the 2020).

    • Did you really mean, perfect? I think it could be so much more perfect.

    • PhilMcGraw

      The gaping hole is 2 cupholders. They look to be about the same size in terms of each hole, but I will give you credit in terms of they are not as spread out as the previous model year. So if you have one of those larger McDonald’s size drinks it would be a tight fit having two in there. You can’t see it as well on that photo above but I just looked at more photos of the interior and you can clearly see it there.

  • MarkoS

    Say what you will, its a nice sedan. The design may be cautiously evolutionary, but it is significant. Nice work here Subaru, now for that Forester Refresh and that turbo with it.

    • Compared to Subaru’s concept vehicles this is too cautious.

    • Matt

      ‘Significant’? More like significantly dated. It’s actually incredibly underwhelming.

      • PhilMcGraw

        The exterior does indeed leave something to be desired BUT you do have to give Subaru huge credit for the interior. Subaru used to be the last ones to adopt any sort of interior upgrades. I mean just to put this into perspective: it took Subaru until the introduction of the Ascent last year to introduce cooled seats! Think about that for a second, nearly every manufacturer for years now has had cooled seats. Subaru is always really cautious with infotainment systems and getting rid of buttons. So I’m sorry but I have to give them huge credit for the interior upgrades in this because Subaru usually takes about 5-6 years to catch up in the interior department.

  • You have to look really close though.

    • Bash

      Here is the thing, I only looks close enough at the cars that I care and like. It’s a car, not a chick. lol

  • LJ

    Looks like the love child of the previous gen model and a Mazda 6.

    • Brett Scott

      Just thinking the exact same thing. Which to me makes it an improved design. Nicer looking than the imprezas update from a couple years ago

  • TB

    The only difference I see is the interior…

  • WalthamDan

    well, the interior looks nice at least

  • The new one definitely has the nicer interior but the exterior design makes me yearn for the 4th gen model.

    • ACM1899

      Couldn’t agree with you more. Since the 4th Gen, I feel like the exterior styling has been a huge let-down.

    • DetrinKD

      Honestly, I feel like they took the 2019 and injected some 4th gen in it. I don’t know what exactly makes me think of the 4th gen, but I see it in there somewhere.

    • KAG25

      4th gen was the good looking exterior, and in the GT form.

  • YUDHA BAGASKARA

    even the design change the evolutionary, i’d take the previous gen

    • Krisnadi Imam

      i like the interior on the new one much better, but i still prefer the dials on my aircon… im torn between the new interior vs the old center console stack

  • Marty

    Subaru is stuck in the Saab trap, were the new version catches up with what the previous version should have looked like from the start, so everything always feels like five years dated.

  • charlotteharry57

    One thing that I DON’T like on the ’20 is the smaller side windows. Subaru touts itself on visibility; hope that’s not going by the wayside. I’d really have liked this article to have compared dimensions of the 2 gens. Is the new one longer? Wider? Lower? Etc.

    • KAG25

      All the new cars they have raised the belt line for safety, so small windows is the normal now.

  • Stealth333

    I like the old interior better. This one one looks lame with the big screen. Also cup holder location is not comfortable compared to older model.

  • Paul

    I tend to think the new one is a bit more upscale looking.

  • MayTheBestCarWin05

    Subaru makes really good cars, evidenced by their sales continuing to rise…..simply a great bang for your buck. Plus the value of AWD. With all that said…..their cars do nothing for me.

    They fill me with an overwhelming since of ‘meh’. I wish they didn’t…maybe its just me?

    • Ben

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Subaru is the Khaki pants of the car world. You can’t crap on them, but nobody stops and breaks their neck saying “OMG! Did you see those awesome khakis that guy had on!?”

  • Navy Pier Moroccan ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Damn, Subaru has done something more conservative evolutionary than Peter Schreyer at KIA when he designed and developed the current, (fifth) generation, KIA Optima, and the previous, (fourth-generation), KIA Optima when he did subtle but evolutionary styling at the introduction of the 2016 KIA Optima debut. Even I, an enthusiast, will have a very difficult time figuring out which Legacy is a 2019 or 2020 from a distant seemingly how I was when the W222, W205, and the W213 vehicles debuted.

    • Bill Nguyen

      Someone got paid to come up with this “new” design? That’s a job I want!

  • Ben

    “Virtually Identical”
    -Mike “goldie” Goldberg

  • Jo Bo

    Sad when a new car looks like it’s ten years old.

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