Buyer's Guide

2021 Subaru Legacy
Select a Different Model (6 Available): Base Sedan
Fuel Economy $ 27 / 35 mpg
Horsepower 182@5,800
Torque 176@4,400
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2021 Subaru Legacy MODEL OVERVIEW


  • Comfortable ride
  • Standard AWD
  • Solid safety ratings


  • Anonymous exterior design
  • Finicky infotainment system
  • No hybrid variant

Don't let the Subaru Legacy's lack of flair fool you; behind that conservative sheet metal is a strong midsize sedan with the ability to conquer all seasons. Beyond having AWD standard, the Legacy sports plenty of driver assistance features, a roomy interior, and a multimedia system with a massive optional display. However, if you want more cargo space than a sedan can offer, the mechanically similar Outback (like a lifted Legacy wagon) has your name on it.

For 2021, every Legacy now gets adaptive LED headlights, the rear seat reminder, and a seatbelt reminder for front and rear passengers .

What We Think

One of the most understated midsize sedans currently on sale, the Subaru Legacy packs a lot of excellence behind that vanilla appearance. High-quality materials give the cabin an upscale atmosphere, especially the range-topping Touring XT's two-tone brown and black Nappa leather upholstery. Minimal exterior noise enters the cabin, complementing the comfortable, spacious interior. The one weakness is the infotainment system. Although the large touchscreen looks cool, it's slow to respond to your inputs and can be distracting to use on the move.

A supple ride is a hallmark of the Legacy's driving experience. Road imperfections are handily dispatched, and the suspension does a great job ensuring passengers don't feel any harshness. Good body control gives the driver confidence when taking corners or doing emergency maneuvers.

The base 2.5-liter flat-four might best be described as adequate. The CVT works extra hard to get the most out of the available output, causing the car to make as much noise as forward motion at wide-open throttle. The Legacy is best driven at a more sedate pace, though, and that's even true for turbocharged XT models. Although the turbocharged models provide extra power, turbo lag and hesitation from the CVT causes a delay in power delivery, making the car occasionally feel unresponsive.

The best way to describe the Subaru Legacy is a cushy cruiser. With its focus on comfort and AWD standard on every trim, Subaru's midsize sedan is a great all-weather option and midsize sedan if you aren't looking for the boldness of a Hyundai Sonata or Kia K5.

Performance and Fuel Economy

The 2021 Legacy is available with two flat-four engines. Base, Premium, Sport, and Limited models use a 2.5-liter rated at 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. Moving up to the Limited XT and Touring XT gets you a turbocharged 2.4-liter unit with 260 hp and 277 lb-ft. Both engines are paired exclusively to a CVT automatic. EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2.5-liter are 27/35 mpg city/highway, while the turbocharged XT models are rated at 24/32 mpg.


The Legacy earns the IIHS' top award; the Subaru sedan is a 2020 Top Safety Pick +. In all IIHS crashworthiness tests, the Legacy received Good scores except in the headlights evaluation, where the standard LED units only received an Acceptable rating (Good is the highest score). However, that could change for 2021 because adaptive LED headlights are now standard on all Legacy models. In the IIHS front crash prevention evaluations, the Legacy received a Superior rating on the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian categories (Superior is the highest rating).

Subaru's EyeSight suite of driver assistance features is standard on every Legacy. The tech includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, front automatic emergency braking, and automatic high beams. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are available on the Premium trim and higher trims while rear automatic emergency braking is offered on the Sport grade and up. DriverFocus, Subaru's version of a driver attention alert and distraction prevention system, is available on the Limited and Touring models.


The base model features two 7.0-inch touchscreens, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a four-speaker audio system. Moving up to the Premium trim swaps the dual-screen layout with a portrait-style 11.6-inch touchscreen and adds a six-speaker audio system. Limited and XT models are the only trims equipped with the 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. Built-in navigation is optional on the Premium, Sport and Limited grades, and standard on the Limited XT and Touring XT.

Cool Features

The DriverFocus system on the Limited and Touring grade uses a camera to scan your eyes and make sure you're not distracted while driving. Additionally, the feature can be used to save the driver's desired seat and mirror adjustments into a driver profile.

Key Competitors:

Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl 2.5 Liter BOXER
Transmission Name
Transmission, Lineartronic CVT Continuously Variable Automatic with Manual Mode
Base Sedan
Passenger Car
Standard MPG
Body Style
Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
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IIHS Best Pick
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
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Not Rated
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Not Rated
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Not Rated
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NHTSA Rating Rear Side
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Amount Description Expiry Date
$500 Subaru announces a Lease Loyalty program which allows current lease customers to have their first payment and disposition fees waived when leasing a new vehicle through SMF. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 12-31-2021
$500 Subaru announces Military Discount program to active-duty and reserve members of the US Military. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 12-31-2021
$0 0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 24, 36, 48, 63 Months - Subaru announces APR rates on select models. 02-01-2021
$0 0.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Subaru announces APR rates on select models. 02-01-2021