Subaru Legacy debuts at Chicago auto show

Doris Richards
February 11, 2019

Subaru said that the new Legacy features a much stiffer platform, which should help it maintain the sedan's already impressive crash ratings.

What hasn't changed about the 2020 Legacy in regard to previous models, is its goal of "go-anywhere usability". This is the largest screen ever offered in a Subaru. When asked about a likely on-sale date for Australia, the official response was "our current Liberty still has a considerable time to run and at this stage, we have no information on future timelines".

Subaru debuted the brand-new 2020 Legacy at the Chicago auto show early February, with Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, Limited XT and brand-new Touring XT trim levels. There is a new foam-filled cross-member and the Subaru Global Platform adopts a new method for joining upper and lower bodies.

With the first the new Subaru Legacy accelerates to 97 km/h in 6.1 seconds. It has received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top ranking for 14 consecutive years. For starters, the front face gets a new frameless, hexagonal grille that is flanked by more shapely headlamps with C-shaped LED daytime running lights. It uses a driver-facing camera and facial-recognition software to detect signs of distraction or fatigue.

Subaru has given the new Legacy an equally conservative interior design, aimed to appeal to a wide audience.

Touring trim adds front seat ventilation and a heated steering wheel as standard.

There's also a Front View Monitor that captures images within the driver's blind spots in front of the vehicle and displays a 180-degree view on the primary display.

There's more to the 2020 Subaru Legacy than just its Tesla-like vertical 11.6-inch touchscreen and a new turbo-4 engine. A turbocharged Outback also seems a sure bet to return to the lineup, replacing the old six-cylinder Legacy 3.6R; similar to the Legacy, it's likely be called the Outback XT and use the same turbocharged 260-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine first introduced in the Ascent three-row SUV.

All versions of the 2020 Legacy feature all-wheel-drive. Base models will leverage a 2.5-liter with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque.

But it's no secret that the medium/large sedan market in this country is shrinking - unlike the Outback wagon's robust "all-terrain" niche - which begs the question, is engineering a new-gen Liberty for right-hand drive markets like Australia worth the effort? Like the turbo package, it is paired with a CVT gearbox. It may not look that different but the 2020 Legacy is totally new inside and out. The new model even gets NFC, or Near Field Communication, technology to simplify phone pairing for hands-free operation. The trunk has increased, and all trims have standard mounting brackets on the roof to make transporting bikes, surfboards, and canoes a breeze.

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