Subaru continues to be a vehicle brand that has stuck to their foundational values to provide the masses with reliable transportation appliances that just work every time with a bonus of a subtle off-roading ability in most offerings. Vehicles like the Subaru Legacy, that I had another opportunity to experience for a week, is a continuation of the brand keeping things fresh and listening closely to their consumers. With that, the 2021 Legacy remains mostly unchanged from its redesign last year that I reviewed in detail but tweaks a couple of things to go the distance to keep their strong consumer base happy.
Last year, when I explored the new Legacy Limited XT with its new offering of a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine touting 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, I was intrigued and pleased to see Subaru give a little something for the lighthearted enthusiasts out there. The more powerful engine was the highlight for the newly designed Legacy as it is in the 2021 model year. The small tweaks made to the 2021 model year over last year’s fresh design and a new face is the addition of an auto start-stop quick-access button on the portrait-oriented infotainment touchscreen along with an update to the system to allow Apple CarPlay to display in a larger portion of the screen. Also, all trim levels of the new Legacy get standard adaptive headlights and an all-seat belt reminder with a rear-seat reminder. In all, the few changes go a long way to appease buyers who, like me in reviewing the new Legacy, asked for these small changes.
Apple CarPlay is unique in the display as it conforms more to the portrait layout of the 11.6-inch tablet-style screen where apps like Waze fed through your iPhone onto the Apple CarPlay interface are larger as is the basic app icon screens, making it friendlier for those who want to make a quick selection without taking their eyes off the road. Speaking of taking your eyes off the road, the latest iteration of Subaru’s EyeSight system and DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System is quick to alert the driver of them taking their eyes off the road as well as providing a new level of adaptive cruise control with a taste of autonomous driving capability. Though, you’ll be required to keep your hands on the steering wheel as the system will cleverly alert you if it senses no resistance from your hands on the wheel.
The addition of a quick-access and fixed auto stop-start disable button on the screen is welcomed as last year’s redesigned Legacy required that you enter a deep car setting menu to disable the feature. Doing so required that you press the onscreen buttons up to three times, which again, can be distracting. The auto start-stop system on the Legacy continues to be cumbersome and harsh. However, it does add to the fuel savings with the Legacy’s powerful turbocharged engine coupled with the standard all-wheel-drive getting the EPA estimates of 24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined.
As mentioned in my review last year for the 2020 Legacy Limited XT, the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) allows the engine to spin up quickly but through its emulation of a traditional automatic transmission and virtual ratio kick-downs, it has a lumpy feeling especially upon deceleration after giving the Legacy heavy throttle.
The best part about the Legacy is its roominess, good comfort level, and the powerful turbocharged engine that scoots the 4-door Subaru along with some authority making it to 60 mph from a standstill in just 6.1 seconds. Moreover, the new Subaru Legacy looks the proper part for a midsized mainstream sedan and keeps pricing low for a good amount of equipment, especially in the department of active safety through the latest EyeSight and segment-first DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System.
The 2021 Subaru Legacy Limited XT remains at $35K only increasing about a couple hundred dollars over last year’s nearly identical model with an as-tested price of $35,370, including a $925 destination and delivery charge.