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2016 Subaru Legacy

$14,493 — $24,253 USED
Sedan
5 Seats
23-30 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 4 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Fuel economy with the four-cylinder
  • Front headroom and legroom
  • Top safety ratings
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Forward and rear visibility
  • Accessible Latch anchors for car seat installation

The Bad

  • Some cabin materials
  • Boring exterior styling
  • Touch-sensitive controls for multimedia system
  • Six-cylinder lacks thrills
  • CVT noise
  • Large floor hump in backseat
2016 Subaru Legacy exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2016 Subaru Legacy
  • Lane departure prevention now available
  • Five-seat midsize sedan
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Four- or six-cylinder engine
  • Continuously variable automatic transmission

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Watch MotorWeek on PBS. Check your local listings for time and channel.

by Jennifer Geiger -

The verdict: When life's hamster wheel of school drop-offs, long work days and endless grocery runs is at full velocity, I forget what I'm driving. The 2016 Subaru Legacy only deepens that rut; while it's practical and safe, it's also charmless and forgettable.

Against the competition: Like its middle-of-the-road placement in Cars.com's 2016 Midsize Sedan Challenge, the Legacy is midpack among the more refined Chevrolet Malibu and more spirited Kia Optima, though its road manners are more pleasant than other competitors, like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Compare them all here.

The Legacy was redesigned for 2015, so changes for 2016 are minor. The steering system was revised and lane departure prevention was added to the available EyeSight safety system. Compare 2015 and 2016 models here.
Exterior & Styling
“Form follows function” seems to be Subaru’s styling edict, and the Legacy is no exception. Its upright stance, tall windows and blocky roofline make for great visibility but yawn-worthy style. Half the sedans in our Challenge were silver, and the Legacy receded into that collective background with its dull face and stocky silhouette. It's bland compared with the Malibu's sleek profile and handsome face, and the Optima's sportier, more aggressive angles.
How It Drives
The Legacy is about as exciting to drive as it is to look at. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine moves the car anemically from a stop, an...

by Jennifer Geiger -

The verdict: When life's hamster wheel of school drop-offs, long work days and endless grocery runs is at full velocity, I forget what I'm driving. The 2016 Subaru Legacy only deepens that rut; while it's practical and safe, it's also charmless and forgettable.

Against the competition: Like its middle-of-the-road placement in Cars.com's 2016 Midsize Sedan Challenge, the Legacy is midpack among the more refined Chevrolet Malibu and more spirited Kia Optima, though its road manners are more pleasant than other competitors, like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Compare them all here.

The Legacy was redesigned for 2015, so changes for 2016 are minor. The steering system was revised and lane departure prevention was added to the available EyeSight safety system. Compare 2015 and 2016 models here.
Exterior & Styling
“Form follows function” seems to be Subaru’s styling edict, and the Legacy is no exception. Its upright stance, tall windows and blocky roofline make for great visibility but yawn-worthy style. Half the sedans in our Challenge were silver, and the Legacy receded into that collective background with its dull face and stocky silhouette. It's bland compared with the Malibu's sleek profile and handsome face, and the Optima's sportier, more aggressive angles.
How It Drives
The Legacy is about as exciting to drive as it is to look at. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine moves the car anemically from a stop, and the continuously variable automatic transmission's ever-present groan sounds like it's helping move mountains, not drive over them. Subaru added simulated shift points to make the CVT respond more like a traditional automatic, and though the setup is better than previous generations, it still feels and sounds artificial.

Once enough power spools up, the Legacy is pleasant on the highway, with a well-damped ride and good bump absorption. Steering feel is also comfortable, with nicely weighted, natural feedback. The Legacy’s handling, however, is ponderous; it leans in corners like a much taller vehicle. It lacks the agile, more engaging handling of the Optima or the Malibu's composed, planted feel. 

Standard all-wheel drive — a rare amenity among non-premium sedans — gives the Legacy a leg up against its front-wheel-drive competition, and the system’s added weight doesn't appear to weigh down the Subaru’s fuel economy. The EPA rates the Legacy's four-cylinder 26/36/30 mpg city/highway/combined. In base trims with automatic transmissions, both the Malibu and Accord do slightly better, at 27/37/31 mpg, but the Legacy's fuel economy is a touch higher than the Optima’s and Camry's. A more powerful 3.6-liter six-cylinder is available, but it sinks the Legacy’s fuel economy to 20/29/23 mpg.
Interior
The cabin is serviceable in both look and materials, with a simple design blanketed by plenty of durable plastic surfaces – and many of them are padded. The interior’s one embellishment fails to jazz things up: The pop of fake metal trim on the dash looks … like fake metal trim.

Front-seat comfort is good, with wide, supportive seats and plenty of headroom and legroom. A nice upright seating position, tall side windows and narrow pillars combine to give the cabin an expansive, airy feel and provide excellent visibility in every direction.

In back, a sizable center floor hump eats into passenger space. Two adults will have plenty of headroom and legroom on comfortable seats, but most competitors offer a bit more space.
Ergonomics & Electronics
Subaru's old multimedia system was a relic from another decade. The Legacy uses the new version, and while it’s better, it isn't quite up to the competition, with dated graphics and a busy interface. The standard setup is a 6.2-inch touch-screen flanked by touch-sensitive panels, as well as volume and tuning knobs. I tested a midlevel 2.5i Premium model with the optional 7-inch screen with navigation. The screen's reaction time is quick, but I found the touch panels' responsiveness to be hit or miss, and they felt awkward to use because they provided no physical feedback.

Many competitors offer more modern-looking, straightforward systems with more features. Using the Optima's straightforward touch-screen multimedia system was a snap, and connecting my phone to the Android Auto system was seamless. The Legacy, meanwhile, does not offer the Android Auto or Apple CarPlay smartphone integration systems.
Cargo & Storage
In-cabin storage is generous thanks to a large bin under the center armrest, plus several smaller cubbies. A large bin below the climate controls is wide enough to fit a pair of smartphones, and it also houses the USB ports.

There's ample trunk space, and the opening itself is usefully large. The Legacy's trunk offers 15 cubic feet. That’s a touch short of many competitors, but it has one nicety that others don't: The trunk hinges are struts that don't dip into the cargo area.
Safety
The Legacy earned the highest possible crash-test ratings from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A backup camera is standard; Subaru's EyeSight safety system is optional on Premium and Limited trims but unavailable on the base Legacy. On Premium trims, it includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, as well as lane departure warning and prevention systems. The Limited trim adds blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert systems; these are optional on the Premium. Click here for a full list of safety features.

The Legacy has ample room for two child-safety seats, and exposed Latch anchors take the sting out of car seat installation. Click here for the Legacy’s Car Seat Check.
Value in Its Class 
The 2016 Legacy starts at $22,540 including destination – around the same price as the Malibu and a little less than the Accord, Camry and Optima.

The Legacy makes a strong value statement, and its safety ratings and equipment impress, but it's practical to a fault; its inoffensive road manners are matched by forgettable styling and a bland cabin.

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Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.5
56 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.4)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Read reviews that mention:

(4.0)

This car is very durable for the long haul.

by Eptinr from Yakima, WA on November 10, 2018

I enjoy the ability of a comfortable space in the sedan, yet meets my needs of all wheel drive for travel. I feel safe and comfortable. Read full review

(5.0)

Exceptional value - comfort, economical, fun

by Egodoc from Elkins Park, PA on November 4, 2018

This meets all of my needs...cost of ownership is low, miles per gallon is high, looks good, drives & handles well, comfy, great amenities, large touch screen, everything within fingertips on steering ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2016 Subaru Legacy currently has 3 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2016 Subaru Legacy 2.5i

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/thigh
good
Lower leg/foot
good
Overall evaluation
good
Retraints and dummy kinematics
good
Structure and safety cage
good

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Subaru

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 years/80,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    Coverage available for purchase

  • Powertrain

    7 years/100,000

  • Dealer Certification Required

    152-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2016 Legacy Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Legacy received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

B

Booster

(second row)

A

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

B

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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