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2019 subaru Legacy

The Subaru Legacy recently benefited from a ground-up redesign. The company maintained the midsize sedan's all-wheel-drive capability and capacious interior while making meaningful improvements in fuel efficiency as well as infotainment and safety technologies. A sleeker, more modern look helps the Legacy turn more heads than before, too.

Of note, buyers who like the Legacy but need more cargo space should check out the mechanically-identical Outback, which Subaru bills as the world's first sport utility wagon.

Recent changes
For the latest model year, the Legacy gains more standard features including electronic driving aids and a 6.5-inch touch screen. It's also more expensive.

Overview
Whereas its predecessor was utilitarian and somewhat homely in its design, the latest Legacy adopts a cleaner design characterized by a handsome hexagonal grille and a streamlined, coupe-like roofline. The changes continue inside, where an elegant, functional dashboard houses a 6.5-inch touchscreen that integrates a high-definition rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, the audio system and Subaru's Starlink infotainment system.

The latter provides access to Aha, which offers tens of thousands of stations of Web-based content like Slacker, MOG and Rhapsody. Starlink can also help keep Subaru owners stay connected to the social network via Facebook and Twitter news feeds in audio. Mid- and high-end models get a larger 7.0-inch display with extras like SMS text messaging capability and iTunes tagging, and both setups offer tablet- and smartphone-inspired swipe and scrolling gesture functionality.

High-quality materials adorn the Legacy's cabin, while passengers both front and rear enjoy stretch-out space. Cargo capacity is also a Legacy strong suite, with a sizable 15 cubic feet of stowage space available in the trunk.

Like all Subaru models except the lightweight BRZ sports car, the Legacy comes standard with all-wheel-drive, which provides a noticeable boost to wet and wintry-weather traction. In years past, the system came with a tradeoff in the form of decreased fuel efficiency, but that isn't the case for the latest Legacy.

Outfitted with its standard 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder that produces 175 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque, the Legacy is rated at 26 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. That would be perfectly respectable mileage for a front-wheel-drive midsize sedan, never mind one that drives all four wheels.

More power can be had by choosing the optional 3.6-liter boxer six-cylinder, which churns out 256 horsepower and 247 lb-ft. The big six is good for 20/27 mpg.

All Legacys feature a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Standard and optional features
The Legacy is offered five trim levels called 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Sport, 2.5i Limited, and 3.6R Limited, respectively.

The entry-level 2.5i comes standard with A/C, EyeSight (detailed below), Starlink Bluetooth connectivity, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, automatic headlights and windshield wipers, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD Radio stereo with AUX and USB inputs, and 17-inch steel wheels with hubcaps.

To those features, the 2.5i Premium adds heated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, two extra speakers for the sound system, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, SirusXM satellite radio and 17-inch alloy wheels.

2.5i Sport models feature a dark gray front grille, fog lights with gloss black housings, 18-inch wheels, chrome trim, two-tone gray and black cloth upholstery, blue contrast stitching, and carbon fiber-look trim.

The 2.5i Limited brings leather upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable front passenger's seat, heated rear seats, imitation matte wood trim, a power rear tailgate, a 12-speaker, 576-watt Harmon Kardon premium stereo, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, a proximity key and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The 3.6R mirrors the 2.5i Limited's features but adds the more powerful six-cylinder motor.

Occupant safety
All Legacy models come standard with dual front, front side, front seat cusion, and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.

Subaru groups its electronic driving aids under the name EyeSight. The system includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and throttle management, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. EyeSight comes standard on every trim level.

Key competitors
Those considering the Subaru Legacy are probably looking for the four season capability of all-wheel-drive; the only other mainstream midsize sedan to offer this feature is the smooth-handling Ford Fusion. Front-wheel-drive competitors worth a look include the Mazda Mazda6 and Honda Accord.