Here’s a quick look at how the new 2020 Subaru Legacy compares to another AWD midsize sedan, the new 2019 Nissan Altima.
The all-new 2019 Nissan Altima immediately jumped towards the top of the midsize sedans we’d consider moments after driving it. Although we’ve not yet sampled the new 2020 Subaru Legacy, we’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect.
The new Subaru Legacy will be built on the brand’s excellent Subaru Global Platform bringing with it a new level of refinement, driveability and performance. The same, or nearly, can be said about the new Nissan Altima with the possible exception of performance. Occasionally, only occasionally, is the latter point not that important.
Let’s take a closer look and see how they compare.
Which Is More Spacious?
Details and specifics on the new 2020 Subaru Legacy are only partially available at the moment. Having said that, the information that is accessible reveals that the Nissan Altima and Subaru Legacy are sized similarly.
The Altima offers up 436 litres of trunk volume while the Legacy comes in at 427 litre. The Subaru boasts an impressive 39.5 inches (1,003.3 mm) of rear legroom which is immense. The Nissan is a big sedan, with plenty of comfort for rear occupants however its rear legroom is limited to 35.2 inches (895 mm).
Overall interior volume is capacious at roughly 100 cu.ft. or 800 litres.
What Are The Powertrains And Which Is More Efficient?
Among the similarities, we find a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine and AWD. This is in large the main reason behind the comparison. In Canada, these are the only two midsize sedans to incorporate AWD as a standard feature.
The Subaru’s 4-cylinder is a horizontally-opposed unit that develops 182 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 176 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm. The only available transmission is a Lineartronic CVT.
The Nissan’s engine is a typical inline-4 cylinder that puts out 182 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 178 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm. The only available transmission is an Xtronic CVT.
The Altima is rated at 9.1/6.5 L/100 km (City/Highway). The Subaru is expected to be good 8.7/6.7 L/100 km (City/Highway). Bottom line, they are dead even.
Subaru has an ace up its sleeve and it is the available 2.4-liter turbocharged BOXER engine that delivers 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 277 lb-ft of torque from 2,000 rpm. It too gets a Lineartronic CVT however with a with manual mode and steering wheel mounted paddles. Despite the huge bump in power, it is expected to return an average of 9.8/7.3 L/100 km (City/Highway).
What About Style?
The new Nissan Altima is a racy number. Inspired by the long-overdue-for-extinction-yet-gorgeous Maxima, the Altima is racy and attractive, especially in the higher trims. Nissan draws attention to its “floating roof” design and large V-Motion grille – they work.
The 2020 Subaru Legacy looks like a timid evolution of what the Subie’s been building since the 2015 model year. It too grows desire-wise the higher you look up the trim ladder. The Subaru talks about “Bold in Movement” design concept which also works just as well.
While both are attractive on the outside, the Subaru Legacy is awarded extra points for its available 11.6-inch multimedia display screen. It is offered on nearly every trim and is dazzling. It is beautifully integrated into the dashboard with lovely graphics and a complete menu of apps and connectivity features.
The Altima’s cabin is far more “normal”, however very clean and ergonomically laid out, with its floating 8-inch screen. If the Nissan had the Legacy’s cabin…
Both cars are extremely competitive and to be quite honest, knowing what we know about Subaru’s SGP and how great it is and loving the Altima as much as we do, we can’t decide which we like best. We’ll have to wait to drive the new Legacy to see if something’s awry, which we doubt.
If, however, a gun was put against my temple and I had to make a choice, I’d lean towards the Subaru, because the Turbo is back!