The 2023 Subaru Legacy starts at $25,415 in the United States and at $34,845 in Canada, freight and delivery charges included.
Comfortable cabin, excellent AWD, low fuel consumption.
Lacks character, low on centre console storage, climate controls distracting to use while driving.
There are some great mysteries in the automotive industry that can’t be explained. Such as why consumers keep flocking to crossovers when the midsize sedan segment, in which we find the 2023 Subaru Legacy, has been in a downward spiral for several years, now despite being filled with very good products.
We can simply look at 2022 calendar year sales to realize how the category’s popularity is dwindling. It’s down by more than 20% in Canada and by more than 7% in the U.S., while Legacy sales are respectively down by 40% and 1%. It’s admittedly a low worse in Canada.
Things aren’t rosy at the moment either for the Subaru’s competitors, such as the Honda Accord, the Hyundai Sonata, the Toyota Camry and the Kia K5, which also saw significant sales drops. On other hand, Chevrolet Malibu and Nissan Altima sales are through the roof, only because the 2021 calendar year was a doggie-doo show. Going back to the 2023 Subaru Legacy, which arrived on the market in the fall of 2022, supply chain issues have reduced production capacity in the company’s Indiana assembly plant, so the sales decreases aren’t exclusively related to the decline of the midsize sedan segment.
For 2023 model year, the Legacy received a mid-cycle refresh, bringing revised front-end styling, a new paint colour, updates to the Subaru EyeSight active safety and infotainment systems, and much more. The number of trim levels has been reduced from six to five in the U.S. and from five to three in Canada, the latter market losing the base Convenience variant.
Most trims are equipped with a naturally aspirated, 2.5L flat-four engine with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. An adequate output, according to our driving habits. Meanwhile, city/highway/combined fuel economy numbers stand at 27/35/30 mpg or 8.7/6.7/7.8 L/100 km, right in the heart of the segment among non-hybrid powertrains.
For drivers who are more in a hurry, the Legacy Limited XT (U.S.) and GT (Canada) get a turbocharged 2.4L flat-four with 260 horsepower as well as 277 pound-feet of torque from 2,000 to 4,800 rpm. As soon as we press on the go-pedal, we notice the much more generous low-rpm torque, for quicker blastoffs and a more enjoyable experience. Fuel economy is rated at 23/31/26 mpg or 10.1/7.9/9.0 L/100 km, obviously higher than with the base powertrain. The good news is that the turbo engine can run on regular gasoline instead of premium. We observed an average of 25 mpg or 9.3 L/100 km during our winter drive.
The 2023 Subaru Legacy’s cockpit didn’t change much compared to the previous model year, with a clean design, good fit and finish as well as swell ergonomics. Save for the on-screen climate control buttons on the bottom of the 11.6-inch infotainment screen (available in the U.S., standard in Canada), which are too small to poke while driving, despite Subaru revising that portion of the interface for 2023. USB-C jacks have been added front and rear, while traditional USB-A ports is still available. Oh, and a CD player is still offered, but only on the top trim level.
Other changes include version 4 of the Subaru EyeSight active safety suite, which features new housings that prevent the lenses from getting dirty and heated elements eliminate fog in the housings. In addition to the two windshield-mounted cameras, the Limited XT and GT trims adds a third, wide-angle camera that increases the system’s view from 64 to 100 degrees. Lastly, the heated steering wheel is now heated all around the rim, not only on the sides.
Pricing starts at $25,415 in the United States and at $34,845 in Canada, freight and delivery charges included. As mentioned above, the significant price difference between the two countries is because a stripped-down trim level is no longer offered in Canada.
Why You Should Buy a 2023 Subaru Legacy
- It may not be an overly spacious sedan, but the Legacy’s interior dimensions are within the segment average. The 15.1 cubic-foot or 428-litre trunk is also average for the category. The Subie does offer above-average rear-seat legroom, if that’s a purchase factor.
- Fuel economy is up there with non-hybrid midsize sedans, despite being equipped as standard with AWD. The Turbo engine is also a decent performer in that regard, and both run on regular fuel, which is good.
- The Legacy is safe. Very safe, actually, as the sedan has been given a Top Safety Pick+ rating by the IIHS in the United States, the highest possible rating.
- Obviously, standard AWD is nice. While Toyota, Nissan and Kia offer all-wheel drive as well, the Subaru’s full-time system provides that extra touch of confidence, especially when we’re stuck driving in a snowstorm or on icy roads. The competition’s systems are reactive, meaning they send power to the rear wheels when slippage is detected—that happens very quickly, but we still think Subaru’s AWD is slightly superior.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2023 Subaru Legacy
- Overall, the Legacy isn’t a sporty car. The Limited XT and GT trims may have sportier suspension and steering calibrations, they are by no means exhilarating vehicles to drive. We can appreciate the turbo engine’s extra punch, though.
- As mentioned above, the climate controls are almost all located on the touchscreen, and the button zones are pretty small. They’re tough to use while the vehicle is in movement, and looking at the screen to make sure we press the right one is a little distracting. Give us good old rotary dials, which are much more user-friendly.
- We wish there was more centre console storage in the Legacy. If at least to dump our phone and other belongings while we’re driving.
Despite sales numbers relegating the Legacy to last place in its segment, Subaru is hanging on to its sedan in its lineup. It would likely sell better if the automaker could build more of them, but by luck, perhaps, it shares many components with the much more popular Subaru Outback, so it should cost all that much to build. We don’t understand why consumers aren’t more interested in the 2023 Subaru Legacy, as it’s a comfortable, safe, generally reliable and fuel-efficient vehicle, which also happens to boast one of the most competent all-wheel drivetrains on the market. What is does need is a little more character to make it more desirable, which the Limited XT/GT variants can’t claim to have.