First Drive: 2018 Subaru Legacy Review

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Subaru’s sporty mid-size Legacy sedan gets major mid-cycle updates for 2018

The Legacy appears to be bucking the trend of declining sedan sales. Despite the growing crossover and mid-size SUV stealing the spotlight from the lowly 4-door family hauler, Subaru sees growth potential in their sedan offering. And the refreshed 2018 Legacy, which finds a good dose of updates for the new model year, will set a new direction for the Japanese automaker.

What’s new to the 2018 Legacy?

First introduced back in 1989 and still going strong, the current 6th-generation Legacy debuted in 2014. For 2018, the car carries over the same platform and primary features but finds a mid-cycle refresh with some significant updates.

Good-bye 6-speed Manual. Hello Improved CVT transmission

Gone is the 6-speed manual transmission, so you only get the CVT automatic transmission now. For a small group of off-roaders looking at say the Outback or Crosstrek, this may be an issue as they’ve also eliminated the manual transmission. But for Dad fighting morning rush hour traffic or Mom dropping kids off at soccer (or vice versa), we’re pretty sure Legacy owners won’t miss the stick shift.

2018 subaru legacy review LED headlight

And Subaru’s CVT is updated to be much more responsive and refined for 2018. The engine and components shed weight to reduce vibrations while improving fuel consumption; while front and rear dampers have been revised for better stability and ride comfort for long drives.

More aggressive, sporty exterior styling

From a styling point, when the all-new Legacy hit the scene in 2014, it was sporty and stylish — something we’re beginning to see more of with most of the family mid-size sedan being introduced today, including the Chevy Malibu, for instance.

The refreshed version follows through with this, adding a more aggressive look via the open lower grilles. The new LED fog lamps now cover a broader area on the Touring, Sport, and Limited trims, and the LED daytime running lights are now standard on all models. The Sport and Limited Legacy models also find a new LED steering responsive headlights.

At the back, the Legacy 3.6R finds integrated dual exhaust integrated into the bumper for a more sporty look, while the 2.5i trim models get a newly designed exhaust cutter cover for a more integrated appearance.

2018 subaru legacy review rear

Nobody likes noisy cars and cabins. The 2018 Legacy gets redesigned door mirrors to improve wind noise levels and aerodynamics. And like the front, the rear bumper has a more solid feel and shape now.

The 2.5i Legacy Touring now rolls on new 17-inch standard wheels that feature improved aerodynamic performance that enhances the car’s sport stance.

For those really into paint schemes (and we know you’re out there), a couple new colours are also available now: a more vibrant Magnetite Grey Metallic (replacing the Carbide Grey Metallic) and a deeper Dark Blue Pearl (replacing Lapis Blue Pearl).

Legacy Interior

Found more commonly in higher-end sedan, the 2018 Subaru Legacy now receives standard dual pane front windows.

Also new for 2018: a redesigned steering wheel, a better air conditioning system and panel, extra USB ports in the rear centre console, and real stitching added to the instrument panel and doors on the Sport and Limited trims for a more upscale cabin feel.

2018 subaru legacy review interior

More Tech and Infotainment

Subaru put a little more love into their connectivity and infotainment with the 2018 Legacy. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now available and standard (as is the case with many new vehicles today); larger displays are available including a 6.5-inch and 8-inch; the hardware features have been updated to the latest versions; and overall, the centre stack layout includes a better blend of advanced functionality and improved connectivity with surrounding devices.  

New Legacy Price and Trims: Reduced Choices

It’s proven, somewhere, that more choice leads to less purchases (I read a report, promise). Maybe that’s why Subaru reduced their trim choices from a whopping 12 to 5 in the US and 6 in Canada. And looking at their new trim walk which includes one 3.6L engine choice, it seems to make sense. The 2018 Legacy trims with prices include:

2018 Subaru Legacy Price and Trims in United States

  1. Legacy 2.5i – US$22,195
  2. Legacy 2.5i Premium – US$24,295
  3. Legacy Sport – US$26,345
  4. Legacy Limited – US$29,095
  5. Legacy 3.6R Limited – US$31,945

2018 Subaru Legacy Price and Trims in Canada

  1. Legacy 2.5i – C$24,995
  2. Legacy 2.5i Touring – C$28,295
  3. Legacy 2.5i Touring with optional EyeSight package – C$29,795
  4. 2.5i Sport with EyeSight package – C$31,695
  5. Legacy 2.5i Limited with EyeSight package – C$33,795
  6. Legacy 3.6R Limited with EyeSight package – C$36,795


Learn more: Subaru Legacy in USSubaru Legacy in Canada

2018 Legacy Photos:

Amee Reehal
Shooting motors professionally since film was a thing, Amee's work has been published in various outlets including NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, SuperStreet, GlobeDrive, MotorTrend, and others. He's a writer, editor at, AJAC member, and full-time digital marketer at Traction Media working with national brands. Find him traveling, spending time with his kids and family. Or golfing, poorly.