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Auto review: The 2020 Subaru Legacy is an exceptional choice for us average Americans

The Subaru Legacy gets a redesign for the

The Subaru Legacy gets a redesign for the 2020 model year with added space for passengers and a new engine option. Credit: TNS/Subaru

Amid the battle between blue states and red states, between those who wear a mask and those who refuse, it seems our country is increasingly polarized. Heck, we can't even decide if a beer is less filling or tastes great.

It's hard to remember what the average American likes anymore. Yet the middle of the road endures. It's why radio stations play "adult contemporary" music sung by Taylor Swift and Shawn Mendes for Americans who live in a 2,400 square-foot home that costs $320,000. When they eat out, it's pizza or burgers, usually with cheese. After all, Americans love cheese.

If this sounds like you and you're looking for a new sedan, might I suggest the 2020 Subaru Legacy?

This car personifies the finest qualities of life in the middle of the road. Handsome and approachable in appearance, there's nothing particularly sexy about the Subaru Legacy. But it exudes a refreshingly refined, no-nonsense level-headedness that's increasingly rare in the world of Japanese car design. It mercifully eschews the juvenile video game flourishes that increasingly pass for tasteful car design.

Offered in six ascending trim levels, the 2020 Legacy is the seventh generation of Subaru's all-wheel drive midsize sedan. Built on the Subaru Global Platform that underpins other new Subarus, including the Impreza, Crosstrek, Forester and Ascent, its structure is 70 percent stiffer in both torsional and front-suspension rigidity, and 100 percent stiffer in both front lateral flex and rear subframe rigidity compared to the previous Legacy. This gives the car remarkable solidity.

The test car, a top-of-the-line Touring XT, never felt overindulgent, even though it was extravagantly optioned. The seats, trimmed in leather, were soft and welcoming like a favorite recliner, yet proved supportive enough during more aggressive maneuvers. And for those living in cold climates, they were heated, but not ventilated unless you opt for the Touring XT, which also gets heated rear seats.

The centerpiece of the instrument panel is an iPad-like 11.6-inch touchscreen that controls the audio, climate, navigation and essential functions. It large buttons work easily, but the display suffers from a lack of visual hierarchy on the radio screen, making finding the right button a daunting task until you're accustomed to it. Voice-activated navigation is optional on the Premium, Sport and Limited and standard on the Touring.

The base engine is a revised 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinderrated at 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque that Subaru says will launch the Legacy from 0 to 60 in 8.4 seconds. If you have a need for speed, you'll want the 2.4-liter turbocharged horizontally opposed four that's standard on the XT.

And, of course, it has all-wheel drive, but you knew that.


Grip is excellent, as you might expect. The Legacy is quite agile, but not sporty. It doesn't tempt you into indulging yourself with your right foot. It's far too rational for that. The suspension is remarkably compliant, delivering a very comfortable ride without excess body motions or lean in corners. Steering is quick and nicely weighted, with a modicum of road feel.

The 2020 Subaru Legacy is an exceptional choice for us average Americans.

It's an easy car to grow to love. Just be sure that if you stop at the drive-thru for a burger, that you don't drip the cheese on the new floor mats. It won't look good on HGTV.

2020 Subaru Legacy

Base price: $23,645-$36,795

Engine: 2.4-liter turbocharged flat four-cylinder

Power: 260 hp., 277 pound-feet torque

EPA fuel economy estimates: 24 mpg city, 32 highway

Bottom line:

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