Subaru's mid-size Legacy sedan undergoes a mid-cycle refresh for 2018 that brings updated styling but takes away the manual transmission, leaving the formerly optional continuously variable automatic (CVT) as the only way to get power to the car's all-wheel drive system. The CVT gains a seven-speed manual shift mode.
Cosmetic changes include a new grille and bumpers, alterations that give the car a little more visual presence but ultimately don't make this admittedly handsome car much more distinctive.
Before we get to the rest of the new stuff, here's what hasn't changed: the Legacy still comes with a choice of a 2.5L four-cylinder engine in 2.5i models and a 3.6L six-cylinder in the 3.6R model. The four-cylinder is standard in all four trims (base, Touring, Sport and Limited), where it makes 175 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. All models with this motor now have PZEV (partial zero emissions vehicle) status thanks to tighter evaporative emissions controls that used to be limited to specially designated variants. Limited trim can be optioned with the six-cylinder and its 256 hp and 247 lb-ft.
There are other changes limited to specific trims. Subaru says the 2.5i Touring gets a revised dashboard, the Sport gains chrome front trim and and the Limited boasts new door trim and seat trim with real stitching.
EyeSight is Subaru's suite of active safety features, including radar cruise control, automatic emergency braking, reverse automatic braking, automatic high beams and lane departure warning and lane keeping assist. It's no longer bundled with a technology package as it was last year; now it effectively stands alone as an option in 2.5i Touring models, and comes standard in Sport and Limited trims. This year's EyeSight upgrade is a more sophisticated automatic high beam function that allowed the elimination of one of the three forward-facing cameras above the rearview mirror, the result being a more streamlined piece of hardware.
All Legacy trims get a stronger chassis, better child seat anchors, new auto door locks and a collision detection system that automatically unlocks the doors in the event of a crash. There's also a new 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is upgraded to an 8.0-inch display in Touring trims and higher.
This is a comprehensive mid-cycle update that seems in line with the efforts other manufacturers are making to keep their mid-size sedans competitive in the face of the growing popularity of SUVs and crossovers as family vehicles. While we think the sedan's glory days are behind it, Subaru has brought some meaningful changes to what was already a nicely sorted car, so if you're not ready to give up on sedans, there are many good reasons to consider the Legacy.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed