The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.8

The Subaru Legacy is a great alternative to the more predictable German offerings. It’s reliable, spacious and well-equipped. However, it isn't as good to drive and is expensive to run.

Reasons to buy

  • Reliable
  • High equipment levels
  • Very safe
Best on a budget
Legacy 2.0D S
A great engine, superb practicality plus ample kit too
Best seller
Legacy 2.0D SE
Even more luxury but running costs are no higher
Blow the budget
Legacy 2.0D SE NavPlus
You’ll want for nothing in terms of equipment

How good does it look? 3/5

While the Subaru Legacy’s design is rather anonymous this is a good-looking car that looks sleek, contemporary and is very nicely proportioned as well as solidly built.

What's the interior like? 3/5

The Legacy’s cabin design is a bit over-fussy but once familiar with everything, it works brilliantly. Some of the switchgear can be hard to read as there’s a lot of silver in there, but the ergonomics are good. The seats are comfortable and there’s 10-way electric adjustment for the driver’s chair, so finding the perfect driving position is simple.

How practical is it? 4/5

For regularly carrying lots of stuff, the Legacy is just the car for the job. Even with the rear seats in place it can stow away 526 litres, but tip those seats forward and the boot capacity leaps to 1,677 litres. That’s on a par with the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series, which are both renowned for their carrying capacity. Even better, the seat backs flip forward and fold flat at the push of a button, so they couldn’t be easier to use. The cabin is equally spacious, with more than enough room for four adults, or five if the journey isn’t hundreds of miles.

What's it like to drive? 4/5

Subaru’s engineers have tuned the Legacy’s suspension to give a comfortable ride rather than the ultimate in sporty handling, and that’s no bad thing. The result is a car that’s comfortable on all but the worst surfaces, yet it’s also good to drive on A-roads and B-roads, even at speed. With well-weighted steering that offers good feel, strong brakes and a really precise action to the gear change, the Legacy feels well-engineered. As a result, it’s that much more satisfying to drive.

How powerful is it? 3/5

You can choose petrol or diesel power for your Legacy, the former being a 165bhp 2.5-litre unit while the latter displaces two litres and generates 148bhp. Opt for the petrol engine and you’ll have a continuously variable (automatic) transmission, while the diesel comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. The petrol model offers silky smooth performance, a 120mph top speed and 0-62mph in 10.3 seconds. The diesel model’s 258lb/ft of pulling power makes the petrol engine seem a little weak gets to 62mph in 9.6 seconds and tops out at 120mph.

How much will it cost me? 3/5

This always used to be a weak area for Subaru but the introduction of an excellent diesel engine means fuel economy and CO2 emissions are now much more competitive. These are pegged at 44.1mpg and 168g/km, while the petrol edition offers 33.6mpg and 196g/km.

How reliable is it? 5/5

This is a major selling point for Subaru having regularly topped – or come very high up in – reliability surveys over the past decade, if dependability is a top priority, the Legacy should keep owners very happy.

How safe is it? 4/5

All Legacys come with four-wheel drive as standard, and the safety benefits of this shouldn’t be underestimated. To reinforce how well this car will look after you, there’s a five-star Euro NCAP rating, proving the car’s strength. As you’d expect, there’s a host of safety features as standard too, including traction control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control and electronic stability programme (ESP). All cars also get brake assist, electronic brake force distribution (EBD), three-point seatbelts for everyone plus anti-whiplash head restraints. Those in the front get front and side airbags too, while everyone gets curtain airbags.

How much equipment do I get? 5/5

This is another Legacy strong point, as Subaru tends to be pretty generous with equipment levels. Three trim levels are available: S, SE and SE NavPlus. All cars get alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, electric windows all round, an electric sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats plus an electrically adjustable driver’s seat along with a decent CD/tuner. Move up through the range and Subaru adds bigger alloys, leather trim, sat-nav, a rear-view camera and an upgraded multimedia system. Buy a Legacy and there’s far more standard kit than in any German model – and at a lower price too.

Why buy? 4/5

Spacious, stylish and very practical, the Legacy offers superb reliability too. Throw in excellent safety credentials and superb cruising potential, and the Legacy makes a very enticing prospect.