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2020 Subaru Legacy XT Makes A Strong Case For Not Buying An SUV

The 2020 Subaru Legacy Touring XT is set apart from other new sedans and even makes a strong case for why you might want it over an SUV.

Not all car shoppers need a big SUV to haul kids, sports gear, or go off-road on the weekends. But they still need an all-wheel-drive vehicle that offers all-weather capability, security and is fuel-efficient. If you’ve looked at the subcompact SUVs but they are too small, you might want to check out the 2020 Subaru Legacy sedan. It gets a total redesign for the 2020 model year and it’s a vehicle you should have on your shopping list.

What’s new for 2020?

The seventh-generation Legacy rides on the new Subaru Global Platform (SGP) that improves driving dynamics, safety, and reduces cabin noise. Subaru engineers increased structure stiffness by 371-percent (compared to the initial iteration of the SGP) and the all-new suspension is lighter, stronger and more responsive.

2020 Subaru Legacy XT2020 Subaru Legacy XT features a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine

Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist technology is now standard on all trims. The Legacy sedan features a new engine, and our Touring XT tester is powered by an all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged engine. Outside, Legacy gets modest styling upgrades with wider fenders and a higher trunk surface.

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Advanced safety technology

The new 2020 Legacy is equipped for the first time in the U.S. with a Lane Centering Function. The new function provides steering assist when the vehicle veers outside its lane, helping the driver maintain a direct path. We aren’t particularly fond of the lane departure warning because we hug the inside lane while driving on narrow two-lane mountain roads, but it can be turned off.

2020 Subaru Legacy XT2020 Legacy will let you know if you are distracted

Legacy also gets the DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System that made its debut on the new 2019 Forester. Right after we got behind the wheel, the system let me know to keep my eyes on the road. I was changing the radio station and took my eyes off the road for a few seconds. The system alerted me on the dash and with an audible noise letting me know I needed to pay attention to the road.

In another Legacy first, the 2020 model offers a Front View Monitor that captures images within the driver’s blind spots in front of the vehicle and displays a 180-degree view on the 11.6-inch display, providing safety and assistance when checking road conditions ahead or parking. This is a nice feature and kept us from scraping the front bumper this week while parking in a tight spot.

2020 Subaru Legacy XTThe Touring trim offers an upscale interior

Subaru didn’t forget about the cabin either. Highlighting Legacy Touring’s more upscale interior is an all-new tablet-style 11.6-inch full HD multimedia display. The cabin is larger featuring higher-grade materials, and our Legacy Touring XT came with comfy Nappa leather seats.

Legacy offers in-car Wi-Fi connectivity for the first time providing internet access via high-speed LTE communications, broadening the range of entertainment options available to your rear-seat occupants using smart devices.

Subaru says the new Legacy cabin is almost 3 dB quieter at highway speeds over the outgoing model. Subaru engineers found ways to reduce unwanted noise coming into the cabin by fitting the Legacy with new door weatherstrips that feature a baffle in the mid-section and dual lips on the roof side for improved quietness on most road surfaces.

2020 Subaru Legacy XT2020 Legacy offers internet access

Touring XT Features & Options

Our 2020 Subaru Legacy top-trim Touring XT tester ($35,895) came with standard heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power driver's seat, heated and ventilated front seats, two rear charge-only USB ports, navigation, and an 11.6-inch infotainment screen.

Additional equipment included adaptive LED headlights, driver-seat memory settings, thigh extension for the driver's seat, a power passenger seat, rear air vents, heated rear seats, Nappa leather-trimmed interior, a blind-spot monitor with automatic emergency rear braking, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system.

Other Touring features include a power moonroof, heated steering wheel, DriverFocus distraction mitigation system, 180-degree front view monitor, satin chrome-finished power-folding side mirrors, and chrome-accented exterior door handles. Total MSRP including destination: $36,795.

The Touring XT model is powered by an all-new turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine producing 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. All Legacy trims come standard with a continuously variable automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The XT also has dual exhaust outlets giving it a sportier look.

What kind of fuel mileage does the new turbocharged XT model get?

EPA Fuel mileage estimates come in at 24/32 city/highway mpg and 27 combined mpg. If you opt for the base 2.5-liter engine, it improves to 27/35 city/highway and 30 combined mpg.

2020 Subaru Legacy XTDriving Dynamics

We noticed a big improvement in driving dynamics and the quiet cabin as we tested the new Legacy this week. Road noise was kept to a minimum on all road surfaces and the handling in tight mountains curves west of Denver is above average over the competition.

The 2.4-liter turbocharged engine had more than enough power as we drove the Legacy at high altitudes west of Denver. We pushed the sedan hard up I-70 and had no trouble passing slower traffic going uphill. In city commutes in Denver, the car felt stable and secure at highway speeds. If you don’t need the extra power, Subaru does offer the naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter engine in the base, Premium, and Limited trims.

We had a substantial snowfall this week, the perfect conditions to test the Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. The Legacy powered through the deep snow with ease even with standard all-season tires. On the ice, the sedan did not slip and slide and left us feeling confident in its all-weather abilities. This is a strong point for the Legacy over other sedans and big expensive SUVs. If you live in a cold climate, the Legacy could be your best choice.

The advanced safety technology is a plus in this sedan and EyeSight can detect a problem before the driver sees it. The safety system in the Legacy gets the highest marks from IIHS. It alerted us a number of times to hit the brakes this week in heavy stop-and-go traffic. If you aren’t paying attention, it will apply the brakes automatically to prevent or minimize a rear-end collision.

The Touring cabin is especially comfortable and visibility is excellent from the driver’s seat. If you are hauling passengers, the backseat is roomy and comfortable for two adults or three kids. The new model offers more legroom, (41.1 inches of rear legroom, more than Accord, Camry, Altima, Malibu, and Sonata). There is 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space, which is complemented by a wide opening and can comfortably hold four full-size luggage bags.

Why should I put the new 2020 Subaru Legacy on my new-car shopping list?

Not everyone needs an SUV, and if you don’t have a family to haul around, you don’t use your vehicle for hauling lots of cargo, but you have an active lifestyle, this is a vehicle you should consider. The advantage of a sedan over an SUV is it’s lighter, more aerodynamic, and it offers better fuel economy and performance compared to the equally powerful SUVs.

If you need to get moving quickly, with the 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine in the new Legacy XT launches from 0-60 mph in an estimated 6.1 seconds. A reason to consider the Legacy over other sedans is it comes standard with all-wheel-drive on all trims. For those who live in cold climates, the 2020 Subaru Legacy could be your best choice and needs to be on your new-car shopping list.

You Might Also Like: 2020 Subaru Legacy and Forester Are Consumer Reports Top 10 Best Picks Of 2020

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

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Photo credit: Subaru USA, Subaru CA