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2020 Subaru Legacy vs Impreza

2020 Subaru Legacy vs Impreza

2020 Legacy vs Impreza - How do they stack up? What are the differences?

Subaru is a well-respected automotive brand. Its vehicles tend to be extremely practical and easy to maintain. When browsing their local Subaru dealership's inventory, some people will be choosing between the 2020 Subaru Legacy and the 2020 Subaru Impreza.

For 2020, the Subaru Legacy returns with a complete redesign. It looks noticeably more athletic than before. Subaru also now offers this midsize sedan with a more exciting list of luxury features.

The new Subaru Impreza is also a great choice. No other car in its price class comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is a major plus for folks living in snow-prone areas. Great safety tech also helps the Impreza to remain competitive in a tough class. In this head-to-head test, we’ll see whether the Legacy or the Impreza is a better option.

Size and Styling

There’s no denying the Subaru Legacy’s larger size. It is roughly 190.6 inches long and 72.4 inches wide. By comparison, the Subaru Impreza is 182.7 inches long and 70 inches wide. While the Legacy’s larger size won’t be an issue for most people, city dwellers may prefer the Impreza’s more compact design. They’ll have an easier time fitting the Impreza into confined parking spaces.

Both of these cars are designed to carry up to five people. However, the Subaru Legacy does provide the most passenger room. It has a total passenger volume of 105.5 cubic feet. Adults will especially benefit from the Legacy’s extra rear legroom. However, most American families will find the Impreza’s total passenger room of 99.8 cubic feet to be more than suitable.

Although the Legacy may provide the roomiest backseat, the Impreza actually provides a hair more legroom in the front. This means the Impreza will have no trouble satisfying the needs of taller drivers. When it comes to cargo space, the 2020 Subaru Legacy edges out the 2020 Subaru Impreza. It provides 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space, which is more than the Impreza sedan’s 12.3 cubic feet of cargo space.

Keep in mind that only the Impreza is offered in a five-door body style. Subaru lists the Impreza hatchback with a healthy cargo capacity of 20.8 cubic feet. Unlike the Legacy, the Impreza is also available with roof rails. This could be a big factor for drivers who regularly carry extra stuff, like bikes and hiking gear.

In terms of outward visibility, it’s a close match between these cars. Both provide good visibility in all directions. When changing lanes and navigating parking areas, drivers will only have a few blind spots to overcome.

This year, the redesigned Subaru Legacy has a completely new exterior. Most people agree that the new Legacy looks more eye-catching than the previous generation. While the base Legacy will still get lost in a crowd, the upper trims are really attractive. Drivers who desire an especially athletic look will favor the Legacy Sport, which receives 18-inch black wheels and racier body treatments. Dual exhaust tips give the Legacy XT even more powerful presence.

Like its larger sibling, the Subaru Impreza has a refined appearance. It also has a sharp-looking Sport trim. While the sedan version of the Impreza is attractive, some drivers will prefer the Impreza hatchback’s more adventurous design.


The 2020 Subaru Legacy comes standard with a non-turbo, Boxer four-cylinder engine. It is rated to push out a decent 182 horsepower. A continuous variable transmission is the only transmission available for the new Legacy. Acceleration is decent for the segment. When drivers put their foot down, they can expect the Legacy to hit 60 mph in about 8.2 seconds.

Luckily, Subaru also offers the latest Legacy with a new turbo four-cylinder engine. It increases the sedan’s output to a more enjoyable 260 horsepower. When test driving the turbocharged Legacy, there’s no overlooking the extra thrust under the hood. Testers have clocked it with a 0-60 mph of 6.1 seconds.

Just one engine is available for the 2020 Subaru Impreza. Its four-cylinder engine squeezes out 152 horsepower. With a 0-60 mph time of 8.4 seconds, the Impreza accelerates almost as quickly as the Legacy. However, Legacy models equipped with a turbocharged engine are in an entirely different performance class.

One advantage the Impreza holds over the Legacy is its available manual transmission. This transmission is more engaging than the automatic CVT. Because the Legacy does not offer a manual, drivers won’t be able to enjoy the experience of physically changing gears.

In terms of fuel economy, the lighter Impreza is only slightly better on gas. EPA estimates for the Impreza stand at 28 mpg town/36 mpg interstate. Drivers can expect the Legacy to deliver 27 mpg town/ 35 mpg interstate. Folks who desire the turbocharged Legacy’s extra power will have to forgo some efficiency. The EPA rates the turbo Legacy to average 24 mpg town/32 mpg interstate. Fortunately, both engines are tuned to use regular gasoline.

When it comes to overcoming bad weather, these are two of the best cars in their respective classes. Subaru’s standard Symmetrical AWD system makes traveling on slippery streets less nerve-racking. There will always be plenty of grip when you need it.

These cars are virtually neck and neck in the handling department. They have an easy-to-drive nature. Subaru’s Active Torque Vectoring system helps enhance stability around turns. This performance-enhancing feature comes standard on every new Legacy. To get Active Torque Vectoring, Impreza buyers must choose the Sport trim. The Impreza’s Sport trim also benefits from a stiffer sport suspension, which is not offered on the Legacy.

Car reviewers continue to applaud the Impreza for its solid ride. It absorbs bumps just as good as the more expensive Legacy. A lack of road noise also makes these cars great for traveling.

On the downside, the Impreza has a below-average dependability rating. This fact shouldn’t persuade buyers to choose the Legacy over the Impreza. It also has a below-average dependability score.

Comfort, Options, and Performance

The 2020 Subaru Impreza sedan starts at a budget-minded $18,695. This low MSRP makes the Impreza a magnificent value. Drivers can get the hatchback body style for about $500 more. Although the 2020 Subaru Legacy is a more expensive ride, it still has an appealing MSRP of $22,725.

For being such an affordable automobile, the new Impreza has an extremely impressive list of standard items. Subaru’s Starlink infotainment system features a 6.5-inch touch display with built-in apps. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration technologies are included as well. Remote keyless entry is another standard convenience.

The Subaru Legacy’s list of standard equipment is quite similar. However, it does benefit from a larger 7.0-inch touch display. Some drivers will also enjoy having satellite radio.

While both cars offer great value, the Subaru offers an elevated level of luxuriousness. Subaru offers the Legacy with a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system as opposed to an eight-speaker premium audio system. Legacy buyers also have access to an all-new 11.6-inch infotainment display, which can show a split-screen view. A smaller 8.0-inch display is offered on the Impreza.

The Legacy is available with more creature comforts as well. While the Impreza offers heated front seats, available ventilated front seats enable the Legacy to provide more comfort hot days. An upgraded driver’s seat with power-adjustable lumbar support is also exclusive to the Legacy. Nappa leather upholstery is found on the range-topping Legacy XT.

Buying Tip:

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Subaru ranks among the world's best in vehicle safety. To no surprise, both the 2020 Subaru Impreza and the 2020 Subaru Legacy prove to be extremely secure vehicles. The Impreza received all of the industry’s highest safety honors, including an NHTSA five-star overall safety score and Top Safety Pick+ credentials from the IIHS. Fortunately, the Legacy received these same accolades.

All versions of the new Legacy come equipped with Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist technology. This means drivers can enjoy the protection of pre-collision braking, active lane assistance, and smart cruise control. Although these same great safety features are offered on the Impreza, they are not standard. Blind-spot warning and reverse automatic braking are also offered on these two Subaru models. Drivers who live in rural areas will greatly benefit from Subaru’s Steering Responsive LED Headlights. When taking a corner, they turn to promote better nighttime visibility.

The Subaru Impreza is an extremely safe and secure automobile. However, there are certain safety innovations you can only get on the new Legacy. By monitoring the position of the driver’s eyes, Subaru’s DriverFocus can recognize signs of drowsiness. Buyers can also get the Legacy with a 180-degree front camera, which helps with parking.

Which Model to Choose?

Both of these cars should be on your radar. From a standpoint of affordability, the 2020 Subaru Impreza comes out on top. It cost roughly $4,100 less than the 2020 Subaru Legacy. This difference in price could be a factor for car shoppers who don’t have a big budget.

While the Legacy may come loaded with a few additional standard features, most people will be completely satisfied with what’s found on the Impreza. Despite being just a bit small, the Legacy’s 6.5-inch touch screen works flawlessly. Drivers can easily link Subaru's multimedia interface to their phones.

Drivers who prefer the feeling of being in a genuine luxury car will want the Legacy XT. Its top trims come loaded with Nappa upholstery, ventilation functions for the front seats, and heated rear seats. None of these premium upgrades are available on the Subaru Impreza.

While the Impreza isn’t built to win any races, it’s strong enough for most car shoppers. It’s also very good on gas for an AWD-equipped car. An available manual transmission and sports-tuned suspension make the Impreza Sport quite entertaining to drive. With that said, no version of the Impreza can keep pace with the turbocharged Legacy. It’s substantially quicker and more powerful.

Drivers who are concerned about their teenagers having enough rear legroom will be happier with the Legacy. However, the Impreza has a very spacious cabin for a compact car. It’s a great fit for drivers who have smaller kids. While the Legacy has a deep and roomy trunk, it still doesn't provide as much cargo space as the Impreza hatchback.

In terms of overall impact protection, neither car has a distinct advantage over the other. Both cars have received above-average crash scores. While Subaru’s EyeSight safety technologies are standard on Legacy, they are available on most of the Impreza’s trims. Remember, DriverFocus technology and a front camera are not on the Impreza’s list of options.

When deciding between the compact 2020 Subaru Impreza and the midsize 2020 Subaru Legacy, potential buyers should take a close look at what they really want. If they are seeking more power and a more luxurious ride, the Legacy will capture their attention. Meanwhile, a lower MSRP and an available hatchback body style help set apart the Impreza.

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