2020 Subaru Legacy vs OutbackCompare Cars
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Subaru is known for making reliable vehicles, and the 2020 Legacy and 2020 Outback are both excellent choices for anyone in the market for a new vehicle. Their exterior differences are obvious, since one is a SUV/crossover and the other is a sedan. They differ in some other minor ways also, though since they're made by the same company, they do overlap in most areas. This guide will provide prospective customers with a better idea of which vehicle would be best for them.
Size and Styling
When lined up next to each other, the Legacy and Outback will be comparable in length. The Outback is less than an inch longer than the Legacy and juts a touch wider. It is seven inches taller though, giving it a total passenger volume of 109 cubic feet versus the 105.5 cubic feet of passenger volume in the Legacy.
People are likely to be comfortable in either vehicle. In fact, the Outback and Legacy have the exact same amount of leg room as each other, with 42.8 inches in the front and 39.5 inches in the second row.
Where they differ in size is in how the cargo area is organized. The Legacy is a sedan with a trunk volume of 15.1 cubic feet, which is a good amount of storage space. In the Outback, there is much more space, with a dedicated cargo area that has a volume of 32.5 cubic feet. The rear seats in the Outback can be folded down to expand that capacity to 75.7 cubic feet. Those rear seats have a 60/40 split-bench configuration, providing people with some versatility. Interestingly, the Legacy also has a 60/40 layout in the rear, but since it doesn't have the taller height in the cargo area, people might have trouble accommodating bulky items.
When looking at the exterior styling of these vehicles, it's clear that they've been built by the same manufacturer. The Legacy and Outback have a similar feel to them, with rounded corners and a style that's both practical and modern. The lower trims of each vehicle ride on 17-inch wheels, with the mid-level and higher trims using nicer 18-inch wheels. Similarly, the two vehicles start out with LED headlights, and the higher trims are upgraded with LED fog lights and LED steering responsive headlights.
It's almost as if these two vehicles are long-lost siblings. Their base models have black side mirrors, the mid-level trims have body-color mirrors with integrated turn signals, and the higher trims either have crystal black or satin chrome side mirrors with turn signals. Power moonroofs that can be tilted open for fresh air and slid open to really let the air and sunlight stream in are available on mid-level Legacies and Outbacks and standard on the higher trims.
Some minor differences are that the Legacy has available dual stainless steel exhaust outlets and the Outback has roof rails that can be used to secure larger gear, like snowboards, skis, or kayaks.
Again, it seems as if the Legacy and Outback are almost the same vehicle when examining what's under the hood. They both have two available engines, one of which is a 2.5-liter DOHC engine and the other a 2.4-liter turbocharged DOHC engine. The first version comes with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, while the turbocharged one has much more capability with 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque.
In both the 2020 Subaru Legacy and Outback, the first four trims have the 2.5-liter engine. The first four trims of the Legacy are the base model, Premium, Sport, and Limited, and those of the Outback are the base model, Premium, Limited, and Touring. The Legacy Limited XT, Legacy Touring XT, Outback Onyx Edition XT, Outback Limited XT, and Outback Touring XT all have the more advanced engine. Naturally, these are offered for much higher prices.
Not surprisingly, the two vehicles use the same transmission, which is a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. It comes with paddle shifters and an eight-speed manual mode, ideal for those times when drivers want to have control over shifting gears.
The Legacy and Subaru have many mechanisms that continually work to enhance stability. They have symmetrical all-wheel drive, which is a key factor that draws many people to the Subaru brand. Having this type of drivetrain means that these vehicles are balanced and adept at handling themselves in a variety of conditions. When things are slippery, power can be sent to wheels that can use it most effectively. Changes to power delivery can be made nearly instantaneously.
The vehicles also have vehicle dynamics control, traction control, and active torque vectoring. While each system has its own distinct job, these three programs work together to make sure things are stable. They do so by making minor adjustments to engine torque and braking. They work to prevent skidding and swaying, and like the all-wheel-drive system, they do everything independently. Drivers don't have to worry about fiddling with any type of controls and can simply enjoy the ride.
Since the frames of the vehicles are a little different, so are their fuel economies. The 2.5-liter models of the Subaru Legacy are rated with a fuel economy of 27/35 (city/highway) miles per gallon. The XT models can get up to 24/32 miles per gallon. In comparison, the 2.5-liter Outbacks can earn 26/33 miles per gallon, and the more powerful Outbacks come with a fuel economy of 23/30 miles per gallon.
In addition, only the Outback is rated for towing. Its first four models can tow up to 2,700 pounds, and the upgraded editions have a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. The Outback is the only vehicle out of these two models to have X-MODE and Hill Descent Control. X-MODE essentially enhances the abilities of the all-wheel-drive system, and Hill Descent Control keeps vehicle speed in check when traveling downhill.
Comfort, Options and Performance
With each of the vehicles, the base models have six-way manually adjustable driver's seats. These are upgraded to 10-way power adjustable seats on the Premium trims, in which heated front seats are found as well. At the Limited level on both models, there's the addition of power adjustable front-passenger seats.
There are some minor differences with seating. For example, the Outback comes with a two-position driver's seat memory function, but the Legacy does not. The Legacy has a Sport trim that's not included in the Outback line-up, and this trim comes with a unique sport cloth upholstery with red contrast stitching. On the Outback, the Onyx Edition XT has StarTex water-repellent upholstery. Otherwise, lower trims in the Legacy and Outback have cloth seats while the higher trims either have leather or Nappa leather seats.
The theme of similarity continues when examining the interior amenities. Both vehicles have many standard elements, to include steering wheel-mounted controls, dual USB ports in the front, numerous storage compartments, an overhead console, and illuminated vanity mirrors. Available on the Legacy and the Outback are auto-dimming rear view mirrors, keyless access with push-button start, HomeLink technology that allows vehicles to connect with garage doors or security systems, and dual USB charging ports that are accessible to rear-seat passengers. Each of the trims, with the exception of the base models, have dual-zone climate control systems. The entry-level Outback has an automatic climate control system, while the entry-level Legacy has a manual one.
These vehicles even have the same STARLINK infotainment technology. Their base models start out with seven-inch touchscreens that feel generously sized. They have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, cloud-based apps, SiriusXM All Access Radio and Travel Link, and Bluetooth. Upgrading only one trim gives people even larger touchscreens that measure 11.6 inches. Mid-level trims have the option to get an infotainment system with navigation, which are standard on the Legacy Limited XT, Outback Touring, Outback Limited XT, and Outback Touring XT. However, only the Legacy Touring XT has a CD player, a surprisingly hard feature to find these days.
Four speakers are included on the base models of the Legacy and Outback, and mid-level trims have six speakers. At the higher end of the line-ups, the vehicles have Harman Kardon premium audio systems. This system consists of 12 speakers and a 57-watt GreenEdge amplifier.
Giving drivers and passengers an easy way to connect to the network is 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability. This ability is integrated into all of the Legacy and Outback vehicles, with the exception of the entry-level models.
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In recent years, Subaru has built a strong reputation thanks to its commitment to safety. The company has really focused its attention on incorporating numerous safety mechanisms into each of its vehicles. The 2020 Legacy and Outback have many driver-assist technologies looking out for their passengers, and they also have other elements that are there to protect people in case of accidents.
EyeSight Driver Assist Technology is the name of the suite of features that Subaru uses to keep an eye on the roads. It comes with adaptive cruise control, which allows a vehicle to adjust its speed to maintain a safe amount of distance with other vehicles. Pre-collision braking gives people a back-up mechanism that can reduce the chances of rear-ending other cars. Lane departure warning, sway warning, and lane keep assist all work together to keep a Subaru centered in a lane. The Legacy and Outback also come standard with high beams that can automatically turn on and off depending on how much light is detected.
In the mid-level trims of the Legacy and Outback, additional driver-assist systems are available or standard. Reverse automatic braking is similar to pre-collision braking, but it works when the Subaru is backing up. Blind spot monitoring comes with a lane change assist function and rear cross-traffic alert. A DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System can monitor whether a driver's eyes are properly focused on the road; if not, warning will be given.
Of course, the two Subarus have a full collection of air bags. They have rear-vision cameras, LED Daytime Running Lights, and tire pressure monitoring systems. The Legacy does stand apart from the Outback in one way, as its Touring XT trim has a 180-degree front view monitor. While certainly not necessary, it can be a helpful component to have when getting in or out of parking spots.
Which Model to Choose?
It's evident that the 2020 Subaru Legacy and Subaru Outback have a lot in common. They're actually more similar to each other than they are different. Therefore, safety features, infotainment packages, and interior amenities will probably not greatly influence whether a potential customer ends up with a Legacy or an Outback. They even share the same powertrain and have the same amount of leg room.
With its open configuration, the Outback will be able to attract customers who prefer having more cargo space. Anyone who thinks he/she might tow cargo will want to go with the Outback as well. Further, the Outback is the only vehicle in this comparison that comes with X-MODE and Hill Descent Control, so it could be viewed as the more rugged option.
The Legacy is nicely equipped and has symmetrical all-wheel drive, which isn't easy to find in a sedan. Many people prefer how sedans look and feel, and they like the idea of having an enclosed trunk that's separate from the seating area.
Fortunately, many customers are pretty clear on whether they want crossovers/SUVs or sedans. If this is the case, the choice would be an obvious one. If people are still undecided, they'll want to take affordability into consideration. The Legacy's starting price is about $4,000 less than that of the Outback's base model. At each corresponding trim of the Legacy and Outback, there is approximately the same price difference. For the great majority of customers, this has to be a factor as they decide which model to get.