Subaru is busy revising and refreshing its entire lineup, and the latest models to be brought up to date are the mid-size Legacy sedan and its more popular CUV sibling, the Outback.
The updates are similar for both models, though the comparatively low Canadian sales for Legacy (which sold 3,001 units in 2016) means the number of available trim levels has been cut way back for 2018 models, from 12 options to six.
There is no longer a manual transmission offered – all models will feature a continuously variable transmission. That CVT is improved for better fuel economy, and to make it a little smoother and quieter than before.
As well, the steering, throttle and brake pedals have been tweaked to make them more responsive, and the front and rear dampers are revised to improve comfort and stability.
The demise of the manual transmission, however, means the base price is increased to $24,995 and goes up to $36,795 for the loaded model. The Outback’s greater sales mean there are more trim level options, starting at $29,295 and rising through nine more trims to $42,195.
Engines are mostly unchanged: most Legacys and Outbacks are still fitted with the 2.5-litre four-cylinder, which is now slightly lighter and smoother, while the costliest versions are powered by the 3.6-litre six-cylinder – all horizontally-opposed, of course.
The 2.5L cars are now all PZEV-rated, which means they’re considered “partial zero emissions vehicles” according to the state of California. In other words, they’re very clean running.
All Legacys and Outbacks also offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are the most effective ways to use the features of your smartphone while driving, for navigation, voice and even texts.
The Eyesight package, which uses cameras to monitor the road ahead to provide additional driver’s assistance, is now available on all but the most basic models, starting at $29,795 for Legacy and $34,295 for Outback.
Both models look a little different, too, with new bumpers front and back, a new hexagonal grille, and new headlights and wheels depending on the trim level. There are a couple of new colours too, but they’re only subtle changes to the grey and blue options, and the red option for Outback.
Inside, there’s a new steering wheel design and extra USB ports, as well as real stitching in the more expensive models and quieter, dual-pane glass in the windows.
The Legacy is now in its sixth generation and the Outback is in its fifth generation, but the CUV outsells the sedan by almost four to one.
Even so, Subaru isn’t abandoning the Legacy – far from it. The company is proud that 98% of Legacys sold in Canada in the last decade are still on the road.