Wikicars, a place to share your automotive knowledge
The Subaru Legacy is a mid-size sedan that was introduced by Subaru in February 1989 as a larger, more upscale companion to the Subaru Leone/Loyale. It came with a 2.0 L engine and was available with all wheel drive, which later became standard worldwide. In Australia, where it is sold as the Subaru Liberty (due to Australia's Legacy Clubs rejecting use of their name), it was Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 1994 and again for 1998.
In the Pacific Northwest, the Rocky Mountain region and New England, the Legacy has gained considerable popularity as an icon of the outdoor lifestyle. The Legacy (and the Outback especially) typifies the outdoor lifestyle market in the US; this is an image of Subaru that differs greatly from that which the rest of the world has of it. The rise of the performance-oriented Impreza has done much to change the brand image in recent years, emphasizing performance and safety as well as utility.
On March 14, 2005, Subaru sold its three-millionth Legacy worldwide.
See Wikicars' comprehensive Subaru Legacy Review.
- On May 20 2009, Subaru unveiled the JDM only Legacy Touring. The AWD wagon is powered by a variety of 2.5 and 3.6 liter boxer engines producing anywhere between 170 to 265 hp. As a family hauler, it will come equipped with a host of electronic toys including radar based cruise control, GPS navigation, keyless entry with push button starting, and automatic windshield wipers. On Oct 2009, Subaru also unveiled the Legacy Tourer 2.0D forthe UK market.
- The Legacy is all new for the 2010 model year. Although it is not set to officially debut until the 2009 New York Auto Show, the new Legacy will feature a new 3.6-liter Boxer 6 engine, styling from the Legacy Concept, more space, and more toys such as Subaru's new Lineartronic CVT. The new car was designed under Osamu Namba.
- For 2008, the Subaru Legacy Touring Wagon and B4 Sedan get reworked by Subaru's in house performance modification division STI.
Styles and Major Options
For 2007, the Legacy is available in either a sedan or a wagon. In addition, there are four trim levels offered: the 2.5i SE, 2.5i Limited, 2.5 GT Limited, and 2.5 GT spec.B. While the sedan is available in any of these trims, there is no 2.5 GT spec.B version of the wagon. The 2.5i models are powered by a 2.5L 175hp 4-cyl. engine, and while the 2.5i SE is available in a choice between a 5-speed manual transmission and a 4-speed automatic, the 2.5i Limited is only available in a 4-speed automatic/SPORTSHIFT manual transmission. GT trims are powered by a more powerful 2.5L 243hp 4-cyl. engine. As with all Subaru models, the Legacy comes equipped with all wheel drive.
From the 2.5i SE to the 2.5 GT spec.B, each trim level adds more standard features. Some of the standout items on each trim include:
- 17" silver alloy wheels
- Premium cloth seating
- Carpeted floor trim
- 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system w/MP3 capability
- Exterior temperature guage and trip computer
- Power windows, locks and mirrors
Adds to or replaces i SE features with:
- Driver/front passenger heated seats
- Leather seating, shift knob, and steering wheel
- Express open/close sunroof
- Dual zone front air conditioning
2.5 GT Limited
Adds to or replaces i Limited features with:
- Sports seating
- Power front seats w/heated driver's side
- 6-speaker AM/FM/in-dash 6CD changer audio
- MOMO leather steering wheel
- Lip wing
2.5 GT spec.B
Adds to or replaces GT Limited features with:
- Stability control
- Sport suspension
- Bilstein shocks
- 18" silver alloy wheels
- Navigation system
2.5 GT Limited
2.5 GT spec.B
2.5 GT Limited
As seen on the FuelEconomy.gov website, the City/Highway MPG averages are as follows:
2.5 GT Limited
2.5 GT Limited
2.5 GT spec.B.
- RECALL ALERT: Subaru Issues Another Recall for 2010 Legacy Sedan and Outback Models due to a problem with the continuously variable transmission (CVT)
- RECALL ALERT: Another Safety Recall for 809 2010/2011 Subaru Legacy and Outback manufactured between April 28 through June 23, 2010 due to an improperly drilled an oil lubrication hole
The 2007 Legacy received high marks on safety tests carried out by the NHTSA. Although no tests for side-impact were performed, the Legacy received a 5-Star rating for front-impact crash tests and a 4-Star rating for rollover. Some of the standard safety features on the Legacy include:
- Front and rear anti-roll bars
- Four wheel anti-lock brakes
- Driver/passenger front impact airbags
- Driver/passenger seat mounted side impact airbags
- 1st/2nd row overhead mounted airbags
- Occupancy sensor8
- Side impact bars
The fourth generation Subaru Liberty is the first car in its class to receive a 5 star rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). 
Colors for the Legacy will vary by trim, and a full list is viewable at CarsDirect.com. Some of the available combinations include:
- Brilliant Silver Metallic
- Diamond Gray Metallic
- Newport Blue Pearl
- Obsidian Black Pearl
- Regal Blue Pearl
- Charcoal Gray
- Dark Charcoal
- Warm Ivory
- Mazda Mazda6
- Volkswagen Passat
- Honda Accord
- Toyota Camry
- Nissan Skyline
- Dodge Charger
- Nissan Maxima
- Mercury Milan
- Nissan Altima
- Nissan Stagea
There are currently no hybrid models of the Legacy in production.
The Legacy is the only vehicle that currently offers symmetrical all wheel drive as standard equipment.
According to Kelley Blue Book, the Legacy is expected to "hold its value as well as its best-performing competitors."
- "Doesn't offer a lot of sex appeal." - New Car Test Drive
- "Still not powerful enough" - USA Today
- "Rear-seat passengers will find knee and toe space to be a bit tight." - Edmunds.com
- "If you don't live in an area where slick roads are a regular concern, the premium price of all-wheel drive might seem unwarranted." - Kelley Blue Book
- "Brakes feel mushy." - AutoWeek
- "Some clunky interior bits, poor seat support." - motioncars.com
Current Generation: (2010–Present)
This article is a stub. Help us, and you get a cookie.
Fourth generation (2005-2009)
The North American market launch of the 2005 model brought back the turbocharged Legacy to the region, much to the delight of the model's fans.
Length: 4665 mm
Width: 1730 mm
Height: - mm
Wheelbase: 2670 mm
Third generation (2000-2004)
Length: 4605 mm
Width: 1955 mm
Wheelbase: 2650 mm
Second generation (1995-1999)
All turbo models in North America ceased production with the introduction of the second generation Legacy, starting in 1995. The North American Outback model, with the help of clever marketing, halted declining sales and was instrumental in attracting investment interest from General Motors. GT models, first offered as a wagon trim package in 1994, became a full-blown upgrade in 1996, using the new DOHC 2.5 L engine. GT models continue to the present model, with Limited editions available, offering leather trim and a sunroof.
On April 23, 1998, a Subaru Legacy set a new world speed record for mass-produced turbocharged station wagons (1600 cc–2000 cc class), clocking 270.532 km/h over one kilometer on Highway 10 in La Junta, Colorado. This record was previously set by a Generation II Subaru Legacy in 1993 at 249.981 km/h.
First Generation/Origins (1990-1994)
In North America, the Legacy was introduced in 1990, with a 2.2 L engine driving front and all-wheel drive powertrains as options. Both sedan and wagon models were available. In 1991, a turbocharged sedan model became available, though its engine differed somewhat from that of other market offerings. A turbocharged wagon debuted in 1992 as a special edition.
The original Legacy speed record was set between January 2nd and 21st, 1989, with a Japanese-spec RS turbo sedan at the Arizona Test Center outside of Phoenix, Arizona. It broke the 100,000km FIA World Land Endurance Record by maintaining an average speed of 138.780 mph (223.345 km/h) for 447 hours, 44 minutes and 9.887 seconds, or 18 1/2 days. Pit stops were made every two hours with a driver change and refueling, while tire changes were made at 96 hour intervals, or every 13,400 miles driven.
|November 1988||Production of the Legacy starts at the Gunma Yajima Plant|
|January 1989||The Legacy sets a new FIA-certified 100,000-kilometer world speed record with an average speed of 223.345 km/h.|
|February 1989||Introduction in Japan|
|April 1989||Introduction in U.S.|
|September 1989||Introduction in Europe|
|September 1989||Production starts at SIA|
|October 1989||200 PS turbocharged GT launched in Japan|
|April 1990||Legacy enters the World Rally Championship (WRC)|
|August 1993||Legacy wins New Zealand Rally in WRC|
|September 1993||The second-generation Legacy ( Station Wagon) sets an FIA-certified world speed record for 1 km in the mass-produced, unmodified station wagon division at the Bonneville Speedway near Salt Lake City, Utah, with an average speed of 249.981 km/h.|
|October 1993||The second-generation Legacy debuts in Japan|
|October 1994||250T version with a 2.5 L flat-4 added in Japan|
|June 1995||Production of the Outback starts at SIA|
|July 1995||Engine assembly begins at SIA|
|June 1996||GT-B introduced in Japan, with a 280 PS engine and Bilstein twin-tube shock absorber (inverted-type)|
|January 1997||Cumulative production in Japan reaches the 1-million mark|
|April 1998||The third-generation Legacy (Station Wagon) sets a new FIA-certified world speed record for 1 km with an average speed of 270.532 km/h.|
|June 1998||All-new, third-generation Legacy introduced in Japan|
|December 1998||B4 Sedan debuts in Japan|
|December 1998||Awarded RJC New Car of the Year for 1998-99 in Japan|
|February 2000||B4 Blitzen version introduced in Japan|
|May 2000||Lancaster 6 with a 3.0 L flat-6 engine introduced in Japan|
|June 2002||SIA celebrates the 1-million-unit milestone in its production of Subaru vehicles.|
|January 2003||SIA is made a wholly owned subsidiary of FHI|
|May 2003||The fourth-generation Legacy launched in Japan|
|November 2003||Awarded the Car of the Year for 2003-2004 in Japan|
|December 2003||Sales surpasses the 1-million mark in Japan|
|March 2005||Production surpasses the 3-million mark worldwide|
|Production numbers as of March 14, 2005|
- Generation I: BC - Sedan, BF - Wagon
- Generation II: BD - Sedan, BG - Wagon
- Generation III: BE - Sedan, BH - Wagon
- Generation IV: BL - Sedan, BP - Wagon
(other similar chassis codes exist for VIN numbers in the North American market. BF may be shown as BJ on some Legacy wagons, for example. These chassis codes are almost universally recognized for the models they represent worldwide.)
The EJ-series engine was introduced first in the Legacy. It offers many important improvements over the previous engines, such as five main bearings instead of three. All Legacy engines are horizontally-opposed flat engines with at least one overhead cam per side. The great thing about the EJ series is its versatility - any EJ style engine will fit any subaru made between 1990 and 2006.
- 1.6 L & 1.8 L world-market four-cylinder engines exist. Some are likely to be carbureted, or feature a single central fuel injector.
- 2.0 L & 2.2 L fours were available in normally aspirated, fuel injected form in most markets. This is the most commonly used legacy engine. The 2.0L quad cam 16v version produces 123kW of power.
- 2.0 L turbocharged and intercooled fours have been a staple of the Legacy in world markets. Single and twin turbo models existed only in world markets, never available in North America. Twin turbos were used until 2003 when a single twin-scroll titanium turbocharger sourced from IHI and Mitsubishi- for automatic transmission models (and very similar to that used in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII onwards) was adopted by Subaru.
- 2.2 L turbocharged four-cylinder engines were available in the North American Legacy between 1991 and 1994. This was a unique version not equipped with an intercooler while featuring a single overhead camshaft. It has many resemblances to the RA-version engines in world markets.
- 2.5 L, DOHC, normally aspirated and fuel injected four-cylinder engines were available in the US market beginning in 1996. A revised version, with a single overhead camshaft, was available in North American models beginning in 2000. Some hybrid versions have been known to exist in Outback models during the 1998–99 years. World markets received versions of this engine with variable valve timing as early as 2001.
- 2.5 L, DOHC, turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder engines are available in North American market GT models, beginning in 2005. This engine shares many parts with other versions of the Impreza WRX STi, Forester XT and Baja Turbo, as well as the Outback XT which are available only in the North American market.
- 3.0 L, DOHC, normally-aspirated flat-6s became available in the Japanese market in 2000 and the North American market in 2001. This was a complete redesign, and shares only peripheral parts with earlier flat- or boxer-six engines. This engine is optionally available in the North American market Outback. An updated 3.0 L six, known as the EZ30R, features variable valve timing called AVCS. This version entered the North American market with the introduction of the 2005 Outback.
Subaru has produced high performance versions of the Legacy with a Bilstein suspension and tuned turbocharged engines equivalent to the homologized rally version WRX STI (generating 205 kW on manufacturer's figures for the 2.0 L equivalent engine with manual transmission). Recent 3.0 L engines move close to the 2.0 L turbo output and share the Bilstein suspension. 2.0 L-engined turbocharged models with the Bilstein suspension were named either the GT-B (for wagons), or Spec B, or RSK-B4 (for sedans). The new 2003 model moved many models to simply B4 or even GT in some countries. The Spec B badge still exists in the UK, where the 3.0R stands as the premier MY06 model.
In North America, early sporty models were known simply as the Sport Sedan and Touring Wagon. Later models were given the GT and GT Limited nomenclature. The 2006 Legacy model brought forth a limited run of 500 Spec B models. This model features an improved suspension, navigation, larger wheels, and other driving and aerodynamic improvements over the GT model.
The new 2007 Legacy Spec B will be mass produced, unlike the limited production of 500 units from the '06 model within the US.
World Rally Championship
The Legacy was campaigned by Subaru in the WRC, with the help of Prodrive, beginning in 1990. It wasn't considered a truly competitive model at first, but showed promise under the command of Markku Alen, who in 1991 managed a third-place finish at the Swedish Rally. 1992 debuted the combination of experienced Group B, Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, and WRC driver Ari Vatanen, paired with the up-and-coming Scotish driver Colin McRae for Subaru's WRC effort. Two second place finishes, one by each driver, strengthened the commitment of Subaru to WRC, the Legacy, and their drivers.
1993 became a breakout year for Subaru as Colin McRae and Ari Vatanen pushed the Legacy to a third place finish at the Swedish Rally and a one-two placing after the first leg of the Acropolis Rally. Prodrive boss David Richards was eager to prove the potential of the new Impreza WRC car, but was charged with gaining a victory in the Legacy before the Impreza could debut. At Round 8, Subaru finally struck gold when McRae managed to hold back Francois Delecour in his Ford Escort for the win. This would be the last WRC event for the Legacy, as the Impreza debuted at the following event, where it placed second in the hands of Vatanen.
Richard Burns was successful in numerous events with the car during 1992 before joining the World Rally team to drive the Impreza in 1993. Alister McRae, Per Eklund, Possum Bourne and Hannu Mikkola also competed in the Legacy during its WRC participation.
The Legacy remains an ever-present competitor in rallies around the world. SCCA ProRally and Rally America participation from many teams has been impressive. The Legacy and the Impreza have many interchangeable parts which makes for a very competent and reliable entry.
Models have typically been released into Japan and selected World markets such as New Zealand and Chile in advance of the Continental European and North American markets, perhaps because all three are right-hand drive markets.
- Generation I: 1989–1992
- Generation II: 1993–1997
- Generation III: 1998–2003
- Generation IV: 2003–present
In Japan, the Legacy has a reputation for being an affordable, quick, and nimble car. Subaru is trying to follow the success of the Impreza worldwide with the Legacy, offering turbocharged models in Japan and the Americas. The latest Legacy model has never had a turbocharged version released in Europe due to emission problems.
Design quirks and oddities
- The exterior of the second-generation Legacy was designed by Olivier Boulay, who was hired by Subaru on a short-term basis. He would go on to participate in the design of the Maybach 57 and 62 and influence several Mitsubishi projects.
- The Legacy has many different trim levels in the Japanese market, with an assortment of different names (i.e. Brighton, Lancaster, Outback, and VZ to name a couple). Perhaps the most dubious one of all would be the 1993 Subaru Touring Bruce, named due to Bruce Willis lending himself to a home market advertising campaign.
- 1990 NRMA Best Medium Car
- 1991 NRMA Best Medium Car
- 1991 RACWA Best Medium Car
- 1991 RACT Best Medium Car
- 1991 RACQ Best Medium Car
- 1991 Wheels Magazine Quality Rating Award
- 1992 NRMA Most Reliable Car
- 1992 RACV Most Reliable Car
- 2004 Japanese Car Of The Year
- 2004 RACV Australia's Best Mid-size Car Over $28,000
- 2005 RACV Australia's Best Luxury Car Under $57,000
- 2007 National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council Secure By Design award
- 2009 Car of the Year Philippines Car of The Year & Mid-Sized Car of the Year 
Fuji Heavy Industries
Concept: Elten Custom · Fleet-X · HM-01 · WX-01 · B9 Scrambler · R1e · R2 · B11S · B5-TPH · Impreza WRC Concept · G4e Concept · Impreza Exiga Concept · STELLA Concept · Impreza WRX STI Takumi Concept · Forester XTI Concept · Forester Mountain Rescue Vehicle Concept · Legacy Concept · Hybrid Tourer Concept · Impreza Concept
|Chikuhei Nakajima||Subaru Corporate website||A subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries|
News & References
- Subaru Legacy & Outback Boxer Diesel Models on Sale in Europe
- Subaru Launches Limited Edition Legacy Premium in Japan
- 2010 Subaru Legacy: Official Details and 32 High-Res Photos
- New York 2009 Preview: Subaru reveals 2010 Legacy
- 2010 Subaru Legacy: Bigger, Longer And Taller
- JDM Subaru Legacy unveiled. Wave "hi" to the wagon from afar...
- Subaru Legacy Touring Wagon Officially Revealed in Japan
- 2010 Subaru Legacy Wagon debuts in Britain. No, Yankee, it's not for you.
Enthusiast Sites & Discussion Forums
- LegacyGT.com A discussion website for the Subaru Legacy.
- Legacy Central Subaru Legacy-specific website.
- Surrealmirage Website devoted to the first-generation Legacy.
- ScoobyMods Subaru Modification Library
- Last Ditch Racing Maine Based Performance Rally Racing Team
- Maine Forest Rally
- Maine Subaru Group Maine Subaru Owners and Enthusiasts
- Discussion forums
- Mainely Subarus Maine Subaru Enthusiast Car Club
- SLI forums at Subaru Legacy International
- NASIOC Legacy forum at NASIOC.
- Subaru Forums The UKs largest Subaru community.
- i-Club Legacy forums at i-Club.
- LegacyGT Forum at LegacyGT.com
- Legacy Central BBS First-generation Legacy forum on Legacy Central.
- WRXForum Legacy forum at WRXForums.
- Forum Subaru Legacy forums at Forum Subaru.
- OZ Liberty Australian Subaru Liberty forum.
- RS Liberty Club Australian RS Liberty Club forums.
- MRT Rally Discussion Forums Australian Subaru forum, for all models.
- UK Legacy UK based Legacy forums.
- Auto Showroom Auto Showroom Blog
- Legacy Makes 3 Million  Subaru New-Zealand
- Japan: Subaru Legacy Touring Wagon, B4 Sedan get "tuned by STI" treatment