15 Best & Worst Subaru Legacy Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Subaru Legacy made its US debut in 1999 and remains a popular choice in the family sedan market.

Modern versions come with all-wheel-drive as standard and boast roomy interiors and lots of driver assistance tech.

To learn about the best and worst years of the Subaru Legacy, keep on reading…

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Subaru Legacy Are:

The best Subaru Legacy model years are 2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, 2014, 2009, 2007, 2004, and 2003. The worst model years of the Legacy are 2017, 2016, 2015, 2011, 2010 and 2005. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Subaru Legacy?

Subaru has produced a lot of great Legacy vehicles in the model’s 32-year lifespan (in the United States). 

Listed below are those that deserve to be viewed as the best of the best.

2022 Subaru Legacy

It should come as no surprise that the most recent Legacy models are on our best list as they are the most refined and have the most up-to-date-tech.

The most notable change introduced in 2022 for the Subaru Legacy was the 17-inch aluminum wheels for the base trim of the vehicle.

In addition to this, the higher-end Premium and Sport trims come with air vents (located at the back of the center console) for the benefit of the passengers in the rear seat. 

  • Edmunds: 4.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.8 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2022 Subaru Legacy, Edmunds review:

“Can’t say enough about this vehicle. This is my second Legacy and I have no need to search for another car.”

2021 Subaru Legacy

The 2021 Subaru Legacy did not get much in terms of upgrades or changes, but there are still a few updates worth noting.

First, adaptive headlamps were added to all trims, seat belt warning indicators for passengers were added, and a rear-seat alert feature was also integrated. 

As you’d expect from a Legacy, modern driver-assists come with every model.

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.8 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2021 Subaru Legacy, Edmunds review:

“The car is outstanding – luxurious feel and smooth quiet drive, better than most luxury cars. Very spacious with plenty of cargo space in the trunk. I find this car severely underrated. Minor issues with the car start-stop feature that you cannot permanently turn off.”

2019 Subaru Legacy

The 2019 Subaru Legacy stays true to form with a suite of safety tech at an afforable price.

All variants of the model were equipped with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, that includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and automated emergency braking.

  • Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2019 Subaru Legacy, Edmunds review:

“This is my 3rd legacy and 6th Subaru. If you are a Subaru fan, you know that they aren’t rockets, but that’s not why we love them. This is a solid car and great value. It packs in all the latest safety features, has great visibility, plenty of gadgets (love Apple CarPlay), roominess, and of course AWD…”

2018 Subaru Legacy

The 2018 Subaru Legacy had some tweaks in its exterior appearance and some updates to its safety tech, infotainment system and interior design.

In addition to this the chassis was improved for a smoother and quieter ride.

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2018 Subaru Legacy, Edmunds review:

“If you are shopping for a classy, updated, contemporary sedan, look at the 2018 Subaru Legacy limited. I’m coming from a 2015 Legacy which I liked very much. This 2018 Legacy has a much tighter suspension and quicker handling. It has good acceleration quite acceptable for everyday routine driving…”

2014 Subaru Legacy

The 2014 Legacy is a top pick as it received very few complaints and had minimal issues.

It boasts a roomy interior, a spacious trunk and impressive fuel economy.

  • Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2014 Subaru Legacy, Edmunds review:

“Just traded from an 07 Nissan Versa so this is a whole new animal. Very spacious interior with classy color coordination. 6-speed manual is sporty, no doubt, but feels somewhat disconnected and doesn’t seat the same as most clutch systems I am used to…”

2009 Subaru Legacy

The 2009 Legacy came with a total of seven trim levels and three engine configurations, with price ranges accommodating the entry-level car owner all the way to the experienced and tech-savvy driver. 

The 2009 model was noted for its excellent crash test scores and secured a 5-star safety rating and the Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS.

The 2009 Legacy comes with stability control as standard except on 2.5 GT models equipped with the manual transmission.

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2009 Subaru Legacy, Edmunds review:

“This 2009 Legacy is a good value for what it is; I bought it used with about 20k miles on it – now it’s 4 yrs later with over 75k miles. The AWD is great for the Ohio winters, especially once I replaced the OE tires with higher-quality treads. I get about 25 mpg overall city/hwy which is not great, but for having AWD and the comfort and space for me, it’s OK…”

2007 Subaru Legacy

The 2007 Legacy is one of the least problematic models to date based on data from CarProblemZoo.com which tracks NHTSA complaints.

It has also been praised by auto citics for its performance and sharp interior design.

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 75 / 100

2007 Subaru Legacy, Edmunds review:

“This car may not be as flashy as some other sport sedans, but it is definitely a wolf underneath the discreet exterior. Powerful and handles incredibly. Interior is also very upscale compared to other cars in the same class/price-range.”

2003 and 2004 Subaru Legacy

The 2003 and 2004 Subaru Legacy models are the oldest on the list, automatically making them the least recommended.

However, these two model years were known to be incredibly reliable and problems reported were minimal, they also boasted solid reviews from owners.

The 2003 and 2004 models are available as a sedan or wagon, feature AWD and a host of standard features.

2004 Subaru Legacy:

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2003 Subaru Legacy:

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2004 Subaru Legacy, Edmunds review:

“Great car. I have over 121,000 miles on it now and still not a rattle or squeak. Runs and looks like new. This is my third Subaru, all very reliable. I have had only 2 out of pocket repairs. The head gaskets were replaced at 80,000 miles and new struts at 116,000 miles. Gas mileage is OK at 22-23 Mpg in town and 27-30 Mpg on the highway.”

2003 Subaru Legacy, Edmunds review:

“This car has been rock solid. Over 150,000 miles and counting. The review that talks about the shifting, just drop into 3rd on the automatic in-town; the 4th gear is overdrive for the highway…read the manual! The head gaskets have been an issue, but there is a replacement gasket that permanently fixes the problem…”

Consumer Scores For Best Subaru Legacy Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Subaru Legacy model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds’ Consumer RatingKelley Blue Book’s Consumer RatingJD Power’s Consumer Rating
2022 Subaru Legacy4.8 / 5.04.8 / 5.080 / 100
2021 Subaru Legacy4.7 / 5.04.8 / 5.079 / 100
2019 Subaru Legacy4.0 / 5.04.5 / 5.081 / 100
2018 Subaru Legacy4.2 / 5.04.5 / 5.082 / 100
2014 Subaru Legacy4.1 / 5.04.6 / 5.081 / 100
2009 Subaru Legacy4.6 / 5.04.5 / 5.079 / 100
2007 Subaru Legacy4.6 / 5.04.5 / 5.075 / 100
2004 Subaru Legacy4.5 / 5.04.5 / 5.0NA
2003 Subaru Legacy4.4 / 5.04.5 / 5.0NA

Related: How Long Do Subaru Legacy Last? (Solved & Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Subaru Legacy?

The Subaru Legacy has been around a while now, and as you’d expect there are some years you may want to steer clear of…

2017 Subaru Legacy

Much like several of the other Subaru models around this period, the biggest issue encountered by the 2017 Subaru Legacy was how fragile its windshield was.

Several reports indicated cracks in the windshields without reasonable cause. 

The 2017 Legacy had a total of 11 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 99 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Cracked windshield
  • Wires chewed by rodents
  • Rough ride

2016 Subaru Legacy

The 2016 Subaru Legacy was very problematic from an electronics standpoint.

A lot of owners reported that the battery was constantly draining and required replacing far more often than is typical.

Another common complaint was that the key would often get stuck in the ignition.

The 2016 Legacy had a total of 5 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 142 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Battery constantly drains, requiring jumps
  • Brake noise
  • Can not remove key

2015 Subaru Legacy

The 2015 Legacy was riddled with starting issues and battery drain problems.

Similar to the 2017 model year, it also had issues pertaining to the integrity of the windshield.

The 2015 Legacy had a total of 59 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 200 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Windshield cracks easily
  • Battery drains
  • Won’t start
  • Engine burning smell

2011 Subaru Legacy

The 2011 Subaru Legacy had several issues, but the most prominent concern reported by owners was the failure of the automatic transmission system due to a torque converter problem.

Reports stated that the vehicle would fail to downshift properly, leading to engine stalling and knocking. 

Owners account:

“2011 Subaru Legacy with cvt stalls when coming to a abrupt stop. Subaru has a TSB and knows there is an issue with the torque converter. Car is out of the warranty period therefore customer must pay for the fix. This is a major safety issue that should be correct via a recall!”

The 2011 Legacy had a total of 35 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 208 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Headlights keep burning out
  • Transmission failure
  • Stalling
  • Torque converter manufacturer defect
  • Defect in paint on rear bumper

2010 Subaru Legacy

The 2010 Subaru Legacy had issues revolving around its power train, with the most prevalent concern being torque converter failure.

Similar to the previous entry, this model year experienced sporadic car stalling which was allegedly more frequent when braking. 

The 2010 Legacy had a total of 22 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 197 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Headlights stopped working
  • Warning lights flashing
  • Stalling
  • Torque converter manufacturer defect
  • Passenger airbag indicator frequently fails to come on

2005 Subaru Legacy

The 2005 Subaru Legacy had various engine-related problems, it is also the most problematic model year to date based on NHTSA complaints.

A handful of reports stated that the engine had blown, with one owner stating that his engine failed at under 150,000 miles (which is relatively young for a standard vehicle).

For some, engine failure occurred in transit, leading to a lot of inconvenient situations requiring towing services. 

The 2005 Legacy had a total of 13 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 239 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Clutch failed
  • Engine problems
  • Blown head gaskets
  • Hole in the air conditioning condenser

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

There are several Subaru Legacy model years, both old and new, that have received numerous complaints through the years. 

Take a look at the complaints and problems for each model year of the Legacy below

Model YearComplaints (CarComplaints.com)Problems (CarProblemZoo.com)
2022 Subaru Legacy38
2021 Subaru Legacy116
2020 Subaru Legacy3102
2019 Subaru Legacy273
2018 Subaru Legacy2477
2017 Subaru Legacy1199
2016 Subaru Legacy5142
2015 Subaru Legacy59200
2014 Subaru Legacy859
2013 Subaru Legacy1580
2012 Subaru Legacy1296
2011 Subaru Legacy35208
2010 Subaru Legacy22197
2009 Subaru Legacy1168
2008 Subaru Legacy1181
2007 Subaru Legacy444
2006 Subaru Legacy12129
2005 Subaru Legacy13239
2004 Subaru Legacy053
2003 Subaru Legacy966
2002 Subaru Legacy667
2001 Subaru Legacy688
2000 Subaru Legacy7119
1999 Subaru Legacy10115
1998 Subaru Legacy6153
1997 Subaru Legacy1179
1996 Subaru Legacy0161

What Problems Do Subaru Legacys Have?

  • Engine failure
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Stalling

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Subaru Legacy?

The Subaru Legacy is a worthy choice in the midsize sedan market, it secured the 6th spot (right below the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry), with a strong score of 7.8 out of 10. 

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Honda Accord8.9$26,120 – $38,050City: 22 – 30 /Highway: 32 – 38
Hyundai Sonata8.2$24,500 – $34,750City: 23 – 28 /Highway: 33 – 38
Kia K58.2$25,090 – $31,490City: 24 – 27 /Highway: 32 – 37
Toyota Camry8.0$25,945 – $36,370City: 22 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 39
Nissan Altima7.9$24,750 – $34,450City: 25- 28 /Highway: 34 – 39
Subaru Legacy7.8$24,395 – $37,695City: 23 – 27 /Highway: 31 – 35
Chevrolet Malibu7.4$23,400 – $33,500City: 22 – 29 /Highway: 33 – 36
Volkswagen PassatNA$27,575 – $30,575City: 24 /Highway: 36

Source: cars.usnews.com










  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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