It’s the end of the road for the Subaru Legacy

Subaru of America has announced that, after seven generations, 2025 will be the final year for the Legacy. And since the Legacy sedan is only sold in North America, it means next year is also the end of the Legacy line, period. Although the Legacy hasn’t really been compelling since around the time Subaru canceled the non-Outback Legacy Wagon, it’s still a sad end for the beloved nameplate.

Any guesses as to why the Legacy is being discontinued? If you said the market’s unquenchable thirst for crossovers, you win one Internet Point. Subaru also says they’re trying to introduce new electrified vehicles, but there’s no reason why there couldn’t be a hybrid or electric Legacy if the market demanded it. It doesn’t. Subaru sold 25,509 Legacys last year, compared to 159,193 Crosstreks, 152,566 Foresters, and 161,812 Outbacks.

The Legacy was the first “modern” Subaru, a sleek car that could compete with Camry and Accord. Prior to it, Subarus were largely odd, truckish 4WD vehicles that were closer to BRAT than SVX. The Legacy took Subaru’s mastery of all-wheel-drive and used it to enhance sportiness. The original Legacy even broke 14 speed records during an 18-day, 100,000 km endurance run. From 1991-93, Bruce Willis served as the Legacy’s spokesperson in Japan.

For four generations the Legacy enjoyed sales as the flagship model (minus the SVX years), offered in sedan, wagon, and Outback (and, briefly, Sport Utility Sedan) models. In 2005, when the Legacy sold a cumulative 3 million units globally, Bruce Willis was called back for a new series of commercials. The tagline: I feel Legacy.

However, by 2010’s fifth generation all US model wagons became Outbacks, and the Legacy became sedan-only. A wagon was still offered in Japan and Europe. When the sixth generation arrived in 2014, the Legacy Touring Wagon was no more, even in Japan. They followed the US’s lead by Outback-ifying all Legacy wagons, and replaced the wagon with a new Impreza-based model, the Levorg. Sales of the Outback took off from there, leaving the Legacy in its dust by a wide margin the sedan would never close. Now, with the spinoff Outback eclipsing the original model that spawned it, Bruce Willis never feel Legacy again.

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10 Responses to It’s the end of the road for the Subaru Legacy

  1. Lee says:

    It’s a bummer but I understand why, if you’re only looking at the numbers. My first Subaru was a 2005 Legacy GT sedan 5-speed. It was quick enough to surprise a few people that didn’t want to let you merge in LA traffic and let you blend in with all the other Camrys on the road.

  2. Legacy-san says:

    The eventual cancellation of the Legacy reflects a reality that’s not necessarily known in the west; Japanese cars are built for Japanese driving conditions.

    The luxury sedan Legacy was built for prosperous times, before “the bubble economy” Yes, in Japan, the Legacy is a luxury car.

    The current Impreza in Japan has a longer wheelbase, at 105.1 in (2,670 mm) than the first generation Legacy 101.6 in (2,580 mm), and in Japan space is definitely a luxury.

    Luxury cars in Japan have been taxed out of existence, due to the yearly taxes they pay for dimensions, engine displacement, vehicle weight, and emissions. The Impreza, which is now only available as a hatchback, has been modified to continue to offer Japanese drivers choices. The Forrester, Crosstrek, and the Levorg are all currently available in Japan.

    The Legacy was introduced for the West, and reflected wealthy times. Same goes for dozens of sedans that were built to the very limit of exterior dimension limits at 4.7 m (15.4 ft) long, 1.7 m (5.6 ft) wide. The availability of AWD in all Subaru products was actually described as a safety feature, since many Japanese drivers typically don’t drive faster than 25 mph (40 km/h) unless they get onto a expressway where they pay a toll based on distance.

    The Legacy was Subaru’s way of competing in the affordable AWD luxury sedan segment, like the Toyota Cresta and Nissan Laurel (the Skyline’s preppy brother) and the “is it a coupe or is it a sedan” Nissan Leopard.

    The first Legacy drew many visual similarities both inside and out to the Honda Legend.

    As a request to Ben Hsu, I’d like to see an article on these sedans, the Nissan Laurel in particular.

    Discuss amongst yourselves.

  3. Rynyan says:

    A bummer to see another sedan disappear from the market, but extremely unsurprising.
    I see enough Outbacks every day to make my eyes glaze over, but couldn’t tell you the last time I saw a Legacy of the current or previous gen.

    Maybe with some manufacturing capacity freed up in Indiana they could think about a new Baja, who knows.

  4. Franxou says:

    Very saddened to see another sedan discontinued in order to make more room for crossovers. But I also get the financial aspect of this thing, selling over 450 000 crossovers sold in a year over two platforms split in three models (Crosstrek and Forester are Impreza based, right? And the Legacy, Outback and Ascent are on their own platform?), while selling 25000 Legacy in the same period makes this last car a very niche market, kinda like a BRZ, but the BRZ brings them vibility while the Legacy was a stealth car.

    Subaru did make an Outback sedan for a while, and while I wonder if it could have been succesful if it came back in this era?

  5. Amanda Adams says:

    Sorry but this is a very dumb decision by Subaru. As a part of the female demand population with a need for AWD here, I am in love with my Legacy. Had high hopes of trading mine in for a new one at the end of next year. No one really knew about this Model back when I bought it, and really they never advertise for them. Just their butt ugly outbacks, and SUV’s. If it were me, I’d ditch the weird hatchback Impreza over the Legacy like come on. This made me angry.

  6. Taylor C. says:

    Going the Ford route, I guess. Doing it more for profit, and less for purpose. I also had a 2005 Legacy GT 5MT, albeit in wagon guise. What a sleeper, especially with the lower-profile hood scoop and black powdercoated full Greddy exhaust tucked in (I bought the slightly shorter sedan version exhaust so that the exhaust tips weren’t sticking way out). With the ’04 STi BBS, this wagon was awesome. The previous owner replaced the turbo with a slight upgrade as well as tune, and added bigger sway bar, and I threw on a set of Koni Yellows. Inside I added the later model MP3 CD-capable head unit, added a Kartboy short shifter, JDM armrest, and matching colored boost gauge, 16 psi!

    Our trips up and down I-5 averaged 25MPG, but mixed driving only netted 22MPG, not surprising with 300hp. I would have loved to keep it, but a family hauler needed better fuel economy. I drove it for about 4 years and added about 40k miles, and sold it for slightly less than what I paid for it, which shows the continued popularity.

    Legacys came in turbo diesel too, obviously not USDM models though

  7. Land Ark says:

    I bought my 07 Legacy GT wagon in 2010. I started to be infatuated with the Legacy wagon playing Gran Turismo 2 in college and always being surprised at how competitive I could make them. Then when the 4th gen came out I thought it was one of the most attractive cars I had seen. I was determined to own one but finances at the time did not make it a viable possibility when new. A few years later I had a better job and decided the time was right to find a good low mile used wagon. I searched passively for about a year before I saw the listing for mine pop up. It was the first 2007 I had seen. I didn’t drive stick so 2007 was the best version for me. I had just gotten home from work and the dealer listing was about 2 hours away from me on the other side of the DC beltway – without traffic. I immediately jumped in my car and drove headlong into rush hour. Once I arrived I could tell it wasn’t perfect. It was off lease from an owner in Miami, certified, 35k miles, and it was going to be mine. Silver with black interior was exactly what I wanted at the time. The rear bumper had been quickly resprayed and they replaced the tires with ones I did not like. Otherwise it was fine. I paid exactly what they were asking because they knew I wanted it. I drove it home a few days later when I had someone to drop me off. The next day it snowed so the timing was perfect. I found out my dislike for the tires was warranted as they had no snow traction. And while sliding around on my way to work, the check engine light came on. Well, great. I called the local dealer to me who took it in for a few days and replaced the intake manifold gasket under warranty. And while I had no way to prove it, they broke one of the tail lights while they had it. No matter, I soon replaced them with ones from a newer Outback with clear turn signals. Later I lowered it on springs and new adjustable shocks, tinted the windows, and got a dedicated set of winter all season tires that worked in the snow. Then a out of the box tune and I’ve since called it done.
    Someone pulled out in front of me in2016 so I got a new bumper, fender, and headlight. Then someone bumped into the back of me and I got the badly peeling rear bumper replaced. I also had the rear spoiler on the hatch, the hatch garnish, and hood scoop repainted. It has lived it’s entire life with me outside so all the plastic parts have suffered.
    Today, it has 88k miles and minus a rear wheel bearing it has been largely trouble free. Though the past few summers it’s not been blowing very cold ac.
    I’ve said since I bought it I would put a new engine in it when the time comes rather than part with it. Having other cars available has saved it about another 100k miles.
    The end of the Legacy line while unsurprising is nevertheless sad. I always hoped one day to be able to add another Subaru to my lineup, but they are making it impossible to have the same lustful reactions to what they are producing. Subaru isn’t interested in what I want anymore, which is fine, but it still makes me sad.

  8. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    They should pull off what Fiat did with the EV 500; Subaru e360. (Honda with an eCity.)

  9. nlpnt says:

    I’m honestly surprised the Legacy sedan lasted this long, with the Outback being the runaway favorite variant since the turn of the millennium it would’ve made more sense to have killed the sedan in the late ’00s and kept the non-Outback wagon. Manufacturer’s cost for a suspension height and trim variation has to be a lot less than all those expensive dedicated body stampings *plus* the height and trim variation.

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