2023 Subaru Legacy Touring XT Review

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick
The Subaru Legacy Touring XT is like a WRX that's all grown up.


Engine: 2.4L I4 Turbo
Output: 260 hp, 277 lb-ft
Transmission: CVT, AWD
US fuel economy (MPG): 23/31/26
CAN fuel economy (L/100KM): 10.1/7.5/9.0
Starting Price (USD): $25,415 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (USD): $34,915 (inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): $34,845 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (CAD): $43,845 (inc. dest.)

The 2023 Subaru Legacy Touring XT is like a boutique, start-up brand supercar in two distinct ways.

The first: you’re very unlikely to run into another one during the week. You can’t head into the suburbs without spotting an Outback roughly every block, but its sedan sibling? The Legacy is rarer than a mermaid riding a unicorn handing out hen’s teeth.

The other similarity: nobody will know what it is. The Legacy flies under the radar like few other cars out there. And here in Touring XT trim (simply Legacy GT in Canada), it’s basically a more mature WRX, making this quite a sleeper. But how many people will that recipe appeal to? I spent a week with the car trying to figure that out.

Get a Quote on a New 2023 Subaru Legacy

What’s new for 2023

Subaru treated the Legacy to a minor facelift for this year. In a long-standing tradition that arguably peaked in 2007, the Japanese brand has made the car more awkward and less handsome. The front headlight treatment is fussy, and some models, including this tester, get red trim inserts in the grille, like a souvenir from a lost fight. Stop picking on the Legacy!

Like or loathe the Rudolph treatment, at least it’s an attempt at something interesting. The Legacy is almost certainly the most car-shaped car on the market. This is the shape a kid produces when asked to draw a car. I do enjoy the C-clamp running light motif at both ends, and the wind-swept alloy wheel design is reasonably eye-catching while avoiding the black-paint trend. But overall? I’d forget what the car looked like if it wasn’t actively in my field of vision.

No matter the season, the Subaru Legacy's symmetrical all-wheel drive has you covered.

Inside, Subaru has tweaked the infotainment system for improved usability, while retaining the same 11.6-inch size of the touchscreen.

The upper-shelf drivetrain is essentially the same as before, and shared with the WRX and Ascent too. While lesser Legacies make do with a perfunctory 2.5-liter naturally aspirated Boxer-four, this one brings in the 2.4-liter turbo motor, with a healthy 260 horsepower and stout 277 pound-feet of torque. America’s Sport trim also features the turbo engine, too. Only the continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available to send that power through Subaru’s classic all-wheel drive system.

Handling and Drivability

If unassuming is what you're after, the Subaru Legacy delivers in spades.

Basically, the Legacy is a WRX after it’s ditched the baseball hat, got a haircut, and maybe even a sport coat. One of those nice ones from J Crew, and not even at the outlet store. It’s settled down. Presentable. Mature.

SEE ALSO: Subaru WRX Manual vs Automatic Comparison

We’re talking incremental changes here, however. That characteristic Scooby burble is still here—just a little muffled. The steering rack is a little more measured in its movements, and light on feedback. Outright grip levels are lower too, as the Legacy features 225-section all-seasons (or, at this time of year, winter rubber). Increased sound proofing keeps the cabin quieter, though there’s still more noise from the rear suspension than an Accord or Camry.

The Legacy's Touring XT's unique wheels are both interesting and at the same time look almost like hub-caps. Tires measure 225/50/18 and when we tested the car were shod in winter rubber.

Powertrain and Efficiency

The CVT gives the Legacy great off-the-line shove, and Subaru has spent enough time refining it to minimize the moan. I maintain a turbo engine is an ideal pairing for the CVT too, since all the torque is available low in the rev range. The Legacy will happily putter around town, but put the hammer down and it’s a deceptively quick sleeper. The brakes capably haul this four-door down from big speeds with a consistent and responsive pedal.

Ride quality is generally very good. The Legacy stays flat through sweepers and rolls over uneven surfaces without losing composure. It’s an easy car to drive quickly and feel confident behind the wheel. There are selectable drive modes, though Sport feels a little too eager to this writer. Too WRX.

While a sedate look overall, Subaru does add some flare to this Legacy with large black foglight surrounds that give the front end a bit more character.

Official fuel economy comes in at 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, for a combined 26 mpg rating. Canadian figures are 10.1, 7.5, and 9.0 L/100 km, respectively. I saw slightly higher figures during the week, but still better than a WRX, and the Legacy drinks good ol’ regular.

SEE ALSO: 2023 Subaru Outback Review: Updating the SUV Anomaly

Interior Style and Quality

A simple yet elegant cabin, although the steering wheel features a tremendous amount of buttons.

High interior comfort is a Legacy tradition. This latest model doesn’t change that, with comfortable and supportive seats in both rows. In this case, folks in front get both heated and ventilated thrones, and the outboard rears are heated too. An extendable driver thigh support is a nice touch as well. There is plenty of space for adults in back, or for little ones to kick free space instead of a seatback.

The dashboard design is typical Subaru—like the exterior, fussy yet forgettable—though here it’s all covered in soft-touch materials. It’s a quality space, and one that doesn’t leave you guessing about functions. The sheer number of wheel-mounted buttons are intimidating at first, but give it a few days and you’re practically qualified for F1.

The massive portrait-style 11.6-inch touch screen includes Subaru's new Starlink telematics system.

Tech and Safety

The portrait-style screen is easy enough to navigate, with big buttons and straightforward menu organization. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now wireless, and occupy more of the screen when active. I liked that, but I found more connection issues with CarPlay than any other wireless setup. I gave up trying to fix it by the end of the week.

Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist suite can be a little heavy-handed, but I appreciate the brand’s dedication to safety across the board. Every Legacy comes with automated emergency braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and driver monitoring. This model also includes an evasive steering assist to avoid collisions up to 50 mph, and a new wide-angle lens for better pedestrian and cyclist detection.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Toyota Camry TRD Review

Value: Dollars and Sense

Buyers wanting the turbo Legacy experience have two choices. The Sport trim is just $34,915 including destination, which is a mighty good deal for a 260-horsepower, all-wheel drive sedan. The Sport eschews fripperies like the leather seating, ventilation, and the machine-finish wheels, but is mechanically identical to the Touring XT, which goes for $38,715.

Our Canadian-spec tester is the top-shelf GT is the Touring XT equivalent north of the border. Well, mostly: it gets the red blush and the non-machined wheels from the Sport, but the upgraded interior. It’s the only turbo option in Canada, and priced at $43,845 CAD.

It might not be pretty to look at, but the 2.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder under the hood of the Legacy delivers a solid 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque.

2023 Subaru Legacy Competitors

If you want something that’s both mainstream and sporty, the other options include the Kia K5 GT, Hyundai Sonata N Line, and the Toyota Camry TRD. All three slightly undercut the Subaru but lack AWD. They all have their strengths: the Kia is the most fun, the Sonata is about to get a wicked-cool facelift, and the Camry houses the only remaining V6 in the segment. None of them match the sheer content the Subaru offers.

SEE ALSO: 2021 Kia K5 GT Review: An Almost-Perfect Everyday Sport Sedan

Verdict: 2023 Subaru Legacy Touring XT Review

Unassuming yet sporty, the this Legacy is a true sleeper.

I struggled to remember how the 2023 Subaru Legacy Touring XT looked not five minutes after dropping it off. But it took much longer to forget how comfortable, easy to use, and affordable it was. It’s a great choice for someone wanting a mid-sized sedan with a bit of verve.

The two biggest arguments against it come from within the same showroom. The latest WRX is closer in size and feel than ever before, and even comes with a CVT—sorry, SPT—for those who’d rather not handle shifting duties. On the other side is the Outback, the platonic ideal of what a “crossover” really is. It drives so similarly to the car it’s related to because, at the end of the day, it is a car. One with added practicality thanks to its wagon shape.

That leaves the Legacy in an awkward middle ground. For those few who appreciate its unique blend of comfort and sportiness however, especially in a segment with no true AWD alternatives, the Legacy could be their own personal supercar.


How much does the 2023 Subaru Legacy cost?

The 2023 Subaru Legacy starts from $25,415 ($34,845 CAD), including destination. The most affordable way into the turbocharged model is $34,915 ($43,845 CAD).

What is the difference with the 2023 Subaru Legacy?

Subaru facelifted the front-end of the Legacy, updated the infotainment, and improved the driver assist suite.

Does the 2023 Subaru Legacy come with a manual transmission?

No, all Legacies come equipped with Subaru’s CVT.

How Much Power Does the Subaru Legacy Touring XT Make?

Thanks to a turbcoharged 2.4-liter boxer 4-cylinder, the Legacy Touring XT delivers 260-hp and a solid 277 lb-ft of torque.

What colors does the 2023 Subaru Legacy come in?

Subaru offers six different color options for the Legacy including Cosmic Blue Pearl, Crimson Red Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, Crystal White Pearl, Ice Silver Metallic and Magnetite Gray Metallic.

Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.


  • Affordable
  • Well-equipped
  • Turbo + AWD = Fun


  • Forgettable looks
  • Not-quite-WRX driving experience
  • Bit thirsty

Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

More by Kyle Patrick

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Paul Paul on Mar 28, 2023

    totally unimpressive, person I know bought new Forester Turbo, A/C system needs total replacement at 25K miles, cost would be $4,500 Corrosion failure so much for reliability

  • Nicholas Nicholas on Nov 18, 2023

    I've got a 22 Legacy XT and I absolutely love it. My only complaint is the slow infotainment system. It's like Subaru uses a CPU from the last decade. I'd gladly pay another $500 for a responsive infotainment system.

    I do a lot of driving, 700-900 miles a week and this car mixes comfort, safety, and a bit of speed well. I need the comfort for the long drive, the safety and AWD for the winter conditions, and the speed for weaving in and out of traffic trying to hit my exits.