A red 2021 Subaru Legacy is shown from the side driving on an open road past a body of water.

Your Guide to a CPO Subaru Legacy: A Safe and Reliable Option?

If you hold firmly to the belief that sedans are superior to SUVs, but want AWD capability at an affordable price, look no further than a Certified Pre-Owned Subaru Legacy. There are very few brands as synonymous with reliability and longevity as Subaru. An astonishing 97% of all Subarus sold in the last decade are still on the road. It’s not as though there is nothing to this. Subaru combines standard AWD across all models with excellence in industry safety standards, plus an exceptionally loyal customer base.

But why buy Certified Pre-Owned? Couldn’t you just go to any random dealership and buy your Legacy? You could, sure. But, buying CPO means you’re buying a used vehicle that’s been inspected and approved for resale by Subaru itself. And, buying CPO from Subaru comes with its own set of perks that you won’t find at an independent dealership. We’ll delve into the benefits of buying Subaru CPO—and then take a look at the Legacy itself.

Inspection and Safety Standards

In order to even be considered for CPO status, your Legacy must be no older than the 2017 model year. So there’s a 5-year spread for you to choose from, which is common among CPO sales. However, the qualifications don’t end there.

Subaru-trained technicians perform a 152-point inspection, which covers just about everything you can think of: Is the owner’s manual in the glove compartment? Is there frame rust? Did they spot tire tread wear? How about fluid leaks? What’s the lug nut torque like? Any default that does not meet Subaru’s safety standards is either repaired or replaced. The inspection report is made available for your review pre-purchase.

Because Subaru is so obsessed with safety, all of their CPOs come with an available one-year trial to StarLink Safety Plus package, which includes automatic collision notification. Additionally, all models within the 5-year window of options are equipped with EyeSight, Subaru’s standard safety technology suite, which includes blind spot warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.

No brand, with the exception of Volvo, is more safety conscious than Subaru. They pride themselves on top government safety ratings and are among the most popular vehicle choices for families. So you can be confident in the knowledge that your CPO Legacy comes not only with standard Subaru safety, but the additional safety check of a qualified technician.

A popular Certified Pre-Owned Subaru Legacy, a gold 2021 Subaru Legacy is shown parked on a city street.

Available Warranties

Beyond bodily safety is financial security. CPO Subarus come standard with a factory-backed 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty with a $0 deductible. There are two additional upgrades available if the standard warranty doesn’t suffice:

Upgrade The First: 7-year/100,000 mile CPO “Classic.” This warranty includes roadside assistance, covers repair on all major component areas—transmission, brakes, etc.—and offers reimbursement for both towing and rental car charges.
Upgrade The Second: 7-year/100,000 mile CPO “Gold Plus.” Covered under this warranty is the entire “Classic” with extra repair coverage. By Subaru’s admission, “Gold Plus” is, in essence, the same “bumper-to-bumper” warranty that comes out of the factory. However, the best perk of “Gold Plus” is the reimbursement of lodging and meals should a breakdown occur while you’re traveling. Your car’s computer will also inform you of trip routing, travel assistance, retail locations, and more.

Either upgraded plan offers more protection than the standard warranty, and is far and above similar industry plans.

Additional CPO Benefits

Outside of warranties and safety inspections, your CPO also comes with the option of adding a 3-month trial subscription to Sirius XM radio. Other options include a complete CarFax report, 24/7 Roadside Assistance, and a $500 customer loyalty coupon. This last perk will require you to visit a Subaru retailer for complete details, but it’s just another reason Subaru has such a loyal customer base.

Onto the Legacy itself. It’s most likely that you’ll be looking for something within the last few years, so we’ll be using the 2020 Legacy as our base model. Not much has changed over the last few years except for a tech upgrade for 2022—so, in essence, the 2020/22 are virtually the same.

Under the Hood of the Legacy

The 7th generation Subaru Legacy premiered in 2020 and is available in 6 trim levels: Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, Limited XT, and Touring XT. An increase in size and refinement over the previous generation make the Legacy a decent contender in a market that’s virtually dominated by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. However, what neither Accord nor Camry offers is standard AWD. This is Subaru’s party piece.

All Subaru models come equipped with AWD, allowing for a more planted, secure feel than its FWD competitors. The benefits of AWD are numerous, but the use of driving all four wheels is advantageous when dealing with adverse weather—such as heavy rain, ice, and snow. Even in dry, perfect conditions, the all-around feel of road traction provides more confidence as you drive. It should be noted that some of Subaru’s competitors do not even offer AWD as an option. Those who do may only offer it as an optional, added cost package.

Powering the Legacy is a direct-injection 2.5-L 4-cylinder BOXER engine, producing 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. This engine powers all but the top-level Limited XT and Touring XT, which see an upgrade to a 2.4-L 4-cylinder turbocharged BOXER. This superb powertrain produces 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Mpg is 27/35 city/hwy for the 2.5-L engine, and 24/32 city/hwy for the turbo.

The BOXER engine is mounted horizontally, as it is in all models, giving the Legacy a lower center of gravity. That, along with a stiffer chassis, structures the Legacy with a far more balanced, responsive drive—without much risk of rollover.

Inside the Legacy

Subaru has been in the automotive game for a long time, but it never quite mastered interior design until very recently. The 2020 Legacy is very refined, with quality cloth seats in lower trims and ventilated/heated leather seats in higher trims. The 11.6’’ StarLinkmultimedia screen on the Premium and XT trims is a top choice if you’re a fan of technology integration. Included are Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and hands-free phone and text message connectivity. Lower trims have a 7’’ screen with the same connectivity features.

With its upgrade in size, there is more room in the Legacy than ever before. Like all midsize sedans, the Legacy seats up to 5. It also has a generous 39.5’’ of legroom in the rear. The back seats fold in a 60/40 split which, when both seats are down, allows for 32.5 cu.ft. of storage. Standard cargo space in the trunk is 15.1 cu.ft. with the rear seats up and in use.A blue 2021 Subaru Legacy is shown from above parked in a city.

Outside the Legacy

Exterior-wise, the Legacy is very simple. It’s not flashy or angular like some of its competitors, though it does provide a very firm stance—likely thanks to that AWD. Base trims come standard with 17’’ alloy wheels, except the Sport. The Legacy sport gets 18’’ alloy wheels with a black metallic finish and a rear spoiler on the trunk.

If you fancy yourself a moonroof, one is only available on the Limited XT trim. Otherwise, you’re looking at a simple, sophisticated sedan that relies on classic Subaru intrigue.

The Legacy’s Legacy

Overall, a CPO from Subaru is about as safe a bet as you can get. In a world filled with ever-increasing amounts of SUVs and crossovers, driving a sedan is becoming a bit of a niche. However, driving a Legacy doesn’t represent clinging to the past so much as allowing your vehicle choice to be a personal statement. You’re saying that there is still a place for the type of vehicle that created the automotive industry in the first place, and that it’s still as capable as its bigger friends. Plus, it’s a Subaru, so it’s not like it’s gonna die anytime soon.