I Never Expected This From a Subaru! #RMDE2019

by: Lauren Baures

I recently attended an automotive press event in the Colorado mountains, where auto journalists from all around the Rocky Mountain region gather to test some of the newest vehicles. 

One of those vehicles was the all-new 2020 Subaru Legacy. Now in its 7th generation, it really is a Legacy, but it’s always just… been there. It’s been that solid good friend with that never does anything crazy, is never naughty, doesn’t necessarily stand out but it’s there no matter what. 

Until now.

I stepped into the pearl white 2020 Subaru Legacy (prototype) looking around the interior, thinking, yeh it’s ok, it’s nice. It must be a top of the line trim level with the enormous touch screen and soft feel leather seats. The 11.6” touchscreen looked great, but I was eager to try out the new FA 2.4L turbo engine, I pretty much sat down, put my foot on the brake and pressed the start button. Instead of playing with the buttons and settings as I do in most vehicles, I figured I’d get to that later after I check out the performance and handling (and area that Subaru does better in). 

Not even 30 seconds into the drive and the Subaru Product Communications Specialist (who’s riding in the passenger seat) makes sure to tell me the car has a Lane Centering Function as part of the EyeSight Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control feature. “Yeh, yeh ok, every manufacturer has fancy names for stuff and things and it’s not the first time I’ve heard or heard of Lane Centering,” I thought. I did, however, want to check out how responsive the Adaptive Cruise Control was, so I got it all set up as we head up a steep and windy mountain road with moderate traffic. 

Anticipating how well or not well the Adaptive Cruise would work, I relax a little and let the car take care of the accelerating and braking. 

Then it took control of the steering wheel. Uh uh, yip you read that right. The car pretty much took control of the steering wheel. 

We went around a corner and another corner and another corner and I didn’t move the steering wheel a single bit. 

Safety technology is growing rapidly. I’ve driven hundreds, maybe even thousands (gosh that makes me feel old again) of cars and trucks with manufacturers trying to reach higher and higher levels of autonomy. Several other vehicles I drove that day had adaptive cruise and some form of lane keep or lane assist system, some good and some not so good. 

Poorer forms of the system will simply alert the driver if they get close to or go over the lines. Some will gently nudge the car away from the line and others will aggressively push the car back, which ends up in the car bouncing back and forth between lane lines. Some will attempt at the steering wheel turning corners for you, but it usually cancels out or gives up if the corner becomes too tight. 

From my experience, the 2020 Subaru Legacy Lane Centering is phenomenal. It held me in the center of the lane at every corner and tight corners too. The car also knows if you take your hands off the steering wheel; it’ll flash some orange lights at you on the windshield heads up display. It’s not designed to be autonomous but designed to be an aid. For the time being, you still have to be involved in driving. Don’t be that person. 

The engine is fine, it’s got plenty of get-up-and-go as expected from Subaru. Handling is also great, with suspension slightly on stiffer side for those who like a firm but still comfortable ride. 

So impressed with this lane-centering feature, I will say, I forgot to really check out anything else, but it does have face recognition for driver settings such as seat position, mirrors and other presets. Another leading safety feature on the Legacy is DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System which can detect driver distraction and fatigue. Passenger volume is increased by nearly 1 cu.ft. and rear passenger legroom is increased by 1.4”. 

Other notable features on the 2020 Legacy Touring XT include;

  • EyeSight -Active Torque Vectoring
  • Sound insulating
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring with individual wheel pressure display
  • 180 degree Front View Monitor
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • New STARLINK Apps
  • Heated and Ventilated front seats and heated steering wheel
  • Heated rear seats
  • Steering Responsive Headlights
  • Nappa leather-trimmed upholstery
  • Reverse Automatic Braking
  • Available WiFi hotspot

Subaru’s are known for their symmetrical AWD system, the flat 4 BOXER engine, and brand loyalty, not necessarily being a leader in safety technology at an affordable price, but that might change now. 

I drove the 2020 Subaru Legacy Touring XT in Crystal White Pearl, priced at $36,795 MSRP inc destination fee.