10 Best & Worst Subaru Legacy Years (Stats & Examples)

Since its inception, the Legacy has evolved through multiple generations, each boasting its unique features, innovations, and occasional missteps. 

In this article, we will look into the world of the Subaru Legacy to unearth the best and worst years that have defined its path. 

By examining statistics and real-world examples, we aim to shed light on the standout triumphs and the occasional stumbling blocks of the Legacy.

The Best and Worst Years for Subaru Legacy Are:

The Subaru Legacy models from 2014 and 2019-2022 are widely considered the best, boasting modern features, durable parts, and excellent reliability scores. However, the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2018 models have caused numerous headaches for owners due to various issues they encountered.

What Subaru Legacy Years Are the Most Reliable?

Reliability is a paramount factor for car buyers seeking a dependable and worry-free driving experience. 

When it comes to the Subaru Legacy, a compact sedan renowned for its affordability and practicality, discerning potential owners often wonder which years stand out as the most reliable. 

Let’s take a closer look into the realm of reliability to identify the Subaru Legacy years that have garnered a reputation for steadfast performance and minimal issues. 

2014 Subaru Legacy

The 2014 Subaru Legacy is indeed known for its reliability among owners and automotive enthusiasts. 

It offers a combination of features that contribute to its reputation as a dependable vehicle. 

Here are some aspects that contribute to the reliability of the 2014 Legacy:

Engine Options: The available four-cylinder engines, such as the 2.5-liter horizontally opposed “boxer” engine, are known for their durability and efficiency.

The six-cylinder engine option, such as the 3.6-liter boxer engine, provides even more power for those seeking a more spirited driving experience.

Build Quality: Subaru has a reputation for constructing sturdy and durable vehicles, and the Legacy is no exception. The use of high-quality materials and attention to detail during manufacturing contributes to its overall reliability.

All-Wheel Drive: The symmetrical all-wheel drive (AWD) system enhances stability, traction, and handling in various driving conditions, promoting a sense of confidence and reliability for drivers.

Safety Features: These include advanced safety technologies like antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, and multiple airbags.

Longevity: Many owners report high mileage and trouble-free ownership experiences with their Subaru Legacy models. 

It’s important to note that while the 2014 Legacy is generally regarded as a reliable model year, individual factors such as proper maintenance, driving habits, and the vehicle’s history can impact its reliability.

Therefore, performing regular maintenance, addressing any issues promptly, and following Subaru’s recommended service intervals can help ensure the continued reliability of the 2014 Legacy.

2019-2022 Subaru Legacy

The 2019-2022 Subaru Legacy models are known for their reliability and come equipped with a range of features that contribute to their overall appeal.

Additionally, the 2019 Subaru Legacy introduced a suite of safety technologies as standard across all variants, including:

  • EyeSight Driver Assist Technology
  • Adaptive cruise control,
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Automated emergency braking

This commitment to safety further enhances the reliability of the vehicle.

Moving on to the 2021 Subaru Legacy, while it didn’t undergo significant changes, it did receive some noteworthy updates:

  • Adaptive headlamps were added to all trims
  • Seat belt warning indicators for passengers were integrated
  • A rear-seat alert feature was introduced

In 2022, the Subaru Legacy continued to impress with its refinement and up-to-date technology. 

Here is a breakdown of each model’s stats:

Year Edmunds Kelley Blue Book JD Power
2019 4.0 4.5 81
2021 4.7 4.8 79
2022 4.8 4.8 80

Considering the consistent positive ratings, safety features, and updates introduced in these model years, the 2019-2022 Subaru Legacy proves to be a reliable choice for those seeking a dependable and well-equipped sedan.

What Subaru Legacy Years Should You Avoid?

While the Subaru Legacy has enjoyed a long-standing reputation as a reliable and affordable vehicle, not every model year has been free of issues or concerns. 

By examining historical data, customer feedback, and expert opinions, we provide insights into the years that have encountered notable problems or shortcomings. 

Below, we aim to highlight the Subaru Legacy years that may warrant caution and consideration before making a purchase. 

2009 Subaru Legacy

The 2009 Subaru Legacy has been reported by some users to have reliability issues, particularly regarding engine failure and head gasket leaks. 

These are significant and costly problems that have been experienced by a portion of owners.

Engine failure is a serious concern as it can result in a complete breakdown of the engine, often accompanied by loud knocking noises and vibrations. 

This issue typically requires the replacement of the entire engine, which can be an expensive repair costing around $5,000. 

The fact that engine failure can occur at relatively low mileage, such as around 75,000 miles, adds to the frustration and perceived unreliability of the 2009 Legacy.

Another common problem reported in the 2009 Legacy is head gasket leaks. 

The head gasket is a critical component that helps seal the combustion chambers and maintain proper engine function. When it fails, it can lead to coolant leaks, overheating, and potential engine damage. 

Repairing the head gasket often requires the removal of the entire engine, resulting in a costly repair that can amount to around $1,600. Head gasket leaks in the 2009 Legacy have been reported to occur at approximately 140,000 miles.

These issues contribute to the perception of the 2009 Subaru Legacy as an unreliable model. 

2010-2011 Subaru Legacy

Compared to the 2009 model, the 2010 and 2011 Subaru Legacy appears to have relatively fewer reported issues and complaints. 

However, it’s important to consider that the 2010 and 2011 model years still experienced some problems, though they may not be as widespread or severe as those reported for the 2009 Legacy.

Here are some prominent issues that plagued 2010 and 2011 Subaru Legacy owners:

Excessive oil consumption: Some owners have noted that their vehicles consume oil at a higher rate than expected, potentially leading to low oil levels between oil changes.

This can be a concern for engine health and may require more frequent monitoring and oil top-ups.

Problems with the continuously variable transmission (CVT): These issues include transmission shuddering, hesitation, or failure.

It’s worth noting that Subaru extended the warranty coverage for the CVT in some affected vehicles, which could alleviate the financial burden of repairs if the issue arises.

It’s important to remember that these are general observations based on reported problems and should not be seen as an exhaustive list of all potential issues with the 2010 and 2011 Subaru Legacy. 

2015 Subaru Legacy

The 2015 Subaru Legacy, while not plagued by severe engine and transmission issues, did have its fair share of reported annoyances and concerns. 

Here are some additional details regarding the reported problems:

Wind noise: While it may not be a serious mechanical problem, a constant whistling noise when driving above 40 mph can be quite bothersome and may lead some owners to consider replacing the vehicle.

Burning odor and oil leaks: These issues were reported to develop early on in the vehicle’s life, and as the car ages, owners may need to continuously monitor and address potential leaks.

Recalls: The 2015 Subaru Legacy had three recalls that are worth noting. Recalls were related to transmission fluid leaks, stability control issues, and a failure of the collision-avoiding system.

Therefore, before purchasing a used 2015 Subaru Legacy, it’s recommended to have a thorough inspection conducted by a qualified mechanic to assess the specific vehicle’s condition.

This includes checking for any potential leaks, addressing recalls, and verifying the overall reliability of the vehicle.

2018 Subaru Legacy

The 2018 Subaru Legacy, while not considered particularly unreliable, did have some reported issues that could make it problematic compared to other well-regarded Legacy model years. 

One of the primary issues reported by owners of the 2018 Legacy was related to the infotainment system. 

Users experienced:

  • Lagging
  • Freezing
  • Unresponsiveness

Compared to other Legacy model years, the 2018 Legacy does not exhibit the same engine, transmission, or headlight issues that were reported in previous years. 

However, the presence of the infotainment system problem in the 2018 model could be a deciding factor for potential buyers.

If given the choice, opting for a 2019 or 2017 Legacy model year might be preferable, as those years may have addressed the infotainment system issue or have fewer reported concerns overall. 

However, if a good deal on a 2018 Legacy presents itself, it’s recommended to ensure that the infotainment system has been resolved either by verifying with the dealer or contacting Subaru directly.

What Are Some Typical Problems With the Subaru Legacy Models?

While the Subaru Legacy has earned its reputation as a reliable and affordable sedan, it is not immune to occasional issues. 

By analyzing customer complaints, industry data, and expert assessments, we aim to shed light on the challenges that some Legacy owners have encountered. 

Here are some of the most common problems Subaru Legacy owners have found themselves having:

  • Surges forward when shifted in the park
  • Consistent draining of underpowered batteries
  • Windshield cracking
  • Wiper motor overheating
  • Subaru STARLINK infotainment malfunction
  • Brake light switch defect
  • Low-density impellers inside fuel pumps
  • Oxygen sensors malfunction
  • Head gasket failures
  • Power steering system issues 

For a more in-depth analysis, please head over to our article about common problems with Subaru Legacy cars.

It’s crucial to remember that not every Subaru Legacy model has these issues, and the severity might vary from car to car. 

Subaru has also attempted to address and fix these problems through recalls, longer warranties, or better parts in later model years. 

A more satisfactory ownership experience with the Subaru Legacy can be achieved by conducting careful research, speaking with reliable technicians, and considering certified pre-owned choices.


Go back to best and worst years across all Subaru models.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.