Sci-tech

Subaru Legacy Turbo bows in Chicago

Subaru Legacy Turbo bows in Chicago

GoAuto understands that the Japanese manufacturer has not committed to right-hand-drive production of the new Liberty - or Legacy as it is known in the United States - and that the slowing rate of sales in the mid-size passenger auto segment in Australia and other right-hook markets means its future is now the subject of an internal review. Where the Outback has successfully co-opted vehicle buyers' love of SUVs to generate more sales, the Legacy has had to fight against the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry for a slice of the ever-shrinking sedan pie.

Before we talk about the new 2020 Subaru Legacy Turbo introduced today at the Chicago Auto Show, let's keep talking about the old Turbo. It may not look that different but the 2020 Legacy is totally new inside and out.

Bigger brakes on 17- or 18-inch wheels, combined with the stiffer new platform and lower centre of gravity, also contribute to what Subaru is calling the most sophisticated and advanced Liberty in the model's 30-year history.

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The base, Premium, Sport, and Limited variants use a carry-over 2.5-liter inline-four that delivers 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft and what Subaru estimates is an 8.4-second zero-to-60 time. An updated 2.5-liter flat-four is standard on all but the Touring trim, which comes exclusively with the turbo engine. Subaru says the 2.4-liter Boxer launches the Legacy XT from 0-60 miles per hour in an estimated 6.1 seconds. The additional twist helps bring the sedan up to 60 miles per hour in 6.1 seconds, with an estimated city/highway rating of 24/32 mpg. The first turbocharged engine offered in Subaru's midsize sedan since 2012, it brings back memories of the old Legacy GT performance models.

Both versions are equipped with stepless CVT CVT Lineartronic. Essentially a lifted Legacy wagon, it will promise extra ground clearance, additional body cladding, and far more cargo space thanks to its wagon silhouette. From the standpoint of technology, the tablet-inspired Starlink 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment is the biggest departure from the previous generation.

All models come standard with all-wheel drive and a handful of driver safety tech like EyeSight Driver Assist. In addition to the previously available adaptive cruise control, the system adds a lane-center function for 2020. Aside from the usual media, telephony and connectivity functions, the system is also responsible for HVAC controls and the car's around-view monitor. A DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System is also optional on Limited and standard on both XT trims, which uses a camera and facial recognition software to detect driver fatigue. The new Legacy goes on sale this fall, so expect to see the Outback arrive in showrooms sometime near the end of 2019.