2023 Subaru Legacy Shows Subaru Can Make New Cars Without Cladding

It still looks like the lovechild of a Buick and a Prius, but it could be worse.

byMay 12, 2022 3:37 PM
2023 Subaru Legacy in white, with a red band across the grille
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Possibly the worst trend in automotive styling today is the obsession with black plastic cladding. It's easy to wash down, but it's cheap and only looks like ground clearance if you squint your eyes, tilt your head, and forget everything you know about cars. Subaru has been addicted to the stuff in recent years, using it on more than half the models it has introduced since 2017, the worst example being the plastic-fantastic, never-to-be-STI WRX. But Subaru finally appears to have gotten some sense back, as it has foregone the plastic on its redesigned 2023 Legacy.

Arriving just a couple of years into the current Legacy's life, the update refreshes the sedan's fascia and LED headlights, and improves its EyeSight safety suite. It includes the latest iteration of Subaru's Starlink (no, not the one that's behind all the space junk) infotainment in an 11.6-inch touchscreen, if that kind of thing interests you. If it does, wait till you hear how it has "on-screen controls for audio, HVAC, and vehicle features."

C'mon, guys—have you not heard us railing against this very thing for years? It's demonstrably unsafe and speaks of following trends, rather than emphasizing safety the way Subaru has built its identity around. The concept of buttons wasn't broken and it really didn't need fixing.

2023 Subaru Legacy Sport | Subaru

It's not all bad, though—not hardly. There's an improved Sport trim with Subaru's 2.4-liter flat-four, making 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. Combined with "sport-tuned suspension," it's pretty much a WRX for someone with the foresight not to sign on a 108-month loan. It's still got a CVT, but so do plenty of WRXs these days too.

I'm actually curious how it drives if you can believe that. With what I've said about Subaru's styling preferences, though, I doubt that's likely to happen.

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