Within the Nineteen Nineties, when you wished an all-wheel-drive sedan or station wagon, the Subaru Legacy was the automotive to go for. It’s accessible in sedan and station wagon physique kinds. It made sense to get a Subaru Legacy wagon over a front-wheel-drive crossover. A lifted variant of the Legacy wagon often known as the Outback was additionally accessible when you wished a rugged Legacy.

A Subaru legacy is the automotive to go to when you really feel that the Impreza is simply too small or costly. It won’t be as highly effective as an Impreza, nevertheless it certain packs a punch. Since manufacturing began for the Legacy, there at all times has been an STI tuned spec and one other turbo spec Legacy.

A superb instance is the first-gen Legacy RS turbo. It was designed for rallying and had Subaru’s symmetrical AWD system, and was accessible for most of the people to buy. If you happen to’re fortunate, you may get one on the market.

Any Legacy, station wagon, or sedan, makes the proper every day driver JDM automobile. A legacy sedan won’t be as highly effective or Luxurious as different JDM sedans such because the Toyota Celsior and the Nissan Cima. Nonetheless, it’s extra environment friendly, cheaper, and simpler to take care of. AWD drive Legacies have higher dealing with as they’re light-weight and have higher weight distribution.

The Legacy makes the proper every day driver JDM which you may get for a funds. Each sedan and wagon variants seat 5 individuals comfortably with sufficient trunk area to hold the squad’s baggage. You may mount a load provider for aesthetics and additional load area, making your Legacy look cool.

There are lots of Legacy trims to select from every era, and every trim has a distinct boxer engine. Engine choices range from naturally aspirated, turbocharged, and twin-turbocharged. The displacement varies between engines relying on the yr of manufacturing and the spec.

Legacies with low displacement NA engines won’t be as enjoyable to drive as turbocharged ones. Nonetheless, they’re extra dependable and more likely to last more. Upkeep on turbocharged engines is barely larger, particularly if the automotive has excessive mileage. However, you possibly can simply tune or modify a turbocharged engine.

Most Legacy fans desire any legacy comprised of 1989 to 2009. After 2009, Legacies “stopped being enjoyable” within the fifth era. There have been no frameless doorways, the journey top was too excessive, the D pillar was not coated in glass, and no cool-sounding exhaust.

Legacies after 2009 have been extra consolation and safety-oriented and didn’t keep it up any options from earlier generations. Deleting frameless home windows was one of many important options carried down from the Subaru Leone, however the 2009 Legacy ended it. The introduction of an digital parking brake (foot brake) as a substitute of the usual parking brake signifies that you can’t “drift” your Legacy.

Previous legacies have an engine coolant temperature gauge changed by the gas effectivity gauge within the 5th gen Legacy. The introduction of a CVT transmission, probably the most despised transmission, made the Legacy neighborhood lean extra towards the older generations. Nevertheless, a 3.6-litre turbodiesel engine was launched in 2009, and it’s the one Subaru after 2009 to have a handbook transmission.

Execs and Cons


Nice engine and transmission

Subaru EJ engines are recognized to be a few of the greatest engines made. The boxer design locations the engine consistent with the transmission, thus decreasing the automotive’s gravity heart and decreasing engine vibrations. The 1.8-liter EJ18 is the least highly effective engine on a legacy that made a superb 125 horsepower when new.

The 2006 BP5 Legacy Spec B was probably the most highly effective Legacy as much as the fourth with the turbocharged WRX disadvantaged EJ255. It revamped 250 horsepower and did 0-100 in lower than 6 seconds which isn’t dangerous for a household wagon.

You get varied transmission choices within the Legacy starting from a 4-speed computerized to a 6-speed handbook. Solely the 4-speed handbook has complaints because it tends to vibrate at excessive RPMs. Nothing an excessive amount of {that a} transmission rebuild can’t repair.

Each the engine and transmission will final you a superb 300,000 miles earlier than you begin changing the mandatory elements. Nevertheless, that is solely doable with correct care and upkeep.

Symmetrical AWD

Subaru’s full-time symmetrical AWD system ensures that energy is distributed to all 4 wheels even when one or two wheels lose traction. Energy is break up 50/50 between the entrance and rear axle, making certain that every one wheels’ traction and braking are equal. If in case you have a snowy commute to work, a Legacy is an ideal automotive for you.

Reasonably priced

If you may get a JDM sedan or wagon with a turbocharged engine for slightly below $5,000, why not take it and switch it into your every day sleeper. Nobody would count on to be gapped by a household wagon from the early 2000s. Even the twin-turbo variants such because the BH5 GT-B aren’t that costly. You may simply discover one listed for round $7,000.


Legacies are a few of the most sensible JDM vehicles with sufficient cabin and trunk area. Whether or not commuting to work or occurring highway journeys, it excels in no matter highway exercise you throw. All legacies have a seating capability of 5 and a trunk enormous sufficient to hold all the baggage you want.

If you’re frightened about your tall buddies being uncomfortable on the again, the rear seats accommodate 3 adults comfortably. Subaru’s boomerang suspension ends in an ample trunk area, which permits the trunk floor to be “flat.” You’ll discover a bulge within the trunk flooring in different suspension setups, considerably decreasing trunk area.

Nice dealing with

The Legacy’s nice dealing with potential is partly contributed by the engine and transmission placement. When the engine is consistent with the transmission, it reduces physique roll. It lowers the automotive’s heart of gravity, thus stabilizing the automobile. It additionally prevents engine motion when cornering at excessive speeds.

The inventory suspension setup isn’t that dangerous, however B spec Legacies have a greater suspension setup. A B-Spec legacy signifies that it has higher Bilstein shocks and improves the journey high quality. B-Spec Legacies such because the GT-B even have BBS wheels, grippier tires, bigger brakes, and thicker anti-roll bars.

Very dependable

A legacy with a low displacement naturally aspirated engine will simply common round 30mpg no matter whether or not you’ve gotten a heavy foot. For turbocharged and excessive displacement engines, the common gas consumption will common between the mid-twenties.

 However to attain these figures, the engine have to be effectively maintained, has adequate oil and coolant, and make sure you use the proper gas.

Straightforward to take care of

Boxer engines are recognized to require little or no upkeep so long as you get one in good working situation. Main elements such because the engine and suspension are straightforward to work round when you’ve got the talents. The oil drain plug, belt, alternator, and radiator are simply accessible as the primary elements you’ll must work on.

Most Subaru automobiles, together with the Legacy, have a easy wiring setup. This allows you to simply hint the supply of a blown fuse or another electrical fault that results in element failure. 

You’ll not often must work on the engine when you purchased it in good situation. Working round boxer engines is a problem when you don’t have the best gear resulting from their placement.

Nice wanting

 Few Legacies are fitted with a physique package, colossal spoiler, or different beauty modifications. Sedans look nice, however the wagons are on an entire completely different degree. Legacy wagons are thought of the best-looking JDM wagons. A wagon will look even higher with some wheels and a lowered suspension.


Low floor clearance

The bottom clearance isn’t that good on a legacy, so the highway floor to drive on is proscribed. You higher stick with paved roads when you’ve got a legacy, as any slight bump can result in points. It’s possible you’ll dent the chassis or scrap the bumper, which can value you to restore or exchange. Driving round city will be tiresome as it’s important to go over bumps sideways.

A Forester is a lot better

Foresters have comparable engines to Legacies however are extra highly effective. Each automobiles even have an identical trunk and cabin areas, however a Forester fits a every day driver extra. It has a better journey top, higher brakes, and a greater suspension setup. You may drive a forester on any highway floor with out worrying in regards to the suspension breaking or damaging your bumpers.

Widespread points

Leaking head gaskets

Because the Nineteen Nineties, Subaru engines have been leaking head gaskets. This can be a frequent drawback throughout all EJ engines, and it appears the one subject is to switch the pinnacle gasket after you discover it’s leaking. It is suggested that you simply exchange each gaskets altogether.

To extend the pinnacle gaskets’ life span, it’s best to commonly change the engine oil and the coolant. At all times examine oil and coolant ranges commonly to know when you find yourself due for a change. When altering the oil or coolant, make sure you flush first. This will increase the gaskets’ lifespan and will increase the engine’s lifespan by stopping carbon build-ups.

Turbo failure

If in case you have a Legacy with a twin-turbo engine, there’s a likelihood that one turbo will fail. Single turbo Legacies are additionally susceptible to turbo failure however not as a lot as twin-turbo engines. In a twin-turbocharged engine, one turbo spools at low RPMs whereas the opposite spools at excessive RPMs.

You’ll expertise sluggish acceleration at low RPMs if the low RPMs turbo fails and vice versa. Aside from the lack of energy, examine engine mild comes on, whistling/clunking noises and blue/black smoke coming from the exhaust are a few of the indicators it’s best to examine for.

Boxer engines are likely to have a excessive oil consumption which is the primary purpose that might result in turbo failure. Additionally, don’t rev the engine too exhausting throughout start-up, and make sure you use the beneficial engine oil. The one resolution to a failing turbo is to switch it. For twin turbo legacy house owners, conversion to a single turbo is viable too. It’s a painstaking course of however completely value it because it reduces the probabilities of turbo failure.

Defective oxygen sensor

The oxygen sensor is chargeable for monitoring and regulating the oxygen within the engine. A defective oxygen sensor will trigger the examine engine mild to return on, and also you’ll discover a rise in your gas consumption. Fortunately, changing a defective oxygen sensor is an affordable and straightforward repair however make sure you exchange the defective one with an OEM one.

Starter motor failure

You’re more likely to encounter starter motor failure in first-gen or second-gen Legacy, particularly if the automotive has not been began for some time. A failing starter motor received’t generate sufficient present to drive the starter ring, and the engine received’t begin. Change the starter motor with an aftermarket one, as Subaru starter motors are recognized to be unreliable.

Gasoline pump irregularities

The gas pump in EJ engines will be unreliable at instances resulting from previous age or fixed use. If you happen to discover a sudden acceleration, there’s a likelihood that the gas pump is pumping an excessive amount of gas into the engine. It may well additionally pump much less gas into the engine resulting in lack of energy, and the engine may shut down. If in case you have an previous or excessive mileage Legacy, it’s best to exchange the oil pump as it might stop on you. 

Tough suspension

Suspension bushings and management arms put on out with time and stiffen the journey high quality. In case your Legacy nonetheless has the inventory suspension, you’ll really feel each bump and pothole on the highway. Changing the management arms and the bushings softens the journey.


Rust is a typical drawback in most aged JDM vehicles, and the Subaru Legacy is not any exception. Nevertheless, it happens when a automobile has been in storage. Widespread rust spots on Subaru Legacies embody, beneath the automotive, within the engine bay, the trunk, and across the door seals. Any imperfections on the paint might additionally point out rust spreading beneath the paint.

Common Costs

Each wagon and sedan Legacies go for round $5,000, which is method higher than most new vehicles value. First-gen and second-gen legacies are extra highly-priced than different generations, particularly if they’ve a turbocharged engine. However a 12,000 greenback price ticket on a sleeper JDM wagon is healthier than shopping for a Prius. Even uncommon spec Legacies such because the BH5 GT-B not often go previous $20,000.

View Subaru Legacy Ads for sale

Comparable Options

Fashions and Specs

1989-1994 Subaru Legacy (BC, BJ, BF)



BF-Wagon with raised roof

The primary-generation Legacy was made in direction of the Subaru Leone’s finish of manufacturing. It carries varied design and drivetrain choices from the Leone, comparable to symmetrical on-demand AWD and frameless doorways. When EJ engines have been launched to the Subaru lineup, the 1989 legacy was the primary automotive to get an EJ engine.

Since Subaru didn’t have V6 and V8 engine choices, they needed to squeeze excessive horsepower figures out of the EJ engines and make the Legacy as aerodynamic as doable. Did they succeed at it? Sure. The Legacy was the first-ever Subaru to have 5 lug nuts on each wheel to carry the rise in horsepower and torque.

All first-generation Legacies have an adaptive suspension that lowers the entrance suspension at speeds above 80km/h. The adaptive suspension function additionally permits you to elevate the journey top when on bumpy roads or over excessive bumps. Electronics in previous legacies are recognized to fail, and also you’ll be fortunate when you discover a first-gen legacy with an lively adaptive suspension.

Base trims fashions got here as a front-wheel drive however with elective AWD on demand. Energy is break up 50-50 when traction is required on the rear axle. All base spec legacies such because the Ti, Ei, Mi, Vi, GL, and DL have the EJ18 with an influence output of round 105 horsepower.

All different specs have an EJ20 or EJ22 engine with between 140 and 160 horsepower energy output. Sportier variants included the GT, RS, and RS kind R. All used a turbocharged EJ20 or a turbocharged EJ22G, making near 200 horsepower at manufacturing. The Legacy touring GT wagon additionally had the turbocharged EJ22G.

Solely two transmission choices have been accessible for the first-gen Legacy. A 4-speed auto or 5-speed handbook transmission. Most sportier fashions had a handbook transmission, whereas the bottom trim variations had an computerized transmission with a torque convertor. The sportier variants even have a sport-tuned suspension, alloy wheels, and all-around brake callipers.

1993-1999 Subaru Legacy (BD, BK, BG)



BG-Raised roof wagon

Adjustments have been made to the second era’s chassis, bodywork, and inside. The second-generation Legacy has extra aggressive physique traces, diminished physique roll, and a greater inside. AWD was additionally normal throughout all trims, however you possibly can nonetheless discover a front-wheel-drive second-gen legacy because it was elective on the time of manufacture.

Engine and transmission choices stay the identical from the predecessor Legacy, with the addition of a 2.0-litre twin-turbo EJ20 and a 2.5-litre EJ25. The EJ18 was discontinued, and base spec legacies have an EJ20 making 135 to 155 horsepower, which was greater than sufficient for a automotive weighing round 3,000 kilos on the time of manufacturing.

Legacy GT

Subaru unleashed a sleeper wagon after they made the Legacy GT. All 1993-1998 Legacy GTs have the EJ20H, a twin-turbo variant of the EJ20, making 250 horsepower when new. Legacy GT sedans additionally function the identical engine however decrease energy output primarily as a result of all got here with the 4-speed computerized transmission.

Legacy GT-B

The legacy GT-B (GT B-spec) is a better-handing model of the usual Legacy GT wagon. It got here normal with ABS, Bilstein shocks, and greater brake callipers. Cruise management, passenger airbags, sunroof, and different consolation options have been eliminated to cut back weight.

Legacy RS

Since most GT-B spec Legacies are wagons, Subaru determined to make a sportier Legacy sedan. It gave it a 2.0-litre turbocharged EJ20 making 200 horsepower. It has all the protection and luxury options, and you may as well get one with electronically-controlled leather-based seats.

Legacy TS type-R

The Legacy type-R has all options of the GT-B spec besides the engine. It’s a extra economical automotive to drive. Nonetheless, it has a sportier profile and higher dealing with than a base-spec legacy. You get the Legacy RS type-R with the naturally aspirated EJ20, made round 170 horsepower when new.

Legacy 250T

A 2.5-litre EJ25 was added to the EJ engine lineup and was first used within the Legacy 250T. It made a superb 160 horsepower when new. Afterward, Subaru added a turbocharger and different engine upgrades within the third era.

1998-2004 Subaru Legacy (BE, BH)

Subaru used extra EJ engines within the third era than different Legacy generations so far. 11 EJ engines and one EZ engine have been used. 3 have been twin-turbocharged EJ20 variants, 3 naturally-aspirated EJ20 variants, 4 EJ25 variants, and a 3.0 – 6-cylinder EZ30.

Legacy B4

The B4 trim is a sedan-only lineup that options the two.0-litre turbocharged EJ20 engines. Legacy B4s with an computerized transmission have the EJ206, making 265 horsepower when new. Guide transmission B4s have two variations of the EJ208, which made 275 to 290 horsepower relying on the yr of manufacturing.

Legacy TX

The TX Legacy was the bottom trim legacy in Japan. It has the identical options because the Legacy Brighton however with a 2.0-litre EJ201 which made 135 horsepower when new.

Legacy Brighton

That is the bottom spec third-gen legacy, nevertheless it’s not your common JDM sedan. When new, the two.5-litre EJ252 made near 170 horsepower. It lacks most options provided in different specs, comparable to rear disc brakes, roof rails, keyless entry, and cruise management. The Legacy Brighton was solely provided for 2001 and was changed by the Legacy L.

In Japan, a sportier Legacy Brighton S was nonetheless being produced after 2001 with a sportier look.

Legacy L

Probably the most notable distinction between the Legacy L and Brighton is that the L has rear disc brakes and bigger tires. All the things else is comparable, from the plastic door handles, bumper lining, and physique moulding.

Legacy GT (North America)

A Legacy GT offers you bigger disc brakes, a leather-based inside with picket ending, fog lights, sportier suspension, and aspect skirts. It’s accessible in each sedan and physique configurations, and each have a 4-speed computerized transmission.

Legacy GT-limited

The GT-Restricted was provided between 2000-2002 and had no main distinction from the GT spec. The one function added was an all-weather bundle with heated and cooled seats, defrosters, and de-icers. The all-weather bundle was made normal on the GT spec after the GT Restricted spec was discontinued.

Legacy 250T

Just like the 250T within the second era, the third era 250T has a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre engine with 170 horsepower. Afterward, a B-spec 250T was provided with Bilstein shocks and alloy wheels.

Legacy GT (Japan)

The Japanese spec Legacy GT has the EJ20 twin-turbo, making 265 horsepower (computerized) or 280 horsepower (handbook). A GT B-Spec with a stiffened chassis, Bilstein Suspension, and BBS wheels have been additionally made however have been solely accessible as a wagon.

Legacy GT-VDC

Subaru geared up a normal Legacy GT with Automobile Dynamics Management (VDC) which prevents lack of driver management by making use of brakes on particular person wheels.

Legacy STI

That is the one Legacy for the reason that first era to function a 6-speed handbook transmission. It was constructed and tuned by STI, and solely 286 have been made. All of them have a handbook transmission and the twin-turbo EJ208, which made near 300 horsepower on the time of manufacturing.

2004-2009 Subaru Legacy (BL, BP)



A brand new chassis and physique design have been launched within the fourth-gen Legacy. Probably the most noticeable distinction in design is the receding roofline on the Legacy wagon. It appears improbable and is extra aerodynamic than different legacy wagons with a flat or raised roof.

When Subaru launched Eyesight expertise, it was first geared up on the Legacy. Eyesight expertise is Subaru’s lane help function, which helps the driving force keep on the highway when driving. It additionally alerts the driving force when a automotive in entrance or behind modifications sign and detects pedestrian movement. That is enabled by two CCD (charge-coupled machine) cameras which include transistorized mild sensors on an built-in circuit.

The sunshine sensors seize photos and convert the photographs to digital knowledge relayed to the driving force through lights on the sprint, infotainment system, or sound alerts.

New engine choices have been additionally launched and embody; a 2.5-litre turbocharged EJ255 and a 2.0-litre EE20. A 6-speed handbook transmission was additionally added to the fourth-gen Legacy lineup.

Legacy 2.0i, 2.0R

The Legacy 2.0i is the bottom trim legacy within the fourth era, whereas the two.0R is the sportier model of the two.0i. Each have the EJ20 engine placing out 140-horsepower within the 2.0i and 162 horsepower within the 2.0R.

A 5-speed computerized transmission is the commonest in any legacy with a naturally-aspirated EJ20. Nonetheless, you may as well get one with a 5-speed handbook.

Legacy 2.0 GT, 2.0 GT-B

These have the turbocharged EJ20, which made near 300 horsepower when new. The one distinction is that the Legacy 2.0 GT-B has a sportier suspension setup with a sportier suspension setup, greater brakes, and BBS wheels.

3.0, 3.0R-B

The 6-cylinder EZ30 is offered within the 3.0R and the three.0R Spec-B, with the three.0 Spec-B having the identical options because the Legacy 2.0 GT-B.

50th Anniversary Legacy

The 50th-anniversary Legacy relies on the Legacy 2.0 GT-B. It contains a brilliant purple color, a track-ready suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, aerodynamic bumpers, and a singular grille.

Legacy STI

402 items of the fourth-generation Legacy have been made. A brand new twin-scroll turbocharger enabled the engine to push barely over 300 horsepower. It has Bilstein sports activities shocks, 18-inch BBS wheels, Brembo brake callipers from the Subaru WRX STI, and Dynamic Stability Management. It was additionally among the many first Subaru Legacy to have Valve timing, considerably enhancing throttle response.


Are previous legacies higher than new Legacy?

When it comes to look and efficiency, previous era legacies have the higher hand. Nevertheless, in terms of security and reliability, the brand new era legacy takes the win. The CVT transmission may need points, however it’s extra dependable than the previous handbook or computerized transmissions.

Is the Subaru Legacy dependable?

Sure. Legacies with naturally aspirated engines will simply common round 30mpg. Whereas these with turbocharged engines not often common under 25mpg.

Is the Subaru Legacy good in snow?

Sure. The AWD system ensures most traction on all wheels. Nevertheless, the low journey top isn’t very best for driving your Subaru legacy in heavy quantities of snow.

What Subaru engines to keep away from

Subaru twin-turbo engines are susceptible to turbo failure, particularly when not maintained correctly. If you’re not sure in regards to the automobile’s historical past, it’s best to keep away from it.

Is it costly to take care of a Subaru Legacy?

The Legacy has a upkeep score of 4.0/5.0. It has common upkeep prices, which can primarily revolve round fluid modifications. You’ll have to alter the engine oil, coolant, and transmission oil extra usually than another automotive.

Are Subaru engines costly to restore?

Sure. Nevertheless, this may be prevented by making certain that upkeep in your engine is at all times on schedule.

How one can Import a Subaru Legacy

Learn our Final Information on How to Import a Car from Japan.

  • Sources
    • Wikipedea.org/wiki/Subaru_Legacy
    • Featured Picture by avants.com

Christopher joined jdmbuysell.com in 2018 as an automotive Journalist and now has oversees all communications with patrons & sellers.

Christopher WeydertChristopher Weydert
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