The flagship saloon of the Subaru range, the Subaru Legacy has been a part of the Subaru range since 1989. It became famous the world over as the mainstream flagship saloon car that was offered to us with all-wheel drive as a standard feature on all variants. In some markets, this car was known as the Liberty, so if you’re unfamiliar with the name Legacy — especially the Australian market — then that’s why.
Essential Stats For The Subaru Legacy
Below are the key stats that show you the evolution of this iconic flagship saloon/estate since the end of the 1980s when it first emerged:
Key Stats for the First-Generation Subaru Legacy (1989)
Curb Weight: 1,460kg
Key Stats for the Second-Generation Subaru Legacy (1993)
Curb Weight: 1,460kg
Key Stats for the Third-Generation Subaru Legacy (1998)
Curb Weight: 1,500kg
Key Stats for the Fourth-Generation Subaru Legacy (2003)
Curb Weight: 1,300-1,500kg
Key Stats for the Fifth-Generation Subaru Legacy (2009)
Curb Weight: 1,613kg
Key Stats for the Sixth-Generation Subaru Legacy (2014)
Curb Weight: 1,661-1,730kg
Subaru Legacy: Background
In all, the Subaru Legacy has gone through seven generations, but the latest-generation model was actually released first in the North American market. The Legacy should also be recognized as the model that gave birth to an entirely new model line – the Subaru Outback.
With millions of units sold since 1989, the Legacy has clearly earned its place at the head of the Subaru table.
It’s unfortunate, however, that Japan has ended its production of the Legacy as of 2020. The torch has now passed to the North American market who are leading further development on the new generation, which will also be available in other world markets in 2021.
Early Generations (1989-2002)
Interestingly, though a popular model in Japan and continuously made for that market until 2020, the Legacy was initially conceived as an idea for Subaru to compete better in the North American marketplace.
Subaru was facing a tough contest with fellow Japanese giants such as Honda with their Accord, and the Toyota Camry, of course. Subaru needed something to even the score. Enter: the Subaru Legacy.
At first, both a saloon and estate version were created, and once again some of the best-available technology was on offer to the Japanese market first in 1989 before exporting to the wider world in 1990. The first-generation models even had air suspension that lowered the ground clearance when traveling at higher speeds.
The second-generation model had some Impreza-like qualities to it with the hood scoop and sportier lines. In Japan it also included the GT/B-Spec models which had better suspension and a superior rear differential. That model came in 1994, and was then enhanced even further in 1996.
Subsequent Generations (2003-Present)
Later generations continued to appear as estate and saloon models, but were starting to get a more refined and urbanized edge. None of that detracted from their performance credentials, of course, with later models featuring more rigid chassis designs, advanced turbochargers coupled with better automatic transmissions, more boxer engine options, and in Japan for 2008, the all-new Subaru EyeSight suite of driver safety and assistance features.
The Legacy GT as part of the fourth generation (2003-2008) that went on sale in the Japanese market included an incredible 2.0L turbocharged engine that was capable of 276hp and 253lb-ft of torque, just demonstrating even further that to find some of the more surprising things you can find in the earlier-year models among Japanese imports for sale in the UK.
Attraction as a JDM Model
With JDM having long since gained popularity around the world, whether it be as the Legacy or the Liberty, some are till trying to get hold of Japanese imports instead. Why is that?
Local = Steady; JDM = Excitement
One key reason is that while international versions of the Subaru Legacy, as well as other models, have often been sold for their steady engines, fantastic traction and AWD features, and more recently for innovative safety features. The JDM models, on the other hand are a lot more exciting, loaded with twin turbos, sports handling and loud-and-proud exhausts. Even the Japanese advertising campaigns were geared towards that kind of audience, demonstrating the speed and performance, not just the reliability — though they are still very reliable.
Relatively Low Mileage
You might think that JDM cars are always going to come with astronomical mileage, but with some models you can surprise yourself. With many Japanese favouring public transport for their morning commute, even when they own a car, their vehicles are left at home and frequently only used at weekends or holidays. This reduces wear and tear and overall mileage, and ensures you’re getting a real bargain.
See for yourself. Check out our range of Japanese imports Subaru Legacy vehicles for sale right here in the UK. Find a great-value high-specification Legacy to get the real Subaru experience.