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2016 Subaru Impreza vs Subaru Legacy

2016 Subaru Impreza vs Subaru Legacy


Subaru is easy to overlook in light of big players like GM, Ford, and Dodge. However, Subaru has some very attractive options that should absolutely considered. Today we are comparing specs, design, performance, features, and safety of the 2016 Subaru Impreza vs Subaru Legacy to help you decide which Subie sedan best fits your needs.

Subaru Impreza Overview (base)

Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder

Horsepower: 148

Fuel Economy: 28 City / 37 Hwy

MSRP: Estimated $18,500

2016 Subaru Impreza Review


The exterior design of the 2016 Subaru Impreza goes largely unchanged. Subaru infused the Impreza with bold and edgy styling cues to help this car stand out from the competition. Available as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback, the front of the 2016 Subaru Impreza features a trapezoid grille with centered Subaru logo and chrome accents. The side design is quite conservative in comparison to the front and rear.

2016 Subaru Impreza

Inside the Impreza, Subaru took a more simplistic approach. The symmetrical layout of buttons and gauges is easy to understand. Most of the materials are soft touch and high quality. Those desiring functionality over flash will appreciate the cabin.

2016 Subaru Impreza interior

Passenger space is ample for 4 adults. The Subaru Impreza is a compact car, but both rear seats fold flat, creating great space for cargo. The trunk of the sedan technically has more cargo space, but the hatchback option will fit some larger items thanks to the big 5th door opening.


Perhaps the most unique performance feature is standard AWD on all Imprezas. Drivers can choose between a five speed manual or automatic transmission. The Impreza is athletic and capable for its class. It has a low center of gravity, great brakes, and responsive steering. Overall power and acceleration are average. Those wanting high-performance should opt for the Subaru WRX or WRX STI.

2016 Subaru Impreza review

AWD usually decreases the fuel economy of a vehicle, but the Impreza maintains competitive EPA estimates. The automatic transmission achieves 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway, while the manual achieves 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.


The Impreza excels in safety, especially for a compact car. This vehicle achieved 5 stars from the NHTSA and earned a Top Safety Pick + from the IIHS. Backup camera comes standard, as does a unique 7th knee airbag. Upgraded models come with Subaru Eyesight, an impressive suite of safety features that includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, blind spot detection, lane departure and sway warnings, pre-collision braking, and more.


Every 2016 Subaru Impreza comes with backup camera, iPod controls, and USB. Upgraded features include leather seating, HD radio, 7 inch screen, Subaru Starlink smartphone app, voice control, power moonroof, heated seats, paddle shifters, and more.

Subaru Legacy (base)

Engine: 2.5L 4-cylinder

Horsepower: 175

Fuel Economy: 26 City / 36 Hwy

MSRP: From $21,745

2016 Subaru Legacy Review


On the outside, the 2016 Subaru Legacy is a handsome, no-nonsense choice. The Legacy is full of Subie DNA, but looks more like a family sedan than a sports sedan. The front features a trapezoidal Subaru grille and a blunt presence. Side-sculpting is attractive, and the back features a small logo with very typical sedan appearance.


The interior of the Subaru Legacy strikes a good balance between luxurious and simple. Temperature controls are placed low, below either a touch screen or display screen. The shift knob is place toward the driver, while inline cup holders are set toward passenger. Materials are soft touch and high quality, giving the cabin a modern feel.


Passenger space is as good as you could expect for a mid-size sedan. The trunk has a wide opening, and rear 60/40-split folding seats are great for longer items. Cargo and passenger space feel almost like that of a full-size sedan.



AWD comes standard on every Legacy. Drivers of the 2016 Subaru Legacy choose between the 2.5L 4-cylinder engine or a 3.6L 6-cylinder engine. This sedan is characterized by confident handling and precise control. Acceleration with the 4-cylinder engine is only average. The 6-cylinder engine isn’t jaw droppingly fast, but it’s a nice upgrade from the base engine.


While vehicles with AWD tend to be less efficient, the Subaru Legacy is a competitive option. The base 4-cylinder engine achieves 26 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. The 6-cylinder option is less efficient, achieving 20 mpg city and 29 mph highway.


With perfect ratings from both the NHTSA and IIHS and optional Subaru Eyesight, the Legacy is an over-achiever in the safety department. Rearview camera comes standard, while adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, blind spot detection, lane departure and sway warnings, pre-collision braking, and more are optional as part of the Subaru Eyesight suite.



Every 2016 Subaru Legacy comes with rearview camera, USB port, Subaru Starlink, iPod port, and the expected power accessories. Upgraded features include moonroof, 6.2-inch touchscreen, navigation, USB, keyless start, dual-zone automatic climate control, and more.


2016 Subaru Impreza vs Subaru Legacy Winner:

Base model: Subaru Impreza

The Impreza packs a lot of value in a relatively inexpensive package. The exterior styling is certainly at the top of its class.  It’s hard to beat standard AWD at a price this low.

Upgrades: Subaru Legacy

If you want a capable, fully loaded mid-size sedan, it’s hard to overlook the Legacy. Available features are more than enough, and the optional 6-cylinder engine will produce plenty of power for the average driver.

Overall Winner: 2016 Subaru Legacy

When comparing the 2016 Subaru Impreza vs Subaru Legacy, the Legacy takes the crown thanks to a history of reliability and strong resale value. The Legacy is well-refined, has a competitive price point, and amazing safety features. The Impreza wins the exterior style battle, but overall the Legacy reigns supreme.


You decide. Which Subie would you rather have? Let us know in the comments below!

Dustin "Dusty" Rhodes

A fan of nice round numbers and working on tiny European cars, Dusty is the proud owner of a '58 Lloyd 600, a '50 FIAT 500, and is currently on the hunt for a Vespa 400. And, despite all that repair work, he still finds time to write about cars. 

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1 Comment

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    Paul Gloschatge November 14, 2015

    Ich fahre schon seit 18 Jahren Legacy, jetzt den vierten, aber leider wird in Deutschland kein Legacy mehr verkauft. Schade!!


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