These Are the Worst Subaru Legacy Years to Avoid

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

If you’re considering buying a used Subaru Legacy, it’s important to know which years to avoid.

Some models have more issues than others, and being informed can save you from potential headaches down the road. In this article, we’ll discuss the years that are best to steer clear of and why.

By the end of this car shopping tips, you’ll have a better understanding of which Subaru Legacy years are more prone to problems.

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision when purchasing your used vehicle and ultimately land a sweet best years for Subaru Legacy that promise enjoyable performances.

Bad Subaru Legacy cars

Why Some Subaru Legacy Years Are Best to Avoid

As a Subaru Legacy enthusiast, you may be considering purchasing a used model. It’s essential to be aware of which years are best to avoid to ensure you get the most reliable vehicle.

Let’s delve into the factors that influence reliability.

Factors Influencing Reliability

Engine Problems: Some Subaru Legacy years have been known for having engine issues, leading to costly repairs.

For example, the 2009, 2010, and 2011 Subaru Legacy have reported significant engine problems, such as head gasket failures and excessive oil consumption. As a buyer, you’ll want to steer clear of these years to avoid hefty repair bills.

Transmission Issues: Your Subaru’s transmission is critical to its performance, and some years have faced noteworthy problems in this area.

The 2015 and 2018 Subaru Legacy models, for example, have known transmission issues affecting their overall reliability. By avoiding these years, you can ensure a smoother driving experience.

Recalls and Safety: While Subaru is known for its safety features, some years have had a higher number of recalls compared to others.

Be sure to research recalls for any Subaru Legacy year you’re considering and weigh the potential risks involved.

Ultimately, your goal is to find a reliable Subaru Legacy that will serve you well for years to come.

Most Problematic Model Years of Subaru Legacy

2009 Subaru Legacy

In the 2009 Subaru Legacy, you might encounter some issues with engine failure. These issues are often linked to head gasket leaks, which can cause your engine to overheat.

If you come across a 2009 model, pay close attention to any signs of engine malfunction or damage.

2010 Subaru Legacy

The 2010 Subaru Legacy is known to experience common problems related to stalling. This year’s model may have a tendency to stall, especially in stop-and-go traffic.

This can be a dangerous situation, as it leaves you unexpectedly without power on the road. Be cautious when considering a 2010 Legacy, and check for any history of stalling issues in the vehicle’s maintenance records.

2011 Subaru Legacy

For the 2011 Subaru Legacy, one frequent issue is related to engine failure, which can be attributed in part to head gasket leaks.

Similar to the 2009 model, these leaks can cause overheating and eventually lead to engine damage. If you’re considering a 2011 Legacy, it’s crucial to inspect the vehicle for any signs of engine problems.

2015 Subaru Legacy

Lastly, the 2015 Subaru Legacy has been reported to experience some common problems. However, these issues are generally less severe.

Among the concerns are occasional issues with the infotainment system and minor transmission problems.

When evaluating a 2015 model, be sure to take these factors into account and consider having the vehicle inspected by a mechanic before purchasing.

Common Subaru Legacy Issues

Engine Problems

Some Subaru Legacy models have experienced engine issues, such as excessive oil consumption and a burning smell.

You may notice oil burning or a burning smell coming from your vehicle. It’s important to address these concerns promptly to avoid further damage to your engine.

Transmission Problems

Transmission problems are another common issue with some Subaru Legacy years, particularly those with the CVT transmission.

You might encounter issues like transmission failure, vibration, or a whining noise, which may be a sign of transmission malfunctions. The CVT transmission issues are not always fatal but can cause a decrease in your vehicle’s performance and reliability.

Electrical System Issues

The electrical system in your Subaru Legacy may also exhibit some problems. Some reported issues include malfunctioning infotainment systems or other electronic components.

Pay attention to any warning lights on your dashboard or unusual behavior from your vehicle’s electrical components, as these could be signs of electrical system issues.

Keep in mind that while some Subaru Legacy models have these problems, many owners have had positive experiences with their vehicles.

The Legacy’s Place in the Subaru Lineup

Subaru Legacy vs. Other Models

Compared to other Subaru models, the Legacy is their flagship midsize sedan. As a popular and affordable option, it’s known for its comfortable ride and reliability.

While the Subaru Outback shares similar features, the Legacy stands out with its sedan design, offering a sleeker profile.

Legacy’s All-Wheel Drive System

One of the main reasons you might be drawn to the Subaru Legacy is its Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.

This feature comes standard on every Legacy, providing excellent traction and stability. By evenly distributing power to all four wheels, it ensures a balanced and secure driving experience in various road conditions.

Keep in mind that some years to avoid for Subaru Legacy are 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2018. Choose wisely and enjoy the benefits of this well-rounded midsize sedan.

Subaru Legacy Competitors

Kia K5

The Kia K5 offers you an attractive design and an enjoyable driving experience. You’ll appreciate its upscale materials and wealth of features, such as user-friendly infotainment.

However, compared to the Subaru Legacy, the K5’s interior space might feel a little bit tighter, especially for rear passengers. Get more facts in this Kia K5 cons and pros analysis.

Hyundai Sonata

The Hyundai Sonata is known for its comfortable ride and spacious interior. You’ll enjoy its user-friendly tech features and great fuel efficiency.

However, if all-wheel drive is important to you, keep in mind that the Subaru Legacy comes standard with AWD while the Sonata doesn’t offer it across all trims.

Toyota Camry

As a staple in the midsize sedan segment, the Toyota Camry top models offers you reliability and safety. Its fuel efficiency is impressive, and it boasts a comfortable, quiet ride.

The Camry also offers an available AWD option, but it might not be as composed as the Legacy’s standard system on rough terrain or in harsh weather conditions.

Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima gets high marks for its comfortable seating and smooth ride. You’ll enjoy its available all-wheel drive and decent fuel economy.

However, when it comes to interior materials and infotainment technology, you might find the Subaru Legacy a bit more appealing and user-friendly.

But beware of 2005 Nissan Altima reported having premature transmission failure, car’s body and paint issues, among serious problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Legacy vs Outback reliability?

When comparing the reliability of the Subaru Legacy and the Outback, both vehicles are generally strong performers with long-lasting engines.

Some model years have shown more problems than others. For the Legacy, consider avoiding the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2018 models due to reported issues.

Legacy’s lifetime mileage?

The Subaru Legacy is known for its durability, and many owners report reaching well over 200,000 miles with proper maintenance. Keep up with regular oil changes, inspections, and proactive part replacements to ensure your Legacy lasts as long as possible.

Legacy’s reliability rating?

Subaru Legacy reliability ratings vary depending on the source and the year of the model in question. For the 2021 Legacy, J.D. Power assigns a 3.5 out of 5 rating, which is considered average for the midsize car class. As with any vehicle, be diligent in your research and choose models with the best reliability records.


Honda S2000

33 Marvelous Cars that Surprisingly Let Everyone Down

Picture a world where every car is iconic. But back in reality, many models fail and vanish after one generation, leaving behind a legacy of what could have been. We’re spotlighting 33 such cars that
Maserati GranTurismo

22 Cars Crafted for the Wealthy, Yet Despised by the Public

For the wealthy, a luxury car isn’t simply transportation; it’s an engineering masterpiece and a symbol of elite status. From the $28 million Rolls-Royce Boat Tail to the formidable $2.8 million Koenigsegg Jesko, these cars
Turbo Engine

These are the Top 21 Toyota Engines of All Time

Discover the power and reliability at the core of Toyota’s engineering excellence. These engines are more than just machinery; they’re icons of innovation. With decades of superior performance, Toyota engines are benchmarks in the automotive


Sign up now to get the email newsletter and exclusive deals weekly.