This iteration of the Subaru Legacy scores among the top tier of family sedans and offers standard all-wheel drive. It is significantly roomier and quieter than the previous model and has impressive ride comfort and responsive handling. Even with all-wheel-drive, the fuel economy is impressive, thanks to its continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Alerts
There are 16 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2000. Side air bags available from 2000, standard from 2005. Head protection air bags standard from 2005. ESC available from 2007, standard from 2009.
Road Test

This iteration of the Subaru Legacy scores among the top tier of family sedans and offers standard all-wheel drive. It is significantly roomier and quieter than the previous model and has impressive ride comfort and responsive handling. Even with all-wheel-drive, the fuel economy is impressive, thanks to its continuously variable transmission (CVT). The penalty for the CVT, however, is accentuated engine noise when accelerating, which can be grating.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Automatic
  • CVT
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2.5-liter 4 turbo (265 hp)
  • 2.5-liter 4 (170 hp)
  • 3.6-liter 6 (256 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Subaru Legacy owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"exrerior lites same as head lites expensive & needs to be done often once per year"

Anonymous, WI (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"just the fact that my dashboard does not provide an alert when an exterior light is out. I have to reply on being told by someone who observed the light being out"

Anonymous, MA (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Tail lights burn out too quickly"

Shaun S., WA (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Puddle lights on one side inoperable"

Anonymous, IA (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Headlights

"replace head lites @ lest once per year, dealer must do, need to remove wheel coverings cost min.50.00 each time dealer says this is real common replaces 100 per week"

Anonymous, WI (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"One headlight bulb was replaced"

Anonymous, WA (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I've replaced 6-8 headlight bulbs since I bought it. They're constantly going out and the bumper has to be removed to replace them"

Anonymous, AK (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Left front light went out unexpectedly"

Anonymous, TX (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Headlight went out. Covered by warranty"

Anonymous, OR (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Both lowbeam headlights burned out within the first 3 years and it happened at the same time, which is a critical safety issue. Now one of the position lights is out"

Anonymous, MI (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Automatic headlight system failed, was replaced, and failed again"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Legacy GT Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The lamps last about 2 years each so six bulb changes total and worst engineering for bulb removal. Dealer charged $100"

Shaun S., WA (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"High beams didn't work. Needed expensive electrical diagnostic test"

Drew N., MT (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I have had to replace headlights three times since purchasing the vehicle new in 2012. This seems excessive. I found online that this is a recognized problem with headlights for vehicles manufactured during a certain time frame, and Subaru is extending the warranty for those vehicles and will replace the headlights at no cost for ten years. My car is not included in those eligible for the program. Subaru customer service did send me a $100 coupon as a gesture of good will, which I appreciated, a"

Anonymous, IL (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Frequently replacing left headlight"

Elizabeth K., PA (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Our low beam headlights have prematurely burnt out. More than the bulbs being fairly expensive, replacing them is very tedious if done independently or expensive if done via a mechanic. I have come to understand Subaru has a known problem with the automatic headlight setting... it causes a surge which burns out the bulbs. To my knowledge, Subaru has not offered a fix to date"

Les B., VA (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Remote engine starter

"it usually starts the vehicle with a simple double click but sometimes doesn't "catch" at all, even when i am standing right beside it"

Anonymous, MA (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Warning lights

"engine light comes on.dealer couldn'find problem"

Thomas L., CT (2012 Subaru Legacy 3.6R 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Electrical system lights on dashboard kept going on and off at odd times; had dealership repairs done. Had some recall work done; still waiting for parts on Airbag replacement recall"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Subaru Legacy)

"I was on a trip and warning light came on. No cruise control, no radio, and other items did not work. Brought it to a dealer and a sensor needed to be replaced and there was an issue with the emissions system which was also taken care of. Very satisfied with the service"

Anonymous, ME (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wiper motor or washer

"Recall about wiper mptor"

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"it's really a noise problem sounds like a window is cracked open on the highway same with the moon roof"

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

"Rattles in the sun visor"

Anonymous, WA (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Rattle in front passenger wheel well"

Anonymous, VT (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Loose body bolt"

Robert B., MN (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Twice I have had to get the suspension checked out, it kept squeaking over bumps. Since I bought the car it makes a fluttering noise at 1,200 rpm that the dealer can't figure out/ignores when I ask them to repair"

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Car has a variety of suspension noises"

Joseph G., NY (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Every winter I have to get the suspension lubricated or it squeaks loudly over sharp impacts when it's below about 35 degrees. Happens every winter, cost is about 50$ at the dealer and they don't go into detail with me about what they are lubricating. Goes away when weather is warmer, dryer"

Eric S., PA (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Noise from front suspension occurred whenever car went over bumps"

Bob A., TN (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"I love my car, but it is the squeakiest car I've owned. The problem seems to be in the interior, with the seats and dashboard and window areas frequently making noises when shifting in the seat or on rough roads. I think that the driver's seat height changes slowly, as well, I can start with it in a fairly high position and a few weeks later it's lower, and I'll have to raise it up again"

Anonymous, IL (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wind noise

"The Vehicle came equipped with a visor for the sunroof which I would not recommend due to the noise it produces"

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Legacy 3.6R 3.6-L 6 Cyl)

"Onthe highway wind noise is not acceptable, and in EVERY other way, so far, it is an ideal vehicle"

Warren F., NY (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Clutch replacement

"5th gear and reverse did not work; Warranty issue; took over a month to fix"

Sue W., CO (2012 Subaru Legacy GT Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Torque converter

"took to dealer where purchased. They denied there was a problem. Took to different dealer, they diagnosed it in two seconds! Replaced under warrenty"

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Torque converter failed at 88,000 miles. Car would stall, shut off when it would come to a medium to abrupt stop. Extreme safety hazard. $1,700 fix at dealership"

Eric S., PA (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

"CVT Transmission completely failed and had to be replaced ($7k, picked up by Subaru dealer since it was covered thru 60k miles)"

Anonymous, TX (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Transmission created a spin up/wind up noise as the the car went faster. The was a Gen 1 of the CVT transmission"

Anonymous, TX (2012 Subaru Legacy Special Edition 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Complete failure of the CVT. Dealer replaced free of charge"

Anonymous, TX (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"Bumpers attached with ont-time press fit latches. Impact or even pressure can knock off attachment point, resulting in sagging bumper"

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Abnormally high amount of stone chips on vehicle. Finish doesn't seem as durable as other vehicles we have owned"

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Paint has chips in multiple places. Dealer claims normal but they are in places NOT exposed to road debris"

Joseph G., NY (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Paint on front bumper bubbles with age and cracks"

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

"I have many trips with the car. The trunk lid seems to be rusting from with in. I complained about it at 15000 miles and the dealership dumped the rust flakes from the trunk liner out and said it wasn't a big issue. The vent holes at the base of"

Anonymous, OH (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Minor around tru k"

David A., NS (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Alignment

"Constant alignment problems with this car. If you look at it sideways the alignment goes out"

Brandon M., AB (2012 Subaru Legacy GT Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Ball joints

"when i am turning to the left i have a grinding sound in the left front tire"

Anonymous, MI (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 3.6-L 6 Cyl)
Power steering pumps and hoses

"Replaced under warranty"

Anonymous, WI (2012 Subaru Legacy 3.6R 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Shocks or struts

"Within 40,000 KM the struts we in terrible shape. The Subaru dealer refused to change them "because they only have 40,000 km on them" despite them being bouncing, riding poorly, and very unstable on the highway. Had to pay for new ones myself"

Brandon M., AB (2012 Subaru Legacy GT Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Currently seem to be wearing out and car is bottoming out"

Elizabeth K., PA (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Wheel bearings

"Front wheel boots needed replacement at 70,000 miles"

Anonymous, NY (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

"Difficult to pair new cell phone - but eventually did pair Car reports most usb flash drives are defective when trying to use them. I have only found one flash drive that will work properly in this car"

David S., MN (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"Extreme difficulties in entering destination information in an acceptable timeframe"

Anonymous, KS (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Looses position"

Steve G., BC (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"the connection drops out on occasion, to the extent that seldom use that feature"

Anonymous, KS (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"pairing is done with voice commands, but this is both confusing and takes several attempts to get it to work"

David S., MN (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

"Radio locks up when changing from FM to AM bands. Need to turn off engine and re-start to resume radio operation. Problem has existed since new. Dealer cannot find problem and has refused to resolve. Purchased extended warranty and dealer still unw"

Philip R., PA (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"the check engine light came on. It was repaired and cost upwards of 400"

Thomas M., IN (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"2 sensors failed, resulting in check engine lights. The price tag for fixing these issues (the dealer replaced 2 sensors) was $600"

Anonymous, WA (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"check engine light came on. faulty sensor - replaced and covered under extended warranty"

Anonymous, IL (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

"Car occasionally throws out a P0353 code that the dealer can't figure out why it happens"

G K., IA (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"a/c didn't blow cold air. took back to dealer. fixed. covered under 36mo.new car warranty"

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)
Refrigerant leaks

"AC stopped working. Refilled with refrigerant and AC works again. 5 years seems a bit early for this"

Gary R., CT (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Head gasket

"Car burned oil using one quart every 2,000 miles. Dealership says it is normal, but I have owned too many cars in my life to believe such a thing"

Terry W., TN (2012 Subaru Legacy 3.6R 3.6-L 6 Cyl)

"anti-freeze leak came out of nowhere one day& the car shut down.It was diagnosed as a bad head gasket. I was rather upset with Subaru when I questioned them on if it was a known problem.They responded that any componet can fail at any time"

Ronald P., CT (2012 Subaru Legacy 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

"Hear a loud "clunk" noise sometimes after backing up and/or after slowing down and then accelerating"

Anonymous, NC (2012 Subaru Legacy 3.6R 3.6-L 6 Cyl)
Slipping transmission

"Clutch slipping, tightened"

Sue W., CO (2012 Subaru Legacy GT Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveline vibration

"The car's transmission is very rough, especially when putting it in drive from reverse"

Terry W., TN (2012 Subaru Legacy 3.6R 3.6-L 6 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Sunroof

"can no longer close completely. to be repaired"

Anonymous, PA (2012 Subaru Legacy Limited 2.5-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

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