Subaru Legacy vs. Ford Fusion

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - September 6, 2016

A long-running staple of the Subaru lineup, the Legacy remains the midsize segment's only sedan with standard all-wheel drive, a feature that isn't even an option on most competitors. Aside from extra traction, the Legacy offers a distinctive personality and interesting features in a class that tends to play it safe.

If we had to pick another outside-the-box family sedan, it would be the Ford Fusion, a boldly styled five-seater with high technology, efficient turbo engines, and available all-wheel drive.

Which impresses us more in its desire to be different?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Legacy & Fusion »

The Case for the Legacy

The Legacy looks like a car with a purpose: uncluttered lines and a touch of muscle. Underneath all that is what draws buyers: Subaru's time-tested symmetrical all-wheel drive system. When equipped with the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable transmission (CVT), the Legacy delivers the same fuel economy as competitors without all-wheel drive. Upscale Limited models carry a 256-horsepower V6 along with leather seats, wood trim, and a sweet-sounding Harmon Kardon audio system

We can't say enough about the significance of the optional EyeSight system, which offers safety technology usually reserved for much more expensive cars. The system includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warnings, automatic pre-collision braking and throttle management, and lead vehicle start alert.

The Case for the Fusion

It's safe to say the Fusion is the style leader in this rather conservative class. Its unique looks seem appropriate, though, for a sedan with the Ford's spirited driving dynamics and suite of convenience and safety technology.

On the road, the Fusion always manages to be quiet and composed, imparting the feel of an entry-level luxury car. Wind and engine noise have been all but engineered out at highway speeds. The optional 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder provides performance similar to a V6, but with vastly superior fuel economy. The line-topping Titanium model, powered exclusively by 2-liter turbo, offers all-wheel drive in addition to the expected luxury trappings.

What It All Means

With the Subaru, you get all-wheel drive without having to pay a mileage penalty or spring for an enhanced trim level. But you might want to upgrade anyway to access the full slate of features that make the Legacy so competitive.

No matter how it's equipped, the Fusion scores high in efficiency, handling, and overall refinement. The all-wheel drive option makes this top pick all the more attractive.

Our Verdict: Ford Fusion

The Fusion covers all the bases, making it the ideal family sedan for today.

Take a closer look at the Subaru Legacy >>

Take a closer look at the Ford Fusion >>

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage.