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2018 Subaru Legacy offers horsepower, refinement, and bird knowledge

Why it matters to you

With its interior and exterior improvements, you'll look good and feel comfortable behind the wheel of the 2018 Subaru Legacy.

One of the few cars debuting next week at the Chicago Auto Show is the 2018 Subaru Legacy. The updated model benefits from visual tweaks, a more comfortable cabin, and additional tech features — including one that teaches passengers about birds.

The 2018 Legacy looks sportier than the outgoing 2017 model. It sports sharper-looking headlights with C-shaped LED daytime running lights, a wider grille, and a restyled front bumper. The company explains the C-shaped inserts in the lights and the horizontal strip of chrome trim in the grille form a pattern that’s directly inspired by the flat engines found under the Legacy’s hood.

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Inside, Subaru focused on making the Legacy quieter and better built. Engineers reduced wind noise with more streamlined mirrors. They also installed a strip of sound-insulating film on the front windows and thicker rear wheel aprons. Other improvements include a clock that’s easier to read, and a new A/C system that cools the cabin more quickly.

An available eight-inch touchscreen runs the latest generation of Subaru’s StarLink infotainment system. New applications are available for 2018, including eBird — which provides information about local birds and where to find them –, Yelp, Best Parking, and Magellan Navi. StarLink is compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The Legacy’s base engine is a 2.5-liter flat-four that produces 175 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. Buyers who find the flat-four underpowered can purchase the Legacy with a 256-horsepower, 3.6-liter flat-six engine. Subaru is one of just two manufacturers dedicated to keeping the flat-six engine alive; the other is Porsche.

All variants of the Legacy, regardless of engine and trim level, come with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), Subaru’s time-tested symmetrical all-wheel drive system, and active torque vectoring. The brand has retuned the ECU to make the Legacy smoother and more responsive to drive, made the electric power steering system more linear, and tweaked the suspension to reduce body roll.

The 2018 Subaru Legacy will go on sale this summer, though pricing information hasn’t been released yet. The lineup will be broken down into four trim levels — base, premium, sport, and limited. Only the top-spec model is available with the flat-six.