First Generation Subaru Legacy

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First generation
1991 Legacy LS wagon (US)
Also calledIsuzu Aska CX
Body style(s)"B" pillar Hardtop and Wagon
LayoutFF layout standard
F4 layout optional
Engine(s)2.2 L SOHC 135 hp (101 kW) H4

2.2 L SOHC Turbo 163 hp (122 kW)
2.0 L DOHC 150 hp (110 kW)
2.0 L DOHC GT 200 hp (150 kW)
2.0 L DOHC RS 220 hp (160 kW)
2.0 L SOHC 116 hp (87 kW)

1.8 L SOHC 102 hp (76 kW)
Transmission(s)4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase101.6 in (2,580 mm)
Length1993-94 Sedan: 178.9 in
1993-94 Wagon: 181.9 in
1990-92 Wagon: 181.1 in
1990-92 Sedan: 177.6 in (4,510 mm)
Width66.5 in (1,690 mm)
Height1993-94 Wagon: 54.7 in
1993-94 LS & LSi Wagon: 56.3 in
1990-92 Wagon: 55.9 in
1990-92 AWD Wagon: 56.7 in
1990-92 Sedan: 54.3 in
1990-93 AWD Sedan: 55.1 in
1993-94 Sedan: 53.5 in (1,360 mm)
Curb weight3,220 lb (1,460 kg) max
Fuel capacity15.9 US gal (60 L; 13 imp gal)

The First Generation Subaru Legacy is a car developed by Subaru from 1989-1994. The Legacy was an all new model, and was considered a notable departure from Subaru products in the past.

  • Chassis code
    • BC - Sedan
    • BF - Wagon - flat roof
    • BJ - Wagon - extended roof

The worldwide introduction of the Legacy . Subaru had earned a reputation of building vehicles that were regarded as "quirky" and other Asian manufacturers were bringing more upscale and conventional appearing models to the market. The Legacy appeared at the same time as the USA introduction of Lexus and Infiniti and a couple years after Acura. However, Subaru didn't have a large displacement V6 or V8. The Legacy was more aerodynamic than previously built products, with soft edges and a more coherent appearance. The sedan has a break in the beltline where it drops down from the windshield to the front door glass, and then juts up from the rear door glass to the rear window, and the beltline is interrupted as it transistions down to the rear window on the wagon. The beltline treatment was used again on the SVX when it was introduced in 1992. The Legacy was interpreted by some as Subaru's attempt at participating in the growing, upscale market. The Legacy broke with many Subaru traditions, such as no longer locating the spare tire in the engine compartment, behind the engine and above the transmission. The Legacy was an all-new model, and slotted above the Leone in Subaru's model range.

The Subaru star badge used since the introduction of the 360 was modified, with a more conventional and stylized appearance, in comparison to versions used on previous vehicles.

The Legacy began with a 5 door wagon or 4 door sedan body styles with FWD and an optional full-time AWD package, and was introduced in the USA, UK, Germany, the Benelux region of Northern Europe, Japan and Australia. The car was built with many luxury and technological advancements normally found on more expensive vehicles as standard equipment, such as power windows, central locking, fuel injection, air conditioning, power assist rack-and-pinion steering, alloy wheels, 4-wheel independent suspension with both negative scrub and anti-dive and squat geometery, anti-sway bars front and rear, and 4-wheel disc brakes. Items that were optional that didn't make the vehicle too expensive were 4-channel ABS, licensed from Bosch and air suspension height control, which lowered the vehicle at speeds above 50 mph (80.5 km/h), and also allowed the driver to increase the vehicles ground clearance for off-road conditions.

On vehicles equipped with power central locking, the feature is activated from the inside drivers door lock switch only, by pushing the rocker switch to lock or unlock all doors. Other doors can be locked or unlocked individually by pushing the respective door lock rocker switch, but it will not lock or unlock the other doors. The outside key door lock can unlock the drivers door only by turning the key partially, or with a complete turn to the left to unlock all doors.

According to a translation of the Japanese Wikipedia article on the Subaru Legacy, the Aomori Prefecture and Ibaraki Prefecture police departments have used the Legacy Turbo for patrol cars since the car was introduced and continue to do so. Also mentioned in this translation was an article mentioning that when Subaru began to develop the Legacy, Subaru was facing financial pressure to improve sales from the successes from other Asian competitors and that they used an internal project code of "44B" to refer to the Legacy.

Transmission operations

The newly developed computer controlled 4 speed automatic transmission, called the 4EAT in both FWD and AWD guises, had a feature where the transmission could be instructed to ignore 1st gear from a standing stop to assist driving on traction limited situations, such as ice and snow. The system was activated by depressing a button on the gearshift selector marked "Manual" and moving the gearshift from the "D" position down to "3rd". An indicator light marked "Manual" also lights up at the bottom center of the instrument cluster when the system is ready to be used. The car would then start in 2nd gear, and not 1st, then as the car gained speed would shift up to 3rd, locking out 4th gear. The transmission's computer also splits the delivered torque 50:50 between the front and rear wheels. Once the car stopped, the transmission would start back in 2nd and not 1st, until the system was disengaged with the "Manual" button or upshifting to 4th.

The automatic transmission also has engine over-rev protection by shifting the transmission to the next available gear once 6500 rpm has been achieved, even if the gear selector is in a low gear position. The computer that monitors and controls automatic transmission operations and status is networked with the fuel injection management computer, as well as the cruise control and anti-lock brake computer, if so equipped. Information is shared so that the vehicle operates as efficiently as possible. The computers that monitored various conditions also have the ability to store occurrences of possible malfunction, and aid qualified mechanics in the diagnosis and possible repair of various systems.

The automatic transmission used on AWD equipped vehicles would normally send 90% of the engines torque to the front wheels and 10% to the rear wheels, using a computer controlled, continuously variable, multi-plate transfer clutch. When the front wheels began to experience a loss of grip, the transmission automatically sent available torque to the rear wheels, up to 50:50 split between the front and rear wheels until grip was reestablished at the front wheels, without notifying the driver or occupants that torque was being redirected. When accelerating or driving uphill, the vehicles weight shifts rearward, reducing front wheel traction, causing the transmission to automatically send torque to the rear wheels to compensate. When braking or driving downhill, the vehicle's weight shifts towards the front, reducing rear wheel traction. The transmission again compensates by sending torque to the front wheels for better steering control and braking performance. If the automatic is placed in Reverse or "1st" gear, the transmission divides the torque 50:50 to both front and rear wheels. A limited slip rear differential was optional on the 1991 USA Sport Sedan (Legacy Turbo). However it was unavailable on the 92-94 USA Turbo.

The automatic transmission also has the ability to change the shift points, and hold the gears longer when the engine is operating at higher RPM's. This is achieved by pressing the accelerator pedal quickly, which causes an indicator light marked as "Power" at the bottom center of the instrument cluster to light up. The European and Australian version came equipped with a center console installed override switch labeled "AT Econo" which instructed the computer to utilize the "Power" mode, and remain so until the switch was reset to "Econo" mode. The "Power" mode was also available for engine braking, causing the transmission to downshift 500 rpm earlier than in "normal" mode. For 1991, the "Manual" button on the gearshift was replaced by a "Econo" switch on the gearshift, and the console mounted button was changed from "AT Econo" to "Manual", so that the transmission was always in "Econo" mode until the gearshift mounted switch was disengaged. Unlike the USA and Japanese version, which went into "Power" mode only when the accelerator was pushed rapidly, the "Power" mode on the European and Australian version was activated by either console or gearshift installed switches.

The manual transmission uses a true gear type viscous limited slip center differential. The secondary shaft in the transmission is hollow with the pinion shaft extending through it to the center differential. It provides a 50:50 torque balance under acceleration and deceleration up to the point of wheel slip, then the VLSD begins to send more torque to the wheels with more traction.

The manual transmission was also equipped with Hill Holder which allows the car to remain stopped on an incline by only depressing the clutch pedal, instead of both the clutch and brake pedal. The turbocharged models with the manual transmission did not receive the Hill Holder option.

Racing accomplishments

Just before the introduction of the Legacy to the USA, three Japanese-spec Legacy RS turbo sedans were sent to the FIA test track in Phoenix, Arizona, where they were driven at an average speed of 138.8 mph (223.4 km/h) for almost 19 days, accumulating 100,000 km (62,138 miles) in that time, setting a new world record for land speed endurance, stopping only for fuel and routine service.

On another occasion, two AWD Legacy wagons finished 1st and 2nd place in the 1990 Alcan Winter Rally [1]that covered 6,300 miles (10,100 km) from Seattle, Washington to the Arctic Circle and back and another wagon won the race again in 1992.

The engine

1990 EJ22 non-turbo

The EJ series engine, specially developed for the Legacy, was the most powerful engine Subaru had built to date, and the engine is currently offered in many configurations. In an attempt to ensure durability and longevity, Subaru chose to use five main crankshaft bearings. The engine has either SOHC/DOHC architecture and pent-roof, cross flow cylinder firing chambers. The ignition utilized distributorless ignition, using a computer controlled coil pack and spark plug wires to supply the electrical charge. Later versions of this engine used coil packs installed directly on top of the spark plug. Problems detected by the cars' on-board computers are signified by a "check engine" light, alerting the driver that maintenance is needed immediately.

When it debuted in the US, it was introduced with a slightly larger displacing SOHC 2.2 liter 135 bhp (101 kW; 137 PS) engine that was also used for the European, British and Australian versions over the Japanese market version of DOHC 2.0 liters. The 2.0 liter and 2.2 liter engines fuel delivery were managed with sequential multiport fuel injection called MPFI, and the 1.8 liter engine used a throttle body fuel injection system with single injector called SPFI. The Japanese use the smaller engine because of Japanese road tax legislation, which determines the tax to be paid based on engine displacement, however, the JDM engine was more powerful, even without the turbo. The JDM DOHC 2.0 liter 148 bhp (110 kW; 150 PS) non turbocharged engine had a dual stage intake manifold where at higher engine RPM's four individual valves would allow additional air flow into the engine from a secondary manifold attached and located underneath the primary intake manifold.

Legacy RS Turbo (Japan)

The DOHC 2.0 liter turbocharged 217 bhp (162 kW; 220 PS) engine, which is a prized engine worldwide amongst Subaru enthusiasts, was introduced first in the Legacy and later used in the Impreza WRX when that model was introduced in 1993. In Europe, the Legacy RS Turbo was sometimes referred to as the "Lunacy" Turbo. The Australians were offered the Japanese-spec RS turbo sedan with the DOHC 2.0 liter engine in 1991, and Europe and the UK the same engine in 1992, manual transmission only. The DOHC 2.0 liter turbo also came with a water-cooled intercooler. The USA SOHC 2.2 liter 163 bhp (122 kW; 165 PS) turbo was not offered the water-cooled intercooler when it was introduced to them in 1991. The USA turbocharged engine was available with either a manual or automatic transmission.

All turbo models in North America ceased importation from Japan with the end of the first generation in model year 1994 until 2005, when the turbo was re-introduced. This was due to Subaru having upgraded the single turbo used in the Legacy with a twin turbo engine starting with the Second Generation and continued with the Third Generation. The twin turbo configuration was not compatible with left-hand drive vehicles because the turbo on the left side interferes with both the brake master cylinder and steering linkage, among other things.

All turbocharged vehicles, both sedan and wagon, regardless of the country the vehicle was sold in were equipped with ABS and rear ventilated disc brakes as standard equipment.

Japanese specifications

When the Legacy was first introduced February 1, 1989 in Japan, the Legacy came in the following trim levels: the 220 PS (162 kW; 217 bhp) DOHC 2.0 liter turbocharged "RS" with a 5-speed manual transmission only, followed by the "VZ" sedan and wagon and the "TZ" sedan and wagon with the 150 PS (110 kW; 148 bhp) DOHC 2.0 liter engine. A smaller 102 PS (75 kW; 101 bhp) SOHC 1.8 liter engine was used for the "Vi" sedan and wagon with FWD only, "Ti" sedan and wagon, the "Mi" and the entry level "Ei" sedans and wagons. All wagons available to the Japanese were the extended roof version, referred to as the "Touring Wagon", and the air suspension, called "EP-S" (electronic pneumatic-suspension), was only available on the AWD equipped VZ wagon with an automatic transmission. In 1990, the 200 PS (147 kW; 197 bhp) DOHC 2.0 liter turbocharged Legacy "GT" sedan/extended roof wagon was introduced, with a 4-speed computer controlled automatic transmission only on the GT sedan and a choice of automatic or manual transmission on the wagon, as well as the slightly more affordable "RS type R" turbocharged sedan. The GT sedan/wagon, the RS, and RS type R came with 15" alloy wheels, dual piston brake calipers front and rear, and a sport-tuned suspension over the standard wheel size of 14" steel wheels for the other models offered. Plastic wheel covers were not offered on the entry level "Ei" sedan or wagon, and the wheel was painted silver instead of black. The "Ti type S" sedan and wagon, introduced in 1991, were offered with items available on the more expensive VZ and TZ but with the smaller 1.8 engine. The AWD setup, called "Active Torque Split" in Japanese language brochures, was standard on the Japanese-spec GT and RS, optional on the other trim levels with either a manual or automatic transmission. A partial 4WD system was offered on the lower trim level "Mi" and "Ei" sedans and wagons with a manual transmission only, activated by an imbedded switch on top of the gear shift lever. A glass moonroof was not available until 1990 on both the GT and VZ sedan and wagon.

The VZ sedan interior was available in blue, gray or a special color combination of dark red upholstery with brown interior plastic, with the other sedans and wagons offering interior color choices of blue or gray. The VZ wagon that was painted black came with light gray two-tone paint scheme on the lower half of the vehicle, and both front and rear bumper covers below the bumper rub strip, which was later used when the Outback was introduced with the Second Generation. Blue interior was offered on vehicles with blue exterior paint only. When model year 1990 arrived, however, the interior color choices were reduced to gray for the entire product line, with various types of upholstery selections, including a choice of velour, moquette, or tricot cloth upholstery based on the trim level. Leather was optional on the GT sedan and wagon only. A four spoke, black leather covered Momo steering wheel also came with the Japanese-spec GT sedan/wagon and the RS sedan, with matching black leather on the gearshift, center armrest cover, and parking brake handle. The RS and RS type R came with black cloth upholstery with matching door panels and extended side bolsters on the front seats, covered in a upholstery pattern unique to the RS and RS type R. Japanese models have been known to be exported to countries with right-hand driving requirements, such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

The following was printed, in English, on the front cover of the 1989 Japanese Legacy brochure, as Subaru was proud of their new car:

"As its name implies, the Legacy represents a culmination of Subaru's automotive technology. The engineering and design of this elegantly modern 2-liter sedan will set new standards for automotive excellence the world over. Performance, function and quality are the hallmarks of a great sedan. To these we have added that fun-to-drive feeling unique to Subaru. The Legacy; the more time you spend with it, the more you will appreciate it."

International specifications

The European, British and Australian versions were offered with three trim levels; the upscale GX, the more affordable LX in Australia and the GL in Europe and the UK, and the very basic DL in parts of Europe, with AWD offered as an option on the GX, LX and GL. In Europe and the UK, the GL and DL came with the 1.8 liter engine and the GX came with the larger 2.2 liter engine. For model year 1990, the British-spec. 1.8 GL was equipped with a carburetor and rear drum brakes but were later upgraded to single point fuel injection for model year 1991. The DL wasn't available in the UK or Australia. The British were also given a choice of vehicles equipped with a Catalytic Converter that restricted fuel usage to unleaded fuel only. The Australians could choose between the SOHC 2.2 liter no turbo on the GX and LX or the DOHC 2.0 liter with a turbo on the RS. In 1992, the Australians were offered the Liberty RS turbo as a sedan or extended roof wagon with a manual transmission only. The European and Australian versions were also available as a limited, premium editions, called GX Gala in Europe, and GX Heritage in Australia offering gray leather on the Euro-spec sedans and extended roof wagons, and only on the sedan for the Australian-spec Liberty Heritage. The European, British and Australian versions came with two interior color choices of blue or gray. European upholstery fabric selections of tweed, tricot, or webstoff woven cloth were particular to the individual trim level; tweed for the GX, tricot for the GL and webstoff for the DL. The British GL was offered with either the tricot or webstoff upholstery based on the exterior paint color chosen. Velour upholstery was offered instead of tweed on the Australian GX. The European DL, which was very similar to the Japanese-spec Ei model, was very basic; items that weren't offered were a tachometer, power windows and central locking, a radio, individual 60:40 rear folding seatbacks on the sedan, and AWD was not available on the DL. The Euro-spec DL also didn't have plastic wheel covers, and instead was identical to the Japanese-spec Ei, with silver painted steel wheels and a silver plastic lug nut cover. The European DL also didn't have paint on the front or rear bumper covers, and remained in their natural state of black plastic. The European, British and Australian wagons were also available with a dual-range manual transmission, not offered in the USA or Japan. In Germany, the extended roof wagon was called the Super Station and was available with either the 2.2 or 1.8 liter engine, ABS brakes were available only on German vehicles with the 2.2 liter engine, and the standard wagon was called the Legacy Station with a 1.8 liter engine only. Subarus were not officially sold in France until February 1992.

The USA Legacy was introduced with three trim levels; the Standard, the "L" and the "LS" and in 1991 the Standard was removed and the "LSi" was introduced as a "LS" with gray leather interior on the sedan only, similar to the "Gala" and "Heritage" approach internationally. The USA-spec Standard was very similar to the Euro-spec DL and the Japanese-spec Ei, with a very sparse level of equipment. The 1990 models can be distinguished from the 1991 models by the color of the rub strip that encompases the vehicle; 1990 the color was gray and 1991 the color was black. Also, the color of the automatic front seat shoulder belt latch was interior color for 1990 and black for 1991 and subsequent years. For MY 1991, the "L" trim level was available with a Value Plus option package, which included anti-lock brakes, power windows, central locking, air conditioning, cruise control, and the 80W stereo. The 2.2 turbo, called the "Sport Sedan", was also introduced to the USA in 1991. The USA-spec Sport Sedan has Alcantara interior in gray only. In 1992, the "LSi" was introduced on the wagon, alongside the newly introduced turbocharged "LE" Touring Wagon. The USA-spec Touring Wagon was renamed the GT, one year before the introduction of the Second Generation in 1995, but without a turbo. The only engine size available in USA was the 2.2 liter. The USA version offered three interior color choices adding a light brown selection to the list. Upholstery selections were tricot for base level "L" and velour for the uplevel "LS". Leather was only available on all versions internationally from Subaru in gray. The air suspension height control was only available on the wagon with an automatic transmission, and a non-turbocharged engine in all international markets. No sedans were manufactured by Subaru with the air suspension height control. AWD was standard only on the USA Sport Sedan and optional on all other USA trim levels. Extended roof wagons were not available on the USA Legacy until the Second Generation, when it was used only for the Outback.

Many rural United States Postal Service routes used specially ordered right hand drive Legacys to deliver mail. These wagons were available from 1990 to 1999 and differed very little from the private use Legacy.

Trim levels on the USA version can be easily identified by the color of the outside door handles. Base trim levels can be identified by chrome door handles, whereas uplevel had painted door handles that match the exterior color. Japanese models all had chrome door handles and European and Australian versions all had painted door handles. The USA door handle tradition continues, with Subaru using black plastic instead of chrome on all current Legacy models, starting with MY 1994. MY 1992 saw the Japanese-spec door handles changed to the European version of painted handles, a feature they still use on current models.

Marketing efforts

The USA Legacy was marketed as an affordable, luxurious sedan and wagon without the premium price, similar to the marketing efforts in Japan and Australia. The American, Japanese and Australian brochures actually define the vehicle as a luxury car. The European and British Legacy were marketed as a roomy, comfortable, yet durable vehicle for life in the country, with unexpected amenities.

The Legacy was introduced in the USA as a competitor to the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Stanza, and other midsize sedans, with the Legacy offering All Wheel Drive (AWD) as a major distinguishing feature against its competition. (Toyota initially offered AWD on the Camry in the USA in limited markets, with the designation Camry LE All-Trac, but discontinued the feature due to disappointing sales.) The Legacy sedan had very similar dimensions and appearance to the Toyota Cressida, the Toyota Camry and the Acura Legend produced at the same introduction time. The Legacy was also pitted against vehicles that were offered at the time from Detroit, notably the Chevrolet Corsica and the GM "A" platform (Pontiac 6000, Buick Century, Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, and Chevrolet Celebrity), the Ford Tempo/Mercury Topaz and the Dodge Spirit/Plymouth Acclaim. Ford also offered AWD on the Tempo in limited markets, and GM installed AWD on the Pontiac 6000 STE, but experienced the same results as Toyota with the Camry All-Trac and cancelled the option soon after. On the Pontiac, only the uplevel 6000 STE came with AWD as standard equipment from MY 1988-1990, with a V6 engine. The GM "A" body was also available as a wagon on the Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, and Chevrolet, but all were FWD only.

In Europe, the Legacy competed against vehicles like the Toyota Carina, Opel Vectra, Ford Sierra, Volkswagen Passat, Audi 80, Alfa Romeo 33, and the Renault 21. The Ford, Opel, VW, Audi, Renault and Alfa Romeo were available with optional AWD at the time and the Alfa also came with a boxer engine. The Renault had AWD only on turbocharged engines.

In Japan, the Legacy has many different trim levels, with an assortment of different names (i.e. Brighton, Lancaster, VZ to name a few). Perhaps the most dubious one of all would be the 1993 Subaru Legacy Touring Bruce, named due to Bruce Willis lending himself to a Japanese market advertising campaign and sang in commercials, singing the song "A House of Gold" by Kenny Rankin. Bruce Willis also appeared in the Japanese market Subaru Legacy sales brochure for both the sedan and wagon, wearing a linen suit in both brochures. Singers Jennifer Lopez and Rod Stewart have both filmed TV commercials for the Japanese market and actor Mel Gibson sang in a commercial for the second generation with two songs "So Far Away" and "You Light Up My Life" by David Morgan . Rod did singing commercials for the second generation Legacy, singing "People Get Ready", "Tonight's the Night" and "Sailing". Jennifer also did singing commercials for the third generation, with the song "Ain't it Funny". Bruce re-appeared in a commercial for the current generation recently to celebrate the production of the 3 millionth Legacy in 2005.

Safety equipment

In the USA, the Legacy was introduced with automatic seat belts due to United States NHTSA regulations stating that all cars produced from April 1, 1989 were to be equipped with a passive front passenger restraint system that would protect front occupants from frontal impact without occupant participation. This regulation was enacted to force manufacturers to install air bags in their vehicles. In 1992, Subaru added a driver side airbag only which didn't satisfy the U.S. regulation. If a vehicle had dual air bags, the passive seat belt systems could be removed, which Subaru did in 1995, with the Second Generation. The Japanese vehicles had rear lap belts only on the lower trim levels and 3-point outboard position lap and shoulder belts with a center rear position lab belt on all vehicles with the 2.0 liter engine.

Canadian spec Legacy were not fitted with automatic seat belts due to objections from the Canadian Government and current USA owners have been known to convert the automatic seat belts to the Canadian version when the mechanism fails to retract. Replacing the failed automatic seat belt is currently cost-prohibitive due to current Subaru pricing for failed parts.

All Legacy wagons sold in Europe came with rear seat headrests and 3-point outboard position lap and shoulder belts as standard equipment, whereas rear headrests were available on upper trim levels elsewhere. All international Legacy, except the USA, had front seat adjustable anchor shoulder belts.

Special equipment

Some of the affordable luxury items included express up and express down driver side power window, an electric tilt and sliding moonroof with ventilated sunshade, tilt steering with memory feature that allowed the spring loaded steering column to "jump up" and out of the way, power mirrors, 4-way adjustable headrests, velour upholstery and upgraded plush carpeting on the USDM 1990 Legacy LS sedan and wagon, adding leather wrapped steering wheel, gearshift and parking brake handle in 1991. Also in 1991, automatic digital climate control, which was deleted in 1992, and an in-dash CD player, among other things were added to the USA options list. Several exterior paint choices came with a pearlescent appearance, offered only in the USA.

Subaru subwoofer-amplifier

Some of the factory installed double DIN 80W stereos with the integrated equalizer and cassette players, sourced from Clarion and Panasonic, came with an auxiliary port on the front of the stereo, originally intended for portable CD players, which has been discovered to be portable MP3 player compatible. The Japanese version of this factory installed stereo was rated at 100W and the volume control knob was situated on the right side of the stereo and the frequency display was on the left. The stereo unit used for the USA and Australia had the volume control on the left and the frequency display on the right. The in-dash CD player, sourced from Clairon, was available on the USA, Japanese and Australian sedan and wagon as an extra cost option. In 1994, Subaru made available a 80W subwoofer/amplifier located under the front passenger seat in the USA, and a side view mirror tweeter speaker kit available as a USA dealer installed accessory with limited availability. Factory stereos installed in European vehicles were sourced from Philips or Fujitsu Ten.

The European and British versions were installed with standard headlight washers and rear fog lights, so that other drivers could see them in inclement weather and at night, and also received speed sensitive, variable effort power steering as standard. The Australian-spec sedan and wagon were equipped with the rear fog light, but not the headlight washers. The British and Europeans could also install a front bumper bull bar and an 8 mm (0.31 in) thick steel sump guard that extended from the bottom edge of the front bumper to the front suspension. The Europeans could not get an in-dash cupholder located in the small space below the HVAC controls and above the stereo, found in the Australian, USA and Japanese models. In that location instead is a clock, and a button to deploy an electric radio antenna, if so equipped. Clocks are integrated with the OEM stereo internationally.

The Japanese versions offered electrically folding power mirrors, 6-way power drivers seat, and infrared keyless remote entry integrated into the ignition key. The GT and VZ had a feature where the driver's door could be opened without using a key or remote, using a driver programmed security code that was entered by pulling the exterior door handle a specific number of times, in accordance with a 4-digit security code found in its memory. This feature was only installed on vehicles with the infrared keyless remote. Vehicles equipped with the infrared keyless remote feature can be identified by having a dark plastic receiver patch installed on the driver's door handle, located directly above the entry lock keyhole. The transmitter installed in the ignition key was aimed at this receiver patch on the door handle. The Japanese could also choose from two factory installed high end stereos and speaker packages from Alpine and Kenwood with integrated CD players, a rear wiper on the back of the sedan as well as the wagon, an electrostatic air purifier mounted behind the rear seats for the sedan and a combined air purifier/overhead interior light for the wagon, automatic climate control with digital temperature display, vehicle speed sensitive power door locks, halogen fog lights with either clear or yellow lenses, and switchable, reduced effort for the power steering on the RS turbo sedan. All vehicles manufactured for sale in Japan with power windows had a feature where the power windows would still operate after removing the ignition key for 30 seconds.

1992 facelift and other changes

A minor facelift to the front end came in 1992, revising the grille, front fenders, hood and headlamps to provide a similar appearance with the introduction of the Subaru SVX luxury GT coupe, along with interior and exterior color changes. For MY 1994, the USA-spec wagons were available with minor trim packages, called the Alpine Sport and Sun Sport, which were basically "L" trim level wagons with optional equipment added as a "Value Option Group" and also came with graphics denoting the package on the exterior of the vehicle. The USA-spec LSi wagon was available with tan leather interior, with matching leather on the steering wheel, gearshift selector, center armrest, interior door panels, and parking brake handle. The red plastic rear trim piece, on both the sedan and wagon, continues but the word "Subaru" is exchanged for the word "Legacy". Also, the Subaru star logo is no longer used on the back of the sedan or wagon.

The Japanese-spec also saw the introduction of the GT type S2 sedan, which added BBS alloy wheels and rear trunk spoiler as standard equipment, the VZ type R, and the Brighton 220, which had the 2.2 SOHC engine used for the wagon only. The Japanese-spec TZ was replaced by the Brighton trim name. According to a translation of Wikipedia Japan of the Legacy, in August of 1992, the "Legacy Touring Wagon STi" was released and limited to 200 units. The only major upgrade mentioned was upgrading the fuel injection ECU, and increasing the turbocharger pressure from the standard 450 mmHg to 650 mmHg, which was being used on the "RS" sedan and the same engine torque output, with an automatic transmission only.

The 1989-1994 European and Australian Legacy had side repeater lenses installed in the front fender just behind the front wheel, with the front turn signals installed next to the headlights. The 1989-1991 Japanese version incorporated the side repeater into the side of the front corner turn signal lens with the side repeater protruding from the lens so that it could be seen laterally, then later adopting the European configuration in 1992.

The front turn signals were relocated from underneath the bumper on USA versions to their new location next to the headlights, as in the Japanese, Australian and European versions. Side repeater lenses were also added to the USA version, but they were used as side marker lights and not turn signal repeaters.

In the USA, parking lights were installed next to the headlights for MY 1990-1991 within dedicated corner lenses, then incorporated with the front turn signals from 1992 to current models. Parking lights for European, Australian and Japanese versions were incorporated inside the headlights, on the outer edge. All international versions of the Legacy utilize a dedicated parking light switch installed on top of the steering column.

The facelifted Legacy appeared for model year 1992 only in Japan and Australia because the second generation was introduced in 1993, and it was also sold as the Isuzu Aska also for MY 1992.


This category is for automobiles sold under the Subaru marque.