2018 Chrysler 300 vs. 2018 Subaru Legacy

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the 300 and the Legacy have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Chrysler 300 is safer than the Subaru Legacy:

 

300

Legacy

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

17 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

There are almost 4 times as many Chrysler dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 300’s warranty.

Reliability

The battery on the 300 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the 300’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Legacy’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chrysler vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chrysler 17th in initial quality. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chrysler vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chrysler 22nd in reliability. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 23rd.

Engine

The 300 has more powerful engines than the Legacy:

 

Horsepower

Torque

300 3.6 DOHC V6

292 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

300S 3.6 DOHC V6

300 HP

264 lbs.-ft.

300 5.7 V8

363 HP

394 lbs.-ft.

Legacy 2.5i 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

175 HP

174 lbs.-ft.

Legacy 3.6R Limited 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.

256 HP

247 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the Chrysler 300 V6 is faster than the Subaru Legacy:

 

300

Legacy 2.5i

Legacy 3.6R Limited

Zero to 30 MPH

2.6 sec

3.4 sec

3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

8.8 sec

7.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.2 sec

24.5 sec

17.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.7 sec

9.1 sec

7.3 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.7 sec

4.3 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

5 sec

5.9 sec

4.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

16.9 sec

15.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96 MPH

85 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the 300 V8’s fuel efficiency. The Legacy doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The 300 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Legacy doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 300’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Legacy:

 

300

300 V8/AWD

Legacy 2.5i

Legacy 3.6R Limited

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

11.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

11.8 inches

The 300 stops shorter than the Legacy:

 

300

Legacy

 

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the 300S/300C/Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Legacy (245/45R20 vs. 225/55R17).

The 300S/300C/Limited’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Legacy Sport/Limited’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 300S/300C/Limited has standard 20-inch wheels. The Legacy’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires available on the 300 can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The Legacy doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 300 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Legacy’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 300’s wheelbase is 11.9 inches longer than on the Legacy (120.2 inches vs. 108.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 300 is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1 inch wider in the rear than on the Legacy.

The 300’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (52% to 48%) than the Legacy’s (58.9% to 41.1%). This gives the 300 more stable handling and braking.

The 300S handles at .85 G’s, while the Legacy 3.6R Limited pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 300S executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Legacy 2.5i Limited (26.7 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the 300S is quieter than the Legacy 3.6R Limited (39 vs. 44 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the 300 is rated a Large car by the EPA, while the Legacy is rated a Mid-size.

The 300 has .7 inches more front hip room, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear headroom, 2 inches more rear legroom, 1.1 inches more rear hip room and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Legacy.

Cargo Capacity

The 300 has a much larger trunk than the Legacy (16.3 vs. 15 cubic feet).

Towing

The 300 has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Legacy has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The 300 has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Legacy doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the 300 to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Subaru doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Legacy.

Ergonomics

The 300 (except Base)’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Legacy doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the 300 and the Legacy have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 300 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Legacy prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The 300’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Legacy’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. The Legacy Premium//Limited’s optional windows’ rear windows don’t close automatically.

On a hot day the 300’s driver can lower the front windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Legacy can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The 300’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Legacy’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The 300 S/C/Limited’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 300 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Legacy doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the 300 (except Limited) to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Legacy doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The 300’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited.

When the 300 with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Legacy’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the 300 (except Touring/Touring L) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Legacy doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold Winter days, the 300’s optional (except Limited) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Legacy doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The 300 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited.

Both the 300 and the Legacy offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the 300 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Legacy Base doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Model Availability

The 300 is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Legacy doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 300 is less expensive to operate than the Legacy because it costs $638 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 300 than the Legacy, including $65 less for a water pump, $332 less for a starter, $24 less for fuel injection, $52 less for a fuel pump and $398 less for front struts.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 300 third among large cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Legacy isn’t in the top three in its category.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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