2019 Mazda 6 vs. 2019 Subaru Legacy

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Mazda 6 Signature has a standard 360-degree View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Legacy only offers a rear monitor.

Both the Mazda 6 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mazda 6 is safer than the Subaru Legacy:

 

Mazda 6

Legacy

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

23%

27%

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

42 lbs.

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

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 Mazda 6 is safer than the Subaru Legacy:

 

Mazda 6

Legacy

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

17 inches

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

40 G’s

Hip Force

671 lbs.

736 lbs.

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

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 22nd in initial quality. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Subaru is ranked fourth.

Engine

The Mazda 6’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 12 more horsepower (187 vs. 175) and 12 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 174) than the Legacy 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 63 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 247) than the Legacy 3.6R Limited’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Mazda 6 is faster than the Subaru Legacy:

 

Mazda6

Mazda 6 Turbo

Legacy 2.5i

Legacy 3.6R

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

6.4 sec

8.8 sec

7.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.2 sec

6.7 sec

9.1 sec

7.3 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.5 sec

n/a

4.3 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.9 sec

n/a

5.9 sec

4.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

14.9 sec

16.9 sec

15.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90 MPH

97 MPH

85 MPH

94 MPH

Top Speed

135 MPH

149 MPH

130 MPH

139 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Mazda6 gets better fuel mileage than the Legacy:

 

 

 

MPG

Mazda6

 

 

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

 

 

2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/31 hwy

Legacy

 

 

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/34 hwy

 

 

3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 6 (except Turbo)’s fuel efficiency. The Legacy doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Mazda 6 Touring/Signature’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Legacy 3.6R:

 

Mazda6 Turbo

Legacy 3.6R

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.4 inches

The Mazda 6 stops shorter than the Legacy:

 

Mazda 6

Legacy

 

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’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 Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature has standard 19-inch wheels. The Legacy’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Mazda 6 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 Mazda 6’s wheelbase is 3.1 inches longer than on the Legacy (111.4 inches vs. 108.3 inches).

The Mazda 6 Touring handles at .87 G’s, while the Legacy 3.6R Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Legacy 2.5i Limited (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

The Mazda 6 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 150 to 250 pounds less than the Subaru Legacy.

The Mazda 6 (except Sport) offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Legacy doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Mazda 6 Touring is quieter than the Legacy 3.6R Limited (42 vs. 44 dB).

Servicing Ease

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the Mazda 6 to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes and air filter replacement based on odometer mileage. 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 Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve and Signature have a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Legacy doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Mazda 6’s front and rear power windows all 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. With the Legacy Premium//Limited’s optional power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

The Mazda 6’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Legacy’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature 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 Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature’s standard 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 Mazda 6 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.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mazda 6 is less expensive to operate than the Legacy because it costs $389 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Mazda 6 than the Legacy, including $142 less for a water pump, $200 less for a starter, $91 less for front struts and $72 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda 6 and the Subaru Legacy, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Mazda 6 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 6 years. The Legacy has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

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

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