Mid-size sedans are a pretty big deal these days – on a number of levels. They’ve grown so much that today’s mid-size is yesterday’s large, but I digress. Even with the onslaught of compact SUVs and crossovers, the compact car market and mid-size market continue to make up a large amount of North American new-car sales.

For years, the Chrysler 200 and Subaru Legacy were the forgotten sons of this segment. The 200 did well enough thanks to fleet sales – it’s a rental car darling [I don’t know if darling is the right word… –Ed.] – while the Legacy was a sales also-ran. That’s why the new editions of both these cars are so significant. While others have made updates, revisions, and changes, these two have leapt forward in decisive and spectacular fashion.

Outwardly, it’s the 200 which is most changed, with a stunning redesign that makes it immediately noticeable as different from the unloved 200 and Sebring that preceded it. The Legacy is relatively similar externally, but internally it’s an entirely new experience.

Both are now the newest cars in this segment, and both were missing from last year’s mid-size mega comparo that saw the media-darling Mazda6 take out the win ahead of sales heavyweights Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Fusion is the only other of this segment that can be had in AWD as well, giving these two a leg up for those of us who care about all-weather traction.  The Legacy has it at all levels – the Chrysler 200 (like the Fusion) brings it in as an option in the second-highest trim and as a full system in top trim.

Then again, the Fusion is only available as a four-cylinder. So if you want six cylinders and all-wheel drive in your mid-size sedan, this is the party you need to be at – and we’re here to help you decide which to take home.


Intriguingly, both Chrysler and Subaru have applied a similar interpretation of red to our testers. The Chrysler is arguably the prettier of the two. We approve of the curvaceous lines, the low nose and the integrated headlight/grille treatment. The 200 looks more modern, especially with those LED accents in the headlights and those intricate fog lights.

The Subaru, while a step forward from the previous model is more of an evolution than a revolution. It remains stoically Subaru. The headlights, grille and fog lights each have their own, very serious, clearly defined space. It works, but it doesn’t flow like the 200 does.

2015 Chrysler 200 vs Subaru Legacy2015 Chrysler 200C AWD2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited2015 Chrysler 200 vs Subaru Legacy. Click image to enlarge

Everything in the 200 is integrated, even the exhaust tips; not so the Legacy. As a result we feel the 200 will age better than the Legacy.

Inside, the Subaru is again a leap forward over the previous generation. Senior Editor Jonathan Yarkony sums it up perfectly:

“This car is safe in so many ways. From its standard AWD to Subaru’s excellent crash ratings record (Top Safety Pick+ as equipped with EyeSight), to its almost anonymous Camcordibu styling, the Legacy seems like an effort to be good at everything without standing out.

“The interior, in cream leather is inviting if a bit plain, but the StarLink system seems slow and convoluted compared to the responsive and idiot-proof Uconnect, and interior materials also seem a class below after spending time in the 200,” he says.

“The 200 interior really wowed me, from the cool glow of the gauges, to the thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel and the quality feel of the leather to the clever cabin storage.”

2015 Chrysler 200C AWD front seats2015 Chrysler 200C AWD rear seats2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited front seats2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited rear seats2015 Chrysler 200, Subaru Legacy seating. Click image to enlarge
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