Subaru has made a welcome return to the estate car segment with a very modern take on its former Legacy model. The reasonably-priced, versatile and practical Levorg is well equipped and also features four-wheel-drive.
The goodPractical, well equipped and has 4WD
The badQuite thirsty and stiff opposition
Subaru Levorg (2017) – first drive
For some unknown reason a pretty useful estate car has gone virtually unnoticed under the radar but Subaru is hoping that is about to change.
It may be due to a poor marketing strategy or the fact that everyone associates the Subaru name with big spoilers, flashy alloys and all the racing know-how that goes with its rallying heritage, but the Levorg was launched a couple of years ago with very little fanfares or memorable promotional campaigns.
Now the new model has received a mid-life face-lift to sharpen up its design and improve its ride and handling capabilities and it’s certainly worth exploring further.
The Levorg is an all-wheel drive vehicle which is something Subaru does very well indeed. In fact the company claims it sold more all-wheel drive cars globally in 2016 than any other manufacturer which is quite an achievement in itself. But sadly, any sales up-take for the Levorg in the UK has been fairly modest.
And I say sadly because the car has a lot to offer. For starters it looks stylish. Subaru has blended a nice balance of high performance characteristics such as a WRX STI-inspired face, a signature bonnet scoop and hexagonal grille with more sensible tourer features including a neat flowing profile with practical estate proportions.
Move inside and the interior boasts a sporty layout with bundles of on-board technology to explore. Features include heated leather sports seats, a 7-inch high resolution touchscreen with swiping and pinching functionality and full multi-media connectivity via Subaru’s Starlink set-up, a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, an upmarket piano black central fascia and neat blue stitching on every seam throughout the cabin to give it a premium look.
The interior is bright and roomy with ample space in the back for a couple of six-footers to stretch out. This is achieved thanks to the curved front seat backs. Storage options are impressive too with a boot capacity of 522 litres which includes a 40-litre underfloor storage compartment. With the rear seats dropped flat the capacity is increased to a creditable 1,446 litres and there are plenty of additional compartments scattered throughout the car too.
The Levorg is priced from £29,680 and is only available in GT trim and with a 1.6-litre petrol Boxer engine mated to a six-speed CVT gearbox (no diesel option is available). It can reach 62mph from a standing start in 8.9 seconds, maxes out at 130mph, has combined fuel efficiency of 39.8mpg and carbon emissions of 164g/km.
Although the Levorg is not the fastest out of the starting blocks it is an accomplished all-rounder offering a comfortable, composed and capable performance with smooth and responsive acceleration through one of the finer CVT gearboxes available today.
The symmetrical all-wheel drive results in the car being beautifully balanced and poised with even weight distribution and that, in turn, means it can be pushed into tight bends enthusiastically and will remain perfectly unfazed. Another plus factor is the comfort levels where even on rough, pitted and potholed road surfaces the car skipped along at a quite a click.
You can expect to hear a fair amount of engine and road surface noise when travelling at higher speeds, but generally the Levorg is well insulated against the outside world.
Another system worth noting is the Subaru Intelligent Drive which allows the driver to choose between two driving modes. Intelligent mode is the default setting and this helps to maximise efficiency. Sport mode livens things up considerably with more direct throttle response and edgier gear shifts.
One of the new features on the latest Levorg is its innovative EyeSight driver assistance system which employs stereo-camera technology with a camera mounted each side of the rear view mirror. These cameras monitor the road and traffic ahead for potential hazards up to 110 metres away and can prevent accidents up to 28mph or reduce the severity at higher speeds. According to Subaru ADAC (the German Automobile Club) recently tested emergency brake assistance systems and EyeSight was the only one to achieve full points in the three categories tested which were pedestrian, cyclist and night driving.
All in all, the Levorg is a respectable and decent all-rounder. It’s not the cheapest, nor the most economical and even the fastest, but it is definitely good enough to gain attention in the hotly-contested estate car segment where its place is certainly well deserved.
Subaru Levorg GT 1.6i DIT Lineartronic
When a car as popular as the Subaru Legacy is phased out then the pressure really mounts to come up with a suitable replacement – thankfully the all-new Levorg is just that and more.
That’s because the stunning looking sports tourer that has been introduced by the Japanese manufacturer to replace the Legacy which ended production last year after a quarter of a century, would appear to be the complete package.
The Levorg, which is priced at £27,495, comes fully loaded with no hidden extras, which is most refreshing these days. And anyone concerned that Subaru would not remain true to its sporting heritage need fear not as the Levorg is packed with the brand’s stand-out styling traits such as the large air scoop on the bonnet, shark fin antenna, dual exhaust mufflers, a roof spoiler, side sill spoilers and rear privacy glass.
However, the model does boast some very welcome new modern additions such as LED headlights, an elegantly-styled interior with excellent connectivity and infotainment systems and a very punchy new powertrain.
The Levorg is powered by a 1.6-litre 170PS Boxer petrol engine which can propel the car to 62mph from a standing start in just 8.9 seconds – not bad for an estate vehicle! And it maxes out at 130mph.
The interior is bright and spacious with ample room for five adults to travel in comfort. There are good storage options throughout the cabin, including a generously-sized boot with a capacity of 522 litres – this can be increased to an impressive 1,446 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
Techno treats are plentiful and include heated leather seats, a 7-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system with easy-to-operate sat nav, a six speaker sound system, dual zone air conditioning, a rear vision camera, Bluetooth, plenty of leather trim and the Subaru Starlink app-based connectivity system which works in conjunction with smartphones.
The Levorg is fitted with a six-speed CVT automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddles if you fancy taking a little extra control. These transmission systems can be a little like marmite – some are loved, others hated. The great news is the CVT fitted to the Levorg falls into the former category. It’s responsive, edgy and there is a constant supply of power on tap at all times which helps make light work of overtaking. And Subaru’s intelligent drive system also adds to the fun factor with a sporty setting that really sharpens up the reactions and dynamics.
Despite its estate car dimensions, the Levorg is deceptively agile and easy to manoeuvre and the all-round visibility is also good. The car is very sure-footed with the added reassurance of all-wheel-drive to keep you on the move in colder wintry months.
I did find there was a little engine noise when the car was pushed particularly hard on motorways, but that aside, the cabin remained relatively hushed.
And as one would expect, the Levorg has a comprehensive list of safety specifications, such as lane departure warning, high beam assist, hill-hold, numerous airbags, a safety pedal system, plus blind spot and cross traffic alert which is very practical when reversing.
All in all, the Subaru Levorg is a fabulous piece of kit and with its official combined economy of 39.8mpg and carbon emissions of 164g/km it certainly lives up to and surpasses the ‘legacy’ left behind by its predecessor.