£25,999 - £29,999 Price range
The Subaru Levorg is the spiritual successor to the much-loved fourth generation of the Legacy. It was a car that was both practical and technologically advanced, and the Levorg follows the same philosophy.
Interior design is solid and sensible rather than modern and eye-catching, while the new infotainment system is much improved over the one in the Legacy. The boot is huge, though rear passengers will find more space in some of the Levorg’s competition, particularly the Skoda Superb estate. The seats are supportive and comfortable for longer journeys.
Subaru has focused on driving response rather than outright performance. It means that the Levorg is not the fastest accelerating car in its class, but it’s up with the fine-handling Mazda 6 in terms of enjoyment.
There is only one engine – a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol that easily moves the Levorg around, and it should be cheaper to run than the larger, older engines offered in other Subaru models. However, the CVT auto gearbox is rather slow-witted and generally detrimental to the performance of the car.
The lone trim level, GT, is generously equipped. Air-conditioning, cruise control and a raft of safety features are all included as standard.
Subarus have a reputation for having sturdy interiors and the Levorg is no different. It closely resembles the cockpit of the Impreza and most of the materials in the cabin are soft to the touch, though there are some more scratchy plastics lower down. The fake carbon fibre trim splashed across the dash won’t be to everyone’s tastes, either, and a Volkswagen Passat feels more upmarket in its execution.
Overall, quality is fairly high, even if it isn’t immediately apparent from the fairly plain design. The 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system is a huge improvement over the aftermarket system that Subaru used to offer, though the trip computer is oddly placed – a third screen is set on top of the dash, and it’s hard to see why the likes of mpg readouts and air conditioning functions couldn’t be placed either on the main screen or ahead of the driver.
Subaru Levorg passenger space
The Levorg is smaller on the outside than the current Outback but it offers the same amount of space inside. The driver sits in an electrically adjustable, leather chair, which is very supportive and comfortable and is finished off with signature Levorg blue stitching. Rear passengers gain ample head room, though a Ford Mondeo or Mazda 6 offers more legroom, and the Skoda Superb is in a different league all together.
Subaru Levorg boot space
A usable rectangular shape and low loading lip make the boot of the Levorg very practical – it is a little smaller than the one in the old Legacy measuring 522 litres. The rear seats can be put down with the touch of a button and open up 1,446 litres of space – less than the Mondeo Estate or the Mazda 6 Tourer, but more than the Volvo V60.
Even though it isn’t an out-and-out performance model, the Levorg handles with above average agility for a car of this size. That’s in part due to the components it shares with other models in the Subaru range – the vast majority of the chassis and suspension parts (ahead of the driver) are shared with the rally-inspired WRX model. This results in sharp steering and surefooted handling. Grip is strong, and traction on slippery roads inspires confidence thanks to its all-wheel-drive system.
However, thanks to that firm suspension the ride quality can reveal itself to be a little jiggly around town. At higher speeds, the suspension settles down, and the car feels impressively stable.
Only one engine is available for the UK version and it is a very advanced 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol. With 170hp and 184lb ft of torque it not only has the same power as the much bigger 2.5-litre engine it replaces, but also has more torque, which helps with overtaking and towing.
The only available gearbox is Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT automatic. Unlike some CVTs which drone loudly under heavy acceleration, Subaru’s system does a reasonable impression of a regular automatic – it even gives the driver the option to select gears manually via the steering-wheel mounted paddles.
However, it can still be rather hesitant when called upon, and it results in average rather than spectacular performance – 0-62mph takes 8.9 seconds. The response can be improved slightly by pressing the ‘Sport’ button, but not enough to get excited about.
Expect running costs to be high – the engine officially returns only 39.8mpg, and during our time with it we didn’t get close to that figure. Emissions of 164/km mean that road tax comes in at £180 a year.
Compare those figure, with the 49.6mpg and £140-per year tax bill for Volvo V60 Cross Country 4×4 and it seems the Subaru isn’t the most sensible choice when it comes to running costs. In fairness though, the diesel Volvo commands a plus-£10,000 price premium over the Subaru.
There is no information yet whether the UK Levorg will get the 300hp 2.0-litre turbocharged boxer from the Impreza WRX. It is available on the Japanese market and would represent a significant boost in performance if offered here.
Having four-wheel drive makes the Levorg very safe on slippery roads and is something that none of the rivals offer as standard. The Levorg offers a number of safety systems including lane assist, blind spot detection and rear vehicle alert that alerts the driver when pulling out of a parking space if a car is approaching.
Subaru has kept the Levorg range very simple for buyers – there is only one trim level and three colour options available. Standard equipment is plentiful on the Levorg and it includes sport seats, keyless access and push-button start, air-conditioning, Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The Subaru Levorg is an interesting alternative to the mainstream estate cars on the market. High running costs and the automatic gearbox means that it won’t appeal to everyone, and Subaru itself admits it won’t challenge the Ford Mondeo or Volvo V60 for sales volume. It will, however, appeal to the very specific market it’s aimed at.
Subarus are most prolific in rural Yorkshire and Scotland, and in those areas most buyers search for a reliable, sturdy, practical car which offers four-wheel drive traction to cope with occasional bouts of dodgy weather. For those people, the Levorg continues the Subaru tradition, making it an ideal replacement for the Legacy.