Subaru Levorg 1.6i GT Lineartronic 2017 Review
By Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist – tweeting @carwriteups
Four-wheel-drive isn’t anything special anymore. So, when you see that the Levorg is badged up proudly telling the world it has all-wheel-drive, you feel like yawning.
That said; Subaru has had immense success trading off its 4×4 rally image – and it started making these kinds of cars when hardly anyone else did.
Times have moved on, though, and the Japanese automaker has had to move with them. That’s why the excellent Legacy was replaced with the oddly named Levorg back in 2015. I drove the 2017 facelifted model recently, to see if much has changed since the new estate was ushered in.
The Levorg hasn’t done that well in terms of UK sales, but then Subaru isn’t a volume seller in Britain anyway. That makes the brand quite appealing to me, so I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of the latest Levorg.
The trouble is, I was left wanting. Not because the Levorg is awful – it’s just that I really found it hard to see what had been changed since 2015. The car is still handsome, and some effort has been put into enhancing refinement. Apart from that, some extra engine insulation and new ‘Eyesight’ driver assistance tech, it all looks like the first Levorg. I’ve got to say, the modernistic dual-camera ‘Eyesight’ set-up, fitted at the top of the windscreen is awesome. It makes the Levorg appear as though it’s an unmarked cop car with crime-busting equipment on board. But what the system really does is endow the Subaru with extra safety. This comprises adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and pre-collision braking.
On the move, you’d be lucky to perceive any difference. But that’s the plan. The ‘Eyesight’ technology goes about its business unassumingly, only twice displaying an alert on the dashboard to notify me of an obstacle on my test drive. Equally, you’d strain to hear a cutback of clamour in the Levorg’s cabin, unless you drove an original Levorg immediately beforehand. In practice, this is the same estate car, albeit a more intriguing one.
Regardless of its prominent bonnet scoop, suggesting a return of Impreza-esque power to Subaru, the Levorg is a car that zeros in on classiness rather than clout. The 1.6-litre petrol turbo power unit engine is coupled to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox that gives an acceptable feeling of physical gears with ‘paced’ full-throttle adjustments. But the transmission is at its finest when driving at a relaxed speed, because its dearth of fixed ratios eases irregularity. It’s not especially loud for a CVT – though what little noise you can make out is just a monotonous hum.
There’s no ‘wow-factor’ when it comes to performance, but it’s adequate. It’s a pity that there’s no manual gearbox or, vitally, a thrifty and hard-pulling diesel engine in the line-up. It would certainly expand the Levorg’s appeal. Handling is good, though; there’s little body roll in bends and the car grips like Velcro – even when pushed hard through corners. The ride is too harsh for a family estate, though, so any speedbumps or potholes really do jar you. It’s clear Subaru has traded comfort for athleticism in this respect.
The Levorg’s cabin quality is good in the main. Only a few scratchy plastics let the car down. But factory-fitted equipment is bountiful, and, let’s face it, it should be for its £29,995 on-the-road price-tag.
The 2017 Subaru Levorg is a handsome, compelling estate car if you need four-wheel-drive. But with an average fuel economy of 39.8mpg, it’s not an efficient family car. At 164g/km, its CO2 output is on the high side, too, so it’s not the first car you’d choose as a company motor either. If you can do without four-wheel drive, there are cheaper-to-run big petrol-powered estates on the new car market.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Handsome √
- Great Grip √
- Safety Tech √
- Cornering Ability √
- Efficiency X
- Max speed: 130 mph
- 0-62 mph: 8.9 secs
- Combined mpg: 39.8
- Engine layout: 1600cc four-cylinder petrol turbo
- Max. power (PS): 170
- CO2: 164 g/km
- Price: £29,995