There is a lot to like about it. As a wagon, it’s intelligently conceived and well packaged, offering loads of space for passengers and kit, especially for a car that’s slightly smaller than the Legacy. I found it very useful, for instance, to be able to drop the rear seats pretty flat using buttons on the sides of the boot wall. If, like me, you often carry large items in the boot, you’ll find it a decent wagon. It may not be quite as practical as a Skoda Octavia, but it has more character. It’s quirky. It has something different about it.
It also carted my 4.1-metre sea kayak around on the roof with no problems after I fitted some Subaru roof bars to it, and it’s quite low slung, so it was easier to load the kayak on it than it would have been with an SUV. The permanent four-wheel drive was also handy for negotiating seaweed-strewn slipways, although on-demand four-wheel drive would probably offer enough help here when needed and drink a bit less fuel in the long term. You need to weigh up how much your lifestyle dictates the trademark Subaru asymmetric four-wheel drive, or whether a rival with a more efficient system would suit you better.
The Levorg is slightly sporty, but for £27,495, it puts out a mere 168bhp and is only reasonably torquey, so it’s not exactly fast. But given that most of these sorts of cars are typically diesel powered, it was nice to have a petrol engine. The flat four motor itself was really smooth right through the rev range, but it’s a shame that you couldn’t hear more of it to bring out more of the Subaru character. The engine was really refined, but there was a lot of road noise to contend with, as well as a bit of wind noise.
Over my six months with the car, it averaged 33.8mpg, which is close to its claimed economy of 39.8mpg, and I’d usually get 400 miles from a tank. However, my commute takes in a large stretch of the M3, with its mind-numbing 50mph sections, which might have helped the average. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the car needs a service every 10,000 miles, so if you do a lot of miles, you might find that comes around inconveniently soon.
I’ve had plenty of experience of running cars with continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), but the Levorg’s was one of the smoothest I’ve used. It depends if it’s in Sport or Normal mode, but if you go to 30% throttle or more it puts in preset gearshifts to make it feel a bit more natural, so it wasn’t irritatingly harsh when the car was driven hard. But it could be caught out with an overly sensitive lurch in response to light inputs at low speeds. I got used to this, but other people struggled.
It’s a shame the Levorg is available with only one trim, one gearbox and one engine. I can see potential buyers wanting a diesel engine, a manual option or a more modern eight-speed gearbox. That would make it more economical and a bit cheaper to run.