With some big boots to fill, Will Williams updates us on how he's getting on with the Subaru Levorg
20 June 2016

Subaru Levorg long-term test review. Here's our second report after one month with the new AWD estate.

The first month behind the wheel of our Levorg has whizzed by and allowed us to ascertain some of the ways in which this new-generation Subaru estate lives up to the reputation of its most successful forebears, as well as some of the differences.

As the Levorg approaches the 7500-mile mark (having arrived with 5400 miles on the clock), it has shown that it’s certainly a different kettle of fish from the burbling first and second-generation Imprezas. The four-cylinder boxer engine was once well known for its character and attitude, but the Levorg’s turbocharged 1.6-litre engine lacks some of the charm of Subarus of old.

That is not necessarily a bad thing, because the 168bhp output seems a far more usable and mature proposition. The engine is incredibly smooth and refined and stays that way right through to the rev limiter. So the Levorg may not provide the Subaru drama of old, but the upside is that noise levels in the cabin are pleasingly low at motorway cruising speeds.

The estate has a low centre of gravity, which keeps body roll in check and allows you to exploit the mechanical grip and traction in the corners. All this engineering know-how makes it a great shame that the 296bhp 2.0-litre version of the Levorg won’t be sold officially in the UK. It feels like it has more to give if it had more power and torque to use.

One thing that has become slightly irritating, compared with the diesel-engined Kia Sorento I ran previously, is the frequency of the fuel stops required. The Levorg’s range on a 60-litre tank is usually only 325-350 miles — not helped, you’d imagine, by Subaru’s persistence with its permanent asymmetrical four-wheel drive system. With other car makers opting for selectable or automatic systems that default to two-wheel drive, surely Subaru has to be contemplating something similar for future models.

Because this is a Subaru estate, the last key component is the available boot space, and being a snapper, it has been given a thorough testing, with the Levorg’s boot swallowing all my kit with room to spare.

I have become a big fan of the Subaru’s rear load space, with its easily configurable layout and load cover. This is in complete contrast to my old Sorento; its load cover was awkward to use and, as a result, the locating lugs fell off.

The 40 litres of extra space under the boot floor has also become extremely useful, especially when it comes to storing valuables out of sight of prying eyes. However, the space is more versatile than that, because pre-defined segments enable items prone to falling over to be kept upright.

It’s too early to say for sure whether Subaru has got its AWD estate mojo back, but I’m already beginning to think it has, although the Levorg should probably be considered an evolution of the Legacy that went before it.

Subaru Levorg 1.6i DIT GT Lineartronic

Our previous report 

First report 

Price £27,495 Price as tested £27,995 Economy 31.0mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 11.5.16

Will Williams

Our Verdict

The Subaru Levorg GT 1.6i DIT Lineartronic

Subaru brings its much-loved all-paw estate concept up to date

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Comments
7

20 June 2016
After reading the review it all seems a bit of a bargin, after all much more would a BMW 3 or Audi A4 estate with 4 wheel drive, Auto and Leather be? The difference would be worth a test drive!

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

289

20 June 2016
I certainly hope Subaru don't try to make their 4 wheel drive 'trendy' with an automatic or switchable system!
Subaru has remained true to 50/50 4 wheel drive which always works better when the chips are down in tough conditions. To lose this would be a bad move.....just in the name of a few more mpg.

20 June 2016
289 wrote:

I certainly hope Subaru don't try to make their 4 wheel drive 'trendy' with an automatic or switchable system!
Subaru has remained true to 50/50 4 wheel drive which always works better when the chips are down in tough conditions. To lose this would be a bad move.....just in the name of a few more mpg.

I read a fairly damning review of the face lifted Forester in another publication last week. It seemed to sadly overlook the ability of the car due to its unique 4x4 system and how useful this would be for those who need it. Granted there is a lot that could be improved on most Subarus to make them more competitive but I admire their robust, unstoppable nature in a world of fashion led pretend 4x4s, long live asymmetrical 4x4!

20 June 2016
It strikes me that Subaru are really missing a trick here.

Undoubtedly, there are still people that hark back to what Subaru's were and hanker after something a little more punchy than this 1.6 powered model.

Why do they not develop a "half way model", after all the difference between 168bhp in the 1.6 model and 296bhp 2.0 model we won't get is quite a gap.

I know Subaru are only (relatively) a small company but surely a economy based 2.0 litre model or an over bored 1.8 with say 225bhp, would be a relatively easy thing for them to produce. It could be marketed as a "warm" model which would at least give them the Kudos the 1.6 is missing.

Personally I am on the prowl for a new car and this is the sort of thing that floats my boat. Sadly though the VW group seem to be the only manufacturer (s?) who produce petrol cars at the moment for sale in the UK with any significant grunt.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

289

20 June 2016
Agreed Teg.
The writing is writ large on the wall for diesel..... and yet even big manufacturers are still launching diesel only models, ( i.e Mercedes-Benz GLC), or crappy underpowered petrol derivatives.
I cant believe how slowly the industry is reacting to the immediate situation.

20 June 2016
TegTypeR wrote:

I know Subaru are only (relatively) a small company but surely a economy based 2.0 litre model or an over bored 1.8 with say 225bhp, would be a relatively easy thing for them to produce. It could be marketed as a "warm" model which would at least give them the Kudos the 1.6 is missing.

Yep..they're an odd company, intriguing but odd. I'm sure there are strategic reasons behind their minimal lineup outside of Japan, but this kind of uncertainty about what the company stands for doesn't help the brand. I'd love a 250hp subaru wagon to replace a much-loved Legacy. Sadly the Legacy has been neutered, as has this levorg. At least this one still looks interesting. I see you can import one, might be worth it in a couple of years from now.

20 June 2016
I could happily do without the big wheels and leather interior (and probably a few other bits and pieces) to save a few grand. And what about an Outback version with raised ground clearance?

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