When we say the Levorg feels mostly like a Subaru, we’re acknowledging long-established Subaru handling traits as both a compliment and a criticism.
Let’s get the criticism out of the way first, because it’s no big deal: on some poor surfaces, the ride is a little edgy – less isolated and noisier than that of, say, a Skoda Superb. That’s it.
And there are many advantages to the way the Subaru-ish Levorg is set up, with its permanent four-wheel drive system making for good traction, while even at 1590kg it has a strong sense of agility. There’s plenty of grip, too, from what are modest-sized 225/45 tyres on 18in wheels.
Those who live out in the country and like their Subarus to feel like Subarus, in other words, will mostly like what they find: a secure, stable-handling and moderately able estate.
Where the Levorg departs from the Subaru norm, though, it becomes a less convincing proposition. Owners familiar with the way that Legacys, Foresters and Imprezas steer will find nothing in the Levorg’s electric power steering to remind them of the engaging rim of their older car.
At 2.8 turns from lock to lock, the Levorg’s rack is brisk enough and well weighted, but there’s little indication of what the front wheels are up to.
And it’s most likely that they’ll be pushing onwards, because the drivetrain is set as standard to send 60 percent of drive to the front axle. There is the ability to shuffle that around a little, but only ever up to 50% to each axle, so the Levorg remains a car mostly dominated by its front end.
It occasionally threatened to become slightly more playful on our wet handling circuit, but an ESP system whose traction but not stability control switches out doesn’t let more than a hint of the chassis’ adjustability shine through.
The Levorg brakes well, with solid feel from its centrally located left pedal and good retardation in both the wet and the dry. And when Subaru talks of limited roll rate, it isn’t kidding.
The Levorg retains strong control of its body movements compared with traditional family cars, as befits a vehicle with an Impreza WRX-derived front end, but there’s little more excitement than that to be had — which, if you had even a cooking variant of the old Legacy, is a bit of a shame.
Still, turn-in is brisk and willing and cornering is stable. You won’t trouble the stability control a great deal in dry, but it gets more of a workout in the wet.