There was a time when you knew what you were getting with Subarus: something wilfully out of the ordinary, with engaging dynamics to be enjoyed by the purist.

The Levorg retains some of that appeal. It’s keener than the average family estate to drive and has the security of four-wheel drive.

The interior feels like a Subaru’s always did, with a welcome nod to modernity. And it’s more spacious inside than cars of a similar size outside.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
Curiously un-Subaru-like Levorg fails to rekindle much warm feeling

That, though, is about the limit of its appeal. Dynamically, it’s not sufficiently far from an average estate car to win over those who’ll otherwise find a Scout variant of a Skoda Octavia acceptable, and although its 1.6-litre engine produces creditable performance, it’s mated to a transmission that saps its enthusiasm and economy.

So, in the end, the Levorg doesn’t feel quite as wilfully different as a Subaru traditionally would, nor do its more conventional aspects outdo those of the cars it’s up against. So unfortunately, the new Subaru Legacy-successor falls behind the Ford Focus ST-3 Estate, BMW 3 Series Touring, Seat Leon Cupra Estate, the Skoda VRS 230 Estate and the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron.

To close the gap to this formidable set, the next facelifted Levorg, which is still some way off, will need have reduced running costs, a manual gearbox option and provide an entry-level trim.

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