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.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Hyundai Nexo 2019 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    13 July 2018
    Designed from the outset to use a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain, this front-driven crossover provides a taste of the future today
  • Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2018 road test review hero front
    Car review
    13 July 2018
    This new version is the most luxurious A-Class yet, but has Mercedes made it a class leader?
  • Honda CR-V 2018 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    13 July 2018
    For its fourth-generation, the Honda CR-V grows in size and now offers a choice of five or seven seats, but slims down in terms of engine choices
  • Volkswagen Arteon 1.5 EVO 2018 UK review hero front
    First Drive
    13 July 2018
    Entry-level fastback doesn’t do enough to make the Arteon any more competitive in an already-tough class
  • BMW i8 Coupe 2018 UK first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    13 July 2018
    BMW's flagship i car has received a facelift for 2018. How does it compare to offerings from Porsche?