Put plainly, it’s incredibly difficult to tell exactly what is new with the refreshed Subaru Levorg. It looks exactly the same as the original Levorg, drives in pretty much the same fashion, and is still offered with only one choice of trim level, transmission and engine.
So, what’s actually new about the “new” Levorg then? Well, the most important, if not the only change Subaru has made is introducing its EyeSight safety system. This little technology package was a major contributor towards the Levorg’s five-star Euro NCAP rating, and includes features such as pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision throttle control to name but a few. The EyeSight system is now a standard feature on all new Levorgs sold in the UK.
Looks and image
The original Levorg was always quite a handsome car, and the new model, well, looks exactly the same. This is no bad thing however, as the Levorg’s styling still looks relatively fresh and up-to-date.
Sure, its aggressive and sporty-looking bonnet scoop, twin exhausts and large alloy wheels might be writing cheques its rather gutless 1.6-litre engine can’t cash, but at least its appearance can’t be called boring.
As the Levorg is only offered in the single GT trim level, opening the door reveals a well-appointed, leather-upholstered cabin – which is certainly no bad thing. Yes, there are some less-than-desirable plastics dotted about here and there, but for the most part the Levorg is a nice place to sit.
Space and practicality
As you would expect from a fairly large family estate car, there’s plenty of space on offer in both the front and the back seats. Headroom is abundant, and adults will be more than comfortable in the rear seats over a longer journey. Up front, the theme continues, with plenty of space separating the driver and passenger.
Packing for family holidays will be made that much easier thanks to the Levorg’s 522-litre boot. With the rear seats in place, there is more than enough room for a number of large suitcases, and thanks to a relatively low boot lid, loading heavy items into the Subaru isn’t too difficult at all. Those in need of additional space can fold the rear seats down to bring total capacity to 1,446 litres.
What’s under the bonnet?
Subaru only offers the Levorg with one choice of engine in the UK – a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder Boxer unit that develops 168bhp and 250Nm. With this engine under the bonnet, the Levorg can complete the benchmark dash from 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds – which is brisk, but it doesn’t make the Levorg particularly thrilling under hard acceleration, either.
Owing to Subaru’s reluctance to offer the Levorg with a manual gearbox or selectable four-wheel drive, the little 1.6-litre engine chews through petrol at a rather alarming rate. Subaru might claim that it can managed a combined fuel economy figure of 39.8mpg, but in reality you’d be lucky to achieve this. During our week with the car, we averaged around 29mpg, which isn’t exactly outstanding.
Behind the wheel
Before you get behind the wheel, it pays to erase from your mind any preconceptions that the Levorg’s sporty looks might conjure up. This is not a fast, or particularly exciting car to drive by any means, but thanks to its permanent four-wheel drive, it does have bags of grip when you throw it into a corner – which is always nice. Thanks to a fairly firm suspension set up, the Levorg also manages to stay rather flat through the corners.
Hard acceleration leads to a noisy and strained-sounding response from the 1.6-litre engine, and the CVT gearbox takes some time to sort itself out once you ease off the throttle – on the whole, it isn’t a satisfying experience by any means.
Out on the motorway, the Levorg starts to make a stronger case for itself. The cabin is quiet enough at cruising speed, with only a small amount of wind and road noise making themselves heard. The 1.6-litre engine quietens down considerably, too, and you’ll see your average fuel economy start to creep up as well.
On the whole, the Levorg seems like a strange proposition. It has the grip and stability you’d like to see from a fast estate, only without the power or the transmission. We’re hoping Subaru will see the light and bring the more powerful Levorg GT-S Spec B to our shores soon.
Value for money
A new Levorg will set you back £29,680, which is a considerable amount of cash. That said, though, as GT is the only trim level available, you do get treated to a whole load of toys as standard. This includes satellite navigation, DAB radio, 18-inch alloys, a rear-view camera, Subaru’s EyeSight safety system and dual-zone automatic air conditioning.
Who would buy one?
As it is such a niche proposition, the Levorg will likely appeal primarily to existing Subaru customers who are long-time fans of the brand. Others will likely find the high running costs, and steep buy-in price a bit of a turn off – even if it does offer plenty of space for family buyers.
Unless you’re a die-hard fan of the Subaru brand, the Levorg is a difficult car to recommend. It’s thirsty petrol engine and irritating CVT gearbox certainly don’t do it any favours, and while it does come with plenty of standard kit, it’s considerably more expensive than some of its rivals.
No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t shake the impression that the Levorg offers performance car running costs, with bog-standard real-world performance. Not an ideal combination.
If you’re after a practical and comfortable family estate, you should probably look elsewhere.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
ModeL: Subaru Levorg 1.6i GT Lineartronic
Base price: £29,680
Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol
Max speed: 130mph
0-60mph: 8.7 seconds