The other week, Subaru invited me down to Cowley near Cheltenham to drive both their 2017 BRZ (read about it here), and the Levorg. Before we start, I know Levorg is an odd name, but it’s a name that’s steeped in Subaru Heritage. You see it’s created from a combination of names previously used on the brand’s Boxer-engined Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive sport tourers; LEgacy, ReVOlution and TouRinG. Makes sense now, yeah?
Now we’ve got that out of the way, what is it?
Apparently, some of their customers find the current Outback too big, and instead want a car with plenty of room inside but with a smaller footprint. Subaru say that the Levorg does this, and combines estate car practicality, with sports car like lines, along with a great interior and plenty of space to boot!
Its role in life is to be a replacement for the 4th generation Legacy Tourer, by offering a downsized turbocharged engine, a sophisticated cabin and a ‘grand touring’ blend of dynamic sure-footedness. Despite being smaller than the old Legacy Tourer, the Levorg offers more room inside for both passengers and their luggage, along with excellent handling and a smooth ride.
The Levorg has been designed to strike a balance between Subaru’s performance range and the more practical appearance of a tourer, inside and out. The face takes inspiration from the WRX STI with a Subaru signature bonnet scoop with hexagonal grille, swept-back, elongated shape and a visibly low centre of gravity. The ‘hawk-eye’ LED headlamps and lowered front fog lamps emphasise Levorg’s stance and leave an impression of stability.
I’m not saying that the BRZ is an uncomfy car, it isn’t, but getting into the Levorg after the BRZ was like slipping into your comfortable clothes when you get home from work, nothing was pinching or restricting, everything was nice and spacious. The front seats are super supportive and it’s easy to find a driving position that suits, thanks to plenty of adjustment, for both the seats and the steering wheel.
Subaru say that the Levorg has one of the most refined cabins ever found in a Subaru, and I have to agree. It has high quality fabrics, soft-touch plastics and leather-trimmed sports seats, along with Subaru’s Starlink 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, connectivity and navigation system fitted as standard. I haven’t even mentioned the rear parking camera and EyeSight, Subaru’s clever driver assistance system.
Moving to the rear seats, there’s just about enough room for a couple of large adults, and further back is the impressive boot. It’ll swallow 522 litres, which is better than a number of similarly sized estates, and 1446 litres with the rear seats folded flat, I mean, flat.
So that’s comfort and practicality sorted, what about oomph?
As you’d expect from Subaru, there’s a four-cylinder boxer engine up front, and in this case it’s their new turbocharged 1.6ltr. Developing 168bhp, the power is sent to all four wheels via a CVT automatic gearbox and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. 0-62mph takes 8.9 seconds, and although I wouldn’t call it a performance car, it is smooth and refined and will get you where you want to be quickly enough.
Every new Levorg is fitted with an advanced Active Torque Vectoring (ATV) system, which is also fitted to WRX STI. ATV effectively brakes the inside wheels under cornering, and helps apportion greater torque to the outside wheels, preventing understeer and oversteer and allowing a more predictable course through corners. Of course, add that to the 4WD, and you can have quite a bit of fun!
I mentioned Subaru’s EyeSight earlier, their clever driver assistance system, but what is it? Subaru say that that EyeSight acts as a ‘second pair of eyes’ for drivers. While systems from other manufacturers use various sensor technologies such as camera and radar, or microwaves, EyeSight functions optically employing stereo-camera technology.
One camera is mounted each side of the rear view mirror to monitor the road and traffic ahead for potential hazards up to 110 metres up the road. Up to a speed of 28mph accidents can be avoided, and the severity significantly reduced at higher speeds.
EyeSight features six technologies to maximise safety:
- Pre-Collision Braking alerts the driver of a potential collision using a visual and audible warning. If the driver does not take evasive action, the brakes will be applied automatically to either prevent the accident (up to 28mph) or reduce the severity of an impact. If the driver brakes but does not apply enough pressure, the system will increase braking force.
- Pre-Collision Throttle Management works by notifying the driver (visually and audibly) if they select drive instead of reverse and the car is parked facing an obstacle. The system will also cut engine output to help avoid a frontal collision.
- Adaptive Cruise Control adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a set distance from the car in front.
- Lane Departure & Sway Warning alerts the driver with a visual and audible warning if the vehicle sways or departs its lane without indicating.
- Lane Keep Assist offers gentle steering control if the vehicle is about to deviate from its lane at approximately 40mph or above.
- Lead Vehicle Start Alert prompts the driver with a visual and audible warning that traffic ahead has started moving.
In 2015, Subaru released data from a survey of traffic accidents involving Subaru vehicles in Japan from 2010 to 2014. The data revealed a 61% reduction in crashes for vehicles equipped with EyeSight, compared to those without.
You get plenty of equipment with an Levorg, and a comprehensive warranty (a full five years or 100,000 miles) which you probably won’t need as Subarus usually feature quite high in reliability surveys.
Granted, my drive may have only lasted a couple of hours, but in that short time I got a good sense of what the Levorg is about. I obviously didn’t break any speed records, but thoroughly enjoyed throwing it around a little. If I had a long journey ahead of me with a few people and a lot of kit, the Levorg would do us proud.
Subaru Levorg is available in the UK in GT trim only and is priced from £29,995.