By Patrick James on 2016-06-04 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Subaru Levorg GT
THERE are some odd-sounding car names around at the moment. Think Qashqai, Picanto, Mii, Quattroporte, to name a few.
Now we have Levorg, Subaru's successor to the Legacy, with the name an amalgam of the words Legacy, Revolution and Touring.
The last bit gives a big clue. The Levorg is a big tourer or estate car which features an excellent new 1.6 petrol Boxer engine, mated to a new Lineartronic automatic transmission and Subaru's familiar symmetrical all wheel drive.
First shown at the Tokyo Motor Show a couple of years ago, the car comes in just one spec, GT priced from £27,495.
Nevertheless, the car is well equipped and the all wheel drive should be capable of handling all but the roughest of off-road conditions.
The equipment is worth listing and includes a rear detection system which alert the driver to vehicles behind, a blind spot detection system, lane change assist technology, which warns drivers of fast-approaching vehicles behind when the driver indicates to change lane rear cross traffic alert, which detects vehicles passing behind the Levorg when reversing out of a parking space.
All high tech stuff, which enhance Subaru's already good safety record. It also features a stronger body shell.
The car's front end has been designed to mimic the appearance of the legendary WRX STI, with it huge bonnet air scoop so there can be no doubt it is a Subaru. This is combined with a swooping profile to the rear, so common these days with estate cars, and distinctive 18-inch alloy wheels give it a more sporty appearance.
The look is important these days for estate car buyers, who want practicality as well as eye-catching features and the Levorg delivers here with on-off LED headlamps, front and rear fog lamps, metallic paint, privacy glass and a roof spoiler.
It is about six inches shorter than the Legacy, but Subaru says interior space has been enhanced to offer greater passenger space.
In practical terms a large 522-litre boot compartment rises rises to almost 1,466 litres with the one-touch folding back seats down.
The boot access is 10mm lower than Legacy models and the cleverly designed wheel housing allow for accommodating more awkward shapes with the flat folding seats.
The interior is the best yet with soft touch plastic finish, well upholstered, part leather seats with blue stitching, flat-bottomed steering wheel and an array of equipment dominated by a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
This houses, Subaru's STARLINK connectivity system which includes weather and traffic updates, wireless audio, news updates and a calendar.
It is also home to the rear view camera, plus controls for the powerful six-speaker audio system and the dual control air con system. If there is a criticism it is that the controls are starting to look slightly dated.
Steering wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth hands-free, plus dual USB ports and auxiliary input jack and USB ports for rear passengers are also standard.
The engine is a new 1.6-litre 170ps Boxer petrol which the firm says has the equivalent output to the previous 2.5-litre flat four.
It is mated to a new Lineartronict (CVT) transmission. It is a bit of a surprise, and is easily capable of pulling such a big car around.
It is a lively and refined unit, propelling the car from 0-60mph in under nine seconds, with emissions of 164g/km and returning a claimed 39.8mpg. The 184lb/ft of torque gives it good towing capability of between 750kg (unbraked) and to 1,500kg (braked), with a tow ball load of 90kg.
The transmission is a big improvement on previous CVT, offering seamless changes and the option of switch to steering wheel paddles for enhanced performance.
On the road the upgraded suspensions offers a firm but smooth ride, while road and wind noise are muted. Five are accommodated in reasonable comfort with decent legroom all round, although the swooping profile means rear passengers's headroom is slightly compromised.
Subaru Levorg GT
Mechanical: 168bhp, 1,600cc 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 130mph
0-62mph: 8.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 39.8
Insurance Group: 24
C02 emissions: 164g/km
Bik rating: 29%
Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles
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