Levorg a safe bet

but a rare sight

Subaru Levorg, action front 2
Subaru Levorg, full front static
Subaru Levorg, action rear 2
Subaru Levorg, rear seats
Subaru Levorg, dash detail
Subaru Levorg, dashboard
Subaru Levorg, action rear
Subaru Levorg
Subaru Levorg, action front

SUBARU has always been a safe bet for people who simply have to go places in any weather - and now one of them is safer than ever.

The Levorg estate, a tiny seller here since its introduction in 2015, now gets a safety system that uses a couple of screen mounted cameras to scan the road ahead.

More of that later, but let's look at the rest of the car first. Which is visually and technically unchanged and comes in but one well equipped version for a not inconsiderable £29,680.

That buys the same 1.6 litre 168bhp flat-four petrol engine and permanent all-wheel drive as before. And, sitting behind that lie-flat engine is a gearbox without any gears, or more accurately, only one, which varies itself as you push the throttle harder. That, theoretically at least, ought to mean the engine is always performing at its most economical. We'll see.

Holding all the mechanical bits together is an estate car body that has more space inside for people and luggage than the last and late lamented Legacy Tourer.

Out on a mix of scenic Cotswold roads, the Levorg's turbocharged engine felt stronger than its quoted output and the CVT transmission avoided the soaring revs that used to mark keen use of similar systems.

In fact, on the right (smoothish) surface the Levorg cracks along with enthusiasm. Rougher roads produced an unwelcome pattering from the wheels but the car never felt less than welded to the road. We didn't try for the claimed 130mph top speed or 0-62mph dash in 8.9 seconds.

The test car showed 28.8mpg on its trip computer after a morning's work; not a brilliant return and well shy of the official 39.8mpg. The car's 164g/km CO2 output will attracts £500 road tax in the first year when the new VED system arrives in April, and £140 thereafter.

And so back to those stereo cameras scanning the way ahead. Called EyeSight, Subaru says it's a superior system to the radar, microwave or single cameras of rival manufacturers and helped towards the Levorg's five star rating in the official Euro crash test.

At speeds up to 28mph those cameras can kick in the brakes if you're not paying attention and stop the car before it hits anything - be it vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist. Above that it will lessen the impact of an accident.

Adaptive cruise control comes as standard too, keeping a set distance from the vehicle in front and there's also a visual and audible warning if the car leaves its lane without signalling - a feature that can be switched off (thankfully).

There's still more on safety; with a rear facing radar telling you if a vehicle is approaching in your mirror blind spot or passing behind as you reverse from a parking space. And if you select drive while parked, instead of reverse the engine cuts power if there's anything (the garage wall?) in front.

All of which makes the Levorg a very safe car to travel in. It is also well equipped with kit including a reversing camera, infotainment system with navigation and six-speakers, leather trim and heated front seats, (electrically adjusted for the driver) and the already mentioned adaptive cruise control.

Subaru does not expect to sell shedloads of Levorgs. There is a small but passionate band of Subaru owners who prize their cars for the way they get them almost anywhere, come rain or snow or mud - with vets chosen as obvious candidates.

With no diesel or manual transmission options and permanent all-wheel drive doing nothing for economy, the Levorg looks likely to remain a rare sight on UK roads in any sort of weather.

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