New Levorg sets

Subaru sights higher

Subaru Levorg, 2017, front, action
Subaru Levorg, 2017, rear, action
Subaru Levorg, 2017, rear, static
Subaru Levorg, 2017, front, static
Subaru Levorg, 2017, interior
Subaru Levorg, 2017, display screen
Subaru Levorg, 2017, EyeSight cameras
Subaru Levorg, 2017, LED headlights
Subaru Levorg, 2017, Boxer engine
Subaru Levorg, 2017, boot
Subaru Levorg, 2017, boot, underfloor storage
Subaru Levorg, 2017, air vent

AS a brand, Subaru sells more four-wheel-drive cars than anyone else in the world.

Last year it notched up the best part of one million and to put that into perspective that's some 300,000 more than Audi.

No bit player is Subaru and it's a company that is very serious about modern motoring neeeds.

And just like Audi with its quattro all-wheel-drive system it's not only about grip and traction when the going gets tough.

In many ways 4x4 is more about on-road handling and that is something to which Subaru cars are no stranger.

Flashback to Subaru's dominance of the world rallye scene with the legendary Impreza and that is proof enough.

The latest Subaru to don the racing mantle is the Levorg GT - which will be slugging it out on the track in this year's British Touring Car Championship.

But to comply with regulations, the BTCC Levorg is converted to rear-wheel-drive so it has no unfair advantage.

That speaks volumes about the benefits of 4WD which gives any car an added edge and it's a standard feature on all Subaru road cars.

As such, the Levorg is a splendid performer with top flight handling and as sure-footed as they come.

The Levorg is a potent-looking, medium-sized estate car its looks dominated by a huge air scoop on the bonnet just like the Impreza of old.

It's powered by a 1.6-litre Boxer flat four engine turbocharged to deliver 170ps which is good enough for a 0 to 60 acceleration of 8.9 seconds and a top speed of 130mph.

With the likes of four-wheel-drive derivatives of the Skoda Octavia estate, the SEAT Leon ST and the Audi A4 all well established, the Subaru faces stiff competition.

Moreover, there's no diesel in the Levorg line up but realistically that is not a handicap.

Subaru claims the Levorg can return 39.8mpg with emissions of 164g/km and it is one of the few car makers whose fuel consumption figures bear resemblance to real world driving.

In fact on our run in the Levorg we saw an average of 41 to the gallon and the bonus of petrol power is not only that it's cheaper at the pumps but it also makes for a smoother sounding engine.

The Levorg is a one-model car that is priced at £29,680 and comes fully loaded with the latest models now fitted with Subaru's award-winning EyeSight safety systems which uses forward facing stereo cameras mounted either side of the rear view mirror to read the road ahead.

The advantage over similar radar/laser set ups is that it can distinguish colours and shapes with considerable accuracy enabling the car to react more effectively.

Not only does it provide pre-collision warning managing the throttle automatically before braking if necessary, it can also spot cyclists, work out whether a pedestrian is a child or an adult and detect brake lights.

It will even stop the car moving forward if there's an object in the way - select drive mistakenly when parked facing a wall and the risk of an unintentional collision is eliminated.

Other safety systems include blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors plus lane departure warning while adaptive cruise control is also fitted along with a multi-mode drive system to get the best from its six speed Lineartronic gearbox that is possibly the best CVT set up currently available.

Use it manually and the changes are swift and positive with no feeling of surge whatsoever.

Leather upholstery, heated front seats, ultra-bright LED headlamps are all included and so is Subaru's Starlink connectivity and navigation system operated via a seven-inch touchscreen.

Realistically, the Levorg has replaced the Legacy estate in the Subaru stable and sits below the slightly more heavy duty Outback yet it does not shirk on load carrying.

Luggage space ranges from 522 to 1,446 litres and it is fitted with an underfloor compartment in the boot. Towing is limited to 1.5 tonnes.

The Levorg is fully equipped in every department and even though the latest model sees a price rise of more than £2,000 over the previous version it still stacks up incredibly well, especially with the introduction of the EyeSight system.

Factor in its sure-footedness, healthy performance and sensible economy and there's little not to like.

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