Subaru refreshes

Levorg for 2017

Subaru Levorg, 2017, front, static
Subaru Levorg, full front static
Subaru Levorg, action rear 2
Subaru Levorg, action front 2
Subaru Levorg, 2017, air vent
Subaru Levorg
Subaru Levorg, 2017, Boxer engine
Subaru Levorg, dashboard
Subaru Levorg, 2017, EyeSight cameras

I'M not sure if it's down to a poor marketing or the fact that everyone associates the Subaru name with big spoilers, flashy alloys and all the racing know-how that goes with its rallying heritage but somehow a pretty good estate car has crept under the radar.

It's called the Levorg and was first unleashed two years ago, but the latest model has received a mid-life face-lift to sharpen up its design and improve its ride and handling capabilities.

It's an all-wheel drive model and that is something Subaru does very well indeed. In fact the company claims it sold more all-wheel drive cars globally last year than any other auto maker.

Sadly, any sales up-take for the Levorg in the UK has been fairly modest.

And I say sadly because the car has plenty to offer. For starters it looks good - Subaru has combined a nice balance of high performance characteristics such as a WRX STI-inspired face, a signature bonnet scoop and hexagonal grille with more practical tourer features including a neat flowing profile.

The interior also has a sporty lay-out with plenty of on-board technology to explore. Features include a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel, heated leather sports seats, a seven-inch high resolution touchscreen with swiping and pinching functionality and full multi-media connectivity via Subaru's Starlink set-up, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, an upmarket piano black central fascia and neat blue stitching on every seam throughout the cabin.

The interior of the car, which is available in the UK only in GT trim, is roomy with ample space in the back for a couple of six-footers to stretch out. This is achieved thanks to the curved front seat backs.

Storage options are good too with a boot capacity of 522 litres which includes a 40-litre underfloor storage compartment. With the rear seats dropped flat that capacity is increased to 1,446 litres and there are plenty of additional compartments scattered throughout the car.

The Levorg is priced from £29,680 and is only available with a 1.6-litre petrol Boxer engine mated to a six-speed CVT gearbox (no diesel option is available). It can reach from 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds, tops out at 130mph, has combined fuel efficiency of 39.8mpg and carbon emissions of 164g/km.

When it comes to ride and handling, the Levorg is an accomplished all-rounder. True, it's not the fastest animal out there and the dynamics won't exactly leave you grinning from ear to ear, but in its defence the car offers a comfortable, composed and competent performance with smooth and responsive acceleration through one of the finer CVT gearboxes available today.

The symmetrical all-wheel drive means the car is beautifully balanced with even weight distribution and that means it can be pushed into tight bends enthusiastically and will remain perfectly poised. Another plus factor is the comfort levels. Even on pitted, potholed road surfaces the car skipped along at a quite a click.

A little engine and road surface noise can be heard at higher speeds, but generally the Levorg is well insulated against the outside world.

Another feature worthy of note is the Subaru Intelligent Drive which allows the driver to choose between two driving modes - Intelligent which is the default setting helps to maximise efficiency, and Sport which livens things up considerably with more direct throttle response and edgier gear shifts.

One of the new features on the latest Levorg is its EyeSight driver assistance system which employs stereo-camera technology with a camera mounted each side of the rear view mirror.

These cameras monitor the road and traffic ahead for potential hazards up to 110 metres away and can prevent accidents up to 28mph or reduce the severity at higher speeds.

According to Subaru ADAC, the German Automobile Club recently tested emergency brake assistance systems and EyeSight was the only one to achieve full points in the three categories tested which were pedestrian, cyclist and night driving.

All in all, the new Levorg is a great all-rounder and hopefully it will attract more attention in the hotly contested estate car segment where its place is certainly well deserved.

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