Remember the Subaru Legacy Tourer? It was pretty popular here in Ireland, and even now, 8 years on from when they stopped building it, there are a few to be spotted on our shores. Well, the "spiritual successor" of the Legacy has just been launched. Meet the Subaru Levorg. That's right, it sounds like something that you might order in an off-licence, but the Levorg might just have enough to satisfy fans of its predecessor.
For years the Impreza was posted on many bedroom walls, and plenty of them could be seen zooming around the country. Then came the recession, and like a lot of manufacturers they had to tighten the purse strings. Subaru were never big marketing spenders in Ireland and tightening the purse strings pretty-much diminished their spending power. They stayed through our recession and while they may not be the most visible cars on our roads, there are very few negative things you would hear about them. Things are changing, manufacturers are spending more on marketing and the fact that Subaru Ireland has decided to take the risk of selling the new Levorg in the Irish market was in my eyes a good move.
So, why a good move you ask? Well, I think Ireland is very slowly getting around to the estate-car way of thinking, and the Levorg mixes good looks with practicality and power. There's plenty lo like about the Levorg. Take for example the intercooler scoop, it mightn't appeal to the masses, but it'll probably appeal to Subaru fans. Take the newly designed rear, it's curvaceous and holds new lights. The interior is spacious and the front cabin is as roomy as you'll need. The adventurer will be endeared by all of these things.
The infotainment system holds the same type of graphics that you'd find in any new Honda, but for some reason I didn't feel that the touchscreen was responsive enough to the touch. Apart from that though, the driver’s seat was easily adjustable and there's good boot space, which means that bringing the family away for a week won't be a problem.
On the road this all-wheel drive grips impressively and cornering is done with absolute ease. Like the WRX STI, this bus is fitted with Active Torque Vectoring, which applies the brakes to inside wheels while cornering and gives more torque to the outside wheels. This in turn reduces understeer and oversteer. The Levorg loves flat country bends and it really is spectacular - that is... until you throw in a bit of uneven surfacing. The bad news is that the suspension set-up does not like bumps and if you meet a series of them on the terrain in front of you, you would be wise to slow right down. Otherwise you may experience a bit too much bounce. The all-wheel drivetrain is good, but the Levorg has a low ground clearance, so while this car will get you up slopes and out of some muddy or icy conditions, don’t expect to be climbing walls in it.
The Levorg comes with a brand new engine – the 1.6 litre DIT Boxer. This Direct Injection Turbo set-up is surprisingly good and its 4-cylinders supply an output of 170hp. The power delivery is eager and if you were to put the foot down you would go from 0-100km/h in just 8.9 seconds. The downside of the petrol set-up mixed with the all-wheel drive system is that the Levorg is a thirsty machine. In fairness to Subaru though, the Levorg I was test driving came with an on-paper fuel economy of 7.1 litre per 100km (40mpg). I got to 7.6 l/100km (37mpg) – which isn’t too far off their figure.
One of my favourite features of the new Subaru Levorg, apart from the intercooler scoop, is the Lineartronic CVT transmission. I usually give out about these things, in the Levorg though, it is very smooth.
The interior is presented excellently and is only available in GT Trim. This trim is impressive and while the leather seats are comfortable, it’s the blue stitching that stands out most. The infotainment system has similar graphics on the touch screen that you’d find in new Honda models, and the system is intuitive. However, the touch screen is not as responsive as I’d like and it may take more than one touch to flick from function to function. The steering wheel controls are easy to use and the layout of the instrument binnacle is attractive. Another GT-line benefit is the chromed pedals - they look the part.
Space to the front and rear is good and I have no complaints about head or leg room. The boot is a nice size too at 522litres and the hidden storage compartments are large and practical.
The Levorg comes to the Irish market at €44,995 and is only available with that 1.6 litre petrol engine. It burns 164 g/co2 per km and costs €570 per annum.
The Levorg is a good car, it has an appearance that will certainly appeal to Subaru fans and the drive is excellent. Where this car trips up is on uneven surfaces, and as a driver who doesn’t like filling up too often, the fuel economy is not on my salary.
For: CVT transmission, corners, style.
Against: Fuel Economy, suspension.