As a devout petrol head I love good engineering and who isn’t a sucker for symmetrical four wheel drive systems??? Okay, so I may need to get out more! Subaru is synomynous with rally bred four wheel drive and its cars over the years have adorned many a child’s bedroom wall. Impreza Turbo, WRX and STI are all legends with STI living on. Today Subaru is an often forgotten brand as it sells in relatively tiny numbers in Ireland. It is an understatement to say Subaru owners are incredible loyal to the brand. It has been a while since we’ve had a new Subaru and the Levorg is it.
Levorg is Subaru’s flagship model and it fills the void left by Legacy. Sadly the five door, five seat estate isn’t ideally suited to Ireland’s car tax system as it only comes in petrol form with an Lineartronic CVT automatic gearbox and of course permanent all wheel drive. Levorg is aimed at other global markets and at around €45 grand on the forecourt the Fuji industries owned brand will sell only a handful.
Levorg is a typical estate on the outside except for the huge air scoop in the bonnet that feeds fresh air to the turbo’s intercooler. When viewed from the rear or side it could be a Mazda, but head on, there is no denying that Subaru dna. Levorg is 4690mm long and has the longest wheelbase in the Subaru range at 2650mm. This helps deliver not only impressive interior space but a silky ride too, the quality of which is only upset by speed humps. Even then I blame the 18 inch alloys and tyres combination for not soaking up the initial speed hump impact better. It feels like the tyre on the rim is doing what the suspension should be. Hitting a hump feels as if you’re on the verge of getting a pinch puncture.
On the road Levorg is a great cruiser and on the twisty bits it can hold its own too. Again with a boxer engine the center of gravity is lower than with other engines and this helps the car’s balance. Subaru’s all new turbocharged 1.6 litre horizontally opposed four cylinder ‘boxer’ engine delivers 170hp and 250nm of torque. 0-100kph takes 8.9 seconds and top speed is 210kph. With a similar output to the old 2.5 the new unit is pretty good. There is a selectable ‘SI-Drive’ button that changes the engine’s performance characteristics to a choice of sporty or smooth. The CVT auto, that uses infinite gear ratios, has paddle shifters also and is a good effort at making a CVT gearbox livable with. As you’d expect a number of traction and driving aids feature – all help you get down the road and around the next corner safely. Active torque vectoring is particularly useful on twisty roads in wet weather.
Levorg can carry a good bit with a cargo capacity of 1,446 litres with the rear seats down. Inside the cabin the trim, fit and finish is pretty good. There are toys too like USB sockets for the rear passengers, a reversing camera displayed via the large touch screen display, voice recognition and even an app called Subaru Starlink that connects your smart phone to the car. Subaru was never a company you could accuse of being at the cutting edge of interior design but Levorg is a nice place to be. I only missed a couple of things such as having an automatic electronic handbrake and an automatic drive away door locking option.
Ultimately for Levorg to be a success in Ireland it needs a diesel engine and a manual gearbox to bring down the asking price and running costs. Still as I always say it is better to have it on sale than not to have it at all.
Anyway everyone loves an underdog so please go to a Subaru dealer and try out the range. I’m sure you can name them off the top of your head? Yep, I had to think for a minute too… there’s Impreza, XV, Forester, Outback, Levorg and BRZ.