Life is full of decisions. One lump or two? Do you want fries with that? Stick or twist? It’s all a bit too much, which is why it’s quite refreshing when you’re told to accept something or disappear elsewhere.
Take the Subaru Levorg, for example. The new sport tourer is hardly the Christmas selection box of wagons. There’s only one engine. One transmission. One trim level. You’re also limited to a just three colours: white, blue and, er, blue. Ladies and gentleman, it’s the take it or leave it Scrooge Levorg.
Subaru Levorg: what are its rivals?
It’s a shame Subaru doesn’t offer the Levorg in Black Sheep Metallic, because it feels like a bit of an outsider. Pinpointing precise rivals is tough, because the Levorg occupies a rather niche position in the market.
Given Subaru’s acclaimed symmetrical all-wheel drive system, we’d chuck the Skoda Octavia Scout, Volvo V60 Cross Country and SEAT Leon X-Perience into the pick and mix, then ask you to select from a group of oddball characters. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We could mount a serious case for these niche players.
Subaru Levorg: which engines does it use?
Wait, you’re expecting a choice? You haven’t been paying attention, have you? Subaru claims its 1.6-litre DIT boxer engine is the “most refined powertrain the company has ever produced”, and it’s certainly quiet at idle and smooth revving. It offers the same level of performance as Subaru’s 2.5-litre petrol engine, yet is 36% smaller. Which translates to 167hp and 184b ft of torque.
Unfortunately the peak power comes in between 4,800 and 5,600rpm, by which time the Levorg is beginning to sound a little coarse. It’s far better to take the Phil Collins approach – don’t hurry the Levorg.
Subaru Levorg: what’s it like to drive?
The Lineartronic transmission is one of the better CVT systems on the market and is perfectly suited to the relaxed set up of the Levorg. For the most part, the changes are smooth, but things start to go wrong if you don’t listen to the advice of Phil Collins. You get a pair of cheap-feeling paddle shifters, which can help to make progress along a B-road rather fun.
It’s surprisingly good to drive, with the Levorg cornering flat and offering a brilliantly composed ride. The steering could do with some more weight, but turn-in is sharp. It’s no Legacy road warrior of old, but we reckon there’s a true drivers’ car in there somewhere. A sport mode and a manual gearbox could unlock some genuine talent to match the Levorg’s undoubted good looks. Did we mention the bonnet scoop?
Subaru Levorg: fuel economy and running costs
This is the Subaru Levorg’s achilles heel. Subaru claims the sport tourer could return 39.8mpg on a combined cycle, but after an hour of driving the gauge was hovering around the 27mpg mark. That’s not great, especially when you consider there’s no diesel option.
It’s also not cheap to buy, with a price tag of £27,495, although – as we’ll explore later – the Levorg is very well equipped. It’s also worth noting the larger Outback is available from £27,995 and offers a choice of engines and transmissions. On the plus side, the Levorg comes with Subaru’s five-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Subaru Levorg: is it practical?
Interior space is generous in the extreme, with 522 litres of boot space, including 40 litres of underfloor storage. The 60:40-split rear bench folds down flat to reveal a total of 1,446 litres, with the rear seats lowered by means of two remote levers. Rear seat space is also good, with plenty of head- and leg-room, although the centre seat is hampered by the transmission tunnel.
As for towing capacity – which is likely to be of interest to potential buyers – the Levorg will tow between 750kg (unbraked) and 1,500kg (braked).
Subaru Levorg: what about safety?
The Levorg is the first Subaru in Europe to be fitted with Rear Vehicle Detection, which uses radars to detect vehicles either side of the car. The system assists with blind spot detection, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert. The Levorg has yet to be tested by Euro NCAP, but Subaru is predicting a maximum five-star safety rating.
Subaru Levorg: which version should I go for?
Right, well this is easy, because the GT spec is the only trim level available in the UK. Fine if you want a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a CVT transmission and a barrow-load of standard kit, not so good if you fancy some choice. To be fair, the Levorg is very well equipped and you’ll struggle to find any box that isn’t ticked. All you need to do is select the colour.
Seriously, it would be easier to list the features the Levorg doesn’t offer. Fully loaded would be an appropriate term. We’re looking forward to the time when the Subaru Levorg becomes a used car hero.
Subaru Levorg: should I buy one?
When viewed alongside cheaper and more efficient wagons, it’s hard to make a case for the Subaru Levorg, but in isolation it’s a thoroughly convincing car. The interior – though still a bit suspect in places – is much improved compared with Subarus of old, but still has a feel of longevity.
And you just know that the Levorg will run and run, long after many of its rivals have bitten the dust. It feels a bit special and – with Subaru only expecting to shift around 500 units in the first year – exclusivity is guaranteed.
Subaru Levorg: pub fact
The Subaru Levorg features no fewer than four USB ports, including two for the rear seats passengers, meaning squabbles should be a thing of the past. Just remember to carry four charging cables.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Levorg is a combination of Legacy, Revolution and Touring. And yes, it spells Grovel, backwards. We think we’d prefer it if the name offered a more lasting Legacy…