Driv­e­times team

The Oban Times ed­i­tor Su­san Win­dram puts the Subaru Levorg through its paces

The Oban Times - - Drivetimes -

Hav­ing driven nei­ther a Subaru nor an au­to­matic be­fore, I came to the road with no real ex­pec­ta­tions of the Levorg, good or bad.

It is be­ing touted as the suc­ces­sor to the man­u­fac­turer’s flag­ship car, the Legacy, but whether or not it is a worthy suc­ces­sor, we were about to find out.

In terms of looks the Levorg is a fairly hand­some beast, with its gap­ing air in­take that you as­so­ciate with its sport older brother the Im­preza and flared arches, how­ever, there's no mis­tak­ing it as a large fam­ily es­tate car. In say­ing that, when you get be­hind the wheel it re­ally doesn't feel that big, in fact it feels pretty nim­ble yet firmly planted due to its all-wheel drive (AWD) sys­tem, a sys­tem the man­u­fac­turer has honed and de­vel­oped over 40 years of world ral­ly­ing.

Agility and han­dling are two ar­eas Subaru re­ally fo­cused on when de­vel­op­ing the ve­hi­cle and those years of ex­pe­ri­ence meant the Levorg was pretty tidy when driv­ing on Ar­gyll’s tight and twist­ing roads thanks, in part, to the SI- Drive sys­tem which pro­vides In­tel­li­gent, Sport, and Sport Sharp throt­tle set­tings – a toy for those who like to tin­ker with the car set- up – and partly due to the AWD, which is per­ma­nently on and au­to­mat­i­cally kicks in if trac­tion de­te­ri­o­rates. It par­tic­u­larly comes into its own in the wet, ice and snow.

Power comes from a 1.6 di­rect in­jec­tion boxer petrol en­gine, with the lower cen­tre of grav­ity and even weight dis­tri­bu­tion pro­vid­ing bet­ter han­dling. How­ever, while the steer­ing is weighty and ac­cu­rate, if you’re a lit­tle too am­bi­tious en­ter­ing a cor­ner you will en­counter un­der­steer. In say­ing that, there’s a good amount of grip in wet and dry, the sus­pen­sion is firm but shrugs bumpy roads off fairly well, and the trac­tion al­lows for plenty of con­fi­dence be­hind the wheel.

While the Levorg is set up to be driven in au­to­matic mode, you can also shift it into man­ual and flick through the gears with pad­dleshifters, or do as I did and keep it in au­to­matic but use the pad­dleshifters to drop gears if you are plan­ning on over­tak­ing.

Re­gard­less of the mode, progress was pretty smooth and com­fort­able, if a lit­tle un­ex­cit­ing. Hav­ing driven a geared car for 30- odd years, I found the lack of en­gage­ment my only real is­sue with the car. The ‘elas­ticband’ de­lay you get in an au­to­matic when push­ing for more speed was an­noy­ing. But that is just down to per­sonal prefer­ance.

When it comes to the in­te­rior, the Levorg comes with full leather trim as stan­dard and a gen­er­ous level of kit. Its dash­board is clean and in­tu­itive, with a neat driver's in­stru­ment bin­na­cle. The car’s cen­tre con­sole of­fers a good seven- inch touch screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem and sat nav, which is par­tic­u­larly easy to use. The car also comes with LED head­lights, heated seats, four USB ports, dual-zone air- con­di­tion­ing, as well as blind spot mon­i­tor­ing and park­ing as­sis­tance.

The driv­ing po­si­tion and ride com­fort were spot on, and there is good all- round vis­abil­ity. Rel­a­tively thin door pil­lars, a low win­dow line and dash­board all make the Levorg easy to see out of.

My­self and a col­league who also tested the ve­hi­cle are both tall and the set up al­lowed for plenty of leg room that didn’t leave you stretch­ing for the steer­ing wheel. This space is ideal for long road trips, as is the cruise con­trol fea­ture and blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity.

The Levorg also of­fers plenty of head­room and leg room for pas­sen­gers, while the boot is am­ple, with around 1,446 litres ca­pac­ity and some nifty un­der floor stor­age. The rear seats fold down flat ef­fort­lessly at the sim­ple push of a but­ton - no faffing about with levers and seat­belts.

Other nice lit­tle fea­tures are the key­less ig­ni­tion, the hill holder func­tion and the auto dim­ming rear view mir­ror. Build qual­ity is ex­cel­lent as are the qual­ity fin­ishes. But, and there is a but, where the ve­hi­cle is let down is its fuel econ­omy. It only of­fers around 40mpg, which is dis­ap­point­ing com­pared to its ri­vals.

Hav­ing never driven an au­to­matic be­fore, I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to like it, but was pleas­antly sur­prised with the Levorg. It’s a well built, com­fort­able car, with plenty of space for all your fam­ily needs – whether that be hol­i­days or just run­ning the kids to school. It’s also a plea­sur­able car to drive – both my col­league and I were dis­ap­pointed at hav­ing to re­vert back to our more hum­ble ve­hi­cles!

For what you get, in­clud­ing a de­cent amount of tech­nol­ogy, the Levorg’s price tag of­fers rea­son­able value for money. And its rugged and prac­ti­cal set up means it pretty well suited to the west of Scot­land life­style. Car dealer – would you like a re­view of your car in The Oban Times? Call 01631 568000 to find out more de­tails.

To make an en­quiry and book a test drive, please get in touch with the team on­line, by phone or in per­son soon. Call 01436 584342 Or Email he­lens­burgh-subaru.co.uk

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