ROAD TEST: Subaru Levorg GT: Fast, family fun with feeling

When you do around 1,000-miles over a long weekend – from the flat bad lands of East Anglia to the rugged, wild open spaces of Anglesey & beyond – with the family in tow, what is it that you want from your choice of car I wonder?

Space? Certainly (with all the excessive paraphernalia we have packed).
Comfort? A must (I'm 40+ now & groan when I get up or sit down).
Toys? Yay (I'm a bloke and we have kids).
Speed? Obvs (Super Unleaded in the veins don't you know).
Style? Why the hell not? (Too old for Snapchat doesn't mean past it, yuff).

Enter Subaru's under-the-radar, too-often-overlooked and certainly vastly under-rated 'all-wheel drive tourer' the laconic Levorg, born via BTCC.

Yes, it might be the quiet one of the range, but Subaru's top end Levorg is to be over-looked at your peril.

Starting just over £30,000, you get a seriously stylish, sporty, sharp motor with a boot-load of estate car practicality, agile and tenacious All-Wheel Drive confidence mixed with good old fashioned sports tourer comfort, combined with touring car-bred handling, brilliant build quality, generous specification and a generous dollop of Subaru's engineers, favourite, driving fun. And what a darn tasty cocktail that makes.

Subaru says the Levorg is "effortless on the motorway. Exhilarating on a coastal road" all of which sounds absolutely bang on for what I had in mind – getting the family cross-country in safety, style & with some fun thrown in for good measure, then spanking some of Anglesey's fantastic coast roads, just for kicks, in whatever weather Wales fancied throwing at me. Meat and drink for the Levorg.  

The 170PS, 250 Nm 1.6 litre turbo petrol Boxer engine matched to the CVT Lineartornic gearbox and permanent Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive may not now be razor sharp technology and the latest engineering, but it is modern, tried and tested and is a brilliant blend of performance – 0-60 in 8.9s and 130mph – limpet-like grip in all-weathers and the all-important and ecological issue of economy, with a claimed 39.8mpg average (we got 34.9 on our run). Big ticks all round there.

Quality handling is as you would expect from a Subaru; accurate, agile and a lot of fun and the Levorg does not let you down. You really can tell its got a proper track-bred pedigree this car, especially on smooth roads and at speed, where it feels incredibly stable, planted and manaeourbable. And the diffs and chassis are so good and well put-together (like the rest of the car), they certainly feel like they could cope with twice the grunt on offer. 

As such (to a power pervert like me), the Levorg's 170PS feels a teeny bit lacking and the all-out performance doesn't set my pants on fire. But then again, I'd like to see the Levorg in 300+PS STi form, with a variable diff.

Meanwhile, back in the real world (as the more rational half of the marriage points out), the Levorg is actually a quick car, make no mistake. It's just the chassis is so good and grip limits so high, there's a gap which could be filled – with more on tap. Unnecessary as that might be to most. 

The better half was not a fan of the ride though, rightly reporting that it's "choppy" on bumpy roads with bad surfaces and that it's "jiggly"elsewhere. Go figure what all that means! Sporty, I guess...

As I see it, the truth is Subaru's engineers have leant a bit more towards handling ability than ride comfort. But I like the blend. It's a genuine sports tourer, offering genuine sports capability. And I also like the compromise of not over-loading the car with heavy sound deadening - which would have certainly made it a quieter, more refined place to drive... but at the expense of handling prowess, pace and fuel economy. This is a compromise Subaru nailed down.

Other standard-issue Levorg things we all agreed were marvellous are:
1. The vacuous levels of space, without it feeling like a huge, heavy bus – quite the opposite. It feels cavernous, without ever feeling large when parking or driving through a narrow gap. 
2. The interior comfort and quality levels, making it feel like the not inconsiderate £30K money you spent, which is unlike so many modern alternatives – looking good outside, but letting it all down inside on closer inspection. The Levorg delights in and out more and more, the longer you live with it.  
3. The very accurate (even in the middle of Anglesey and deepest, darkest Wales) navigation system, easy-use (if now old in Subaru and other manufacturers terms) 7” multi-function colour touchscreen/Subaru infotainment system and clear and simple reversing camera.
4. The impressive, super safe and very clever (pub talk points galore) collision avoidance EyeSight Driver Assist technology and Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection, which is trick-tech that as the wife points out was "making me a better driver" forcing me to indicate and other necessary, helpful things! Needless to say, I found it annoying (being nagged at), whilst simultaneously being impressed.
5. The generous spec levels, with cool stuff like high beam assist, LED headlights with auto level, keyless entry, push button starter, dual-zone auto air-con, power-folding heated door mirrors and the nicely designed 18” aluminium alloy wheels.
So, after just shy of 1,000 miles and almost a full 24-hours driving time in the Levorg over the road trip what are our final impressions on the Levorg? 

I will leave this to be answered in simple one line family summary form.
Me: Low, burbly, grippy, big boot, fab handling and looks the part. Happy days.
The teenager: "Very visually appealing. Smooth on the road."
The Four-Year-Old: "Smells nice. Shiny. Wonderful. The best car we have ever tested!" (Praise indeed).
The 11-Year-Old: "Spacious. Comfy."
The wife: "Too fast!"

Why not discover the leggy Levorg for yourself here.


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