Winter's Coming. Fancy An AWD Sporty Estate Car?
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Anyone looking for a four-wheel-drive estate car will immediately think of Subaru. They have been making rugged and dependable go-anywhere wagons for many a year. They are therefore a sensible purchase for those who live a little off the beaten track and want to remain mobile in all weathers.
To complement the existing Outback and Forester models, Subaru launched yet another 4x4 estate car some two years ago - the Levorg.
The name derives from a combination of the words 'Legacy', 'Revolution' and 'Touring', inspired as the car is by earlier versions of Subaru's practical Legacy Tourer.
Subaru see the new Levorg competing against the likes of the Mazda6 Tourer and Volvo's V60. The super Swede is available with a 4x4 system in 'Cross Country' form, but the Mazda resolutely sends the power solely to its front wheels.
Unsurprisingly the Levorg is fitted with a symmetrical four-wheel drive system, but a newly developed 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine is responsible for the propulsion.
With 167bhp and 250Nm of torque, the power output is more or less the same as Subaru's familiar naturally aspirated 2.5-litre engine and torque is greater. No diesel engine is offered which is a curious omission.
Those who insist on a manual transmission will also be disappointed, as Subaru's Lineartronic CVT automatic gearbox comes as standard. It is impressively smooth and may not deter would-be buyers.
Subaru quote a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.9 seconds for its new estate and whilst this is wholly credible, I doubt it will be of paramount importance.
The focus according to Subaru is more on handling and agility - think sporting estate and you will be closer to the mark. In fact the press pack claims that the Levorg offers "a comfortable grand tourer ride, with typically agile, predictable handling that buyers associate with Subaru's range of sports cars, WRX STi and BRZ."
On some of Yorkshire's finest moorland roads, I attempted to test the Levorg's credentials. Body roll is commendably absent, grip is high and traction from the all-wheel drive system excellent.
The engine revs freely, though brisk progress can be a little noisy, the CVT gearbox ensuring that lots of revs will be the order of the day.
The ride is always firm but works well on the motorway and at speed. As town speeds, some may wish for a little more comfort.
The official combined fuel consumption figure is listed as 39.3mpg and over the course of my week behind the wheel I was pleasantly surprised to record a little over 35mpg - a reasonable result.
While the Levorg benefits from similar dimensions to the fourth-generation Legacy Tourer (2003 -08), the new sports tourer offers buyers greater practicality.
Leg, shoulder and headroom are all increased and the 522-litre boot is spacious and practically shaped. Dropping the rear seats raises the available space to capacious 1,446 litres and is easily achieved with the simple push of a button.
Up front a neat instrument binnacle faces the driver, whilst the centre console plays host to Subaru's latest touch-screen infotainment system, a great improvement on systems past.
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UK buyers are only offered one level of trim. Standard equipment will include dual-zone air-conditioning, cruise control, privacy glass, heated front seats with electric driver's side adjustment and smart 18" alloy wheels.
Subaru do not expect to sell many Levorg cars in the UK and I have yet to see one on my travels. I can't help but think the option of a diesel engine or at least a manual gearbox might help sales.
As it stands a Subaru Forrester can be on your driveway from £26,495 and a diesel Outback from £32,995. Levorg comes in between these stalwarts at £29,995.
Do take a look though as the Levorg does offer a more involving drive than most family estate cars. Its all-wheel drive transmission will keep you moving whatever the weather and its top notch build quality means that it will probably last forever.
Subaru Levorg GT 1.6i Lineartronic
Price - £29,995
Engine - 1.6-litre 170PS turbocharged petrol
Symmetrical AWD with active torque split system
Six-speed Lineartronic CVT gearbox
0-62mph in 8.9 seconds
Top speed - 130mph
Combined economy - 39.8mpg
Emissions - 164g/km CO2
Winter's Coming. Fancy An AWD Sporty Estate Car?, 18th September 2017, 14:35 PM