With the running gear of the WRX combined with the room of a wagon the Subaru Levorg promised to be a rather fun car to drive but sadly by the end of the week the Levorg didn’t quite live up to what it promised.
The Levorg fills the gap in Subaru’s line up left by the absence of the Liberty GT wagon and comes in 3 flavours, the entry level 2.0GT that I’m testing here, the 2.0GT-S and the full house 2.0GT-S Spec B.
The Levorg has under stated looks on the outside with a sports body kit 18inch alloys, roof spoiler and rear diffuser with twin exhausts but the only real only give away it could be a little different from your run of the mill family wagon is the trade mark WRX bonnet scoop.
Slip behind the leather wrapped multi function steering wheel you find the cloth seats comfortable but narrow and a touch on the flat side.
The intrument panel is easy read in any light, the dials were ringed in blue light the small MFD display in between the gauges contains a digital speedo which is extremely helpful as well details from the eye sight system, SI drive and several more.
The centre stack is home to the multimedia system which I found easy to use, the sound from audio wasn’t bad and it was exceptionally easy to connect my phone to it.
At the top of the dash is a second smaller multi Information display unit screen which can be used to display a myriad of information including nice looking tubro boast gauge.
The Levorg has plenty of storage space available with centre console which slides back and forwards making it comfortable to rest your elbows on, handy small tray at the bottom of the centre stack, a decent sized glovebox and door pockets although I found them a little on the slim size. For those needing to charge things on the go there is 12 volt socket and 2 USB ports in the console as well as a 12 volt socket, USB port and AUX inport in the tray at the bottom of the centre stack.
There a decent amount of legroom front and back but the back seat like the fronts are comfortable but on the flat side, 2 passengers can sit in comfort but things could get a bit on the tight side with 3 on board.
Boot space is respectable at 522L which expands to 1446L thanks to the 60:40 split fold rear seats which thankfully fold flat as well, there are handy releases in the boot for the back seat which makes it easy if find you need more room when loading something.
Lift the bonnet and you will find the same 2.0L turbo boxer 4 cylinder engine that powers the WRX, which puts out 197kW and 350Nm backed by a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with 8 stepped gears and paddle shifters.
Sadly for the purists there is no manual option, the power is put to the ground through Subaru’s symmetrical all wheel drive system.
With the SI- Drive system the Levorg is a little bit of a Jeckyl and Hyde leave it in Intelligent mode and the Levorg is rather quiet, sensible and I dare say it a touch boring. But turn it to Sport and things start to liven up a little bit and you get a glimpse of you would expect from something that has the heart of a WRX.
While the Levorg can go from a snore fest to something with a little bit of excitement by switching modes via the SI-Drive button on the steering wheel you can’t avoid the rather lacklustre performance it has below 2500 rpm. While there’s not much down low you can feel the Levorg want to surge as the revs build so there is decent mid range performance and even more as the revs get higher.
The big problem with that is in normal Sydney traffic you rarely do get to rev it enough to take advantage of the power band and when you do get the chance to enjoy it the fuel economy is not what you would call stellar either I managed to average 10.3L/100 for the week for my normal commute.
While other manufacturers are using 6 or 7 speed autos or DCT transmissions Subaru continue to use a CVT and while they have done decent job with the tuning of the CVT, I feel it still doesn’t offer the same performance a regular auto or DCT and that blunts the performance of the Levorg as well.
The 8 stepped gears seem artificial and there seemed to be a bit of a flat spot where the noise from the engine doesn’t match the speed your doing I found this more noticeable from a standing start at the bottom of some of the big hills I go up on my commute. The other thing off putting is the whine from the CVT which seems to more annoying as the rev’s rise.
My opinion is and while I don’t have a technical back ground the Levorg would perform better with a regular auto or DCT.
On the road the ride feels a little on the stiff side which means that you do unfortunately feel a lot of the bumps and imperfections in road and it does feel a little unsettled over at times specially over your normal Sydney b road.
While the all wheel drive system offers superb grip this is off set by the electric power steering which over all feels a little dull and lacks sharpness that would make it a more exciting drive.
Safety wise the Levorg is fitted with a massive list of safety features including Subaru’s excellent EyeSightsystem which includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a lane-departure warning, a leadvehicle start alert, and adaptive cruise control. So it’s no surpise it scored a 5 star ANCAP safety rating although it gets more points from me for the standard fit review camera it loses points for not having any form of front or rear parking sensors which aren’t even available as an option on any model.
After I found the Levorg was a touch disappointing in the fact it promised more then it actually delivered, its performance is dulled by the CVT transmission, it’s ride is a touch on the harsh side and the interior while well equiped just doesn’t have the same appearance and feel of others on the market.
The Levorg feels to me like it’s under done and a work in progress, which is really a shame as the Levorg could be a rather good car and in my opinion there just aren’t enough wagons on the market with some sporting pedigree.
It’s long list of safety features and roominess means it offers lots of pluses for families and really if you forgive the short comings I’ve found it does offer people an great alternative to an SUV.
While the Levorg won’t appeal to some people myself included I can see where it could be appealing to some as it is well equiped, offers flexibility and comes with Subaru’s excellent Eye Sight system, the Levorg comes with a 3 year unlimited kilometre warranty and capped priced servicing.
For more infor on the Levorg check out Subaru’s website http://www.subaru.com.au
Price: From $42990
Engine: 2.0L 4cyl turbo boxer engine 197kW 350Nm
Tranmission: Sports Lineartronic™ CVT transmission, Symmetrical All-Wheel
Air-conditioning dual zone climate control, black cloth Seat trim, D shaped leather steering wheel, manual seat height lifter, 60/40 split folding rear seats, One touch lane change indicator, One touch electric folding rear seats
Reclining rear seat, Retractable cargo blind.
Smart key with push-start ignition, sports pedals, 18″ alloy wheels, rear spoiler, self levelling LED headlights with auto off, front fog lights, bonnet scoop, dual tail pipes, power folding door mirrors, Shark fin antenna
7 airbags, EyeSight® Driver Assist safety technology, a 6.2″ touchscreen, rear view reverse camera, rear spoiler, handsfree communication.
Multi-Function Display unit (MFD), Integrated infotainment system with 6.2″ touchscreen, Bluetooth®1 wireless technology, rear view reverse camera, auxiliary jack, USB connection, multi Information display unit (MID), USB charge port rear (x2).