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2017 Subaru Levorg – Car Review – Legacy Evolution

2017 Subaru Levorg – Car Review – Legacy Evolution

The Levorg came to New Zealand late last year as the spiritual successor to the Legacy GT Wagon. In case you were wondering, the unusual name comes from a combination of LEgacy, reVOlution, touRinG. We were pretty impressed with the original, and now there’s a revised version. Have they improved on the formula?


The Range

The range is pretty simple. There’s one model available in New Zealand, the GT-S, priced at $57,990

The facelifted model has a few changes from the original, which include a new wheel design, new front grille, bumper and headlights, front View Monitor (which helps prevent collisions at intersections,  or when parking close to walls or other objects), Auto Vehicle Hold (AVH), revised suspension, new 20% more efficient brake pads, 40/20/40 split folding rear seats and Smart Rear View Mirror (where a camera located in top of rear tailgate shows rear image in rear view mirror), steering responsive headlight with DRLs, 10-way power driver seat with memory and a new colour – Storm Grey. Oh and it meets the Euro 6B emissions standard.

Safety features include stability and traction control, EBD, Limited slip device, ABS, Active torque vectoring, blind spot detection, high beam assist, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear cameras, 7 airbags including driver’s knee, seatbelt pre-tensioners, and a reinforced passenger safety cell. The EyeSight system adds Lead Vehicle Start Alert, pre-collision braking system, pre-collision brake assist, pre-collision throttle management, EyeSight® Assist Monitor, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane sway warning. Quite a list!

The excellent 197kW/350Nm boxer engine is unchanged, as is the Subaru Lineartonic (CVT) transmission.

As you’d expect with a bigger car, colours available are mostly muted greys and blues, apart from the rather striking Pure Red. Our test car came in Crystal White Pearl.

First Impressions

I’ve always been a big fan of station wagons, and this one is no exception. It has a muscular stance to its front and rear views and those new 18” wheels set it off nicely. From the front it has that classic Subaru look, with the big intake scoop on the bonnet to feed its top-mounted intercooler. The revised bumper, grille and lights aren’t a huge difference from the previous model but they have refined the design slightly and moved the separate indicators in to the headlights. At the rear, the two big exhaust tips help to show that this is not a slow car.

Overall, I think the Levorg is a great looking car.

The Inside

Generally the interior hasn’t been tinkered with much, and that’s a good thing. The dark grey leather seats are very good, comfortable with good side support, and the blue stitching makes them look great. The stitching is carried across to the steering wheel, gear knob and other trims. Above the window line is trimmed in a pale beige, which makes the interior feel nice and light, and this is further improved by leaving the sunroof cover open.

At first glance, the steering wheel seems to have too many buttons, but they’re all logically placed and easy to use. There’s adjustment for reach and height, which combined with the new 10-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat makes it easy to find the perfect driving position. The front seats are heated, and there’s dual-zone climate control.

Current Subarus have a lot of displays – a 5.9” multi-function display in the centre of the two main instrument dials, a 7” central touch-screen for the entertainment system and a third widescreen display in the top centre of the dash. This third display has been expanded to about double the width of the one in the previous Levorg and it can show extra gauges, cruise control info, or the front and left-side camera views.

Rear passengers get a good amount of legroom and comfortable seats, plus dual USB ports for charging devices. The rear seats now split 40/20/40 to give you more flexibility. Cargo space is pretty huge at 522 litres, expanding to 1446 litres and a nice level load space with the seat backs folded flat. There are luggage hooks in the boot as well as a retractable cargo cover.

The Drive

The Levorg has keyless entry and start, and I love the way the displays welcome you into the car. Sit in the driver’s seat and the centre display fades in with the Pleiades stars logo, then the MFD lights up with the silhouette of a Levorg. Pressing the start button triggers a sequence where each display animates into place and the needles all sweep across and back. It all adds a little theatre to your car and I like it.

For this facelifted model, Subaru chose not to change the engine, and that’s because they didn’t need to – it’s excellent. The 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbocharged boxer makes 197kW and 350Nm, which is plenty of power to really make this car hustle along. The Lineatronic CVT drives all four wheels, sending power to front or rear as required. This is definitely one of the best CVTs I’ve driven, and it feels like they’ve tweaked the software to improve it from the previous car. It emulates an eight-speed automatic and it does the job well, especially if you slot it into manual mode and use the shifter paddles behind the steering wheel.

Fuel consumption on short trips and around town can be a bit on the high side, but it’s balanced out by decent efficiency on the motorway – as long as you don’t get too addicted to the push in the back this car gives you when accelerating. It is tempting to floor it all the time! I averaged just under 10l/100km but at one point after a few short trips the average was sitting at around 14.

The ride is firm, but not too fim, and always comfortable. It was very good before, but Subaru have tweaked it to ride and handle even better. When pressing on in the twisty roads, there’s minimal body roll and the car has a solid, confident feel that makes you feel it can take on corners at whatever speed you choose. At over 1,600kg it’s fairly heavy, and it does feels it, but you can have a lot of fun with the Levorg.

There are three drive modes: Intelligent, which adapts to your driving style; Sport and SportSharp. There’s no Eco mode on this car! Modes are changed with a button on the steering wheel and the display gives you a little power curve graph for each as you switch between them. Each mode tunes the acceleration and transmission for different power levels, with SportSharp being the highest performance and quickest acceleration..

At idle you wouldn’t know it was a boxer engine, but when accelerating hard you get the muted off-beat sound we all love from Subarus, combined with the soft whistle of the turbo, then a whoosh of air as you lift off. It’s all very civilised though and well-damped. This car is at the top of its class for cabin refinement, which makes the stereo all the more disappointing. You should be able to cruise along on the motorway enjoying your favourite tunes, but the six-speaker audio system just doesn’t sound good. There’s no bass, and as much as I tinkered with the settings I could not get it to sound right at all. It’s a shame because the Harman Kardon system in the WRX is great and with this facelift they had the chance to fix it. It does sound slightly better than the previous Levorg, which I couldn’t listen to because it put my teeth on edge, but it’s still poor compared to other cars.

The Levorg has Subaru’s multi-camera EyeSight system which provides many safety features such as collision alert, which uses a row of LEDs at the bottom of the windscreen to tell you if it thinks you need to brake. If you don’t, it can brake for you to avoid or lessen the force of a collision. Then there’s the smart cruise control which is excellent. It detects and locks onto the car in front to maintain distance when in traffic. The only thing I dislike about it is the beeps: it beeps when it locks onto a car, then when it unlocks, and at other times too. There’s no need for it and it’s distracting.

You can press a button under the top display to turn on the front and side cameras when parking. It’s a bit far away from the driver though and could have been placed better. But the cameras are very useful, especially given that there are no parking sensors. There’s a rear camera too, and if you flip down the rear-view mirror it turns into a screen showing the view from the boot camera. Presumably for if the car is loaded up with stuff in the back, or you have a tall person in the rear centre seat. It takes some getting used to but is a cool feature.

The Competition

Brand/ModelEnginePower/Torque0-100km/h, secondsBoot Space, LitresFuel, L/100kmPrice Highest to Lowest
Volvo V60 R-Design Wagon2.0l 4 cylinder turbo supercharged228kW/430Nm5.94307.0$84,900
Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Wagon2.0l 4 cylinder turbo155kW/350Nm6.84707.0$83,900
BMW 320i Wagon2.0l 4 cylinder turbo135kW/270Nm7.54955.9$76,400
VW Passat TSI R-Line2.0l 4 cylinder turbo206kW/350Nm5.74867.2$71,740
Skoda Superb TSI Sportline Wagon2.0l 4 cylinder turbo206kW/350Nm5.86257.2$69,990
Subaru Levorg GT-S2.0l boxer turbo petrol197kW/350Nm6.65228.7$57,990
Ford Mondeo ST-Line Wagon2.0l 4 cylinder turbo154kW/450NmN/A5425.2$54,990
Skoda Octavia TSI RS2.0l 4 cylinder turbo169kW/350Nm7.05906.6$52,990
Mazda6 GSX Wagon2.5l 4 cylinder138k/250NmN/A6506.6$46,745

The pros and cons

ProsCons
  • Great interior
  • Plenty of power
  • Composed, flat handling
  • Cabin refinement
  • Excellent driver aids
  • Spacious
  • Poor stereo
  • Fuel consumption on shorter trips
  • Too many beeps

What we think

I really like the Levorg. It’s a comfortable, quick, great-handling large wagon and would be a perfect long-distance grand tourer. The interior is very good and the whole car has a solid, quality feel. The driver aids are excellent: very well implemented and generally not intrusive, apart from those beeps!.

It can be a bit thirsty, especially around town, and that disappointing stereo really lets it down, but other than that it’s hard to find fault with this car. I even sort-of like the CVT.

 

Rating – Chevron rating (4 out of 5)

2107 Subaru Levorg

 

Vehicle TypeMid-sized wagon
Starting Price$57,990 plus on-road costs
Tested Price$57,990 plus on-road costs
EngineHorizontally-opposed, 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, turbocharged, petrol engine
Transmission8-speed Subaru Lineartronic Transmission (SLT) with manual mode
0 – 100 kph, seconds6.6
Spare WheelSpace saver
Kerb Weight, Kg1,617
Length x Width x Height, mm4690 x 1780 x 1490 mm
Cargo Capacity, litres522 seats up

1446 seats folded

Fuel Tank, litres60
Fuel Efficiency Advertised Spec – Combined –  8.7L / 100km

Real World Test – Combined –  9.8L / 100km

Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+

Towing750kg unbraked

1200kg braked

Turning circle10.8m

Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+

ANCAP Safety Ratings5 stars
Warranty3 year unlimited warranty

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