Subaru Levorg (2017 - 2022) used car review

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By Jonathan Crouch

Introduction

Subaru's Levorg was a spacious 4WD estate sold between 2017 and 2022 that offered a dynamic look and feel along with strong performance, plush comfort and usable practicality. It targeted a narrow group of customers most of whom were already be fans of the brand but it was certainly good enough to reach a wider audience. It's rare, but worth seeking out for the right kind of customer.

Models

5dr estate (1.6, 2.0 petrol)

History

We know that Subaru can make sporting cars - they've proved that technology in motorsport. We know also that the brand can make practical AWD estates - many generations of the company's Outback model testify to that. So, what if they could combine that expertise into one product? Well that's what was on offer here in this car, the Subaru Levorg.

Other practical Subaru estates specialise in various degrees of 'SUV-ness': the XV crossover, the Forester compact 4x4 and the Outback go-almost-anywhere station wagon. In contrast, back in 2017, the Levorg offered a tarmac take on the company's trademark Symmetrical AWD technology - the kind of thing the brand had long delivered with the five generations of the Legacy Tourer model that preceded this car. The Legacy Tourer line-up reached the peak of its popularity in the stylish, sporting fourth-generation guise that was sold between 2003 and 2008 and it's those very qualities that Subaru wanted to replicate, revitalise and further develop here. Hence the 'Levorg' name, apparently derived from the words 'LEgacy', 'reVOlution' and 'touRinG'.

So much for the back story: what about the car itself? Well, it certainly played to a very specialised audience. Unlike its predecessor, there were no saloon, diesel or manual gearbox options, so to be interested on what's on offer here, you've really got to like the idea of a spaciously sporty petrol-powered, automatic all-wheel drive estate. Subaru thought that a small but significant band of buyers would, maybe people who'd always wanted the brand's WRX STi hot hatch rally replica but now had family responsibilities.

The Levorg was certainly styled to play that part, even if the single 1.6-litre direct injection petrol turbo engine on offer from launch was engineered for real-world rather than rally-style performance. This unit was replaced by a 2.0-litre petrol powerplant in 2019. All Levorgs are well equipped too and showcase the much higher standards of build quality and interior finish the brand can these days offer. The Levorg was withdrawn from sale in early 2022.

What You Get

The Levorg looks suitably dynamic with its piercing 'hawk-eye' LED headlamps, chrome-framed hexagonal grille and deep front bonnet scoop. Viewed from straight on, it's a menacing thing, no question. Get one of these in your rear view mirror and you'd be quick to move over. Which makes this sporting estate well what exactly? A WRX STi hot hatch for the family man? Perhaps it would be with the pokier powerplants the brand offered in other markets. As it is, sportiness here must be mixed with sensibility, though still in a way that gives this car far more driveway presence than any of its rivals can muster.

Up front, you'll find yourself in the smartest and most sophisticated cabin the brand had yet created back in 2017, thanks to a dashboard built around a tall fascia which cascades down towards the piano black-trimmed central console. Further down this centre console sits arguably the cabin's smartest feature, a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen that adds to the up-market feel and is the portal from which you access the six-speaker stereo and the usual 'phone and informational features, as well as the standard satellite navigation set-up. It also comes complete with Subaru's 'STARLINK' infotainment technology.

Take a seat at the rear and you'll find space to be adequate by class standards, with legroom aided by the way that the front seatbacks have been curved for greater kneeroom. And out back? Well the idea with this car was to provide the luggage space of the Subaru's rather over-large fifth generation Legacy Tourer, yet deliver that with the more compact sporty looks of the older fourth generation version of that model. It's an objective that was achieved, the rear tailgate rising to reveal a 522-litre space, accessed via a usable rectangular opening and a low loading lip.

What You Pay

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What to Look For

Most Levorg owners in our survey seemed very happy with their cars: Subaru models tend to have an impressive reliability record. However, there are a few issues we came across. A few owners mentioned problems with the TPMS tyre monitoring system - then sensors cost too much or can go wrong or cause a dead battery. Other owners referenced a 'dead spot' with the CVT auto transmission. We also came across issues with the TGV tumble generator valve, and another owner had a seal leaking in the bell housing. And had to pay front axle seal replacement. The driver's head wrestler that can also crack. Go to www.levorgclub.com for more owners comments.

Replacement Parts

(approx based on a 2018 Levorg 1.6 GT ex Vat) Spare parts are priced a degree or three above what you'd expect to fork out for Volkswagen or Audi bits but Subaru counters that you'll need to buy them less often. An air filter is around £20. An oil filter is around £5. Front brake pads are around £139-£141: rears around £86. Front brake discs are in the £195-£226 bracket; rears are around £167. Wiper blades are in the £9-£40 bracket.

On the Road

The Levorg package is based around a 1.6-litre (or later, a 2.0-litre) turbo petrol powerplant mated to Lineartronic automatic transmission and Subaru's trademark Symmetrical AWD system. Like all Subaru's engines, these modern Euro6 units use a distinctive Boxer configuration, a package that's been refined for this car to the point where on the move, you'd hardly notice its uniqueness. That does though, make this car exceptionally quiet - a great long distance companion.

Twistier roads could be handled better if there were more feel from the steering but once you adjust, there's prodigious grip thanks not only to 4WD but also to Active Torque Vectoring, which improves corner turn-in. There's also a 'Subaru Intelligent Drive' system - 'SI-Drive' for short - that, depending on the way you want to drive, alters engine, gearbox and throttle response. Set it in 'Sport' mode and 62mph from rest in the 1.6-litre model takes 8.9s en route to 130mph.

Overall

Subaru was always well aware that this Levorg would be a minority choice in its sector but knew that for a select few loyal customers, it would hit the mark precisely. These people got a charismatic, spacious sports estate with strong performance, high levels of standard equipment, good residuals and the best 4WD system in the business. In other words, a car of many talents.

True, it won't appeal to those prioritising badge equity or running cost efficiency, but it's well priced, practical, engaging to drive and great to look at. And, for what it's worth, your neighbour's unlikely to have one. Overall then, a rare but really rather appealing choice in the medium estate segment in the 2017-2022 period. If you like your driving, are happy with petrol power, need AWD at a relatively affordable price and don't want an SUV - or an estate car trying to look like an SUV - it may be just up your street.

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