Test Drive by Graham Breeze
The Subaru Levorg may be identified as a bit of an enigma in motoring circles but it’s a car that really can see where it’s going.
Because one of the safest cars on our roads just got even safer thanks to the addition of EyeSight – Subaru’s advanced collision avoidance technology – and has become the company’s fifth model to score NCAP’s prestigious five-star rating.
The Levorg Sports Tourer picked up the enigma label after Subaru revealed it would only be available in the UK as a 1.6 GT Lineotronic automatic diesel, instantly limiting the sales potential.
But Subaru has always attracted the motorist interested in the best of both worlds, those demanding brilliant off-road abilities with high levels of safety thrown in. The Levorg answers all those demands and the brilliant Eyesight system takes things even further.
EyeSight features six technologies to maximise safety: Pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning, pre-collision steering assist, and lead vehicle start alert.
While systems from other manufacturers use various sensor technologies such as camera and radar or microwaves, EyeSight functions purely optically with two camera lenses to the left and right of the rear-view mirror that together create a stereoscopic image.
Pre-Collision braking can also reliably capture pedestrians in dark clothing in un-lit areas and when needed initiate emergency braking. Up to a speed of 28mph accidents can be completely avoided and the severity significantly reduced at higher speeds.
And it really does work. I put the system to the test in a controlled indoor situation and soon discovered the benefits and the reasons why Subaru bosses claim the system has already resulted in a drop of 61% of collisions when tested in Japan.
To add to the safety package the Levorg also gets Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection’ system (SRVD) which alerts drivers to vehicles which are crossing behind. The package combines three technologies: Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which detects vehicles passing behind when reversing out of a parking space.
The 1.6 GT Lineartronic is priced at £27,495 and comes equipped with a 1.6 litre DIT (Direct Injection Turbo) Boxer engine, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2016, and produces 170PS and 250Nm of torque. The engine is paired to a Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).
Levorg is also fitted with Subaru’s symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system; the only estate car with All-Wheel Drive as a standard feature at under £30,000.
Standard features include Subaru Starlink; a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, connectivity and navigation system, Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI Drive) which allows the driver to choose between Intelligent mode and Sport mode to suit their mood or surroundings. Leather seats and trim, metallic paint, privacy glass and a rear parking camera.
Levorg is based on the old Legacy platform and will surely attract the rural driver looking for a vehicle that works in all condition and surfaces but it lacks the ground clearance of the rest of the Subaru range so will be more at home on the school run than across the field.
Inside there’s more than enough space for five with leg room to spare and a splendid flat boot area with folding seats to see volumes increase from 522 to 944 litres – enormous and easy to handle thanks to one-touch electronic buttons.
As usual Subaru offer only a functional dashboard which I found quite refreshing after the often, mind-blowing technological developments on offer on today’s modern car. Effective and easy to find were some of the comments passed by passengers.
Handling is as impressive as you would expect from a Subaru but this model lacks the performance to match. There’s a distinct lack of punch and limited torque and you really do have to work the engine hard to get up to speed.
There’s a claimed top speed of 130mph and 0-62mph in 8.9seconds producing 39.8mpg on the combined cycle. Emissions are high at 164g/km which means the Levorg sits in VED Band G.
You just can’t help feeling Subaru are missing a big trick in the UK by limiting availability to just one 1.6 Automatic offering. Time will tell.