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In-depth reviews

Subaru Levorg estate - Engines, drive & performance (2015-2020)

The Subaru Levorg handles well but performance is modest and the car lacks sophistication compared with rivals

Carbuyer Rating

3.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.8 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

2.5 out of 5

The Subaru Levorg uses some components from the brand’s now discontinued WRX STI ‘rally special’ model, including elements of the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (SAWD) system – and you can feel the difference they make on the road. This car handles surprisingly well for a family-friendly estate, with strong grip and traction from the 4x4 mechanicals, plus minimal body lean when driving around corners at speed. Sadly, the CVT gearbox and light steering means you never really want to push the car very hard.

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The 2.0-litre petrol engine develops a healthy 147bhp and it delivers that power in a smooth progressive fashion. Where it struggles is at the lower end of the rev range where the extra muscle of a diesel or a turbocharged petrol would make progress around town and overtaking manoeuvres a little more seamless. The Levorg does have an SI-Drive button that alters the engine and gearbox settings to deliver a little more urgency but it makes little difference in reality.

The Lineartronic CVT gearbox operates very smoothly and is reasonably quick to respond but there isn’t a lot of point in using the steering wheel paddles and trying to make the car drive with more vigour. It’s better to sit back and enjoy its comfortable side, which is enhanced by decent engine refinement and a lack of wind noise - although road roar does become more noticeable at higher speeds.

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The Levorg offers lively handling on smooth, twisty roads, where it feels light on its feet and nimble. The control in the suspension translates to a busy ride at lower speeds, however, when occupants are less well insulated from bumps than they are in many rival cars. The suspension does stop the Levorg from crashing and banging over bigger bumps quite well though, so potholes and speed humps rarely produce the sickening thumps you can get in other cars.

Subaru Levorg petrol engine

You don’t have to spend any time deciding what engine to have in your Subaru Levorg, as there’s only one option: the aforementioned 147bhp 2.0-litre petrol unit. This gets the car from 0-62mph in a ponderous 11.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 121mph. It’s quiet, once it’s warmed up, and actually starts to sound quite sporty as you get up towards the top of the rev range. The engine’s four-cylinder ‘boxer’ configuration helps lower the Levorg’s centre of gravity for improved handling.

As mentioned above, the Levorg’s performance is affected by the CVT gearbox and the weight of the 4x4 system.

Diesel engine

We think a diesel engine and a regular six-speed manual gearbox would make the Subaru Levorg a much more attractive car for a wider range of UK buyers, but Subaru doesn’t agree - it’s simply not offered.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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