Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5
  • Limited options
  • Automatic only
  • Overtaking requires planning

There’s only one engine and gearbox combination on offer here. It’s a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine coupled to an automatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox which Subaru calls Lineartronic.

The engine performs well, with a broad spread of torque considering its relatively diminutive dimensions. It develops 170hp, but its 250Nm of torque is on offer between 1,800 and 4,800rpm so it’s flexible enough on the road.

The Levorg is quick to respond when setting off from stationary, but performing overtaking manoeuvres is where it can struggle to generate momentum; a degree of planning ahead may be required.

What's the Levorg's gearbox like?

To get the best from it you’ll have to use the paddles behind the steering wheel to change gear, though, because the nature of a CVT gearbox means it takes a while to get going if left to its own devices.

This version has six ‘steps’ built into it so the power delivery roughly mirrors that of a normal automatic gearbox when changing gears manually, but there’s still a disconnect between what your foot does and when the car responds.

Is it a sheep in wolf's clothing?

If you’re in the mood to drive a little more enthusiastically, there’s a pair of buttons on the steering wheel marked S and I. Pushing the S button engages a sport mode, which sharpens the throttle response and quickens the gearbox’s response times a little.

We found it better to drive like this, but you’ll pay quite a penalty in fuel costs. It’s an easy car to drive because of the lack of complexity here. Thanks to the fact that it uses petrol instead of diesel, it’s not even all that noisy.

It's just a shame Subaru Levorg Sport Tourer performance doesn't seem to match the impression given by that big vent in the bonnet.

  • Stable and nimble to drive
  • All-wheel drive should aid traction
  • Light steering

This is often where a Subaru excels, and there’s no exception with the Levorg. It’s one of the most sure-footed estate cars out there thanks to the firm’s WRX STI, which has lent many chassis parts including an all-wheel drive system.

You’ve got an amazing amount of grip at your disposal – far more than is really needed during every day driving.

Sports car grip, estate car style

Even when approaching the limits of traction in slippery situations it’s predictable and balanced thanks to the torque-vectoring system, which can gently brake the inside wheels when cornering to prevent front or rear ends pushing wide.

It’s an agile car too. The engine’s layout features horizontally-opposed cylinders – a Subaru trait - which means it can be mounted lower in the car than normal, so the centre of gravity is closer to the ground and the car changes direction quicker than more conventional estates.

We found the steering weighting to be well-judged too, with an unusual amount of feedback through the flat-bottomed steering wheel for this type of car.

The brakes were better than we expected, with a progressive pedal feel and sharp – but not aggressive – response. There’s an electric parking brake and hill-start assist on all Levorgs; the latter preventing the car from rolling backwards when setting off on a hill.

A braked towing weight of 1,500kg is high for a car with a 1.6-litre engine, and makes the Levorg perfect for caravanners who don't want to run to a full-sized SUV.