2018 Subaru Levorg Review

2018 Subaru Levorg 1.6 GT Road Test, Review

The Subaru Levorg was initially pitched to Aussie car buyers as bringing all the fun of the sporty Subaru WRX, but in a more usable package.

Or, in Subaru‘s words, “practicality with a performance punch”.

The Levorg was expected to sell a couple of hundred units per month, as of November 2017 it was snapped up by 131 Aussie customers.

In the face of ever increasing competition from crossovers and small SUVs, that the Levorg isn’t meeting its sales goals shouldn’t come as a great surprise.

Its own sibling, the new-generation Subaru XV, would also be stealing some of the “WRX wagons” thunder inside Subaru dealerships.

My main concern with the Subaru Levorg is the pricing.

I had the Subaru Levorg 1.6 GT and that’s the entry-level car in the range, prices here start from $35,990, or around $9,000 more than a base-model XV.

And the price premium for the sporty wagon continues right through the range - the top-spec model coming in at nearly $52,000.

For $35,500 odd you can get a top of the range XV.

And that’s just comparing the Levorg to one in-house competitor.

True, the Levorg and XV, or pretty much any other crossover/SUV, do differ - the Levorg is set up more for a sporty feel and has zero off-road ability.

But for car buyers who really want a sporty model, how many want a sporty wagon?

There are some positives though with this Subaru offering, firstly the interior space.

Yes, it is a much more practical car than an Impreza hatch or sedan, there is good legroom front and back and enough boot space for most applications.

The 1.6 litre turbo-petrol engine moves the Levorg around respectably, and with power always on tap, the CVT feels a lot more in-sync with the engine than in the naturally-aspirated XV/Impreza.

The controls are all well placed, everything inside the car has a nice feel to it and the seats are a good mix of sporty and comfortable.

Visibility from the driver’s seat, as with the Impreza/WRX, is almost industry leading.

This grade of Levorg doesn’t get the much-firmer Bilstein suspension and that means you get a decent ride and better than OK handling.

While the low-profile tyres don’t give you a great amount of absorption when large cracks and other road deformations are encountered.

Cabin storage areas are reasonably sized, and there’s a handy forward storage spot on the centre console.

Also in that spot are well-located power outputs and USB slots, you also get USB slots in the centre bin.

Speaking of that centre bin, the lid/armrest slides forward and back (presumably to allow you to get it into a more comfortable forward position), the problem is that it slides too easily.

That means it is constantly moving as you drive along, or slips back too easily if you put some pressure on it.

Also, as I have found in other Subaru models, I think the emergency braking is just a touch too sensitive.

Again, I found myself in a left hand lane, the car in front of me was turning, I slowed down and gave the car ahead plenty of space - but obviously not enough space for the computer - the brakes were slammed on automatically despite there being no danger of an impact.

When the brakes are applied by the system I think they are too forceful and without enough warning.

I realize that the system is trying to prevent a crash, I think it isn’t calibrated correctly to be able to judge exactly how much braking effort is really required (where a human was able to see that only a small amount of braking effort was needed).

The Summary

The Subaru Levorg, even in this base-model offering, is a better than decent car.

It delivers what it promises - a sporty feel in a generally easy to live with package.

I’m not sure how Subaru will be able to attract more people to the car given the continuing SUV/crossover stampede and the quite hefty price premium that the Levorg carries.

NUTS and BOLTS – 2018 Subaru Levorg 1.6 GT

  • Engine: 1.6 litre turbo-petrol producing 125kW/250Nm
  • Transmission: CVT auto only
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Warranty: Three years
  • Origin: Japan
  • Price: from $35,990

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