Is this the dog owners dream car? Ginny Weeks and her patterjack dog Fly try a week with the Subaru Levorg.
What is it? The Subaru Levorg is a four-wheel drive (or all-paw drive as Subaru calls it) family estate with a sporty look and tonnes of practical features.
First impressions of the Levorg? Much better looking in real life. The Levorg stands out from other estates with its muscular lines, huge bonnet air vent and double exhausts, but whether you’d call it pretty is debateable. Our white press car wasn’t the most practical colour for muddy pawprints!
Who is it aimed at? Dog owners, Subaru fans and families wanting something a bit different. With its spacious interior and nippy engine it would suit someone who wants a practical estate with a fun side.
How dog friendly is it? With its hardwearing leather interior and huge 522 litre boot, the Levorg makes travelling with dogs and all their stuff really easy.
With wet weather gear, dog leads, coats and towels to cart around the car’s clever storage solutions were a great addition and I particularly liked the net pockets in the boot for essentials. The handy cargo hooks also provided a useful place for stowing leads and other accessories.
But the best bit was the design of the wide opening 522 litre boot which makes loading and unloading a doddle. The low bootline also meant that my three-year-old dog Fly could jump straight in without scratching the paintwork with her claws (something that can look really unsightly after a few years).
With its glue-like handling, Fly, who sometimes suffers from car sickness, was perfectly happy and able to stay asleep for the whole journey from London to Yorkshire. That is some feat considering there are several nice stretches of bendy country lanes en route.
What does it feel like to drive? The Levorg’s 1.6 turbo ‘Boxer’ engine is best driven in Sport mode when the combination of paddle shift gear changes, higher revs and tighter responses lend the Levorg a fun, fast feel. Do this too much however and the 1.6 engine will drain fuel – we averaged 30mpg and covered just over 550 miles on two tanks of fuel. In normal mode the automatic CVT gearbox feels smooth if a little slow to respond and the car is slightly more fuel efficient, but nothing like the 39.8 mpg promised.
The handling, however, is superb and the car tackles bends and country roads with real confidence. One thing you do notice is that the suspension is a little hard over speed bumps and pot holes so sometimes it can feel a little unsteady if the road surface isn’t perfect.
What about my options? The Levorg lineup is minimal – it comes with a 1.6 turbo engine, GT trim and an automatic gearbox…and that’s it! But the standard kit is generous including auto LED headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, fog lamps, metallic paint, 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, heated leather seats, a sat nav and infotainment system, dual zone air con and a rear parking camera.
How much? From £27,495
Why you might buy one? Practical, fast, different
Why you won’t? Limited options, expensive to run and buy, automatic gearbox can be slow to respond
31st May, 2016