Buy a Subaru and you will have certain expectations regarding its character. You will probably expect it to be rugged and durable, because the company has an enviable reputation for reliability.
You may well expect it to offer an engaging drive, as befits a car maker with Subaru’s heritage in the World Rally Championship.
And you would probably be surprised if it didn’t have the ability to surmount challenging road conditions, courtesy of Subaru’s distinctive Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.
I am pleased to report that the Subaru Levorg exhibits all of these characteristics. As I discovered in North Wales, it does so in a way that is aimed squarely at the needs of 21st-century motorists.
Thanks to a turbocharger and a direct-injection set-up, the engine generates an impressive 170PS. The result is a sprightly turn of speed, giving you every incentive to squeeze the responsive throttle.
A generous power output for the 1.6-litre petrol engine is all well and good, but it doesn’t count for much unless it can be put down on the road.
Fortunately, Subaru knows a thing or two about translating power into performance. So the car scores well in this regard, too.
Thanks to its trademark Boxer engine, which is lower and flatter than a conventional power plant, the Levorg is well-balanced.
In addition, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive allied to the Vehicle Dynamics Control System and Active Torque Vectoring ensures optimum torque and braking distribution across all four wheels. It takes an awful lot to knock this car off course.
I discovered this for myself during our Welsh adventure. I pushed the car hard in some challenging conditions around the rural roads of Snowdonia.
At every turn, it felt sure-footed and controlled, giving me every confidence as we went in search of the region’s most dramatic scenery.
The feeling of control was enhanced by the six-speed Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
CVT doesn’t have gears. Instead it has a greater (or even infinite) span of gear ratios which keep the engine at its optimal rev range, increasing power and responsiveness.
The result? Agile performance, greater control and a smoother ride. There are paddle shifts on the steering wheel for when you want to take control, but the automatic set-up works so well that I rarely bothered.
That speaks of another aspect of the Levorg’s character. As well as being an impressive sports tourer, it is a useful family vehicle, with a well-specced interior that combines comfort and functionality to pleasing effect.
On the outside, the build is beautiful, while inside the leather-trimmed seats wrap you in a cosy embrace, and the Starlink Infotainment System provides mobile-phone connectivity, MP3 compatibility and internet radio. It is all controlled via a seven-inch touch screen, which is tactile and easy to use.
Of course, any family car worth its salt provides safety as well as space, and the Subaru Levorg more than delivers.
It features an array of safety features, including Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection. This monitors your blind spots and provides an audible and visual warning if a collision looks likely.
Along with passive safety features such as airbags and Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame to protect occupants, the Levorg does everything in its power to keep you and your passengers out of harm’s way.
To my mind, there can be no doubt that this vehicle is a significant addition to Subaru’s stable. It takes the company’s experience of building rugged Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive cars and wraps it in a package that is well-equipped, comfortable and very practical.
So whether you’re in the Welsh countryside or whizzing along the motorway to your next adventure, the Subaru Levorg is a reassuring place to be.