Owner Review

2016 Subaru Levorg 2.0GT-S review

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Good things come to those who wait, and oh how I waited. Subaru teased me for a long time with a true return to form: an all-wheel drive, non-SUV, turbo wagon. God how I lusted for the purr of a flat-four on idle and the snarl of angry wasps when it's given the beans.

This should've been a true return to form for Subaru: a fun family wagon and a car you can tune to squeeze more angry killerwatts out of. But it's flawed. Most families have turned their nose up at the Vorg because it's not six inches off the ground. Because ground clearance in private school car parks is everything. So strike one.

Strike two – the engine is a bit fragile compared to the Subies of old. The CSV gearbox won't take much more power and you can't just turn up the boost like in the olden days. The engine's just a bit more complex now with direct injection. So I won't be vaping at any car cruise with my tuning bros anytime soon.

Strike three – the suspension. The Bilstein shocks sound good on paper, but they feel like they're from a North Korean divvy van. Sure, on the right country road they're pretty good, but drive 5km/h too fast over a speed bump and it's like Chuck Norris just punched the underside of the car. It's a serious oversight and it ruins an otherwise perfect package. Like many owners, I've thought about voiding the warranty to get coil-over suspension fitted. So you have to mark the car down for that.

Mind you, on a recent drive to Marysville, I thought the toddler was going to have a Technicolor yawn through the twisties, but he fell asleep. So it can't be all that bad.

Okay, so now I've scared off most people, the car is great. Tactile stuff like the paint, fit and finish are superb. Build quality is excellent. You'll spend at least twice as much as the $55K asking price to get anything remotely as fast from Ze Germans. It comes standard with a sunroof and electric seats and the blue stitching is cool. The entertainment unit is from cousin Toyota and is starting to feel a bit dated. You can't Spotify for example. The sat-nav is complete rubbish.

Oh, and don't be scared off by the CVT. It's is absolutely amazing. I almost bought a Skoda Octavia RS because it's a manual and thank god I didn't because it's a bloody great CVT. It just revs out to six grand quick as lightning and stays there. She goes like the proverbial off of a Teflon shovel on a hot day. It also has three driving modes that basically translate to: everyday with a bit of poke [I], more poke please [S] and get the f*ck out of my way [S#]. The latter should be saved for twisty roads and special child-free occasions. It holds revs like a pit bull and refuses to let go until you paddle-shift into a lower gear.

One slight disappointment is that old-school WRXs would let you accelerate through a tight corner and just grip. The auto is a bit reluctant to do this. So dial up the speed you want, enter the corner, hold your nerve and don't brake then power out. It's great fun.

So three strikes but it's not out. Adjust your driving style a bit and it's a fantastic drive and a luxurious, perfect daily driver. It's not Yobbish either and to my mind even has a quirky Saab vibe – and that is a good thing.

So yes, it's worth the wait. The wait for the warranty to end to change the suspension, cat-back exhaust and a comprehensive engine tune. Until then I'm pretty happy.