FARMERS tend to be wise people. They know about things like the weather, the seasons, nature. That sort of stuff.

It also turns out that they are pretty savvy when it comes to choosing cars. Getting on for 35 years ago I was invited by a friend to a national country fair and fell into conversation with a farmer, living and working in one of the hillier parts of Wales.

The discussion turned to the difficulties encountered on remote roads in winter weather, and the farmer replied that he had found the answer to his prayers … by buying a Subaru.

The marque was little known in the UK at that point, but he told me that the farming community had latched on to the car, and my new friend extolled its qualities of reliability, build-quality and capability in slippery conditions.

Fast-forward all those years and the Japanese manufacturer’s popularity has extended far beyond sons of the soil, adding the cachet brought by a rally-bred performance pedigree to the qualities I’ve already listed.

So, I was looking forward to getting behind the wheel of Subaru’s Levorg, a large estate car that is a descendant of the Legacy model.

Our road test car was a 1.6i GT Lineartronic model, with a wealth of equipment including LED headlights with auto levelling , pop-up type headlight washers, heated, power-folding door mirrors, automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers, privacy glass for rear doors, rear quarters and rear window, keyless entry and push-button start system, welcome lighting, two 12-volt power outlets, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning system with anti-dust filter, windscreen wiper de-icer, windscreen and front door window defrosters and reversing camera.

Safety features include steering column support beam, whiplash-reducing front seats and SRVD (Subaru rear vehicle detection) which includes blind-spot monitoring, lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alert.

With a top speed of 130mph and 0-60 time of 8.9 seconds, there’s power and pace aplenty, while the 1600cc turbo-charged ‘boxer’ petrol engine returns 39.8mpg on the combined cycle (manufacturer’s figures).

Handling is sublime, helped by the symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, while power is laid down in silky-smooth fashion by the six-speed torque converter transmission.

And there’s estate-car practicality - 522 litres load capacity extending to 944 litres with the rear seat folded down. Price: £29,680