FIRST DRIVE: Subaru Levorg

FIRST DRIVE: Subaru Levorg

What is it?

The spiritual successor to the much-revered Legacy GT wagon, more or less. Also, the WRX wagon, in a way.

The Levorg (which stands for LEgacy eVOlution touRinG apparently) also manages to hark back to the beloved performance wagon’s glory days by being roughly the same size as the 3rd-generation Legacy.

While the Outback has proven itself more than capable of absorbing the sales potentially missed by the loss of the Legacy wagon (it currently sells more than the previous Outback and Legacy wagon combined), the local distributor (and, indeed, Subaru as a whole) still pined for a performance wagon to carry on the love affair its loyal customers had built up with the Legacy.

And now it is here.

Subaru Levorg launch 002

How much does it cost?

The Levorg incoming to New Zealand as a single, highly-specced model and costs $56,990.

What is its opposition?

The market for sporty wagons is mainly the domain of the European luxury brands like BMW and, most particularly, Audi, but Subaru NZ head Wally Dumper particularly singled out the Volkswagen Golf R wagon at the launch.

The Golf R wagon packs 221kW and 380Nm, but is slightly smaller and costs a whole load more, retailing at $79,990.

For that kind of money you could also get the much larger Holden Commodore SS-V sport wagon, with its mighty 304kW/570Nm 6.2-litre V8, for $72,990.

However, the Levorg’s most likely direct competitor is probably the Skoda Octavia RS. At $50,490 for the manual version (the auto its $52,500) it is slightly cheaper than the Subaru, but also less powerful with a 162kW/350Nm petrol version and a $53,490 135kW/380Nm diesel model available.

Subaru Levorg launch 003

What powers it?

The Levorg packs the same 197kW/350Nm 2.0-litre boxer engine and continuously variable transmission as the WRX. Subaru claims it will return a combined fuel consumption figure of 8.7L/100km.

What has it got?

The single Levorg model landing in New Zealand is a highly-specced beast that comes packed with all of Subaru’s latest driver aids, safety and infotainment tech.

It comes standard on 18-inch alloy wheels and also packs leather sports seats and steering wheel, blind spot detection, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, high beam assist, adaptive cruise control, Bilstein suspension, dusk-sensing LED headlights, dual zone climate control, a 7-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and more.

Check out all of the Levorg’s specs and features here – Levorg Brochure

Subaru Levorg launch 001

What’s good about it?

The 197kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged boxer engine out of the WRX is a brilliant and powerful performer, while the continuously variable transmission is… great. Yeah, that’s right, I just called a CVT great and I don’t feel dirty. The world has changed. We need to accept that.

The CVT has the same brilliant ‘fake shifts” that Subaru were among the first to implement, yet still boasts the seamless surge of power that this type of transmission is known for.

The powerful engine helps immensely here, with the boxer’s wall of torque pushing the Levorg along at a deeply impressive rate.

The interior is also a highlight, carrying on the recent banishment of the hardest of plastics that used to plague Subaru interiors, while also adding nice touches like the blue stitching and the fantastically supportive supports seats.

What’s not so good?

As good as the transmission is, it still does betray the odd CVT tendency, particularly in (normal) mode, flicking it into one of the sportier modes deals with this, however.

There are still a few lingering patches of hard plastics in the interior, but they are largely out of contact areas, while the passenger’s seat is weirdly high and can’t be lowered.

Subaru Levorg launch 005

First impressions?

The Levorg is another in the long line of exciting yet practical wagons from Subaru.

Nicely fitting into a niche where the early (and beloved) Legacy GT wagon used to sit, as well as the later (and equally beloved) WRX hatch, the Levorg has the power and performance to appeal to those buyers, as well as the refinement and quality to appeal to a far wider audience.

Seamless, relentless power, excellent dynamics and great looks make the Levorg a performance wagon passage that is a hard one to go past.

Anythings else?

Here is a handy link to Subaru’s website.

Here’s another link to that brochure – Levorg Brochure

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  • Andy M

    Shock valving and spring weights appear to have been selected randomly in the 2016 GT-S. Front suspension crashes, bangs and bottoms out on just about any irregularity, rear seems light and loose when pushed. A buyer of a nearly $60,000 Grand Touring wagon shouldn’t have to go shopping for new suspension. Shame on Subaru, early Levorgs should be on recall, it is that bad. Owners will remember fondly the last successful Subaru GT wagon, the similar size BP from the early/mid 2000’s. Time for Subaru to look back and see what they have left behind, far better handling, uncluttered styling and superior fuel economy. Front up Subaru, admit you have spec’d suspension that is actually unsafe, put the model on safety recall