Levorg: what's in a name?What is it?

Levorg is basically a WRX station wagon — same platform, wheelbase, engine, and all-wheel drive setup with active torque vectoring.

There’s nothing new in this. They’ve produced a wagon in the past though it wasn’t called that, but this time they’ve tried to give the model a life of its own with a separate name.

Not sure how you pronounce the name — some say Levorg, as in cyborg, while others slur the last ‘g’ like the Star Trek character with the Ray-Bans — Geordi La Forge.

Either way Subaru says the name is a combination of three words: LEgacy, reVOlution and touRinG.

Levorg: what's in a name?

What’s it cost?

Prices start from $35,990 for the 1.6-litre GT, rising to $41,140 for the entry 2.0-litre model, the GT-S before topping out at $51,990 for  2.0-litre STI Sport — the last subject of our test.

All come with  CVT or continuously variable transmission — six-step in the 1.6 and eight in 2.0-litre models.

The 1.6 gets auto engine stop-start to save fuel, but the 2.0-litre does not — because says Subaru it hasn’t been mapped yet for its performance turbos.

Standard gear includes leather and climate air, an electric sunroof, along with height and reach adjustable steering, height adjustable driver’s seat, auto lights, wipers and smart rear vision mirror.

There’s also auto high beam, headlights that follow the direction of the wheels, heated front seats, 7.0-inch touchscreen, satellite navigation, USB charger ports for rear passengers. You even get a set of configurable gauges — in short just about everything you could wish for.

That is except for parking sensors that apparently are not available. Instead the driver must rely on cameras to see what they are about to hit.

It also misses out on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there’s no DAB+ digital radio.

Unlike the WRX that we drove prior to this however it comes with Subaru’s EyeSight safety suite, and earns a five-star ANCAP rating, with seven airbags and auto emergency braking.

The icing on the cake is reserved for the STI:

  • Exclusive maroon leather trimmed seats
  • Front bumper and grille unique to variant
  • Red stitching
  • STI exhaust tips
  • STI instrument cluster logo
  • STI side sill plates
  • STI steering wheel logo
  • STI tuned suspension
  • STI 18-inch alloy wheels
  • WR Blue colour option unique to variant

 

Levorg: what's in a name?

What’s it go like?

The STI badge would suggest it gets the big kahuna, the 221kW/407Nm master blaster from the WRX STI.

It is however the standard WRX engine with 197kW and 350Nm, the latter from 2400 to 5200rpm — not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The new, smaller 1.6 litre turbo introduced with this model produces 125kW and 250Nm, around the same output as the original Forester GT wagon from days of old.

Many people ask why Subaru doesn’t offer a manual with this model — only the CVT?

The answer is most likely because it provides a point of difference in its quest to build a unique profile for marketing the car.

So what. Get over it. We’re big fans of Subaru’s CVT and the one in Levorg is no exception. In S# mode mode it offers eight steps, or the equivalent of gears.

In traffic you can whip through the gears using the change paddles, or just leave the transmission do its thing if you’re not in a hurry.

The Levorg goes hard and corners flat, with plenty of grip and excellent stoppers that allow the driver to brake deep into corners. But to really extract the best performance, you need to be in manual mode and use the paddles to change gears.

With Bilstein dampers front and back, the setup is geared towards handling than a cushy ride, and you can expect the 18-inch wheels and Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 050 rubber to become a bit irritating on poor country roads.

Luggage capacity by the way is 489 litres with the seats up, or 911 litres with them down — not huge but useful.

This model takes premium 95 unleaded and is rated at 8.7L/100km. Ol’ leadfoot here was getting 10.4 after 650km.

Levorg: what's in a name?

What we like?

  • The idea
  • Fit and finish
  • Mix of practicality and performance
  • Easy to drive, either slow or fast
  • Huge levels of grip when pushed
  • Push button performance options
  • Useful amount of luggage space

 

What we don’t?

  • Not much
  • Turbo lags at times
  • Punch it and it takes a full second or so to get going off the line
  • Rear legroom okay but maybe not for long trips
  • Three year warranty (even if it is unlimited kilometres)

Levorg: what's in a name?

The bottom line?

Seriously. You can whinge all you like about the lack of a manual, but in the wagon format we’ll take the CVT every day of the week.

CHECKOUT: BRZ will leave ’em gasping

CHECKOUT: Subaru WRX STI: grip without grab

Subaru Levorg STI Sport, priced from $51,990
  • Looks - 8.0/10
    8/10
  • Performance - 7.75/10
    7.8/10
  • Safety - 8.0/10
    8/10
  • Thirst - 7.0/10
    7/10
  • Practicality - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Comfort - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Tech - 8.0/10
    8/10
  • Value - 8.0/10
    8/10
7.7/10
Levorg: what's in a name?

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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