SUBARU LEVORG GT
It’s a two-horse race for the mid-size performance wagon category, with handling weighed against packaging.
It’s quicker to 100km/h than the Octavia RS by half a second but uses more fuel to do so (8.7L/100km v 6.6L). It costs $2255 to service for three years or 75,000km at intervals of six months or 12,500km. Three year/unlimited km warranty is on a par with the Skoda.
Basic driver aids include adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and autonomous emergency braking with steering assist. Infotainment can be tardy and, in this variant, lacks standard satnav. Functional interior feels solid without excelling in ambience or ergonomics. There’s marginally less shoulder room for three in the rear and slightly smaller cargo capacity. A WRX-styled bonnet scoop
and pronounced side sills imply its more aggressive approach.
The 2.0-litre boxer turbo (197kW/350Nm) and basic chassis are derived from the go-fast Impreza WRX. There’s sensational shove from the instant the turbo spools up. Peak torque is on tap from 2400rpm to 5200rpm and maximum power arrives 400rpm beyond that. When the stability control intervenes it kicks hard and cuts all power to the continuously variable transmission.
Seven airbags and five stars. The body held up well in crash tests and the wagon was rated good for pedestrian protection. Standard reversing camera and hill start assist is a welcome addition.
The Levorg lacks the composure of the Octavia through corrugated turns but all-wheel drive and torque vectoring add an edge on tight, slippery terrain where the power can be applied earlier. On even the tightest corner exit, the AWD shuffles drive so smoothly there’s barely a hint of wheel spin. Steering is precise. Tyre noise on coarsechip roads is one of the few downsides to an entertaining drive.