SUBARU LEVORG GT

It’s a two-horse race for the mid-size per­for­mance wagon cat­e­gory, with han­dling weighed against pack­ag­ing.

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD - Craig Duff ad­ju­di­cates

VALUE

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.

DE­SIGN-TECH

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.

EN­GINE

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.

SAFETY

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.

DRIV­ING

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.

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