With the departure of the Legacy wagon, the Levorg exhibits great potential
If you’re not familiar with Subaru or its lineup of cars, we urge you to come out of wherever you’ve been hiding these past few decades. This car manufacturer is but a subsidiary of a company with humble beginnings that trace back to a century, starting out as The Aircraft Research Laboratory in 1915. While Subaru has been around for only 62 years, it has become one of the more iconic marques in the automotive world due to its stellar performances at the World Rally Championship. This was over two decades ago.
Every modern Subaru model since then can trace its lineage to the machines driven by legends like Colin McRae and Possum Bourne. These days, the Japanese brand’s rally presence can be seen primarily in Rally America and Global Rallycross. This makes it one of the few remaining carmakers in the realm of rally racing, which may be one of the strongest statements a vehicle manufacturer can make in this day and age.
It’s a statement that can be seen in how Subaru builds its vehicles. Any diehard Subaru fan will tell you that these boxer-engine-equipped cars are the poster children for efficiency. There are at least five models featuring the combination of boxer engine and Symmetrical AWD, not counting some variants. With the new Subaru Levorg, there are now six.
Stemming from the same genealogy as the Impreza, the Levorg naturally resembles its progenitors up to a point. It’s hard to notice the differences on the front end: softened front fenders and edges, new bumper details, and added chrome work. To the layman, the fascia will look the same as the WRX’s, right down to the hood scoop. With the omission of the hood scoop on the Forester due to pedestrian safety, as well as on the Legacy because it’s now only naturally aspirated, we can at least conclude that the hood scoop is still a crucial part of the overall design of the company’s turbocharged vehicles. It’s not only reassuring to see it on the Levorg, it’s an element that will give purists and enthusiasts something to cheer about.
What most people will easily notice is that the greenhouse is glaringly different—it lacks the sloping back glass and the sweeping rear deck. In their place is an expanse of more glass, sculpted sheetmetal, and artfully crafted plastic. These give the Levorg a more unique and commanding presence. It’s a statement as unique as the drivers who choose wagons over sedans.
There’s more to the story, of course. There’s now more interior space on a platform that already had ample space to begin with. Much of the added
volume comes in the form of 520L of cargo capacity with the rear backrests up. Seats folded down, this grows to 1,446L. Clearly, the Levorg is not only for the urban commuter, but also for the modern driver or family who likes to do all kinds of stuff.
The kind of stuff that’s as meaningful, versatile and fun as the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine under the hood. Employing directinjection coupled with an 11:1 compression ratio, the FB16 mill makes 170hp and 250Nm—about as much as the non-turbo 2.5-liter motors of the older Legacies and Outbacks. Subaru states that matched with the Lineartronic CVT, this mill is also more efficient. It gets 17.9km/L compared with the current Legacy’s 14.8km/L using the JC08 test cycle.
The 1.6-liter is the base engine almost everyone gets. In addition, those in Japan also get the 2.0liter version that makes almost 300hp and 400Nm, because they always receive the good stuff first. That shouldn’t put you off from getting the 1.6liter variant, though, because it makes 250Nm from 1,800rpm. It will haul ass as much as it will haul stuff.
Going back to the differences between the Levorg and the WRX, there are more changes at the back end apart from the body style. The rear double-wishbone suspension gets its own unique tuning that makes the Levorg’s ride more luxurious. It seems like they really gave this Subie a lot of thought.
Inside the cabin, Subaru owners will be greeted by a familiar sight. The excellent ergonomics and the highly functional dashboard layout are almost identical to the XV’s. Rehashed and recycled? Perhaps—or just completely spot-on and shouldn’t be messed with for the sake of being new or different. ‘Nicely tidy’ and ‘efficient’ are the words that come to mind, hammered to the point where you realize that Subaru has gone against the current standard of making new models bigger than their predecessors. And in the Levorg, it has done so successfully.
‘The 1.6-liter turbo makes about as much as the non-turbo 2.5-liter motors’
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