Instant hit, muted soundtrack
The Levorg’s wagon styling means it sits lower to the ground than a comparable SUV. The lower centre of gravity gives it an instant edge in handling over the crossover crowd, especially when combined with minimal body roll and permanent all-wheel drive. There’s no trade-off in cargo capacity either: the Levorg’s 522L of space is well up on the likes of the Forester (422L), Mazda CX-5 (403L) and Kia Sportage (466L).
Subaru does one of the best continuously variable transmissions in the game — to the point where half of all WRX sedans in Australia ae sold with a CVT. The Levorg is more than capable of moving quickly but the CVT limits accompanying aural excitement, even if it does avoid the dreaded “drone”. The CVT does a reasonable job around town but is too fixated on fuel economy rather than responsiveness on the back roads. Slip it into manual mode and you can use the paddleshifters to engage eight predetermined “ratios” and savour its sporting credentials.
A bar connecting the front suspension towers is the only performance-enhancing upgrade in the $4000 Spec-B option. The rest is STI-branded bling: shift knob, black alloy wheels, spoilers, deeper side sills and push-start button. It looks good but there’s no bite to the meaner bark and that’s got me questioning the Spec-B designation.
All versions get EyeSight sensors with adaptive cruise control and auto emergency braking. Only the higher-spec GT-S comes with the full suite of driving aids, in what is dubbed a “Vision Assist” pack that bundles auto high-beam with lane change, blind spot and rear cross-traffic alerts and projects warnings directly on to the windscreen. Going from the base GT to the GT-S takes the price from $42,990 to $48,890. A claimed combined figure of 8.7L/100km doesn’t give the Levorg an edge in the consumption battle. Put that down to the combination of CVT and a fulltime all-wheel drive. The Skoda Octavia RS has the same engine displacement and turbo power yet sips 6.6L/100km (with frontwheel drive and a dual-clutch auto, admittedly). Keep the Levorg on the pace and it’s easy to use in the low 10s.