Cruiser for choosers
Subaru pitches the “WRX wagon” at people who shun SUVs. Good call
AS A rule, “wagon” and “excitement” should never occur in the same sentence. Here goes: Subaru’s Levorg wagon delivers everyday practicality and, thanks to its WRX genes, plenty of excitement as well.
Subaru is pitching the Levorg at buyers it identifies as “SUV rejectors”, a pretty rare breed these days. If any sedanbased family freighter is going to tempt them away from midsize SUVs, it’s this one.
It’s basically a WRX from nose to the rear axle, with a wagonstyle boot grafted on behind.
The Levorg’s boot has 100L greater volume than the current Forester. It’s a simple, versatile design, with a low, wide, easy-to-load floor and a 60-40 split-folding rear seat back that flips down at the flick of a switch (on either side of the boot opening) to give you a flat, 1.8m-long load space.
You also get a couple of bag hooks and a load cover but no 12V outlet or power tailgate.
The WRX’s 197kW 2.0-litre boxer turbo does the honours in the Levorg, matched exclusively with a constantly variable transmission.
The range opens at $42,990 for the 2.0GT — $2000 more than the WRX sedan — then come the 2.0GT-S at $48,890 and the 2.0GT-S Spec B, which we’re testing, at $52,890.
If you want the complete performance wagon package, the extra $5900 for the GT-S is money well spent. Bilstein struts, as used in the WRX STi, and stiff springs improve handling significantly over the softer GT
In the GT-S, you also get a properly supportive, power adjustable sports driver’s seat upholstered in leather, blue trim stitching and additional safety features such as blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert. Also standard are satnav, sunroof and kerb view camera.
Apart from a brace between the front strut towers, GT-S Spec B is largely an STi body bling exercise.
Our test car’s Pure Red paint, with dark glass and trim and gloss black 18-inch alloy wheels combo, and its sorta-kinda slammed, road hugging stance, give it a delicious extra dose of killer. Nine STi badges adorn the exterior.
Look at me? Oh yeah.
One of the sportiest wagons around, the Levorg is also a very liveable daily driver.
The WRX engine is exceptionally smooth for a four and delivers an effortless, whooshka shove when you ask. Some turbo lag is evident off the line, especially in fuel-saving Intelligent mode where it also pulls minimum revs.
Subaru has the CVT wellsorted and with the 2.0-litre it’s a seamless, efficient combination that doesn’t compromise performance. It’s not what you would call frugal, though. Expect 12-14L/100km in town, on premium fuel.
The latest version of Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance in the Levorg activates automatic emergency braking when it detects a pedestrian or motorcycle. Its over-excitable lane departure warning, though, drives you nuts in the city — I turned it off.
As with the Forester tested a few weeks ago, the Levorg’s EyeSight cameras were temporarily blinded when driving into low, direct sun.
The GT-S’s kerbside camera is useful when parallel parking but the Spec B’s low front spoiler is vulnerable to damage.
Rear seat space is reasonable and two adults can travel