Subaru Levorg built to performance car values

SUBARU LEVORG: Turbocharged station wagon.

I find it interesting that Subaru New Zealand categorise its Levorg as a performance car, stacking it up alongside the Impreza WRX and STi.

I guess it does have certain similarities to those two cars, for one it is built on much the same platform and it is one of few models left in the Subaru range which is turbocharged. However, the Levorg is a station wagon, which by my way of thinking, its primary function is to do all those useful things for which I love the concept.

I’m quite smitten with the Levorg, it’s a dynamic, practical wagon and one which is quite lively when performance is requested.

For the second time, I experienced the Levorg in a racetrack environment, the first was a year or two back at Highlands Motorsport Park near Cromwell at the media launch for the car here, the second time was just recently at Hampton Downs in the Waikato when a mid-life upgrade and facelift filtered through the range, the event also included a few hot laps in the Impreza-based performance models mentioned in my introduction.

Those two models will feature in future reviews. This evaluation focuses solely on Levorg, and it is a car which covers many bases. For one, the wagon section boasts a handy load space, while the seating area provides comfortable transport for five adults. The Levorg is not as big as the old Legacy wagon, but it is a useful alternative for those who related to everything the Legacy wagon stood for.

The Levorg utilises the 2-litre version of Subaru’s quad-camshaft, horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine. As mentioned, it is turbocharged with a 197kW consequence. It also pumps out a healthy 350Nm of torque, both outputs realised relatively low in the rev band at 5600rpm and 2400rpm respectively. Like all modern engines, the Levorg’s unit is also calibrated so that fuel efficiency hasn’t been overly jeopardised. Sure, if you like to squeeze the power of the turbocharger in sport or sport sharp performance mode, economy isn’t going to be fantastic, but Subaru have leaned out the engines right across the range and the Levorg is rated with a 8.7-litre per 100km (33mpg) combined cycle output. That correlates well with the 10l/100km (28mpg) figure showing on-board the evaluation car.

In terms of acceleration, the Levorg can cut out a standstill to 100km/h time of 6.6sec and will make 120km/h from 80km/h in 4sec, hence the reason why it carries a performance car label. It is quick, and the turbo boost is quite delightful.

Given I have had a lot of track time in the Levorg, I felt I didn’t need to put it through too much pace on my home turf. However, I did cover much of my inland evaluation route and came away quite excited. That’s no surprise, the last model captured my attention, the newcomer with its improvements, leaves quite an impression.

As with all Subarus sold new in New Zealand, the Levorg gets the four-wheel-drive system which has become legendary from the brand. It’s not so much a mechanism that you use to travel off-road as such, sure it will take you places off the seal, but it also provides unsurpassed sealed road grip, along with a feel from the structure of the vehicle which is quite defining. I’m talking about the information that is transferred from the suspension and the associated drive, it is quite evident especially when the car is forced out of a corner under acceleration, drive to the rear is accentuated.

On that subject the Levorg is available as an automatic only and the continuously variable system works quite unlike what we have come to expect from CVT in the past. There are paddle shifters which work on an eight-step system and it feels quite orthodox, discernable changes and the ratio structure working on tandem with the drive mode chosen.

New on the Levorg for 2018 is a cosmetic enhancement both inside and out and an electronic upgrade mostly surrounding the Eyesight safety technology. There are greater collision avoidance electronics and a rear view camera-based system which views through the interior mirror. There is also an automatic hold facility on the brake at standstill.

Those features sit on top of what could be considered premium car attributes in the first instance. The Levorg at $57,990 does carry a lot of kit and should be considered value given
that it delivers in so many ways.

The Levorg is an exciting car and one which fits well into the line-up and offers something for all drivers and for all speeds. It is certainly a car which defies today’s buying trend towards sport utility vehicles.

Price – Subaru Levorg, $57,990

Dimensions – Length, 4690mm; width, 1780mm; height, 1490mm

Configuration –  Four-cylinder, four-wheel-drive, 1998cc, 197kW, 350Nm, continuously variable automatic

Performance –
0-100km/h, 6.6sec

Fuel usage – 8.7l/100km