The Subaru Levorg has always struck me as a car with a bit of an identity crisis.
Is it a WRX wagon with another name? A luxury estate with a proudly mainstream badge? Neither, really. But in an era of unmatched homogeneity, anything that's hard to define or put into a box is intriguing.
Subaru Australia, to its credit, is keen for us to look at its go-fast wagon from another angle. So when we proposed a long-term loan, the company threw a set of keys to a brand new 2.0 GT-S variant our way.
When we say new, we mean it. It was delivered with fewer than 100 kilometres on the clock. By the time we're done in a few months, it'll make for a fine potential dealer demo at auction. So if you like the look, hit us up...
The Levorg 2.0 GT-S sits one rung below the flagship 2.0 STI Sport, and wears a sticker price of $49,140 before on-road costs. For reference, the base Levorg 1.6 GT costs $35,990.
Subaru's product plan has clearly been to load every version up to the gills with standard features and position the Levorg as a premium proposition. It's got a loooooong list of features:
Dual-zone climate control, powered (for the driver) leather seats with heating and blue stitching, button start, LED headlights with dusk-sensors, a sunroof, satellite navigation and every piece of active safety tech Subaru makes.
This means blind-spot monitoring, high beam assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane assist, adaptive cruise control, AEB... you get the gist. It also beeps at you if the car ahead takes off and you're not paying attention, and a rear-view mirror with built-in camera for times when your view behind is impeded by cargo.
Under the bonnet is a 2.0 flat four, turbocharged, lifted from the iconic WRX. It makes 197kW at 5600rpm, and 350Nm of torque between 2400 and 5200rpm. Being a Subaru, it's got a permanent all-wheel drive system with variable torque distribution between each end of the car.
It also comes standard with an automatic transmission, sure to raise purists' eyebrows. More intriguing, it's not some fangled double-clutch performance 'box. It's a CVT, albeit one with paddles and a S# mode with eight stepped, programmed ratios.
Subaru claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.6 seconds. In anyone's language, that ain't hanging about.
Other mechanical bits include Bilstein suspension (MacPherson strut front/double wishbone rear), and Dunlop SPSport Maxx 050 tyres on pretty sexy 18-inch wheels. The car tips the scales at 1622kg, with fluids.
Ours also has Thule roof racks. We've got a few cyclists in the office we can lean on for help using them. We've also got a current fourth-gen Subaru Liberty wagon owner, and an ex-Outback owner, both of whom are intrigued and will give some good insights.
- The infotainment lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, unlike the newer-gen Liberty/XV.
- That fancy rear view mirror/camera takes some adjustment, but it can be turned off, and we will give it a chance.
- If you like a dizzying array of buttons and screens in your cabin, this car will float your boat. It's an engineer's dream.
- The suspension, particularly at the rear, feels a little unsorted. It seems to 'thunk' over sharp inputs, hits its bump stops too easily (under-damped?), and has some undisciplined body control over repetitive undulations. Hmm, we'll investigate.
- The CVT is actually not terrible as some doubters may have assumed. It's actually pretty responsive in S#... Am I a performance-scene traitor?
- The surety of AWD traction was made abundantly clear to me after driving a few hundred clicks in a torrential downpour.
- It has one of the nicest steering wheels I've ever held. The seats are excellent, too.
We will bring you more over the next few months. Questions? Ask away...