After just over a year on sale, the Subaru Levorg sports wagon range has been updated and expanded as part of a 2018 model year update to broaden its appeal. This comes just a week after Subaru unveiled a similar update for its WRX range, of which the Levorg is based on.
The entry point to the range has fallen to $35,990 thanks to the addition of a new entry-level model powered by a new 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. The existing Subaru Levorg lineup has been changed too, with the top-spec model now named 2.0 STI Sport and added equipment across the range.
Subaru Australia Managing Director, Colin Christie, said: “Levorg has opened up a whole new performance niche for Subaru since we launched just over a year ago.
“We can now see even greater opportunity with the addition of two 1.6-litre turbo variants that will make this fun, flexible wagon available to an even greater cross-section of customers.
“Equally, by adding the prestige of the STI badge to the range-topping 2.0 STI Sport, we’re catering to customer demand for something even more exclusive at the top of the range – so the freshened MY18 line-up represents a significant opportunity for us.”
The smaller 1.6-litre turbo Boxer engine in the Levorg range joins the existing 2.0-litre turbo option, which arrived in Australian showrooms in May 2016. The Levorg – essentially a slightly longer Impreza wagon – is considered to be, spiritually at least, a modern interpretation of a Subaru wagon from the mid-2000’s where performance drivers had the choice between the WRX, Liberty GT or 3.0 wagons.
The 1.6-litre turbo Levorg has been on sale in select markets such as Europe and Japan since the Levorg’s conception in 2014, and joins the Australian range as a cut-price alternative to mid-size SUVs for those wanting the space and practicality but not necessarily the grunt of the existing 197kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo Levorg.
Producing a more sedate 125kW/250Nm, the 1.6-litre turbo lowers the entry price of Levorg to $35,990 plus on-road costs. Like the 2.0-litre variants, the 1.6-litre is matched to a CVT automatic with a manual mode. The engine’s peak torque is produced from 1,800-4,800rpm which enhances its drivability, and should offer good fuel consumption – Subaru claims 7.4L/100km combined – unlike the new Impreza and its naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine.
The 1.6-litre turbo engine is available in two different Levorg models, starting with the $35,990 1.6 GT. The 1.6 GT is priced right in the medium SUV heartland, and well equipped for the money. Automatic cornering LED headlamps, front and rear foglamps, a 6.2-inch infotainment system with six speakers and a rear camera, 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob, cloth interior trim, keyless entry and start and heated electric-folding mirrors all come as standard equipment.
Crucially, even the entry level Levorg receives Subaru’s EyeSight active safety equipment, including autonomous emergency braking, radar cruise control, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist as standard.
Step up to a 1.6 GT Premium ($42,890), and you earn retuned Bilstein suspension, a larger 7.0-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation, larger 18-inch alloy wheels, silver exterior mirrors, two extra USB ports, leather upholstery with a ten-way power adjustable driver’s seat with electric lumbar adjustment and memory settings, heated front seats and Vision Assist, which includes a side-view monitor, blind-spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear traffic alert, a front view camera and automatic high beam headlights.
Above the new 1.6-litre turbo variants sit the familiar 197kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo variants, which have been reshuffled with $5,900-higher entry point than before. At $49,140, the 2.0 GT-S shares its specification with the 1.6-litre GT Premium and adds a Sport# drivetrain mode and black accents to the its 18-inch alloy wheels.
Sitting atop the local Subaru Levorg range is the $51,990 2.0 STI Sport, which adds maroon leather sports seats and a number of STI-styled design touches, including sports bumpers, exhaust tips, instrument clusters, 18-inch alloy wheels, STI-tuned suspension and availability of Subaru’s signature WR Blue paint.
Subaru have also been working on the way the Levorg drives, with retuned suspension for “better flat ride comfort with minimal pitching”, with the changes “helping absorb even the smallest bumps and subtle changes in the road
surface, for superior ride comfort.”
Like the recently updated WRX lineup, the Levorg also receives new equipment, including the brand’s first auto-hold functionality, which allows drivers to take their feet off the brakes when at a stand still and the car will hold there until the accelerator is pressed. The Levorg 2.0 GT-S and STI Sport also receive the WRX’s new brakes, which supposedly offer up to 20 percent more fade resistance during hard use.
A new front-view camera is standard on 1.6 GT Premium and above, and helps drivers see in garages and when pulling out of intersections. Adding to the car’s practicality are new 40/20/40-split rear seats and a smart rear view mirror, which relays an image from a tailgate-mounted camera and helps with situations where the car may be fully loaded or in poor visibility.
With Levorg sales recording just 14 units in June 2017, the addition of a cheaper entry-level model will be welcome news for Subaru Australia. The Levorg itself has sold 493 units so far in 2017 for 2.3 percent market share in the under $60,000 medium car market, though when combined with the Liberty sedan, that percentage grows to eight percent – still less than the single-line Mazda 6 and Toyota Camry.
2018 Subaru Levorg pricing (plus on-road costs):
Levorg 1.6 GT – $35,990
Levorg 1.6 GT Premium – $42,890
Levorg 2.0 GT-S – $49,140
Levorg 2.0 STI Sport – $51,990
The 2018 Subaru Levorg is in Subaru dealerships now.