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Driven: Subaru Levorg launched at $43K

Family friendly: Subaru will use the Levorg to attract new buyers to the brand, including young families.

WRX-style Levorg wagon aimed at previous Subaru Liberty GT buyers

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Subaru logo24 Jun 2016

SUBARU Australia will target former Liberty GT owners – among others – with its new Levorg wagon that was launched locally this week with a three-tier range priced from $42,990 plus on-road costs.

The Levorg is heavily based on the WRX wagon, adopting its entire front end structure with the same 197kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged boxer four-cylinder engine.

All variants – the $43k GT, $48,890 GT-S and $52,890 GT-S Spec B – come with an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) with Intelligent, Sport and Sport# modes and paddle shifters.

Speaking at the local launch of the Levorg this week in Port Macquarie, Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior said the wagon “is going to fill a gap in our lineup, (but) not a gaping hole”.

He said the addition of a small performance wagon might at first seem peculiar in a booming SUV market in which Subaru’s Outback is averaging 950 sales a month.

“It’s against that interesting backdrop (booming SUV sales) that we introduce Levorg, but we do it with a very high level of comfort knowing that this is one of the most anticipated launches for us for many years,” Mr Senior said.

“It (Levorg) is that tantalising blend of wagon practicality and sporty performance that Subaru first nailed with the Liberty RS turbo back in the early 1990s. The RS turbo wagon morphed into the Liberty GT and that vehicle in the fourth-generation Liberty was the most successful and popular of all the Libertys.

“But as the Liberty wagon and its turbocharged variants disappeared from our lineup there has been a rallying cry for a spiritual successor to that fourth generation Liberty GT wagon.” The 4690mm-long and 1780mm-wide Levorg respectively stretches 10mm and 30mm further than the fourth-gen Liberty GT – sold locally between 2003 and 2009 – with increased legroom and boot space claimed.

“We expect many will be additional sales (to the Subaru brand). We will see fourth-generation Liberty buyers and there will be significant conquest sales,” Mr Senior said.

“It is important for us as a brand to attract these new customers to Subaru in order for us to reach our long-term business plan goals.

“We are well represented in key demographics but (with Levorg) we want to attract more younger people, particularly females and younger Australian families to Subaru and those families with one or two younger kids.” A competitor chart displayed at the Levorg presentation shows the Subaru targeting a Skoda Octavia RS and Mazda6 wagons below it, but with the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 wagons above it, according to the brand’s positioning.

Levorg’s unique rear structure provides boot volume of 486 litres – 26L bigger than that of the WRX sedan.

The Levorg tips the scales between 1538kg and 1582kg , depending on variant, making it up to 109kg heavier than the WRX sedan.

The weight penalty means the Levorg is three-tenths of a second slower than its WRX CVT stablemate on the standstill to 100km/h sprint, at 6.6 seconds. It is also 0.1 litres per 100km thirstier on the combined cycle fuel consumption test, at 8.6L/100km.

Across the range, the Levorg is fitted with18-inch alloy wheels shod with 225mm-wide Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres 45-aspect profile compared with the 245/40 units of the WRX.

While the MacPherson strut front/double wishbone independent rear suspension is of the same design as the sedan, Subaru insists the Levorg does not just feel like a WRX sedan to drive.

The Levorg GT gets KYB dampers that aim to combine WRX handling with ride comfort modeled off the current Liberty.

The Levorg GT-S adds Bilstein dampers with inverted front struts aimed at delivering a slightly firmer ride and sharper handling. To this the GT-S Spec B adds a front tower brace that is said to tighten front-end point and steering response.

Every Levorg features Subaru’s EyeSight safety system with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision alert, pre-collision steering assistance and autonomous emergency braking (AEB). This is in concert with a rear camera, dual front, front-side, full-length curtain and driver’s knee airbags, and switchable electronic stability control (ESC).

The GT-S also gets blind-spot monitor, lane-change assistance, rear cross-traffic alert and LED lower windscreen lights that illuminate yellow or red depending on the severity of an imminent impact.

The GT kicks off the standard kit list with auto-off LED headlights, foglights, keyless auto-entry with push-button start, a 6.2-inch colour touchscreen with AUX/USB/CD/Bluetooth audio streaming connectivity, dual-zone climate control, leather trimmed steering wheel and gearshift knob, and cloth trim.

The $5900 stretch to the GT-S then upsizes the centre screen to 7.0 inches and adds satellite navigation, Siri and Pandora internet app connectivity and a side-view monitor, a sunroof, auto on/off headlights, high-beam and wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, plus leather trim with heated sports front seats including driver eight-way electric adjustment.

Subaru expects most buyers will make the further $4000 jump to the GT-S Spec B that adds a locally fitted STI kit with front, rear and side spoilers, black alloys and a unique shift knob and red starter button.

The local outfit of the Japanese brand expects Levorg sales of between 200 and 250 a month.

2016 Subaru Levorg pricing*
GT (a) $42,990
GT-S (a) $48,890
GT-S Spec B (a) $52,890
*Excludes on-road costs

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