A Carworthy Of Brian

We checked out Subaru’s latest levorg in taipei, and found out why this car will appeal to family men and race enthusiasts alike.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
We checked out Subaru’s latest levorg in taipei, and found out why this car will appeal to family men and race enthusiasts alike.
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“The levorg would have been the perfect car for Brian O’Conner to settle into domestication and become a soccer dad.”

Motor Image, the exclusive distributor of Subaru vehicles in Southeast Asia, recently launched a brand new model, the Subaru Levorg. In case you’re wondering, the name is derived from a combination of the words “legacy,” “revolution” and “touring,” offering customers a vehicle that combines the practicality of a tourer with the stylish feel of a sports car.

That certainly sounds like a vehicle with the best of both form and function. So when Subaru invited us to go check out the Levorg at a launch in Taipei, as well as spin some wheels on their test track, it was hard to say no.

AN INTRODUCTION

So what exactly is the Levorg about, we asked Glenn Tan, the executive director of Tan Chong International Ltd, the moment we hit the launch at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Centre.

“Subaru’s new model is an ‘innovative tourer’ that combines the carmaker’s sports performance with the practicality of a wagon,” he revealed. “With a new boxer engine, agile handling and an abundant load space, we feel the Levorg will appeal to the functional, family-orientated and adventurous customer who appreciates performance, touring capabilities and ample cargo space.”

FROM A DISTANCE

The Levorg takes the existing Impreza architecture and platform, and gets stretched to wagon dimensions. As a result, the vehicle measures 4,690mm long, 1,780mm wide and 1,485mm tall (compared to 1,490mm for the GT-S).

As we approached the car, it looked strangely like another Subaru favourite – the WRX (at least from the front). In fact, perhaps it can be considered a baby WRX wagon, since it shares the same A-pillar and bonnet with the WRX sedan. And its backward-slanting roofline has hints of the Volvo V60.

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BRIAN WOULD HAVE LOVED IT

The first thing we exclaimed when we got in the car? “Wow, Brian would have really loved this ride!” If you caught Furious 7 , it was really quite a tear jerker, with fans of the franchise saying a final goodbye to actor Paul Walker, who played Brian O’Conner, one of the movie’s main characters. Paul passed away in a car accident in 2013.

One of the early scenes in the movie had Brian trying to get over his first love from the earlier movies – a Subaru WRX STi – and attempting to adapt to being a father and driving a domestic-looking station wagon.

The hilarious scene showed Brian trying to rev the automobile – with little success. That was the reason why we thought the Levorg would have been the perfect car for him to ride into the sunset.

And once we got the gears going, it was. A carpark the size of two football fields had been converted into a test-drive circuit, and while driving in it doesn’t give you an accurate gauge of how the Levorg would perform in real-world situations, it was enough for the car to show its quality in three main areas: engine, handling and equipment level.

Its 1.6-litre turbo engine may be small, but it cranks out a respectable 170bhp and 250Nm, matching the performance of the Legacy’s 2.5-litre power plant (175bhp/ Citta Bella 235Nm). On paper, it is also more frugal – 7.4 litres per 100km versus 7.7.

THE DRIVE

Paired with a continuously variable transmission with six virtual gears, the power transfer felt seamless and brisk. And on the slalom course, the automobile twisted and turned with a confidence that belied its rear bulk.

In fact, the circuit was such a lark with the Levorg that several other Singaporean journos woke up early the morning after the launch just for more time behind the wheel, because then they had the circuit completely to themselves!

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THE REST OF THE RIDE

This car will appeal to families upgrading from sedans and hatchbacks – they will be tempted by the extra space – while those who like Europeanstyle wagons will be attracted to its high equipment level and lower price tag. And, of course, grown-up boy racers may be drawn to its WRX-ness.

But it appeals to those who hate having to bring along their car keys when going for a jog. Motor Image is bringing in the top variant, with frills like sunroof, 7-inch infotainment system with touchscreen controls, 18-inch sports rims, and a cool feature that allows the driver to lock and unlock the car while the key is inside the Levorg.

To open the door, you only need to tap the trunk release button of the tailgate in a pre-programmed, Morse code-like sequence. In a nutshell, no more keys – leave them in the car! Just don’t forget the sequence.

Looking at getting one? Currently, the Levorg 1.6GT-S AWD CVT will set you back $122,800. Our take? You’ll definitely be getting bang for your buck with this ride. And, yes, Brian would approve.