I HAD the privilege of having the new Subaru Levorg for a weekend. I am a Subaru fan and have driven all their cars. When the Levorg was first launched in Japan, it seemed to me that this car was not going to be brought to the Philippine market. I figured that this is a WRX station wagon. The WRX is priced around P1.9 million, so the Levorg must be more expensive. I was wrong. The Levorg is priced at P1.7 million. One would figure that Subaru must have scrimped on something to be able to sell this at a lower price. Indeed they did – they took away the useless features for the average motorist and installed a 1.6 liter Direct Injection Turbo engine instead of the 2.0 liter found on the WRX.
The features that they took away were the sports sharp mode, which make the engine response ultra aggressive and the track mode, a feature you use when you are in a racetrack, features that are pretty much useless on a station wagon. Now the 1.6 liter engine is not bad at all. It actually is very smooth and has some good power, a lot better power and torque as compared to their naturally aspirated 2.0 engines found in the XV, Impreza and the non-turbo Forester. While the engine is no WRX, it is no slouch either. There is more that enough power to have a whole lot of fun driving it aggressively. Hitting 160 kph is very easy.
The big surprise to me is that the car has a significantly more comfortable ride as compared to the WRX, Forester and XV. I was thinking that being a station wagon it would have a harsher ride than the WRX. It is also a very quiet and smooth car on the inside. It actually feels like those expensive European cars.
Subaru has consistently produced the best handling cars compared to other Asian competitors, and this is all because of its advanced symmetrical all-wheel drive system. Most, if not all Asian manufactured cars have the front engine front-wheel drive platform and handles very different from a Subaru. The feeling of confidence you get in driving a Subaru is really second to none. This is one car that would be an absolute pleasure to drive on long distances.
I drove the Levorg through the Transcentral Highway with ease. There was not a section where the car had to struggle. It proved that its engine had more than enough. I tried using the paddle shift and concluded that the car’s computer was smarter than me in choosing gears that I felt I was a lot quicker leaving it on drive.
The next day, I went to Porter Marina in Liloan. From the main road there is about a kilometer of rough roads before reaching the Marina. The rough roads were handled very easily. Zero bone jarring events. I was very impressed.
It’s a great car but there are so many cars in this price range. The most popular cars in this price range are the Asian SUVs such as the Fortuner, Montero Sport, Ford Everest and the like. These cars, apart from being spacious, have become popular because of the direct injection turbo diesel technology, which is fuel efficient and powerful.
The Levorg can be a game changer in this price range. It is spacious yet compact, making it easier to drive in our tight traffic roads. The 1.6 liter direct injection turbo gasoline engine is very fuel efficient without the vibration of a diesel, and gasoline engines are cheaper and easier to maintain compared to diesel engines. The advantage of direct injection turbo diesel has been eradicated by this new Subaru engine. Overall maintenance should also be cheaper as a lighter car is less harsh on the brakes and tires.
If you are looking for an Asian SUV, be a little bit open-minded. Try this car and you’ll be surprised.