A car’s name is as important to the company as a child’s name is to its parents.
The difference being that car companies tell us they invest millions on market research and focus groups, to come up with a name for their new metal baby.
Over the years, many have left us scratching our heads or sniggering in disbelief.
Here are a few gems: Mitsubishi Lettuce, Mazda Scrum wagon, Great Wall Wingle, or Honda That and Honda Life Dunk, Renault Wind, AMC Gremlin, Dodge Dart Swinger, VW Thing, Studebaker Dictator and the Geely Rural Nanny to name a few.
Over the years Subaru has given us some rippers too, like the BRAT, the Justy and now…… the ‘Levorg’, made up from the words ‘LEgacy, eVOlution TouRinG’.
Strange name aside, a decent slice of Subaru’s WRX World Rally Championship success is found in the sporty Subaru Levorg wagon, that fills the gap left by the much-loved Liberty, which only comes in sedan form these days.
Offering the security of all-wheel drive with the dynamics of a wagon wrapped in a handsome looking body, we drove both the $43,240 entry model 2.0GT and the range-topping 2.0 GT-S Spec B, which will relieve you of $53,140 plus on road costs.
Under the bonnet is the same direct-injected 197kW/350Nm 2.0-litre boxer turbo powerhouse that lurks in the WRX, driving all four wheels through an excellent Sport Lineartronic CVT gearbox, featuring an eight-step manual mode that’s ideal for enthusiastic driving.
Zero to 100km/h is dispatched in just 6.6 seconds, so don’t be fooled by its ‘sleeper’ looks; the Levorg is no slouch. Enhancing to its driving appeal is Subaru’s three mode Si drive which noticeably hardens or blunts throttle response in each setting.
The Subaru Levorg has a WRX familiarity from the B-pillars forward, with a near identical front spoiler and huge air intake dominating the bonnet. It’s a clean design with flowing lines, a low ride height, dual exhausts slung under the rear diffuser, tapered side glass, a steeply-raked rear window, roof spoiler and 18-inch alloys beneath subtly flared guards. Although more compact tan the Liberty wagon, it boasts an extra 27 litres of carrying capacity.
Inside are traces of Impreza but the Subaru Levorg sports its own but pleasing look. It’s well decked out with a 6.2-inch infotainment touchscreen incorporating a reversing camera, Siri and Pandora compatibility, voice recognition, as well as Bluetooth and music streaming as well as an electric folding rear seat that expands the cargo area from 488 litres to 1446 litres.
Standard kit includes a leather-trimmed steering wheel, privacy rear glass, dual zone aircon and LED lights front and back.
Tick the box marked GT-S Spec B and you’ll get a bigger 7-inch touchscreen, sat nav, a dusk sensing interior mirror, rain sensing wipers with de-icer, electrically adjustable heated, leather sports seats, and an electric sunroof.
The Spec B also gives you Subaru’s EyeSight camera detection system – designed to prevent nose-to-tail crashes in stop-start traffic with two tiny cameras mounted at the top of the windscreen scanning the road in front. The Vision Assist package with high-beam, lane change, side and blind spot assist plus and rear cross traffic alert, are all standard.
According to those riding in the back the 60/40 split rear seat is comfortable, but up front I felt like I was sitting on, not in, the seat which lacks side and under thigh support. Given its excellent lateral grip and GT moniker, I expected sportier, more supportive pews. Those in the Spec B were much more to my liking.
The leather steering wheel has paddle shifts and almost as many buttons as an F1 car, though I found easy to get used to. The infotainment screen’s graphics look a bit dated, but otherwise it’s all good. It is reasonably spacious in both rows with no complaints about leg or headroom.
Around town the Levorg feels gentle, happily plodding along in the traffic and it would be easy to dismiss it as a ‘Mums taxi’, safely shuffling kids about in the burbs.
On a long drudge up a packed highway its light steering and relaxed ride were welcome; less so was the intrusive noise into the cabin from the tyres.
And it while I was cruising along that I began to wonder how much WRX’ness had Subaru injected into the Levorg. A few quick squirts on the gas reminded me of its turbo grunt and excellent CVT gearbox. But it wasn’t until I headed onto some favourite back roads, that I unlocked its true character.
Over winding roads, the Subaru Levorg was entertaining, its overall package providing an enjoyable driving experience, highlighted by assuring cornering poise and loads of grunt out of corners, while its sizeable progressive brakes, kept my enthusiasm in check.
Safety wise the Levorg’s previously mentioned suite of safety technologies earn it a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
The name Levorg doesn’t roll off the tongue easily but it’s a capable, good looking fun to drive sports wagon, whichever model you choose. It has plenty of pace and space and all-wheel grip, to keep you secure in all conditions.