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New Subaru Levorg nears production, previews next WRX

John Law

Subaru this week unveiled an all-new Levorg concept at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, with the near-production wagon providing clues as to what the next WRX sedan will look like. The two won’t share a platform, though: the second-generation Levorg switches to Subaru’s new global platform that underpins the latest Impreza and Forester models, while a new 1.8-litre turbo boxer engine sits beneath its classic bonnet scoop. 

Subaru released the first generation Levorg in 2016 to take place of the long-defunct but much loved WRX Sport Wagon, offering a new option for enthusiasts who had to carry bicycles or large dogs. In Australia the niche appeal of the sporty wagon put a number of first-gen cars made it onto the roads, though our thirst for SUVs meant it never truly took off.

Should the Japanese brand choose to bring the new Levorg back to Australian shores, it will wade into battle with fun and practical Octavia VRS, Mazda 6 Wagon, and to a certain extent its own Liberty and WRX sedan stablemates.

2020 Subie Levorg exterior - 1

Outside, the Levorg has been re-styled though it’s not a drastic makeover. The new generation retains the boy-racer bonnet scoop, but gains more muscular rear haunches, some aggressive – if slightly bulbous – bumper styling, and much sharper body creases. 

The overall shape of the Levorg has been around for a long time now, the new car bears a striking resemblance to both the previous generation and much-loved fourth Gen Liberty. Both successful designs in their time that have aged well indeed, but we think Subaru may have gone a bit overboard with the intense creasing and polyhedral wheel arches, but we’ll reserve judgement until one arrives in the office.

Previously the Levorg was based on WRX underpinnings, acting as a contemporary version of the Sport Wagon WRX of the 2000s. This update of the Levorg, and the age of the current WRX suggests there may be an update to that car in the very near future, most likely sitting on the same global platform.

2020 Subie Levorg exterior - 4

The move to Subaru’s global platform ought to keep the handling of the new car sharp as it’s the same platform that underpins the brand’s current Liberty, Outback and Forester which all drive admirably. 

Coming to the new generation is an all-new 1.8-litre turbocharged boxer four. This will replace the rather long in the tooth two-litre boxer unit found in the top level GT-S and STI. Performance figures for this new engine have yet to be confirmed, though expect them to be comparative to the outgoing car’s 197kW/350Nm with significantly improved fuel consumption.

It’s likely the Levorg will most likely have more engines added to the line-up as time goes on, with Subaru’s more efficient 1.6-litre 125kW/250Nm boxer four on lesser trim lines  a potential carry-over, but so far this concept only suggests one option.

2020 Subie Levorg exterior - 3

An interior redesign in certain to keep up with contemporary competitors, though no images have been released yet. Subaru are claiming a comprehensive update to software though, using Subaru’s next gen EyeSight tech that pairs cameras with four radar sensors to provide 360 degree awareness, improved active cruise control, AEB, blind-spot monitoring, and front and rear cross-traffic assist.

On top of this, Subaru claim the Levorg will utilise a new navigation system that can communicate active cruise control to help navigate corners without driver input, and a connected services to provide emergency response.

A concept the Levorg it may be, but it appears very close to production. Subaru claims the car will be unveiled in the second half of 2020 in Japan, which would equate to an Aussie arrival later that year or early 2021, we look forward to seeing how it stacks up against increasingly efficient competitors.