Why does everyone love Subarus so much

A Japanese who loves the Alps

Exotic brand, rare engine: Subaru holds tight to the boxer. All-wheel drive is part of it for the Japanese anyway. As a combination, the Levorg stands for both advantages.

Subaru has been steadily improving for a number of years. The last time we reported about the Japanese brand, they were just delighted to see an annual production record: over 800,000 vehicles for the first time! Now you're already over the million. The manufacturer has the luxury problem, it is said, that it cannot build as many cars as would be required. Demand is particularly high in the USA, where Subaru sells more than three times as many cars as in its home market of Japan, where Subaru is one of the smallest car manufacturers.

Japanese loner

The brand is one of the loners in the industry. Its trademarks are all-wheel drive (since 1972) and boxer engine, to which it sticks firmly, apart from a few collaborations with other manufacturers. When the need for a diesel engine arose in Europe, one was designed as a boxer - the world's first and so far only one.

In Europe it is still an exotic brand with just 42,000 cars sold per year. With 700 pieces, this status is also held in Austria. XV, Forester and Outback is the ranking of Subaru's bestsellers with us, if you can speak of such in terms of the numbers.

With the Levorg introduced in February, there is now a new model in the range. Certainly a case for the niche, if only because of the lack of a diesel engine. But if you can get over that and like to leave the mainstream, the Levorg is an interesting all-wheel-drive station wagon. The car is based on the Impreza but is larger than its successor, XV.

The engine is a direct-injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder, with turbo and of course in a flat boxer design. This secures the typically low center of gravity, which can already be felt in the first corners, so the car can feel the corners so steadfastly and free from load changes. The traction is first class anyway, the handy car can only be driven deliberately out of the lane.

With the oversized hood on the bonnet, the boxer engine also gives the car a visual impact. Since it is so flat, the radiator can be arranged horizontally over the engine. Sure, a little Impreza WRX folklore plays a role.

The Levorg is suitably motorized with 170 hp. The smooth running of the boxer is appreciated, while the CVT transmission is not to everyone's taste. We have made friends with the stepless automatic. Of all the technical arguments in favor of it, the quick response and the smooth behavior of the drive in every situation outweighs the occasional irritation when the engine remains at a speed level for longer under full load - this is the most efficient for the current purpose, the gear then only varies the translation. The switching steps are also very well simulated, the rocker switch is often used as a flexible, stretchable motor brake.

Cleverly thought, direct and free of frills, like the whole car. The Levorg is an insider tip for us, also in terms of price. The GT-S variant saves you the surcharge list: Everything is already on board that a fine all-purpose and, above all, a winter car needs.

Dimensions: L / W / H: 4690/1780/1490 mm. Wheelbase: 2650 mm. Empty weight: 1568 kg. Boot space: 522–1446 l. Engine: Four-cylinder boxer Otto, turbo, 1600 cc. 125 kW (170 PS), 250 Nm. All-wheel drive, automatic CVT. Consumption: 9.5 l.price from 32,990 euros (GT-S).


(Print edition, April 22, 2016)