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If you poll American Subaru enthusiasts on what they appetite best from the Japanese automaker, you will apprehend endless requests for a new WRX wagon or hatchback. Or, conceivably bigger yet, the Japanese bazaar Subaru Levorg wagon.
For all intents and purposes, the Subaru 2018 Levorg is a WRX wagon. It’s congenital on the same…
As I begin out on a contempo cruise to Japan, that admiration is justified—even as it charcoal unfulfilled. America needs the Subaru Levorg. Save for one adequately above deficiency, it’s absolutely what the doctor ordered to cure Wagon Madness.
(Full Disclosure: Subaru flew me out and addition scattering of American journalists to Fuji International Speedway, fed me endlessly, and put me up in a actual admirable auberge in Tokyo so that I could get some bench time in STI models and appear the achievement branch’s 30th-anniversary accident at the hunt track.)
I’m not badinage about how bedeviled enthusiasts are with Subaru wagons. Aback I asked Jalopnik readers on our Instagram and Facebook accumulation what they capital from Subaru or if they had any questions for the automaker, an alarming majority asked about the Levorg.
Take a attending for yourself:
These bodies apperceive what they want.
The aftermost time America got a adventurous Subaru with some added rear overhang was with the last-generation WRX hatchback. It was additionally the alone bearing of an STI auto was brought to America.
Interestingly, sales of the STI auto against the auto for the last-gen car were about equal, Motor Trend appear in 2014.
Before that archetypal went on auction here, the Japanese automaker awash a sportier, turbocharged adaptation of its Outback wagon, the Outback XT, and above-mentioned to that, the Legacy GT wagon. And of course, the aboriginal bearing of WRX that came to the U.S. had a wagon adaptation too.
But currently, the alone performance-focused models Subaru sells in America are the WRX and the WRX STI, which are both sedans. (It charcoal to be apparent whether we can calculation the new Legacy XT in the “sport sedan” category.)
I can bethink the canicule aback the Subaru Legacy was absolutely article of an absorbing car, a…
So aback Subaru, STI, and the companies’ admirers were adulatory the 30th ceremony of the STI cast at Fuji aftermost Sunday, the Japanese automaker accepted me a baby aftertaste of aloof what the American bazaar is missing out on.
After putting a scattering of laps in about a abbreviate ambit at Fuji in some new STI products, the one car that afflicted me the most—somewhere amid the new STI S209, BRZ STI Sport, and the JDM STI S208—was the Levorg STI Sport.
Though there’s no Subaru wagon that’s a abounding STI model—like what the WRX STI is to the accustomed WRX—the Levorg STI Sport is a trim that’s had its abeyance retuned up by the achievement cast and gets some sportier artful $.25 befuddled on as well.
It gets the WRX’s FA20 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer-four engine, this time putting out about 300 hp, but unfortunately, like all added Levorg trims, it’s alone accessible with a continuously capricious transmission.
Of course, alike with those achievement bits, it wasn’t about the best able or best grippy of the bunch, but acknowledgment to its banned bake-apple cachet to Americans like myself and its adeptness to affectation its wagon-y accumulation while actuality thrashed on track, it was absolutely the best memorable. It was additionally the aftermost car I collection that day, so… that apparently helps too.
Oh, and those added cars were abundant as well, but I accepted them to be great. They’re clue cars. Not costly wagons. I didn’t apprehend as abundant clue adequacy from the STI-tuned Levorg. But I’ll allocution added about some of those added cars later.
On track, the Levorg STI Sport acquainted aloof about as able as a accustomed WRX. I was throwing it over curbing, diving into corners, giving the CVT hell, and, for the best part, the wagon took it like a champ. It cornered flat, additional itself out of corners aback I mashed the throttle, and slowed itself bottomward afterwards trouble. I was almost accepting into what I accepted would be after-effects of understeer, alike as I overdrove the car. And this was all while I was aggravating to hunt bottomward addition announcer in an STI S208 auto in advanced of me. If I had added laps, I affirm I would’ve had him. (Sorry, Blake!)
There was, of course, one acutely above blemish for clue use. That was the CVT. As announcer afterwards announcer exhausted the Levorg about the track, the chiral appeared to become beneath and beneath happy. I can’t say for sure, but on-site STI agents appeared to be ecology the CVT’s achievement with a computer affiliated to the OBDII anchorage already they noticed it was demography a beating. It additionally seemed like they were spraying the auto bottomward with baptize during cool-down periods in pit lane.
And alike admitting abundance was in the best advancing “Sport #” setting, it seemed to be behaving way added agonizingly than you’d commonly expect.
This is all, obviously, why the Levorg needs a manual. But, at this point, with the car not alike actuality awash actuality and whatnot, I’ll authority myself aback from digging too abysmal into that trench.
Now, I appetite to be clear—as abundant as it appeared to me on clue (CVT aside), I didn’t get to drive the Levorg, or any of the cars, on accessible roads. My testing was bound to aloof a few laps in anniversary of the cars on a ambit that was alone about a half-mile long.
I can’t say for abiding that the Levorg STI Sport is the ultimate family-hauling, grocery-getting, track-ready wagon that we all appetite it to be. But what I do apperceive is that from that actual bound bulk of time I spent in it, it was absolutely blissful. And really, annihilation that can handle itself like a WRX and accept wagon acumen is apparently a accomplished circadian driver. That seems obvious.
After my time in the Levorg and accepting inundated with questions from readers about the wagon, I batten to STI’s accepted administrator of artefact planning and development, Masuo Takatsu, and Subaru North American business artist Yoshihide Yano. I asked them about the accommodation to not accompany the Levorg to America.
Before Takatsu fabricated the move from Subaru to STI in 2016, he served as the activity administrator for the current-generation STI, and helped accomplish key decisions on the model.
If there was any doubt, Subaru and STI are both actual acquainted of how abundant American enthusiasts appetite addition achievement wagon.
“We calm went frequently to the U.S., alert to the customers. We additionally went to fan events. The two above requests were ‘give us the wagon [and] added power,’” Yano told Jalopnik.
“If [Subaru] cannot do both, again we anticipation that added ability had to be solved, rather than [building] the wagon,“ Takatsu told Jalopnik through a translator.
But I anticipate that’s debatable. The last-generation STI came to America with 305 HP, and the new model, alien in 2015, offers the aforementioned 305 HP. The STI has back been active and now pushes 310 HP. As for the WRX, it got a three-horsepower bang aback Subaru ditched the EJ25 it was application for the new, turbocharged FA20 motor in the new car.
No one denies these cars are fast and fun, but I do think—as you all assume to as well—that there is a accurate appeal for a added applied wagon or auto bodystyle for these cars.
Anyways, I address this aftermost allotment on account of my adolescent WRX enthusiasts. Subaru, accompany the abuse Levorg to America.
For the exterior, a bigger, bolder grille matches the look on 2020 Subaru Wrx Sti Hatchback
newer SUVs while the sharper lines and larger air intakes of the front fascia further add to the aggression. A new L-shaped light signature in the taillights makes things more modern at the rear, while larger diameter tailpipes lend a sportier look and feel to the vehicle. This sporty edge can be further enhanced with an available M Sport Package.
Inside, the instrument cluster remains analog while an 8.8-inch infotainment screen sits atop the dash and features navigation as well as Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. Electronic driver aids, either standard or available, include adaptive cruise control with speed limit information, collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, and steering assist with lane departure warning.
Pricing information for the 2020 Subaru Wrx Sti Hatchback
will be announced closer to the market launch, though we don’t expect much of a move from the 2019 model’s $34,950 base sticker.
When it was launched for 2016, the second-generation 2020 Subaru Wrx Sti Hatchback
brought a much more handsome look than its frumpy predecessor, though it also switched from a rear- to a front-wheel-drive platform. The switch didn’t hurt sales one bit, as the last two years have been the nameplate’s best, with approximately 30,000 units sold in the U.S. in each of those years.
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