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March 1, 2016

Review: 2016 Subaru Levorg 1.6 GT-S

Frankly, it’s hard to classify what the Subaru Levorg is. Subaru calls it a compact sports tourer which is marketing speak for: We can’t decide if it’s a compact car, a sports sedan, or a wagon, so we’ll just blend it all together. And true enough, the recipe of the Levorg is largely that: a front-end shared with the WRX, a dashboard similar to that of an XV, and the trunk space comparable to that of a Forester. And while this amalgam of Legacy + Revolution + Touring sounds as disastrous as “Aldub”, the resulting car is actually quite good. It’s excellent. It’s a gamble that’s paid off handsomely for Subaru.

Outside, it’s clear the Levorg is based off the WRX (sharing even its wheelbase) but with more chrome. There’s some of that bright work on the grille, fog lamp clusters, window moldings, and mirrors. The front bumpers have been massaged, adding some curves near the fog lamp clusters that lessen the Evo-lookalike vibe. It’s from the B-pillar backward where the Levorg gets its own unique character. The long, angular roofline that stretches past almost to the taillights is reminiscent of the boxy Volvo 850 wagon and for that alone, it gets sexy points. And on top of that, you get turbine-style 18-inch alloy wheels with high-performance tires and twin tailpipes with a built-in diffuser. This is so much win.

Inside, the Levorg is a case of “if it isn’t broken, why fix it” and thus, it replicates the WRX’s driver-oriented cabin down to the flat-bottomed steering wheel. The driving position is spot on and exterior visibility is excellent thanks to the large windows. There are no complaints with the available space for the front occupants. The seats, with their generous bolsters, are extremely comfy and you can actually spread your legs without fear of banging knees anywhere. And understanding they have to lure a more sophisticated set, it’s got upped touch points with more leather, more chrome, more piano black accents, a lit glove box, and one-touch operation for all the windows. It also has a touchscreen infotainment system with voice controls that actually work and six USB charging points scattered throughout the cabin. Blue hues break the black color scheme and it’s everywhere—the seats, the gauges, and at night, the climate controls. Oddly enough, all other controls not located on the dash itself (steering wheel, windows, transmission tunnel) are still lit in red. This is the first Subaru with mismatched interior lighting and hopefully, it’s going to be the last.

While those in front will be all thumbs up for its supportive seats and cavernous interior, those in the back won’t be as lucky. The rear seats, though capable of seating three, will have to live with compromised comfort. Although the seat backs themselves are adjustable via a lever, the cushion length barely reaches the middle of the thighs forcing those in the back to sit uncomfortably straight resulting in, likely, sore bums after hours in traffic. As a grocery getter, the Levorg has a taller and wider, but shorter cargo compartment compared to say, the Mazda6 Sport Wagon. In terms of numbers though, it gives up 78 liters in trunk space compared to the Forester with the rear seats folded (1,446 versus 1,524 liters).

The hood-mounted scoop hints at some sporty pretensions and in that regard, the Levorg doesn’t disappoint, largely. The sole engine is a direct-injection, turbocharged version of the FB16 with 170 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque. Driven smoothly, there’s good pull from the engine and the power delivery is surprisingly linear. It feels more like a normally-aspirated 2.5-liter engine than a forced-induction motor except for the characteristic turbo whistle past 3,000 rpm. It’s also surprisingly quiet even at past 100 km/h, where the only unfiltered sounds are from the tires and sometimes, the suspension bits bobbing up and down. It’s only when you drive it hard that the weaknesses show. Jab the throttle and for a split-second, you can feel the CVT shuffling its ratios. From almost no power, it gives a jolt of torque past 2,000 rpm. This unpredictable on/off power delivery is somewhat quelled when engaging ‘Sport’ on the Subaru SI-Drive, but you should be ready to hit the brakes anytime. Thankfully, this car’s got front and rear vented disc brakes.

Locally, the Levorg is the first Subaru model equipped with an idle start/stop function. It operates smoothly and is unobtrusively. And for the geeks at heart, the gauge cluster actually displays the liters of premium unleaded saved. Surprisingly, that did little to lift the Levorg’s fuel efficiency numbers. It manages just 7.93 km/L in heavy (average speed 15 km/h) and 10.41 in light traffic (average speed 24 km/h). Still, it can realistically do 400 kilometers between fill ups thanks to a generous 60-liter tank.

The WRX-based underpinnings allow the Levorg to be quick in a straight line as well as through corners. It’s fun, maneuverable, and tossable through curvy roads. The initial turn in is quick and it’s mighty predictable thanks to the well-tuned chassis. It’s not as quick as the WRX, but without a back-to-back comparison, you can’t tell. The chassis’ predictability is closely matched by the flat, almost non-existent body roll making this one confident car to push flat out. Subaru says they’ve benchmarked the Volvo V60 and Audi S3 in developing the Levorg, and it shows. And get this: it doesn’t compromise the ride in any way. It rides firmly for sure, but it remains controlled whether it’s absorbing undulating potholes or road cracks.

Subaru’s chop suey strategy shouldn’t make any sense, but with the Levorg it does. Priced at P 1,718,000, it’s trapped in a sea of executive sedans and compact crossovers, and yet, it stands out not just for its excellent handling but for its quirky and unique packaging. Let’s also not forget that it’s now Subaru’s now affordable turbocharged model. For this price, it comes packed with features some of which aren’t available in other more expensive Subaru models. Apart from the idle start/stop, it has blind spot monitors, cross traffic alert, and even a high-beam assist for the headlights. Of course, like all other Subarus, the Levorg is destined for the owner-driver. It’s fun and enjoyable rather than plush and cushy. Subaru has given the best they’ve got with the Levorg and for that, it’s worthy of consideration.

2016 Subaru Levorg 1.6 GT-S
Ownership 2016 Subaru Levorg 1.6 GT-S
Year Introduced 2016
Vehicle Classification Executive Car
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Wagon
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.6
Aspiration Direct Injection, Turbo
Layout / # of Cylinders F4
BHP @ rpm 170 @ 4,800-5,600
Nm @ rpm 250 @ 1,800-4,800
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~95
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,690
Width (mm) 1,780
Height (mm) 1,490
Wheelbase (mm) 2,650
Curb Weight (kg) 1,551
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Tires Bridgestone Potenza RE050A 225/45 R 18 W (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors No, Rear Camera with Cross Traffic Alert
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front, Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Auto Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric (driver)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes, Dual
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 6
Steering Wheel Controls Yes


  1. The 2.0L turbo model would have been more fun though it might hit a price more expensive than the Forester XT or the WRX.

  2. Spend a little more and you can already get the WRX or the Forester. They'd have to lower the price. Its too close to those two I mentioned.

  3. For around 80k more, you can get the more beautiful and bigger Mazda6 wagon.

    1. But for me, I will buy the most beautiful and bigger Levorg.

    2. Richard Joash Tan, what do you think is more better the LEVORG or the other Subaru Wagon , Outback?

    3. Im not saying that the levorg is an ugly car but it has the looks of the WRX sedan so parang it looks weird but all in all the features looks great! But if you want a executive wagon go for the Outback or if you want a sportier
      wagon go for the LEVORG!

  4. True. Much more comfortable, better looking, more spacious and has rear aircon vents. Subaru needs to really lower the price. Put it at 1.5M. Why does it have to be overpriced?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. if you dont need the turbo and trunk space, but with almost the same driving dynamics and 800k cheaper - the mazda2 will do just fine, hehe.. just me.

    1. And that is what you will be... a cheap car driver.

  6. For about the same price, I might consider more the Accord 2.4L or an Altima 2.5L plus change. These cars may not have the utility of a wagon but their trunks offer a lot of space, not to mention the extra comfort.

    1. But for me, I will buy the Levorg!

    2. hey Uly, this mentally challenged person is back again.

  7. this car comes with the whole shebang except for one caveat -low ground clearance. The volvo V40 cross country with a higher ground clearance makes more sense.

  8. The Mazda 6 wagon looks a lot better than this, not to mention better power and features.

    1. But the Levorg IS the best looking car than the Mazda ^ because the Mazda 6 wagon IS UGLY!!!!!!!

    2. Retard alert! The mazda 6 is much more spacious, more comfortable, has rear aircon vents and has better ground clearance than the subaru libog.

  9. ^IMO its a mom's car... no need to dissect it too much... you either buy one or not...

  10. Ok people. We get it. It's not a good value car. Now can we please fuckin' move on already?

    1. Medyo na turn-off na tuloy ako sa subaru knowing that some retarded guy is so obsessed with the damn brand. Its like I don't want to be in the same line of thinking as this retard, hence I'm not going to admire subaru anymore.

    2. I like the levorg but the style of the mazda 6 wagon so nice plus it's longer. If Subaru brought the 2.0 DIT Boxer Engine this would be my choice.

  11. choose 1 levorg or forester xt. one will die one will continue. good market research subaru phils lol

  12. If you want a very low, fast, great handling car, then get a real sports car and not this ugly station wagon. It's the most impractical and pointless car that has ever been produced. It's not even spacious! Get a sexy sports coupe instead!

    Speaking of sexy, Mr, Ang, you should have a picture of yourself on this site. Preferably shirtless! You're the only nice looking motoring journalist in the Philippines. The rest of your colleagues are self-promoting, feeling lalake "journalists" who like to shove their ugly faces in the self-congatulatory magazines they write or edit for.

    1. *reads the 2nd paragraph of the comment*

      ....Wtf did I just read?!?!

  13. Hi Sir Uly, can you please help me? Im planning to buy a Subaru but I cannot decide, this or the Outback? I also saw your review of the Subaru Outback please reply .. Thanks


  15. Ill buy this and put lift kits on it! AWD baby! Yeah!

  16. Guys think about this for a second, if you have a 1.5 or 1.6 engine displacement with turbo your the power you have is almost the same as the power of aspirated 2.0L engine. And if you have 2L engine with turbo what more? Maybe 2.5 or even 3L aspirated is your match. Back then youll rarely see any turbos around, and the roads we have before? Well its much better now. Come on guys we dont need that much power nowadays. 1.6L w/ Turbo and an AWD? Be contented! Just for the price Subaru you need to step it down a little for this model to make it hit.


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