If you think you know the new, second-generation Subaru Levorg just unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, you are either a Subaru savant, or you don’t really understand it. That’s because the car, sold in the Japanese Domestic Market since 2014, doesn’t quite fit anywhere into the North American Subaru lineup.
The Subaru Levorg is a “tweener” car
It’s larger than an Impreza hatchback or Crosstrek CUV, but it’s not as large as an Outback wagon. It looks like a next-generation WRX, but with a midsize wagon cargo body grafted on to the back.
It’s not a hard-edged WRX, and certainly not an STI
Subaru will offer the new Levorg only with a continuously variable transmission. There will be no manual option like for a WRX or STI, or even a Crosstrek or Impreza. Kazuhiro Abe, corporate vice president and chief general manager for Subaru’s product & portfolio planning division, describes Levorg as a “high-speed tourer with a high level of safety. It is very different from a WRX.
It marks the end of Subaru’s EJ20 engine family
The Levorg’s 1.8-liter lean-burn turbocharged H-4 is the first of a new engine family. Subaru has not released horsepower or torque numbers, and has yet to give the engine an alpha-numeric designation, though variations of the engine will undoubtedly make their way into such U.S.-spec models as the Legacy/Outback and Impreza, Crosstrek, and Forester.
Best guess is a new WRX for very late 2020, STI in ’21
Subaru says the new Levorg goes on sale in the JDM in the second half of next year. It’s a performance touring station wagon with absolutely no crossover pretentions, so American enthusiasts might beg for its import here. But any realistic sales projections will not support it, and the manual gearbox model that enthusiasts would demand would double the car’s $1 million U.S. certification costs here. With the Subaru WRX STI S209 Final Edition on sale in North America, and the WRX STI EJ20 Final Edition ready for the JDM market, we’d guess an all-new base WRX will launch some time after the Levorg’s vague, second-half of 2020 on-sale date in the JDM. Let’s say December ’20 for the new WRX and the next STI following it at least six months later.