DESPITE the velocity in which my beautiful better half leaves our street each day, I'd never pigeon-holed her as performance car kind of gal.
Shying away from the big wings and loud exhaust soundtracks, her tastes are more refined nowadays.
Yet our experience with the Subaru Levorg exposed her inner speed demoness.
It was a tale of two specifications. This new Suuby wagon is essentially a WRX under its sharp skin, yet the bride's opinion went from ho-hum to heart-stopper despite sharing the same motor-vation.
Given it's the fairer sex which often proved the primary factor in key buying decisions, the wife's preference for the souped-up STI-honed Spec B spoke volumes.
This is an interesting space for Subaru - introducing a wagon whereas most manufacturers are aiming to shoehorn as many SUVs into their range has possible.
Aussies are shunning wagons, despite there being some pretty impressive offering around for those classing themselves anti-SUV.
You can add the Levorg to that list - it packs some punch, boasts strong space credentials and the trademark Subaru build quality.
Familiar to Impreza owners, the Levorg borrows interior design from its stablemate.
There are less plasticy finishes from the past, and more soft-touch materials, although the styling is very black and beginning to look dated.
Touch-screen operations are not as intuitive as some other latest offerings, but at least Subaru deserves plaudits for simplicity and ease of operation.
The steering wheel is busy with a range of buttons controlling the radar cruise control and stereo, although once you have the positioning down-pat everything works in harmony.
Those seeking some pizzazz will find the base mode GT relatively basic with its smaller central screen and cloth trim, and it's in the two up-spec variants where you gain leather covered pews with a choice of ivory or pearl colour schemes - both with blue stitching.
On the road
Across the range you get the same donk, a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine partnered to a continuously variable automatic.
Keen drivers will lament the latter on two fronts: there is no manual and many hate CVTs. But Subaru does one of the best, if not the best, CVTs on the market.
Armed with the turbo shunt, all-wheel drive and some "Rex" attitude, this is a wagon with wallop.
Claiming line honours from the lights, punching into a hole in traffic or overtaking within a short opportunity can be done with confidence.
Sprinting from standstill to 100kmh can be done in less than seven seconds, although it's the mid-range spunk which offers a lovely throttle response.
The ride is cushier on the base GT, with our range-topping Spec B version getting the Bilstein suspension. Despite the odd crash and bang as well as the road noise evident on both models, we'd still take sportier derivative for its all-round performance and majestic grip.
What do you get?
Complimentary fare are the 6.2-inch colour touch-screen, full bluetooth connectivity, dual zone air con, reverse camera, push button start, 18-inch alloys, rear view camera, Vehicle Dynamics Control which has a cool display in the dash which changes colour when its providing assistance to keep the car in control, along with EyeSight which has the ability to automatically apply the brakes to help avoid or lessen the impact of a frontal collision.
We've seen some pretty hot performance wagons in recent times, thank you Audi for the RS6 Avant ($245,400), but closer to the Levorg's price range is the Skoda Octavia RS Wagon ($39,090), and the Renault Megane GT220 Wagon ($38,500).
Not especially big, the Impreza platform still offers a boot good for 522 litres with the seats up and 1446 with them folded. Dropping those seats is simple via a button in the boot or on the seat-tops, making it easy to throw in sporting equipment or oversize gear.
There are dual cup holders front and back, the ability to stash bottles in each door, and there are excellent storage nooks in the console - most importantly an area close to the auxiliary jacks, USB and 12-volt ports for charging devices.
Some will have to look past the name...Levorg sounds a little like something you'd catch. It's actually a literary montage, combining LEgacy, reVOlution and touRinG. The styling isn't for everyone, typically Japanese sharp with a penchant for edges, although it looks particularly striking with the STI kit and 18-inch black alloys.
Yes, the base model is more sensible with its plusher ride. But what's the point? Aussies have departed the wagon genre in droves as they chase SUVs with vigour, whereas the Levorg combines the practicalities of family life with a whole lot of fun.
Consider it the phat family wagon.
Driving experience 17/20
Features and equipment 15/20
Functionality and comfort 17/20
Value for money 16/20
Style and design 16/20
What matters most
What we liked: Blends punchy performance and practicality, easy to drive, looks of Spec B derivative.
What we'd like to see: Some internal design flair, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto needed, less road noise.
Warranty and servicing: Three year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Service intervals are every six months, with capped price servicing available for three years/75,000km. Average service cost is $438.
Model: Subaru Levorg 2.0GT and 2.0GT-S Spec B.
Details: Five-door, all-wheel-drive performance wagon.
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder boxer generating maximum power of 197kW @ 5600rpm and peak torque of 350Nm @ 2400rpm.
Transmission: Continuously variable automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters.
Consumption: 8.7-litres/100km (combined average).
Towing capacity: 1200kg (braked).
Performance 0-100kmh: 6.6-seconds.
Bottom line plus on-roads: $42,990 (2.0GT); $52,890 (2.0GT-S Spec B).
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