The Levorg has failed to fill the gap left by the Legacy estate. As a result, Subaru has lost a loyal band of customers that it now wants to recapture. The brand registered just 90 examples across Europe in January.
“We made a mis-step with the Levorg and made it too extreme, too sporty. It just wasn’t right for our customers,” said Torbjorn Lillrud, development director for IM Group, the UK Subaru importer.
A new higher-quality interior, retuned and comfort-oriented suspension and a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated Boxer petrol with a more relaxed power delivery are the three key changes.
Lillrud describes the new naturally aspirated engine, which replaces a peakier 1.6-litre turbo unit, as the heart of the Levorg’s refreshed character.
“The combination of that turbo engine and the firm suspension has been a real turn-off for customers,” said Lillrud.
The 2.0-litre unit makes 148bhp and 146lb ft of torque (down 20bhp and 38lb ft on the old unit) but is expected to be considerably more efficient. It’s mated to Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT gearbox and all-wheel drive.
Together, the XV and Forester contribute nearly three-quarters of Subaru’s UK sales, but Lillrud is also targeting more sales from its four other models – the Levorg, Impreza, Subaru BRZ and Subaru Outback.