Slide Rule

You’re going too fast for this corner, Ken.

Somewhat appropriately, Toto’s seminal hit Hold the Line was Spotify’s choice for this particular stretch of tight corners. Seriously, you might want to slow down a touch. Miguel in his crimson Passat was a ways ahead of me, turbo obviously fully spooled and attacking an upcoming bend with angry verve. Having driven that particular car a few minutes prior, I knew exactly how much fun he was having.


Hmm. I could have probably gone quite a bit quicker, actually. The German, in sport mode, can definitely throw down in these conditions, constantly asking the driver for steering and throttle input to extract every ounce of performance available. It’s quick. It’s exhilarating.

It’s also stressful.

"The Levorg has one of the most well-sorted, balanced, and just plain unflappable suspension and AWD setups I’ve experienced"

It isn’t even the quickest way through the twisties if I'm being honest, at least not compared to the enthralling Subaru I was tailing him in. The Passat may have the edge in power, and justifiably so considering the price difference, but the Levorg more than makes up for that deficiency with possibly the most well-sorted, balanced, and just plain unflappable suspension and AWD setup I’ve experienced. Pick a line through a corner, point your wheels just so, and mash the throttle; breathe in a calm, measured breath and before you finish exhaling you’re through, with plenty of exit speed to boot. Without an ounce drama no matter the road’s prevailing condition. This thing’s a turbocharged steamroller, on rails! Unreal.

Not that this gorgeous red estate is solely built for corners, mind. A stretch of road appeared next, allowing the car’s 1.6L turbocharged flat-4 to sing, 170hp and 250nm of grunt rapidly propelling me into triple digits in an almost deceiving manner. This thing just flies when prodded. The standard CVT transmission, to my absolute relief, does a decent job of emulating a regular automatic, with discernible upshifts when pushed hard -- making the snickity paddles behind the wheel actually useful. This chassis definitely would have been a bit more engaging if equipped with the Forester’s 2.0 turbo; the smaller engine, however, has more than enough oomph for some proper weekend hooliganism -- all while returning far superior fuel consumption. That’s a neat compromise in my book.

"The Levorg, especially in red, commands an impressive amount of road swag"

There’s no compromise though when it comes to the styling of the car. The Levorg, especially in red, commands an impressive amount of road swag. Subaru’s signature masculine design language comes across magnificently well here, with just the right amount of angry, almost jagged lines sprinkled about that result in a properly butch look. That hood scoop also fits perfectly well with the car’s raw, tank-like character. It’s not at all boy-car-racer, though, the gently-tapered wagon rear gives it an air of maturity, with the added benefit of providing the car with cavernous trunk space. I could fit a few surfboards in there. This would be perfect for beach trips.

This Scooby’s interior is no slouch, either: the dark theme combined with swathes of soft, blue-stitched leather make for a neat, if a bit stark, cockpit. The seats in particular are top class which is unsurprising as they appear to be taken straight from the Levorg’s legendary cousin, the WRX STI. The better to hold you in place, then, while Subaru’s fantastic AWD system flings you around corners at warp speed. A generous heap of tech is littered about the cockpit, too; the infotainment system and audio gear is a cut above the rest -- you could even film short documentaries with that rear camera if you really wanted to, it’s that good.

Right, so that’s out of the way; let’s get back to how it drives. Electric steering systems have really come of age if the Levorg’s is any indication. The appropriately meaty steering wheel feels a touch heavy at first, maybe even a little numb. The same can probably be said about the rest of the car’s dynamics, at least on boring, city roads. The moment you hit any kind of corner though, and I mean any kind, from 100km/h sweepers to pinpoint hairpins, the previously heavy and numb steering comes alive and suddenly it all makes perfect sense -- this car was made to swallow kilometer after kilometer of any kind of road with an absolute absence of fuss.

The Levorg laughs at road imperfections, flattening dips and bumps with practiced nonchalance, all the while filling you with an almost unhealthy amount of confidence. Pagudpud, anyone? I’m driving. Your passengers wouldn’t even realize how quick you’re going, lessening any potential calls for slower speeds, resulting in a happier trip for everyone -- thank you, Subaru!

"The Levorg laughs at road imperfections, flattening dips and bumps with practiced nonchalance"

The Levorg is more smokey, aged whiskey then, as opposed to rival car's shots of tequila. More Bullet train, less Six Flags rollercoaster. It’s a serene extreme; a cultured superlative on wheels. It’s a slide rule, solving your complex cornering calculations with old-school analogue tools rather than an over-reliance on modern electronic sorcery.  

As Bobby Kimball’s vocals and the rest of Toto's music faded into silence, I gave a chuckle when I realized that the Levorg actually did it.

It Held the Line; relentlessly, consistently, and beautifully so. 


"It’s a serene extreme; a cultured superlative on wheels"

2016 Subaru Levorg 1.6 GT-S

Engine: 1600cc, Horizontally-opposed, 4-cylinder, turbocharged DOHC
Fuel: Gasoline
Power: 170 bhp @ 4,800 - 5,600 rpm
Torque: 250 Nm @ 1,800 - 4,800 rpm
Transmission: Lineartronic CVT, AWD
0-100 km/h: 8.9 seconds
Top Speed: 210 km/h
Fuel Economy: 11.9 km/L Overall
Price: PHP 1,715,000
+: Supremely controlled ride, grip, comfort, fuel consumption
-: A touch more power, maybe?
Verdict: The ultimate long distance ride
Rating: 9/10