Subaru toys with Sporty Estate

Levorg highlights practicality of a wagon and style of a sports car _ a bit like the Merc Shooting Brake

What in the world does Levorg mean?

It's a proper name devised by Subaru for its new concept car that will take centre stage at the brand's booth in the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show later this month.

According to Subaru, Levorg is a combination of three words: legacy, revolution and touring. The Levorg, teased here in official images, is said to blend the practicality of a tourer and style of a sports car _ something like the CLS Shooting Brake from Mercedes-Benz.

Would it preview the next Legacy?

There's a chance it could, now that the Legacy is in its fifth generation and has just underwent a mid-life update last year. The sixth-gen model should break cover next year in production-ready form.

Judging from these pictures, the Levorg has sporty design cues like a raked roof line, accentuated wheel arches and a face to bring it in line with today's Impreza and XV.

There's the so-called EyeSight feature in the front windscreen of the Levorg, which is a driver-assist system to scan road conditions ahead and automatically perform a driving function should its human fail to react.

What's the picture with that 'DIT' acronym?

Levorg could preview next Legacy.

DIT stands for direct-injection turbo technology and has now become synonymous with the engine-downsizing practice being employed by practically all carmakers around the world to maintain performance and reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions at the same time.

Subaru says the Levorg is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol-turbo engine based on its trademark flat-four Boxer unit. The transmission is no other than the CVT used in today's Legacy, Impreza and Forester.

The smallest engine used in the current Legacy is a 2.0-litre, meaning that the 1.6 DIT will come as the entry-level model for the all-new Legacy. Although luxury players like BMW and Mercedes-Benz have been offering DIT technology for petrol engines for several years in Thailand already, not a single mass-market brand has embraced DIT yet.

Ford is set to become the first in Thailand to do so when it launches the Fiesta Ecoboost this month featuring a 125hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine with DIT.

About time. Is the Levorg the only show car?

Apart from the Levorg, the other concept car will be what Subaru calls Cross Sport Design, an urban crossover measuring no more than 4.3m in overall length. No pictures or teasers have been released yet.

The city SUV is a new burgeoning trend around the world and Subaru wants to join the action as well, leaving Mazda as the only Japanese manufacturer yet to reveal any interest in taking part in this particular segment. Ford and Nissan will open this sector in Thailand later this month with the Ecosport and Juke which have dedicated bodies from their B-segment hatchback and saloon relatives.

The Suzuki SX4, which was available in Thai showrooms for several years, is more of a pumped-up hatchback rather than a devoted crossover.

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About the author

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Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor